Pick Your Pool Design For Style and Safety, Says Harold Leidner

A taller pool barrier can make them safer for children while still remaining aesthetically pleasing. Photos: Harold Leidner Landscape Architect

[Editor’s Note: At the end of the day, pools are a selling point and an asset to some homes, but the choices and safety protocol instated are the responsibility of the homeowner.] 

Ensuring that a pool is stylish comes easy for Harold Leidner, founder of his eponymous Harold Leidner Landscape Architects. But how do you make a pool equally safe for small children while providing a place to relax and cool off?

That can be a challenge sometimes, says Leidner, though his firm has solutions. With the tools of cutting-edge technology and expert design, Leidner says that safe and beautiful swimming pools are possible. 

Intrigued? Find out more:

 A lot of people think that safety fencing around pools is unattractive. Are there any products on the market that protect children from the dangers of drowning but don’t look hideous?  

Harold Leidner: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so sometimes safety can be achieved subtly through design intent, such as raising the pool 18 inches or more, making it increasingly difficult to accidentally fall in the water after a toy.  This will look much better than any fencing, although, if you want more security, a fence may be the right call for you.  They are removable so they can be taken down when children are old enough to swim on their own.

When designing a pool for a family with small children, what are some important considerations?  

Harold Leidner: Accessibility and views.  It is very important to maintain a view of the pool from all main gathering areas.

Are there any pool fixtures that are big no-nos for homes with small children?  

Harold Leidner: Overall, kids and adults alike are attracted to water, so having a pool in the first place certainly has its risks.  For additional ease of mind, most cities require owners to install door alarms to pass inspections.  Although loud and disruptive, they do the trick by sounding the alarm every time the door is opened.

Automated pool covers can be invisible when not in use.

Materials-wise, what are some products that offer durability, safety, and good looks?  

Harold Leidner: Automated pool covers have come a long way.  While not cheap, they are extremely durable while providing protections and looking great year round.  The added benefit is the pool generally is cleaner throughout the year assuming the cover is always closed when the pool is not in use.

Water features in pools are fun, but are there any safety considerations?  

Harold Leidner: One consideration when it comes to water features is dive safety.  If you create an element that others will want to jump off of, you should maintain sufficient clearances.  Nothing is foolproof though because I’ve seen the roof be used as a dive platform — kids will be kids.  Another thing to think about is material that is not slippery, but we typically take that into account with any material located outdoors.

What’s the healthiest way to purify and condition pools for families?  

Harold Leidner: I think we all can agree that 100 percent chlorine pools are irritating on many different levels.  The newest trend is combining the best of both worlds by using Ozone and UV systems in unison ensuring the lowest possible use of chlorine.


In closing, although all of these items are legitimate considerations, nothing is ever 100 percent infallible.  If you are not comfortable with the idea of having a pool with a toddler, hold off a bit until you can get them in swim lessons.