2022’s Best Cities to Own a Swimming Pool

Group of young people sitting in and around a backyard pool

With summers getting hotter than ever, there’s no better time to have an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard to help you cool off.

That’s not ideal — or even possible — in some parts of the U.S., though.

To find the most “pool-ready” cities in America, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities to Own a Swimming Pool.

We compared nearly 200 of the biggest U.S. cities based on climate, yard size, access to pool installation and maintenance, as well as costs.

We also looked at the share of homes with pools in each real estate market to gauge how well the city embraces pool culture.

Dive into our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and expert tips.


City Rankings

See how each city fared in our ranking:

Overall Rank (1=Best)CityOverall ScorePool-Readiness RankInstallation RankMaintenance RankClimate Rank
1Fort Lauderdale, FL65.32416506
2Scottsdale, AZ63.91127587
3Cape Coral, FL62.60359441
4Plano, TX62.3127321513
5Frisco, TX62.2368221413
6McKinney, TX62.2118352110
7Austin, TX60.50665785
8Cary, NC59.1429382030
9Hollywood, FL58.8131261476
10Alexandria, VA58.28143106040
11Pembroke Pines, FL58.1482241166
12Gilbert, AZ56.462036687
13Dallas, TX56.3584792311
14Arlington, VA56.05165203935
15Tallahassee, FL56.0199713016
16Denton, TX55.6051687018
17Port St. Lucie, FL55.554573934
18Murfreesboro, TN55.4211926436
19Orlando, FL55.0130554245
20Houston, TX55.01153901122
21Chandler, AZ54.9613371087
22Nashville, TN54.4934885732
23Raleigh, NC54.4043764734
24Arlington, TX54.2659967118
25Phoenix, AZ54.243586287
26Fort Worth, TX54.21128933212
27Little Rock, AR53.9369118455
28Macon, GA53.65515015820
29Pasadena, CA53.5119117172
30San Antonio, TX53.39108131373
31Garland, TX53.25116857615
32Miami, FL53.0756584548
33Atlanta, GA52.7181433059
34McAllen, TX52.56731401022
35Shreveport, LA52.521015815324
36Tampa, FL52.4737411976
37Tulsa, OK52.30491218729
38Naperville, IL52.22103292478
39Durham, NC52.22521088231
40Tempe, AZ52.206514287
41Jersey City, NJ52.1919457770
42Baton Rouge, LA51.995412311525
43Midland, TX51.9333443174
44Jacksonville, FL51.4744775554
45Columbus, GA51.335813713617
46Pasadena, TX50.9913411310723
47Irving, TX50.98115497252
48Peoria, AZ50.7038472887
49St. Petersburg, FL50.66168544846
50Charlotte, NC50.6272753458
51Lubbock, TX50.5013612910621
52Omaha, NE50.35144110369
53Winston-Salem, NC50.202515511837
54Mobile, AL50.123216114627
55Huntsville, AL49.98231027360
56Mesa, AZ49.6741941287
57Bellevue, WA49.51503418120
58Glendale, AZ49.3122813587
59Greensboro, NC49.265314712637
60Savannah, GA49.209813814528
61Glendale, CA48.8855426172
62Grand Prairie, TX48.83152677553
63Killeen, TX48.351311651399
64Oklahoma City, OK48.23641148456
65Rancho Cucamonga, CA47.8872358151
66Mesquite, TX47.7810410912351
67Corona, CA47.30601162155
68Virginia Beach, VA47.29267156101
69Overland Park, KS46.83974829111
70Lexington, KY46.74941116165
71El Paso, TX46.6814215411142
72St. Louis, MO46.6214815213139
73Las Vegas, NV46.33871171147
74Jackson, MS45.877617617726
75Lincoln, NE45.85781277967
76Chicago, IL45.611878710543
77Chattanooga, TN45.617413411264
78Joliet, IL45.4991999779
79Elk Grove, CA45.3510539100114
80Olathe, KS45.211235636111
81Louisville, KY44.861291397463
82Minneapolis, MN44.851378910375
83Aurora, IL44.74158728979
84Hialeah, FL44.731548018948
85Columbus, OH44.7016716011344
86San Francisco, CA44.64193305296
87Henderson, NV44.5962649147
88Escondido, CA44.58218138180
89Springfield, MO44.528318317133
90Santa Clarita, CA44.43161953172
91Laredo, TX44.1916215114847
92Kansas City, KS44.178617817241
93Sunnyvale, CA44.16180916169
94Riverside, CA44.10175354155
95Chesapeake, VA43.956569139101
96Orange, CA43.9580259187
97Sacramento, CA43.889610137114
98Madison, WI43.861491036886
99Sioux Falls, SD43.831141249881
100Corpus Christi, TX43.691351206683
101Ontario, CA43.682825156151
102Clarksville, TN43.558145134107
103Memphis, TN43.3313916213257
104Fullerton, CA43.2071399187
105Torrance, CA43.07159751172
106Birmingham, AL42.993617316861
107Cincinnati, OH42.979016413362
108Amarillo, TX42.6075130108100
109Fort Wayne, IN42.217916814371
110Seattle, WA42.071737040120
111Boise, ID41.791329888108
112Montgomery, AL41.707014314997
113Knoxville, TN41.7012169142106
114Grand Rapids, MI41.706316713584
115Wichita, KS41.4877149101103
116San Jose, CA41.411563313169
117Irvine, CA41.3661841187
118Tucson, AZ40.931517146143
119Kansas City, MO40.75122116109117
120Richmond, VA40.71102126121116
121Yonkers, NY40.4418142159123
122Fremont, CA40.13891725184
123Albuquerque, NM40.0414113215498
124New Orleans, LA39.9717612512995
125Los Angeles, CA39.92426222171
126San Diego, CA39.72107527180
127Portland, OR39.6516313565113
128Reno, NV39.649210684144
129St. Paul, MN39.54117115127132
130Fayetteville, NC39.5214179164110
131Augusta, GA39.489316316299
132Baltimore, MD39.4018513616666
133Fontana, CA39.291515086151
134Huntington Beach, CA39.021201233187
135Bakersfield, CA38.924811227168
136Honolulu, HI38.8610612216350
137Spokane, WA38.8211018612572
138Moreno Valley, CA38.789566128155
139Pomona, CA38.5712713170172
140Indianapolis, IN38.5611215794133
141Santa Rosa, CA38.414660141166
142Brownsville, TX38.3112618116577
143Vancouver, WA38.3015016691109
144Paterson, NJ38.1618331191126
145Newport News, VA38.08118156169104
146Rockford, IL38.0421172161134
147Boston, MA37.961908290122
148Norfolk, VA37.84160142160104
149Des Moines, IA37.78125159122128
150Oceanside, CA37.701012892180
151Providence, RI37.6118415317573
152Denver, CO37.601776549162
153Salt Lake City, UT37.331558367158
154Anaheim, CA37.315715114187
155Garden Grove, CA37.291216167187
156Modesto, CA37.2439107174150
157Anchorage, AK37.1814063104145
158Palmdale, CA37.042478119172
159Fort Collins, CO36.961459579162
160Tacoma, WA36.59130170124131
161Lakewood, CO36.441888478164
162Thornton, CO36.231827469159
163Salinas, CA36.174791176165
164Colorado Springs, CO36.1516110563161
165Salem, OR35.71111182150119
166Hayward, CA35.581572195184
167Fresno, CA35.4640146120167
168Santa Ana, CA35.2411314155187
169Chula Vista, CA35.221474083180
170North Las Vegas, NV34.9717213381147
171Stockton, CA34.74100118188146
172Eugene, OR34.72146184152118
173Philadelphia, PA34.6619117418068
174Aurora, CO34.58175104117160
175San Bernardino, CA34.0688141179151
176New York, NY33.92192100185125
177Bridgeport, CT33.55171148190127
178Long Beach, CA33.4616461137179
179Worcester, MA33.20119174181137
180Pittsburgh, PA33.13174177110142
181Lancaster, CA33.0667128144172
182Rochester, NY32.5210919418285
183Akron, OH32.4385185183140
184Oakland, CA31.741794596184
185Milwaukee, WI31.52170180177135
186Springfield, MA31.20133189157129
187Dayton, OH30.9599188186130
188Toledo, OH30.31124187187136
189Oxnard, CA29.8916646151187
190Newark, NJ29.61189144194123
191Detroit, MI28.3518619219382
192Syracuse, NY27.59138193184141
193Buffalo, NY27.53178191172139
194Cleveland, OH26.17169190192138
Infographic showing the best cities to own a swimming pool, a ranking based on yard size, pool installation and maintenance access and costs, and climate

Highlights and Lowlights

Making a Splash in the Sun Belt

Sunny, sandy states — Arizona, Florida, and Texas — are thirsty for cool water. All three states dominated the top of our ranking and have experienced extreme heatwaves this summer.

Three Sunshine State cities floated to the top, with Fort Lauderdale taking home the gold. Pools aren’t a rare sight in Cape Coral (No. 3) or Hollywood (No. 9), either — these cities have the ideal climate for swimming.

A hot climate and affordable pool cleaning brought wealthy areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, including Plano (No. 4), Frisco (No. 5), and McKinney (No. 6), to the top, alongside Austin (No. 7).

Scottsdale swam to second place overall and beat all 193 other cities in Pool-Readiness. Despite the Colorado River shortage and severe drought plaguing the Southwest, Scottsdale is a wealthy city that can afford pool expenses (though going to a community pool instead might help conserve water).

Northern Cities Nosedive

You’re better off finding a community pool than building your own in colder-climate cities.

We expected cities in the upper latitudes to sink in our ranking, but we didn’t predict Great Lakes-adjacent cities to hit the bottom of the pool. They include Cleveland in last place, followed by Buffalo (No. 193), Syracuse (No. 192), and Detroit (No. 191).

Lack of yard space, expensive installation and maintenance, and scarce sunshine anchored these cities to the bottom. Thankfully, they aren’t too far from thousands of miles of water to splash around in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Costly Cali Cannonballs

Poolside escapes may seem like a Californian dream, and they are for many Oxnard (No. 189) or Oakland (No. 184) residents who don’t have large yards.

Rancho Cucamonga (No. 65), Escondido (No. 88), and even Lancaster (No. 181) are pool-ready, and many homes currently for sale in these cities come with a pool already installed. Unfortunately, expensive pool cleaning and poor climate due to drought risk dragged these cities down in the ranking.

Ask The Experts

Before getting knee-deep in your upcoming pool project, it’s important to know what pitfalls to expect and how the addition of a giant water feature in your backyard might affect the value of your home.

We reached out to a pool of experts for insights and tips to help you avoid costly mistakes. Read their thoughts below.

  1. What are your three best tips for new pool owners?
  2. What is one unexpected challenge homeowners might face while building or planning a pool?
  3. What is the most important way to avoid a pool leak?
  4. Does a swimming pool add value to a home? Why or why not, and if so, how much?
  5. What are the top three factors that can affect the pool’s chemical balance?
  6. What’s one potential pitfall homeowners should avoid while building or maintaining a pool?
  7. Who should and shouldn’t own a swimming pool?
Gerald J. Wang
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Chemical Engineering (by courtesy) and Mechanical Engineering (by courtesy)
Salil Sarkar
Professor of Finance and Real Estate
Gerald J. Wang
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Chemical Engineering (by courtesy) and Mechanical Engineering (by courtesy)
Carnegie Mellon University

What are your three best tips for new pool owners?

1. It is critical to clean your pool regularly.

2. It is important to test your pool water on a regular basis — don’t forget to measure nitrates.

3. It is easy to forget that pool ownership is a two-way street: Not only does the owner choose the pool, but the pool must also choose the owner. Both sides of this relationship must be cultivated.

What is one unexpected challenge homeowners might face while building or planning a pool?

A frequent cause of unexpected challenges is not investing in high-quality pool surfacing materials. You can save money in the short term, but it will cost more in the long run.

A less frequent cause of unexpected challenges is malicious water spirits getting into your pool. I have to emphasize that this is rare, but if you find yourself with a malicious water spirit infestation, let’s just say you’ll wish you’d spent more on high-quality pool surfacing materials.

What is the most important way to avoid a pool leak?

I might sound like a broken record at this point, but high-quality pool surfacing materials are seriously underrated, especially when it comes to avoiding pool leaks.

Does a swimming pool add value to a home? Why or why not, and if so, how much?

This is a tricky question, and the answer is ultimately “it depends.” In general, a well-maintained swimming pool improves home value: They are pleasing to the eye, provide hours of family-friendly entertainment, and even have a mild deterrent effect against animals with late-stage rabies.

But your mileage may vary. I’ve heard from pool owners who have been struggling for years with malicious water spirits that have taken over their pools. A lot of them say the water spirits are a nightmare when prospective buyers tour the home. To be clear, most prospective buyers eventually make a full recovery.

What are the top three factors that can affect the pool’s chemical balance?

The two most important factors that control pool pH are the hydrogen ion concentration and the hydroxide ion concentration. It’s a common misconception that pH is also affected by water spirits. Malicious or not, all water spirits are neutral pH.

What’s one potential pitfall homeowners should avoid while building or maintaining a pool?

Paperwork is important. It’s critical to take care of all relevant permits before beginning pool construction. This is especially true in states like California, where you should expect to deal with a lengthy permitting process at the level of the municipality, the state, and the local Council of Water Spirits.

Who should and shouldn’t own a swimming pool?

If you have a house that you want to make a home, get a swimming pool, and then you will have a swimming pool. But if you are in arrears with payments to your local Council of Water Spirits, think twice about getting a pool. Landscaping might be a better way to boost your home value.

Salil Sarkar
Professor of Finance and Real Estate
University of Texas at Arlington

What are your three best tips for new pool owners?

The property tax, water bill, electric bill, and insurance bill are going to increase in addition to the cost and maintenance of the pool.

What is one unexpected challenge homeowners might face while building or planning a pool?

The easement rights already existing in the backyard may drastically reduce the available area.

What is the most crucial way to avoid a pool leak?

Keep the sprinkler system on year-round to keep consistent moisture in the ground around the pool.

Does a swimming pool add value to a home? Why or why not, and if so, how much?

It depends on the neighborhood: If the home is the only house without a pool, adding a pool will avoid the additional discount while selling. If the residents don’t care for a swimming pool, the property taxes would be low without the pool.

What are the top three factors that can affect the pool’s chemical balance?

1. The usage of the pool, if it is used every day or seldom

2. The number and the average age of children

3. Average sunlight on the pool

What’s one potential pitfall homeowners should avoid while building or maintaining a pool?

The size and depth of the pool as the volume of water depends on these parameters.

Who should and shouldn’t own a swimming pool?

If the mandatory HOA (homeowners association) provides a swimming pool and the home is close to the HOA swimming pool, one can avoid owning a swimming pool.

Behind the Ranking

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, we first gathered publicly available data on the factors listed in the table below.

We then grouped those factors into four categories: Pool-Readiness, Installation, Maintenance, and Climate.

Next, we calculated weighted scores for each city in each category.

Finally, we averaged the scores for each city across all categories. We eliminated six cities lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a total sample size of 194 cities.

The city that earned the highest average score is considered “Best” (No. 1), while the city with the lowest is “Worst” (No. 194).

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Average Yard Square Footage377619,855Max. Value
Share of Homes with Pools on the Market31.0%62.7%Max. Value
Pool Installers within 10 Miles (per Number of Single-Family Detached Homes)400.013Max. Value
Average Minimum Pool Installation Cost (as % of Average Annual Household Income)519.7%87.4%Min. Value
Number of Pool Cleaners30211Max. Value
Average Per-Visit Pool Cleaning Cost (as % of Average Weekly Household Income)40.0%3.1%Min. Value
Historical Average Number of Extremely Hot Days12169Max. Value
Historical Average Number of Extremely Cold Days10192Min. Value
Historical Average Monthly Percentage of Sunshine142%85%Max. Value
Drought Risk Score303Min. Value
Heatwave Risk Score313Max. Value
Natural Hazards Index0.5920Min. Value
Forced Water Cuts Due to Drought (1=Yes, 0=No)301Max. Value

Sources: BuildZoom, Federal Housing Finance Agency, HomeBlue, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, PoolCost.com, Realtor.com, and Yelp

Splashing Through Summer

Heatwaves have been cooking cities across the country, leaving many citizens desperate for a dip in the pool.

Swimming is not only refreshing after a hot day, but is also entertaining and good for you. Regular aerobic activity (like swimming) can lower your risk of chronic illness and improve overall health. Swimming is a relaxing way to get your body moving in the sun, thus improving your mental health, too.

Add some personality to your backyard by landscaping around the pool. Whether you already have or want to install an in-ground, semi-inground, or above-ground pool, you can enhance your swimming experience by adding flowers, lighting, and hardscaping around your pool. Landscaping elements like fences and hedges can also increase poolside privacy.

Pool pests and waterbugs like backswimmers and water striders can be prevented by performing regular cleaning and maintenance and installing a pool enclosure.

Research plenty before installing a pool in your backyard. Maintenance and pool service costs can definitely sink your finances if you’re not careful.

Need help implementing your dream poolside landscape? LawnStarter’s local pros can help with all your landscaping and lawn care needs.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a graduate of the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.