On a sweltering hot summer day, it's easy to get a unanimous family vote that favors getting a pool installed in the backyard. But in the days that follow, it won't be so easy to make a decision on the type of pool that is installed. Reviewing price, design, material, construction time, installation demands, permit requirements, and tax advantages versus disadvantages can make you feel like your drowning in the decision making process.

If you want a pool to just cool off in, and you want it now no matter what the consequences are, the easiest thing to do is to just get an above-ground pool. An above-ground pool is easy to install, and one of the least expensive pool options. In most circumstances, an above-ground pool won't require a building permit (but look into your town ordinances), and your yard won't see any heavy duty excavation work unless you want a deep end.

Standard above-ground pools are built to accommodate an even 4' depth. However, there are more expensive above-ground kits with angled bottoms that allow for a deep end. Hopper liners sink into the ground enough to allow for an 8' deep end for safe diving. If you have a sloping yard, you can get an above-ground pool kit with an expandable liner that forms itself with the grade of your land. These specialized kits are more expensive and might require some excavation work, so if you're not content with a 4' depth level or have a precarious sloping grade to contend with, it's best to compare the cost of above-ground pool kits with the cost of a prefabricated in-ground pool.

At a minimum, your above-ground pool kit will contain steel panels, vinyl liner, and your choice of aluminum or wood for the pool walls. But when you're shopping for your pool kit, pay attention to the accessories that are offered. Some kits might include steps and ladders, others might provide you with underwater lighting and heat. Buying a kit that includes cleaning accessories such as filters and skimmers or other standard pool tools might save you some time, but they may or may not be worth the markup in price. If you're in a hurry, you're sure to find a complete kit with everything you need at your fingertips. Chances are the pool company can refer you to someone who can install it for you, or you can do it yourself.

Once your pool is erected, you can elaborate on the basic structure. The deck can be enlarged, improved, or redesigned. Trees and plants can add architecture and shade. Furniture, beverage stations, saunas and recreation areas can be added. An entire outdoor living area can be created beginning with the pool as the starting focal point.

If you want to cool down fast without a heavy investment in time or money, an above-ground pool could be the answer. If you don't like it, it's relatively easy to take down and resell. If you do like it, you can move it with you. If you're drowning in decision making and just want a dip in cool refreshing water to cool you off, an above-ground pool is the easy answer for you.