In some climates, outdoor swimming pools (Fig. 1) are kept filled with water year-round, but are covered during the colder months. These covered-up pools waste a lot of outdoor real-estate that could be put to alternative use.
The pool will need to be covered anyway, so we can take advantage of this space by creating a pool cover that also serves some secondary function.
Several possible options come to mind:
- Mini-golf course
- Mini ice-hockey rink (cold climates only)
The “trampoline pool cover” (Fig. 2) could be the best option, since trampolining is a great way to warm up during cold winter months, and additionally supports medical professionals (by generating exotic injuries for the emergency room) and teaches children about the fragility of life.
It might seem difficult to support a mini-golf course or ice hockey rink on flimy pool cover, but this might actually be feasible. Since water is—counterintuitively—not substantially compressible, we could fill the pool completely to the brim and then rely on the water as a “solid” support. (We’d probably also need to plug up any inlets and drains, so a downside of this method is that water can’t be circulated while the pool is providing structural support.)
This is a good plan that should be of great interest to many suburbanites in temperate climates.
PROS: Makes use of otherwise-wasted yard space during the cold months. Encourages outdoor exercise.
CONS: Adding the hazards of a swimming pool to the hazards of a trampoline might not be a winning combination.