Thursday, October 01, 2009

New Toronto Pool Bylaw

This past year I have had a few questions posed to me about a new Bylaw in effect for the City of Toronto in regards to pools. The questions are about pools being fenced in from all 4 sides of the yard by an enclosure between the house wall and the pool itself. Basically, in my previous article I outlined my adventure on trying to find what the bylaws are for the City of Toronto. Not a very fun adventure!

So, for this article I decided to display a couple of diagrams to help illustrate the new bylaw....

Under the old bylaws, the above diagram displays what was acceptable (bylaw compliant) as a typical pool layout for the City of Toronto and is still acceptable for most areas outside of Toronto. The diagram shows the pool location in relation to the property line and must meet certain setbacks (the minimum distance allowed for a pool to be built from the property line). In Toronto the setback is 4 feet from the property line and in other areas of the GTA the pool must be 5 feet from the property line.

There must also be a fence enclosure set in all around your backyard with self-closing/self-locking gates. The fence itself must be built at a regulated height... which for a Toronto single residential property is 1.2 meters or 4 feet high. Any door leading from the home to the enclosed pool area in the yard must have child safety locks installed as well (no longer acceptable in Toronto). Garage doors leading into the enclosed pool area must also comply with child safety locks and a self-closing device.

The new City of Toronto pool bylaw explained...

Basically, the above diagram displays what all the hype is about... as it was previously acceptable for you to have a pool enclosed on 3 sides of your yard by a fence and self closing gates with the home acting as your fourth side to the enclosure... you now have to incorporate an enclosure (fence with self-closing gate) that stands between the pool area and the back wall of your home...connected to the other fence enclosures to form a complete square. The only way to get around this bylaw is to simply not have a door that opens or allows you access from your house into your backyard within the enclosed pool area.

For that matter... windows that open into the enclosed area must also have locks that prevent the window from being opened more than 10 cm or 4 inches.

So...where does that leave you? If bricking in sliding glass doors that lead into your yard is not an option... then you must come up with a way to provide a 1.2 meter high...or 4 foot high barrier between your home and your pool! My diagram displays a simple layout to provide a solution to the bylaw. But what if you don't want the yard divided like that?

There are in some ways, ideas that can address the bylaw and still keep your entertaining space open. Playing with deck levels and elevation changes in your yard could help you to disguise a fence with a gate. But there are the unfortunate circumstances for some backyard layouts where you are simply stuck with the great wall of China going through your backyard!!!


M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

In the Portland landscape, I think that walls or fences for pools can provide some of the best visual improvements, provided it does not block a view or cut useable space in half detrimentally.

My preference would be edible walls with kiwi vines, blackberry or intricate espallier apple and pear. Dpending on gap requirements, a masterful fruit grower could train and graft fruit trees to virtually replace a fence with a network of limbs and branches. Either interwoven or spaced at intervals. Climbing Hydrangea and other plants can offer a green wall. Whether there is space for planting or not seems to be the biggest factor.


MDV of Oregon

Portland Landscape Design & Tree

Denver Landscaping said...

I really like the ideas that M.D. has on the job at hand. Grafting fruit trees is a great idea.

Denver Landscaper

Toronto Landscaping said...

Green walls are a great idea! The fence/wall between the house and the pool area is a huge eyesore in my opinion. The first season onf the new bylaw is coming up, I wonder if existing backyards have to comply with the new bylaw?

Anonymous said...

What about backyard ponds, and condo ponds?
Does a "Private property' sign protect homeowner/condo from being sued?

Anonymous said...

This is all helpful, thanks for doing the research for us. My husband and I are currently looking into putting a pool in our back yard and can't believe how difficult it is.
It's already a small yard because we are in the city, and having to put in another fence between the back of the house and the pool seems ridiculous. A gate within an already fenced yard.... Dumb!

Denver pool contractor said...

Great stuff here. The information and the detail were just perfect. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well. Great job on this.

Denver pool contractor