1. Drain pool cover, remove, clean and store.
  2. Add water to pool, if needed.
  3. Turn equipment on and test to make sure everything’s operating properly.
  4. Test pool chemistry.
  5. Brush and vacuum pool.
  6. Shock the pool and apply algaecide, if it’s a chlorine pool.
  7. Perform a safety check and evaluate pool equipment to determine if any parts need replacing.

The trend for several years has been to convert from the standard chlorine system to a salt generator. Unlike chlorine, which evaporates in higher temperatures, salt remains in the pool. It only needs to be added when water is lost due to rain, backwashing or splashing.

A salt pool has a more consistent pH, requires less monitoring and fewer chemicals.

Costs for converting from chlorine to salt vary depending on the pool size, offset somewhat by the estimated cost for salt — about $30. The average cost of chlorine for a summer will run you $150 to $180. Read more about salt vs. chlorine systems

How to Open a Pool for the Summer at the Home Depot

With the pool cleaned, it’s time to freshen up the plantings. In milder climates, tropicals can be used in the poolside landscape. In colder areas, consider containers of annuals.


  • Palms, such as Robellini or Majesty
  • Hibiscus
  • Mandevilla
  • Ixora
  • Bougainvillea
  • Croton
  • Mixed containers of annuals

A simple solution for seasonal color are Drop-n-Bloom containers of annuals. They can be used on their own, or popped into a larger container and surrounded with sun-loving annuals like geraniums, lantana, marigolds and pentas.

Another benefit of containers is portability — as the days heat up, the pots can be rotated in or out of the shade. For more information about planning a poolside landscape, read Plant a Poolside Garden.

Liven up the swimming scene with new pool toys. DIY types can build their own Floating Basketball Hoop with PVC pipe and a pool noodle, as outlined on our Community pages.

For more information about pool maintenance, check out our Pool Cleaners and Accessories buying guide.

Poolside fun from The Home Depot

Make this refreshing homemade lemonade for your pool-opening crew. The day before your pool cleaning, juice a big bag of lemons, stir up the lemonade and put in the refrigerator. Bookmark this recipe to return to again and again.


Makes two quarts

3 cups lemon juice (from about 20 lemons)

2 cups sugar (superfine, if you can find it)

4 cups water

Lemon slices

  1. Strain lemon juice through a sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add water and stir. Garnish with lemon slices. 
  2. Serve poolside and plan a summer full of fun.