The do’s and don’ts of adding a pool to your property

Adding a swimming pool to your property can provide endless fun and relaxation for the whole family. But before taking the plunge, it’s crucial to consider the major commitment and costs involved in installing and maintaining a pool. This article provides a comprehensive guide on everything you need to think about before investing in a pool, to ensure it’s the right decision for your home and budget.

Whether you’re looking to go for an in-ground design or an above-ground model, there are many factors to weigh up. So, dive right in to this essential guide covering the do’s and don’ts of installing your dream pool.

Do: decide how you’ll use your pool

One of the most important early steps in pool planning is deciding why you want one and how you intend to use it. This will inform key decisions on size, shape, and features to make your pool perfectly suit your lifestyle and needs.

Consider whether you plan to predominantly swim laps, relax with family, exercise, entertain guests or simply enjoy the tranquil views. Do you hope to dine al fresco by the pool frequently? Is a private spa retreat high on your wish list?

Take note of how much lounge seating, play equipment and space for amenities you’ll require around the pool perimeter. Are specialty water features like cascades, fountains or infinity edges appealing? For therapy and exercise, hydrotherapy pools utilise adjustable jets, currents and underwater treadmills to provide low-impact resistance training. Endless pools feature turbine systems that generate a smooth current for swimming in place. Whereas a natural pool might be a better fit if you want to immerse yourself in natural surroundings.

Carefully envisioning who will use your pool and for what purposes will ensure your design ticks all the right boxes for an oasis that’s tailored to your family’s needs and activities. Discuss your wish list with designers to bring your ultimate backyard pool paradise to life. The more thought you put into it now, the more enjoyment your pool will provide for years to come.

Do: use your space wisely

Don’t let a smaller garden or oddly-shaped outdoor area dissuade you from installing a pool. There are creative ways to strategically maximise your available space when planning your pool design.

One strategy involves adjusting your landscaping accordingly. Certain deeply rooted trees and plants, like bamboo, can make installing a pool more difficult. Opting for plants and trees with more linear root systems, such as ficus, enables you to fit a larger pool footprint while still incorporating attractive greenery. Pruning back overgrown bushes and shrubs can also reclaim precious garden space. 

Consider an unconventional pool shape that better fits the contours of your property, like freeform curves or an “L” shape rather than a traditional rectangle. This allows you to work around existing structures and landscaping.

For tight spaces, go for more compact lap pools or above-ground oval designs. Using space-saving corner steps also maximises the pool area. If you have a larger space, you could build a pool house or pavilion over part of the pool itself for dual function.

Chat with your pool designer about options like expanding into adjacent patios or decks, or even building part of the pool underground to open up above-ground space. With smart planning, nearly any backyard has the potential for a pool oasis. Don’t let space limitations deter you from your dream of a personal pool paradise.

Don’t: underestimate the scale

It’s easy to underestimate the scale and disruption involved in a major home renovation project like installing a pool. Make no mistake, adding a pool is a massive undertaking that requires months of planning and construction. Here are some key points to be prepared for:

  • Garden disruption: heavy equipment will need access to dig, shape, and build up the pool shell and surrounding structures. This means tearing up landscaping.
  • Noise/Dust: demolition of existing structures alongside digging and installation of pool materials can create substantial noise and dust for several weeks.
  • Crews on site: construction crews will need full access to your property for an extended period of time. This means losing privacy and space for your family temporarily.
  • Planning permission: obtaining planning permission from the local council often takes time and may require revisions to plans to meet regulations. Don’t assume this will be a quick process and make sure you apply well in advance.
  • Delays: bad weather, planning issues, shipping delays or other problems can stall projects, prolonging the timeline. Build in a buffer so you’re not taken by surprise.
  • Ongoing maintenance: a pool comes with major upkeep responsibilities. Ensure you are prepared to clean it properly year-round or budget for a maintenance service.

While incredibly rewarding, a pool project is not for the faint of heart. Mentally prepare for an extensive, all-encompassing undertaking before diving in.

Don’t: overlook your budget

When planning a customised pool, it’s tempting to let your imagination run wild with extravagant features without regard for cost. However, for most homeowners, there is a maximum budget that simply can’t be exceeded. Having frank conversations about your budget limitations well in advance enables you and your contractor to set achievable expectations.

Be upfront from the start about the absolute maximum you can afford to invest in the project. Make note of any must-have features versus those you’d be willing to forego if costs start ballooning. Ask your contractor for different packages at varying price points so you understand what’s feasible.

Prioritise essentials first like size, shape, structural elements and basic finishes. Add luxury features one by one only after the core costs are defined. Things like cascading waterfalls, intricate tile designs and pool houses may have to wait for a future phase. There are often creative ways to cut costs, like choosing more affordable coping materials or deck finishes without sacrificing quality construction. Communicate openly with your contractor about staying within your boundaries.

Final considerations for your pool installation

Installing a pool can be an exciting prospect but also requires weighing several key factors carefully beforehand. Proper planning is essential to determine costs, pool type, size, features, and location based on your budget and needs. Adhering to local regulations, hiring qualified builders, and overseeing meticulous construction are also musts for creating a quality, durable pool. Most crucially, you have to commit to diligent maintenance for safety and maximising your investment.

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