Choosing a Pool Design to Suit Your Home and Lifestyle
For many Australians, having a swimming pool in one’s backyard is a homeowner’s dream.
Especially for those who live far from a beach.
And also because it’s a great place to relax and cool off on those scorching summer days.
However, installing and building a pool in your backyard can be a costly investment. But if done right, a pool can also be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
In today’s article, we will share some tips on how to design the perfect pool for your backyard.
Size and functionality
First and foremost, before building the pool or even shopping around for one, it’s important to consider how much space you have in your backyard and also how you will be using it. The best way to do this is by visualising yourself sitting by the pool, swimming in the pool and entertaining by the pool: what do all these visuals look like to you? Also consider, who will be using the pool: will you use it for games and family fun, or do you simply want to enjoy a refreshing dip on hot days? Alternatively, do you plan on using it for health and fitness by doing laps? Or, do you see yourself relaxing in a spa after a long day at work? Using your imagination to visualise how you will use the space is the best starting place when choosing the size and style of your swimming pool.
Along with how much space you have and how you will use the pool, other factors to consider when choosing the size of your pool include its cost and running expenses. Thankfully, new planning regulations and technological advances mean you don’t have to live on a quarter of an acre block of land to own a pool, but obviously a smaller backyard will limit the pool’s size and shape.
The shape of your pool
Once you’ve established the best size for your pool, the next part is choosing the best shape for it. Here we suggest considering the aesthetic you already have in your backyard because certain pool shapes better complement surrounding landscapes or structures than other shapes. For instance, if you have a modern backyard with squared and rectangular paths and landscaping structures, a square pool would probably suit your backyard best. On the other hand, if your backyard has circular and organic shapes, a pool with curved edges would suit it better.
We also suggest considering if you are placing your pool near the home – where it is best that it suits the home’s silhouette – or further in the backyard – where you can have a bit more freedom with its shape. In saying that, there are a few common pool shapes. These include; rectangular, free-form, kidney, figure-8, L-shaped, lazy L-shaped, Roman, geometric, Grecian, circular and oval. These shapes can be incorporated into a variety of backyard styles such as modern, traditional, Mediterranean or tropical. And if you are looking for something fancy, an infinity pool with a vanishing edge is a beautiful way to visually blend the water with the sky.
The seamless approach
Much like the previous point, it’s best if your pool has a seamless design that reflects the architecture of your home. For example, if your home has a modern rectilinear design, build your pool in a similar way. This way, the angled corners and straight lines will create a continuous flow from the indoor design of the building and the outdoor aesthetic of the pool. On the other hand, if you live in a period or heritage home, we suggest making use of pool shapes that have a more ‘classical’ look with sweeping radius corners and Roman ends.
Once you’ve decided the design, complete the job by choosing your outdoor pavers for the pool surrounds. If you want something that is elegant and timeless, check out the Siri Marble Pavers or Limetta Limestone Pavers that we stock at Armstone. For a more beach-like and modern vibe, the Pianura Bluestone Crazy Paving are an excellent choice, especially for a modern rectangular or infinity pool. Whatever you choose, make sure you avoid sandstone pavers for you pool. Read this article we wrote earlier for more information on this.
Once you’ve chosen all the materials and the design, it’s time to finalise the logistics. For instance, it’s ideal that the passage between your house and pool is logical, simple and swift so that you, your family and guests can enter and exit the pool safely. To do this, build the pool fence entrance in a direct line from the exit of your home. As well as allowing people to have a seamless experience of getting in and out of the pool, it gives anyone inside a way to see what’s happening outside.
Also consider if your property is built on a slope. While this has its own challenges, you can actually build your pool in such a way that takes advantage of this typography. For example, if you build a raised pool, you could build an acrylic viewing window and make it look like an aquarium. Alternatively, if the slope means you have to build the pool away from your home, use planter boxes to build a retaining wall along the properties parameters.
In ground vs above ground
When choosing the pool membrane, you have two options: in-ground or above ground. In-ground pools are the more popular in residential properties and backyards because they provide a more seamless aesthetic with the rest of the property and are easier to dive into and climb out of.
However, if you are on a budget, the advantage of above-ground pool is that they have a lower price point. However, they are less aesthetically pleasing, and do not last as long. So if you want your pool to stand the test of time, the return on investment for installing an in-ground pool is definitely worth the initial investment it.
Remember that a pool is just one part of the larger landscape of your backyard design. As such, it is important to make it a part of your overall plan otherwise you will have a pool and backyard that do not compliment each other and are completely out of sync. The other advantage of planning your overall landscape design, is taking advantage of integrating the various options that provide more value for the same or similar price.
As pools are a costly project and investment, it’s important that you take your time planning everything required so that the design and structure is one that lasts. You only want to build a pool once, right? As such, it’s wise to invest and choose high quality materials and detailing so that your pool and landscape stands the test of time. We advise considering any fads carefully before jumping on that bandwagon and always doing sufficient research into common materials. Also make sure that the tiles and pavers you consider for the rest of the landscape are a quality make and style because they will add that finishing detail to your backyard.
In case you don’t have one, we’ve prepared this checklist to help you with your pool design and investment process:
- Determine budget. First things first is figuring out how much you are prepared to spend on your pool. We suggest sticking to your budget because costs quickly add up and you don’t want to start the construction process and run out of funds.
- Talk to people who already have a pool. This can really help you make the right decisions with your pool. Ask them what they like about it and what they don’t like about it. Ask them how long did it took to build and if they had any unforeseen costs come up in the process.
- Create an inspiration board. Take your time choosing a design because it’s not exactly an easy (or inexpensive) structure to rebuild. So capture pictures of pool designs that you like and when you have a dozen or so, identify if they have a common theme that you can replicate for your pool.
- Make a wish list. Use your inspiration board to compile a list of all the features you’d like your pool to have. Here we suggest going all in and then working backwards. So start with all the features and then eliminate things that don’t compliment each other or might be out of your budget.
- Do a hose layout. A what layout? Yes, a hose layout. Find the biggest hose you own and drag it into the space where you’ll install your pool. Since you’ll need to fill the pool with water, mapping the hose layout is a helpful way to create a realistic visual for the placement of your pool. This exercise will also help you garner how the pool will impact the remaining space in your backyard. And if you don’t like the layout, continue to play around with the chosen locations until you do.
- Visualise the setting. Nowadays swimming pools aren’t just ‘swimming pools’. Instead, they are like a private oasis and retreat in the comfort of your own backyard that adds enormous value to any backyard. As such, it’s important that everything – like the pool, landscape and all the health and safety aspects – work well together. For example, the pavers and tiles you choose for the pool must be slip resistant and UV protected and if you intend to use the pool or space at night, adequate lighting is essential so that no one gets hurt getting in and out of the water.
- Be sun smart. With Australia’s thinning ozone layer, and hot summers, installing a protective shade adjacent to the pool is essential. So whether you choose a vine shrouded arbour or solid roof structure, remember to be sun smart.
- Think green. Integrating any kind of greenery turns a plain pool into a gorgeous oasis, especially when choosing plants whose colours compliment the overall palette in your backyard.
- Consider storage. Your pool will require various materials for upkeep such as a filtering system, vacuum, fishnets, pool cover and various pool fixtures like salt or chlorine. If space allows, we recommend storing all of these as close to your pool as possible. For example, the closer the pump is to the pool, the more efficiently it will operate. Also, to avoid putting undue pressure on the pump, it’s best if the pool filtering system is at pool level or lower.
Choosing the best location in your backyard for your pool is most important for you to get the maximum value from it. The most ideal spot for your pool is one that offers privacy, sunshine all around the year, and shelter from the wind. If children will be using the pool, you want to choose a space that allows for supervision as well.
Other important factors to consider are various outdoor obstacles such as storm water drains and sewers, and accessibility to gas and electricity as your pool placement may increase the costs for future repairs to any of these services. If you are unsure of their location, check with your local council. Additionally, while overhanging trees offer lovely shade, their roots can cause problems later by placing pressure on pool walls. Cleaning the leaves from the water can (over time) become a cumbersome exercise. So if the tree will cause any safety issues for your pool, check with your local council if it can be removed.
If you have a confined space for your pool, the place to build it is against an existing house feature, fence or other boundary. This will maximise the available space and give the illusion of grandeur.
Key things to remember
There you have it!
The ‘all you need to know’ guide to choosing a pool design that will suit your home and lifestyle.
Remember that enjoying the pool is not just about swimming in it. Many pool owners admit that they experience just as much joy from the water views alone. In fact, you’ll likely spend more time looking at your pool than you will in it, so it’s important that your pool is a beautiful focal point in your backyard.
The main thing to remember when designing a pool is that it is YOUR pool. So be creative (and practical), do your research, consider all of the tips we shared in this article and you’re be well on your way to building a pool that you and your family loves.
If you want any help with this decision making process, or choosing the most appropriate tiles and pavers for your pool surrounds, or quality Spanish made glass pool tiles, reach out to our team of experts of natural stones at Armstone either online, at 1300 560 560 or visiting our showroom in Glebe, Sydney. We have helped many homeowners bring their dream pool area to life and would love to help you too!