Choosing a Pool Design to Suit Your Home and Lifestyle
Having a swimming pool is the Australian homeowner’s dream, particularly for those without a beach nearby. A fantastic way to relax and cool off in the summer, pools can be an costly investment, but done right, a pool can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Here are some tips for how to design the perfect pool for your backyard.
Size and functionality
When deciding what size to build your swimming pool, it’s a good idea to consider how you will be using it. Picture yourself sitting by the pool, swimming in the pool and entertaining by the pool, as well as who will be using the pool. Will your pool be used for games and family fun, or do you simply want to enjoy a refreshing dip on hot days? Do you plan on doing laps or do you see yourself relaxing in a spa? Using your imagination is the best place to start when deciding size and style.
Other factors that will help determine the size of your pool are cost and running expenses, as well as available land area. New planning regulations and advantages in technology mean you don’t have to live on a quarter of an acre block to own a pool, but obviously a compressed site will restrict how big and what shape your pool will be.
The shape of your pool
Certain shapes lend themselves better to complementing surrounding landscapes or structures. Pools placed by the home should fit with the home’s silhouette, whereas pools placed in the backyard can afford to be a little more freeform.
Common pool shapes include; rectangular, freeform, kidney, figure-8, L-shaped, lazy L-shaped, Roman, geometric, Grecian, circular and oval. These shapes can be incorporated into modern, traditional, Mediterranean or tropical styles, and for those after a vanishing edge, infinity pools visually blend water into the sky views beyond.
The seamless approach
Design your pool so that it is an extension of the architecture of your home. If your home, for example, is a modern rectilinear home, build your pool the same. The common right angle corners and straight lines will make the pool feel at one with the building and will provide a continuous flow when transitioning from the indoors to outdoors. If you live in a period home, make use of sweeping radius corners and Roman ended pool shapes, which lend a ‘classical’ look. Finish off with outdoor pavers like Siri Marble Pavers or Limetta Limestone Pavers for even more timeless elegance. If your home offers a modern, beachy vibe, you’d love our Pianura Bluestone Crazy Paving against a modern rectangular or infinity pool.
There needs to be a logical progression so that you can transition from the house to the pool simply and swiftly. Locate the exit point from your home and place the pool fence gate and pool steps in a sequence that provides continuity for seamless use. If you have a slope to the property, build your pool to take advantage of this. Consider incorporating an acrylic viewing window if your pool is raised to your home. Or, build a retaining wall along the property boundary in the form of planter boxes, if your slope goes away from your home.
In ground vs above ground
In-ground pools are the typical residential or backyard pool, being easy to dive or climb into and generally offering a more finished, smooth look. Above-ground are available at a lower price point, by far the definitive advantage of this style of pool. The downside to above-ground is that they are less aesthetically pleasing, and do not last as long.
It’s vital to remember that a pool is just one part of the larger landscape. Therefore it must be part of your overall plan. Overlooking this will result in a pool and landscape that do not compliment each other. You’ll also lose the opportunity to integrate options that provide more value for the same or similar price.
Pools are a costly proposition, therefore it’s important to put adequate time into the design process. You’ll only build it once, after all. Materials and detailing should be high quality and timeless so that your pool and landscape stands the test of time. Never jump into a fad without careful consideration, and always do your research into common materials. Don’t just consider pool materials either – it’s the surrounding outdoor tiles that will give the finishing detail.
Your pool designing checklist should look something like this:
- Determine budget.The first thing you should do when designing a pool is figure out how much you are prepared to spend on it. Be firm in your budget too, as costs can quickly build up.
- Talk to people that already have a pool.Ask what they like about it. Ask what they don’t like about it. How long did it take to build? Were there unforeseen costs?
- Create an inspiration board.Capture pictures of designs you like, and once you’ve got a dozen or so, try to identify a common theme.
- Make a wish list.From your file of saved ideas, make a list of all the features you’d like your pool to have. Go all in and then work your way backwards, eliminating things that don’t compliment each other and things that might be out of your budget.
- Do a hose layout.Find the biggest hose you can and drag the hose into the area where your pool will be. This is a great way to create a realistic visual of the placement of your pool, and garner an idea of the impact on your remaining space. If you don’t like what you see, play around some more.
- Visualise the setting.Swimming pools aren’t just ‘swimming pools’ any more. Instead, they’re part of a private oasis retreat that can add enormous value to any entertainment space. Not only must everything tie in together, the pool and landscape must tick health and safety facets too. Tiles around the pool, for example, should be slip resistant and UV protected. If the pool or spa is to be used at night, proper lighting is essential.
- Be sun smart.The need for protective shade adjacent to the pool is essential, whether filtered through a vine shrouded arbour or the result of a solid roof structure.
- Think green.The integration of greenery of any kind is what turns a pool yard into a gorgeous landscape, particularly when planting colours are coordinated with the overall site palette.
- Consider storage.If space allows, place the equipment close to your pool. The closer the pump, the more efficiently it will operate. The pool filtering system should be at pool level or lower to avoid putting undue pressure on the pump.
The most ideal positioning for your pool is a spot that delivers privacy, sunshine in the autumn and spring, and shelter from the wind. If you have small children, you must also allow for safe supervision.
You should also consider obstacles such as storm water drains, gas, electricity and sewers, as this will increase costs for future repairs of any of these services. If you are unsure of their location, check with your local council. As for trees, overhanging trees can offer great shade, but tree roots can cause problems later on by placing pressure on pool walls. You’ll also get exhausted of cleaning leaves from your new pool, meaning you may want to check with the council to see if they can be removed.
In a confined space, the most popular method is to position the pool against an existing feature such as the house, fence or other boundary. This will maximise space and give the illusion of grandeur.
Key things to remember
Enjoying the pool is not just about swimming in it, with most pool owners admitting to getting just as much joy out of their water views. In fact, you’ll likely spend more time looking at your pool than you will in it, so make certain your pool is the dominant focal point. Integrate the interior and exterior spaces through hard and soft landscaping elements to enhance the overall effect.
The main thing to remember when designing a pool is that it is YOUR pool. Be creative yet practical, do your research, consider all of the above, and you’re well on your way to the perfect pool for you. See the big picture by viewing the pool as part of both your home and your lifestyle, and talk to those in the know to get further insights and incorporate your own unique touches. From size and shape, to style, colour and pool surroundings, the world is your oyster in terms of pool and landscape design.