Sitting on the edge of a home swimming pool, sipping a drink and watching the kids play in the water during a hot summers day is a dream of many Australian families. So when it comes time to design your new home, a swimming pool may be one of the features you’re thinking about including. If designed and built right, pools can add a sense of prestige to your home, be a favourite place to relax in the warmer months and affect the resale value. However, there are a few questions to ask yourself before committing to one.
Ben Grollo, Principal Architect at Grollo Homes, said deciding to include a swimming pool when building a new home is not as simple as many people think.
“Pools can be a great addition to the family home, but while a lot of people may like the idea of having a pool, it is important to discuss with your architect if a pool is right for you and fits with your budget.”
What site conditions will affect decisions about the design of my pool?
Site conditions will affect the design of the pool to an extent, including its location, depth, shape and cost.
“If the location of the pool is adjacent to a proposed or existing dwelling or boundary structure, it could potentially undermine them. An engineer would need to ensure that the proposed pool design does not affect the structural stability of any adjoining structures,” Ben said.
“Placement adjacent to vegetation can also undermine existing trees, so an arborist may need to be contracted to assess the proposed impact and offer suggestions.
“The landscape can also affect the design. For example, sloping sites may require retention systems that are implemented above ground, and proximity to deciduous trees may cause leaf foliage to cover the pool and increase ongoing maintenance and costs.”
Will a pool increase the resale value of my home?
While having a well-designed and equipped swimming pool may increase the resale value of the home, this is not always the case, and it will depend on the people looking to buy at the time and the current trends.
“Some people are willing to spend more when buying a house if it comes with a pool, but there are those that understand the long-term maintenance commitment and costs associated with a pool,” Ben said.
“We are non-biased when it comes to adding a pool to a house build. The customer must be made aware of the ongoing maintenance and potential long-term issues they will face owning a pool. If a customer decides to have a pool designed, the design will be based on their personal preferences and budget.”
What ongoing costs do I need to be aware of?
Pools are not a cheap investment when building a house, and along with the initial construction costs, there are a number of ongoing and long-term costs that home builders need to be aware of before committing to one.
“Regular maintenance of the pool is imperative to keep it clean, safe and in good condition. However, it is also expensive,” Ben said.
“You can maintain the pool yourself if you have access to the correct equipment and can administer the necessary chemicals. Otherwise, you will need to hire a professional pool maintenance service, who will skim the surface for debris, vacuum the floor, clean the walls, clean the filter, and check the water and pH levels.”
The cost of repairs also needs to be considered as it can be expensive to get someone to assess it for damage and carry out any works that need to be done.
What type of pool is right for me?
There are a variety of pool styles and shapes available depending on its intended purpose, budget and site conditions.
“Lap pools are popular for those who wish to use the pool for exercise. Plunge pools work in smaller backyards, and are good for cooling off and water play. The most popular shape is rectangle as it is both practical and more cost effective,” Ben said.
“If you have a sloping block, you may be able to consider an infinity edge pool.”
Do I need to consider landscaping?
The landscaping around the pool can be just as important as deciding on the pool itself as it will ensure it is safe, functional and fits in with the design of the house. Done right, it can also add resale value.
“There are a lot of options for pool landscaping available depending on the needs and budget of the client, but some of the common ones are tiling, decking, water features, connected spas, swim-out areas and pool fencing,” Ben said.
“It’s important to consider the connection between dwelling to pool, as well as if you want to include other elements such as change rooms or a sauna. There are many elements to consider.”
What should I look for when selecting a builder if I want to include a pool?
Selecting a builder that has experience designing houses with pools and has good connections with experienced pool installers is paramount. A good builder will discuss the pros and cons of a pool with your budget and site in mind to ensure that it’s right for you.
“We use several different pool contractors and encourage our clients to speak with them directly in order to gain a better understanding of the difference between filters, heating options, cleaning options, etc.,” Ben said.
“We prefer to undertake the design as this gives us control over the aesthetics and connections to the dwelling.
“We always discuss the pros and cons. I like my clients to have all the facts before taking the plunge.
“Social gatherings and summer family times with younger kids is a pro. Maintenance and ongoing costs are cons.
“It depends on the individual/family as to whether it is the right fit. Cost is typically the main driving factor as to whether we implement a pool or not.
“I always say that one should never sacrifice the house design in order to gain a pool. The home in my mind always takes precedence.”
If you are thinking about including a pool when building your new home, click here to read more about the considerations you need to keep in mind during the design phase.