Once you have decided that a pool for your new home is right for you, it is important to start thinking about the design of the pool and how it will fit in with your needs, lifestyle and budget, while also meeting any relevant standards. Here, we take a look at some of the design elements that you will need to think about and discuss with your architect when designing the pool.
As mentioned in the previous article, Building a home with a pool: Is it right for you?, pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and styles depending on its intended use, budget and site restrictions. If you have a family or want a place to cool down in the warmer months, a plunge pool may be the way to go, while a lap pool is ideal for those wanting to use it for exercise. If you’re after a visually stunning pool and have the budget and right site conditions, an infinity pool could be the way to go.
However, there are a few more considerations that need to be taken into account.
Above ground or in-ground
One of the key decisions that will need to be made is if you want the pool to be above or in- ground.
Ben Grollo, Principal Architect at Grollo Homes, said both above and in- ground pools have positives and negatives.
“Above ground pools are good for those with smaller budgets as they are typically cheaper than in-ground pools depending on the design and the type of material used. An above ground fibreglass pool will be cheaper than an in-ground one.
“They also have the benefit of having less impact on any existing adjacent structures such as buildings or trees as the ground is not being disturbed during its installation.
“On the other hand, an above ground pool may be seen as less aesthetically pleasing as it can obscure the view of the garden or yard.
“While an above ground pool made from fibreglass can be cheaper than the in-ground version, if its made from concrete, it can become more expensive as framework will be needed to construct it.”
Above ground pools can also be incorporated into the house design as part of a feature such as an elevated deck, creating a faux in-built look.
If an above ground pool isn’t right for you, an in-ground pool might be.
“In-ground pools are aesthetically pleasing as they don’t obstruct any views and there are a lot of landscaping options that can make the areas around the pool visually stunning and match your lifestyle,” Ben said.
“Additional framework also doesn’t need to be constructed for either concrete or fibreglass pools because the sides of the excavated hole act as the framework.
“There is however a greater cost involved as additional ground works are required to excavate the hole with these works involving the use of heavy machinery and the removal of spoil. This also adds risk to the project as excavation works can structurally impact surrounding buildings or trees.”
Indoor or outdoor
Another aspect to consider is if the pool will be indoors or outdoors. While outdoor pools tend to be more popular for those intending to use it mainly in the warmer months, and lap pools more popular for indoors, both are suitable for all uses.
“Indoor pools can be used all year round due to more consistent water temperatures and better temperature control,” Ben said.
“Although the implementation costs are typically more significant as the corrosive nature of chlorinated environments require special construction measures to be implemented.
“Creating the physical enclosure is also a costly exercise. We typically recommend specific heating and ventilation measures be implemented which can also be costly.
“On the other hand, outdoor pools are cheaper to fabricate, although they only tend to be used in the summer months as heating in winter can be very expensive and requires either a heat pump or gas heater to operate.
“Loss of heat to the environment exacerbates ongoing lifecycle costs, and while a pool cover can be used to minimise heat loss, they can be costly depending on the type used.”
Keeping safety in mind
Every state in Australia has safety rules surrounding the installation of pools, and it is important to keep these in mind when selecting a pool and designing the space around it, whether it be above or in-ground, and indoors or outdoors.
“In Victoria, a pool or spa located on a residential property that is capable of holding more than 30cm of water is required to have a safety barrier to restrict access by young children,” Ben said.
“This barrier must be kept in good working condition at all times, and an outdoor pool area should not be able to be directly accessed via a door from a building.”
Getting the right advice
When selecting an architect to create your home, it is important to find one that has experience designing homes with pools who can discuss the pros and cons of different types based on your site, needs and budget.
“I like my clients to have all the facts before taking the plunge, so we always discuss the pros and cons,” Ben said.
“We also encourage our clients to speak directly with one of the pool contractors that we work with in order to gain a better understanding of the difference between filters, heating options, cleaning options, etc.
“While we prefer to undertake the design as this gives us control over the aesthetics and connections to the dwelling, our pool contractors are able to give more detailed advice on costing and what will work best for each client and their site.”