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Should you take the plunge?

Updated: Jan 19


What better time of year to discuss the pros and cons of making a pool part of your build. Pools are quickly becoming commonplace with new builds, yet it’s often hard to visualise yourself swimming around in the pool on your plans - so here’s some aspects to consider to help make that decision.

One of the things to consider before building your swimming pool is what features you’d enjoy the most because very often, these cannot be added at a later date. While you might be able to add features around a pool later on, you won’t be able to add features that are actually built into the pool.

For that reason, many homeowners would rather splurge now and get the pool they’re truly dreaming of rather than one that falls short, but they have to live with forever.

Fibreglass Pool vs Concrete Pool

The material from which your pool is constructed is obviously an important decision and you want to invest your money wisely. These two pool materials are completely different and therefore have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Concrete - A concrete pool looks beautiful and can be any size or shape with any surface on the inside, tile, pebble or selected finishing. As the construction process is more extensive, costs can be higher. Concrete pools require a little more maintenance as the surface is porous and they can be more prone to algae. Fibreglass - Typically need to be in the ground, they are quick to install and with the gel coat surface are easy to maintain. Fibreglass is an extremely strong material and your pool will heat up quicker. Fibreglass pools are constructed in a factory so only come in select shapes, sizes and finishings.


Pool Surrounds

Putting together a plan for your pool space can be as fun as interior design choices, and no less overwhelming. There are numerous materials to select from when it comes to pool coping and surrounds, and as many landscaping options too. Due to their durability, elegant appearance and variety of tones, pavers and tiles are often selected as pool coping. You just want to make sure the paver isn’t slippery to touch to ward off slipping accidents around the pool. Travertine is the best material for pool patios. It does not get slippery when wet, it stays cool underfoot, and it is highly durable so it won’t leave you with big cracks like concrete will.


Concrete is also popular for pool coping and surrounding material. Poured concrete can also be more cost effective compared to concrete tiles that can potentially require more labour hours.

Timber decking can look amazing, if you are after a natural look and feel to your pool surround. Composite decking is very popular right now, as it looks like real wood with much lower maintenance costs. The installation costs of composite decking may be higher, but the ongoing lower maintenance will offset these costs.

Adding plants to your pool surrounds adds colour and privacy, also creating a seamless flow between your backyard and pool. Ornamental grasses and succulents are low maintenance and tolerate a variety of climates. Just beware of plants with falling leaves, as this will make maintaining your pool more challenging.


Pool features like waterfalls, swim jets, spas, infinity edges, pool lighting, and others are more than just “add ons,” they really make or break the entire swim experience. It is these types of pool features that help you spend more time in the pool and truly enjoy it to the fullest. They also help you enjoy the pool more when you’re not in it, but sitting by or around it. Elements like lighting and various types of water features make the pool more of an “oasis” where you like to sit and spend time.


Practical considerations such as whether to use chlorine, salt or minerals to keep the water clean are also necessary, as well as cleaning equipment (ie. nets, robots, vacuums, covers etc). Where to locate your pool pump (ideally out of sight) is also something to consider in the early stages.


Pool Fencing

There are pretty clear rules when it comes to pools in New Zealand. By law, all pools must have a barrier to prevent unsupervised access to the immediate pool area by young children. The barrier must restrict access from the home, other people’s homes and other areas of the property. The pool barrier or fence must be at least 1.2m height above the ground. Any stairs, retaining wall or raised garden beds must be 1.2m from the barrier. The barrier must have no climbable features with gaps no larger than 100mm. Also no trees close to the barrier allowing a child to climb and access the pool. There are also some requirements around the pool gate. Within this pool area there is to be no play equipment, clothes lines, vegetable gardens, dog kennels or general storage areas.


Heating

If you’re happy with using your pool for two months out of the year, then a heater might not be for you. If you want to get as much time as possible out of your pool, however, a heater is a good investment.

With a pool heater, you can easily be swimming Nov through mid-April, giving you a good five months of use out of your pool. That’s literally double the amount of time you’d get without one.

If your pool is located in full, all-day sun, and you use a solar cover, your pool water will likely be quite comfortable for swimming during the summer months. If your pool is in a shady area, however, even hot summer days may not be enough to warm the water. In this case, a pool heater is a necessity — unless you enjoy cold water swimming.


Electric

While these pumps are expensive to run at first, once the water reaches your preferred temperature, they are quite efficient and fairly cheap to operate.

Solar

While they’re not cheap to buy, the operating costs of solar units are quite low. But, because they rely on the sun for heat, they won’t work well if you have a lot of cloudy days.


Whatever stage you are at, there’s no doubt a swimming pool is a major investment and there are a wide range of options available. The size and location of your property along with your budget will naturally determine the size and shape of your pool, but be sure to do your homework to ensure you get maximum use out of your pool and its surroundings.



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