COST: Usually the first major consideration when planning to build your home swimming pool is cost. Pools can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $100,000 and above. You can buy an above-ground pool very cheaply and they come in kit form that you can assemble yourself to really save some money on the budget. If you live on a slope and have the space you may well be able to build an above ground pool and merge it into some decking so it looks like it’s an in-ground pool. As soon as you go to in-ground options the prices get a lot higher. In-ground swimming pools require a lot of engineering work and more expensive materials and the larger the pool gets the greater the disparity in pricing. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of decking when budgeting for your new pool!
SIZE AND SHAPE: What is your pool going to be used for? If you are just planning on swimming laps you’ll probably want a lap pool (anything over 10m in length is recommended). If you have kids that will want to splash around you will need to go for something a bit wider – a keyhole shape or an elliptical pool. Most above ground pools come in set designs but in-ground concrete pools can be moulded to any shape you like.
LOCATION: If your pool is going to be outside you’ll want to position it where it gets plenty of sunlight to help warm it during the day. Adding a shade-sail is a nice touch and will provide a place to cool off in the midday sun. You will also want to place the pool somewhere that has good visibility from the rest of the house – if there is an accident you will need to be able to respond very quickly and you should never leave children un-supervised in a swimming pool.
DEPTH: If you have very small children you might want to go for a design that ramps down from a zero depth to allow them to splash around in safety at one end of the pool. If you are a keen diver and want to add a diving board to your swimming pool you should aim to have a depth of at least 3 meters. The deepest part of the pool should be in the middle of the pool if it is to be used for diving as this is where you’ll land when coming off the diving board! If you are going to teach swimming or have private swimming lessons you will probably want to be able to stand up comfortably anywhere in the pool.
PRIVACY: If your property is over-looked by your neighbours you will want to consider screening trees or fencing options. Take a walk around your proposed site and try to imagine what will be visible and where you will need screening.
ACCESS: How are you going to access your new pool? You may need to add pathways, decking, doorways etc. Be sure to include all of these in your budgeting.
SAFETY: Most cities now have stringent laws requiring high fencing and self-locking gates. Many options are available from glass pool fencing to metal fencing. Requirements vary so be sure to check with your local council. Make sure there are no climbable objects overhanging your pool fence. Backyard drownings account for an horrific number of child deaths each year so it’s incredibly important you adhere to the guidelines.
HEATING: You can heat your pool using solar heating, gas heating or electric heating. The ideal temperature is 25 degrees Celsius. A great cost-saver is a solar/thermal blanket which will help keep your pool warm over night. The choice of heating system will vary depending on budget and where you live. Solar is a great choice as it has no on-going costs.
SALT/CHLORINE: Salt water pools are by far the best option as they contain no chemicals (other than salt!), they don’t sting your eyes and they’re very safe for small children. Chlorine pools cost a bit less to setup and maintain but can irritate the skin and is dangerous to inhale.
STORAGE: You’ll want to allocate an area for storage of towels, toys, pool tools (cleaning equipment, nets for leaves etc) and a blanket for your pool. Be sure to factor this in to the design of the area around your pool (and make sure it doesn’t constitute a climbable access point!).