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    Night Swimming

    Prepare your pool area to be able to entertain at night

    There’s nothing quite like a backyard poolscape beautifully lit at night. It can be dramatic, exotic and quite seductive. Once the lights are perfectly positioned and switched on, all of a sudden you got a brilliant entertaining space that everyone is going to thoroughly enjoy. If you are planning on building a swimming pool in Melbourne, there are key lighting points to consider.

    Getting the lighting right from the outset is the key. The best way to start is with your pathway to the pool. Instead of illuminating every step of the way, provide subtle areas of light, illuminating it in pockets. If you want to make the pathway lighting seem more natural, paths should be softly illuminated from above. The lighting should be placed where the viewer can see the effect of lighting, but not the source. Small low-voltage spotlights, hanging fixtures, or directional baffles can direct the light exactly where it is required.

    If your poolscape is multi level, steps are another consideration. Before you install the lighting, it’s important to get it right. Wide steps will not benefit from niche lighting or path lights along the side. The best way to illuminate stairs is once again, from above. For instance, low voltage light roping can be recessed into the underside of hand rails or the overhang of a stair tread. A soft, subtle glow across the staircase provides a warm welcome for guests, instead of a glaring spotlight in their eyes.

    Niddrie Pool Profile
    Niddrie Pool Profile

    Now with the pool, the type of lighting used inside is mostly affected by the colour of the interior finish material. A lighter pool interior will reflect light, while a darker pool interior will absorb it. So how do we go about sorting out what works best? To create a scene with even illumination, multiple lighting fixtures must be employed within a pool. To avoid a truck headlamp effect, the lighting should be directed away from the primary vantage point.

    One way to create an amazing trick effect is to keep the pool completely dark at night. This creates a reflective surface, which will mirror the surroundings on the surface of the water. You then have key elements of the landscape properly lit near the pool. Their reflection will be cast upon the pool’s surface. It’s a great effect and can be done with buildings, trees, statues and art sculptures.

    Now let’s talk practicalities. Being outdoors at night you need lighting for entertaining and cooking. For instance, you can light up the whole backyard with sodium floodlight for lawn games or huge parties. When the action is happening around the barbecue as it often does, a narrow spotlight ensures that what’s on the hot plate is cooked to perfection and not to a crisp.

    Getting the right lighting in the right position around the pool area is paramount in making sure your entertaining area works a treat. If you want to know how to make it all happen, talk to us at Albatross Pools. Our team has plenty of imaginative ideas that will really light up your pool and bring your whole entertainment area to life.

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    Pool Houses

    From a basic pergola to a fully equipped pool house with kitchen and enclosure

    It feels like summer because all of a sudden the heat is on. You take the pool plunge, do a few laps and cool down. Or, it’s party time and everything is in full swing. You look around and realize you don’t have enough protection or amenities around the pool to make it the perfect place to be.

    This is where a pergola or a fully equipped pool house, will solve all your problems. Instantly you’ve got shade happening. You’ve got the barbie sizzling. The bar is crowded and the music is cranked up. Something smells great from the kitchen. Now you’ve got not just a pool, but a real entertainment venue.

    To make it all happen, here are a few tips. If you’re designing a pool house, pay close attention to the building codes. Make sure that it’s the prescribed distance away from the pool. And with the look of your pool house, it’s a good idea to aesthetically follow your home’s architecture. Don’t design it so it looks totally out of place. Give it style, lines and proportions that have some synergy with those of the main house.

    Swimming Pool House
    Swimming Pool House

    If you’re looking at a pergola, make sure that if it is in the ‘pool zone’ (inside the pool fenced area), there can be no doors on the pergola due to fencing regulations. Essentially the pergola will need to have four posts and a roof and that’s it. With your pool house, keep your options open; plan for both open air and indoor shelter. Wide overhangs allow you and the rest of your party to enjoy fresh air while staying out of the sun, and if rain intervenes, you’ve got an enclosed interior space.

    Speaking of which, the inside of your pool house should be well fitted out so guests don’t have to keep traipsing back and forward through your house. Stock it with a mini fridge, snacks, dishware and extra towels. Also if your budget allows, add a small bathroom area with toilet, sink and shower so guests can rinse off as they get out of the water.

    In the pool house, it’s a good idea to build ample storage because pool gear can be an unsightly mess. Layer in shelving, cabinets and benches to keep your pool house free of clutter and allow plenty of space for entertaining. Fit out your pool house with comfortable seating, cocktail and coffee tables. If you’ve got a bar, all the merrier and don’t forget the electronics. There’s nothing quite like a great sound system, plasma TV, dimmer controlled lighting and Wi-Fi to make parties in your pool house something to remember.

    So now you’re thinking, how do I make all this come together? Well, you can come and see us at Albatross Pools and talk to our team. We’ve got some really great ideas on how a pergola or a pool house can totally transform your pool area.

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    Take A Dip In The History Of Residential Pools

    The origins

    If you were to dive into the history of residential swimming pools, you would surely have to surface at their origins. Swimming pools are by no means a modern invention. Sure, we have added the modern conveniences of automated cleaning systems, pool covers and hi-tech filtration systems, but we didn’t invent the concept. That distinction goes to the peoples of Mohenjo-Daro, a settlement in what would be modern-day Pakistan. Their ‘Great Bath’ was constructed around 5000 years ago from tightly packed bricks, covered in gypsum plaster and sealed with a rudimentary tar. This twelve by seven metre pool is widely acknowledged as being the genesis of swimming pools but most archaeologists admit that it was probably used more for religious reasons, water being a symbol of purification and well-being, than for recreational swimming.

    For recreational purposes we have to leap forward to the time of the Greeks and Romans. As in today’s society, wealth brought with it innovation and a quest for a more luxurious lifestyle. Alongside the magnificent, opulent dwellings that were constructed in this time period, water features were omnipresent. Water played an important role in Roman culture and pools of all dimensions and depths were constructed around settlements. Water was seen as a place to bathe, socialize and conduct religious ceremonies. The Romans utilized the natural beauty of water to enhance their own personal properties by integrating them into the landscaping, much in the same way that we do today.

    The Greeks built palaestras, or gymnasiums, where they would emphasise the use of physical sports such as wrestling to promote well-being and for military training. Early swimming pools have been located adjacent to such buildings. The Greek philosopher, Plato, has been credited with enforcing swimming lessons on children as part of their learning studies as early as 400BC. But it was Roman wealth and the desire to exceed one another on the social scale that led to many modern innovations. The Romans were the first to construct mammoth open-air pools, such as the 900,000 square foot behemoth they construct in AD305. It was adorned with ornate marble pillars and statues and came complete with fires in the basement below to heat the water. That wasn’t the first heated pool mind you, that was credited to the wealthy Roman Lord Gaius Maecenas in the first century BC, a patron of the arts whose name is still used in many languages to express patronage. Many wealthy lords and Emperors had recreational pools that contained live fish. In fact one of the Latin words for ‘pool’ is ‘piscina’, meaning ‘fish’. As a side note, we at Albatross Pools do not recommend sharing your swimming pool with your favourite goldfish as we are sure it will void the filter warranty!

    The modern pool

    Here in Australia, water, and water-based activities are part of the very fabric of society. Since the status symbol of having a swimming pool at home flashed across the silver screen in Hollywood films such as ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’, many householders realised it was an achievable dream. Unforeseen circumstances led to a take-up of people building pools in their own backyards. Prior to the 60’s and 70’s, most Australians were content to swim at local waterholes, ocean baths or rivers. Water contamination, whether through sewage outlets at popular spots such as Bondi and Coogee, or river and waterhole contamination as a consequence of wheat farmers using superphosphates in rural areas, led people to develop a need for controlled water quality.

    Residential Swimming Pool
    Residential Swimming Pool

    Today Australia leads the way as a swimming pool builder, with 1.2 million private swimming pools in existence and an average of 30,000 new ones being constructed annually. That’s roughly one in four households owning a residential pool and the industry contributes 1.5 billion dollars annually to the economy. The USA as a comparison has a population of 270 million people and builds an average of 90,000 pools per year. As a great example of the cross-Tasman rivalry, New Zealand has laid claim to the highest per capita swimming pool ownership in the past with an astounding 200,000 pools with a population of 4 million!

    Although some complain about the complexities of owning a pool, there can be no denying their popularity. Most real estate agencies agree that a quality swimming pool will add ten per cent to the value of a house, and that with many houses taking on quasi-resort style landscaping, a swimming pool is a must-have focal point. Designs have swayed from the old-style kidney and lagoon shaped pools to modern, rectangular and geometric designs reminiscent of the Roman days. A case of history repeating.

    If you wish to pursue your dream residential swimming pool, why not contact Albatross pools today? We are happy to offer a free consultation or just swap ideas with regards to your pool project. With cutting edge design and manufacturing, landscaping ideas and automated filtration and cleaning systems, you can be diving into your own piece of family history before long.

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