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  • Third generation in the family business, Peita Otterbach brings 10 plus years of marketing experience to Albatross Pools with a proven track record aiding organisations in strengthening brand loyalty, creating product awareness and producing tangible results improving both bottomline and market share. Recently completing her MBA, Peita draws from her commercial experience across a number of industries and expertise in Digital Marketing and Strategy as she works with her father Michael Van Der Haar to expand and strengthen the distribution network of Albatross Pools throughout Australia and internationally. Peita also assists in the Pool Shops and Pool Display Centres having worked in both for some years during her studies.


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    Case Study: Highton ‘T’ Pool Project

    At Albatross Pools, our passion is to create custom designed pools to improve the lives of our clients in whatever way possible. Recently we completed a new design for a Geelong family living in a Highton estate in need of a special request. Their 38-year-old son lives with a disability often requiring professional help within the home, and they were searching for a space he could feel calm, independent and enjoy himself on their new property that was also safe to use. He is short in stature, so needed the pool to be designed with accessibility in mind for easier entry and exit, as well as providing him with the ability to stand at every point. Previously he had been using the public pool, but as he didn’t understand the importance of closing his mouth underwater, he would often swallow a dangerous amount of water, leading to him suffering from an array of unsettling illnesses like gastro. The clients having their own, well-maintained private pool with an alternative chlorination system would mean fewer chemicals present in the water, protecting their son if ingested, as well as being gentler on his skin.

    The property itself was newly built upon an elevated block. With some early preparation, we were able to create a smooth design for a swimming pool spanning 8 metres in length, 2 metres in width, with a helpful 1.2 metre staircase off each side to create a final ‘T’ shape design. The final depth was also measured to be 1.16 metres throughout the entire pool to ensure the ability to stand was never compromised and fulfilling the exact designs of our client’s dreams. 

    Breaking Down the Build

    The property itself was newly built upon an elevated block. With some early preparation, we were able to create a smooth design for a swimming pool spanning 8 metres in length, 2 metres in width, with a helpful 1.2 metre staircase off each side to create a final ‘T’ shape design. The final depth was also measured to be 1.16 metres throughout the entire pool to ensure the ability to stand was never compromised and fulfilling the exact designs of our client’s dreams. 

    Exploring the Finished Result

    The property itself was newly built upon an elevated block. With some early preparation, we were able to create a smooth design for a swimming pool spanning 8 metres in length, 2 metres in width, with a helpful 1.2 metre staircase off each side to create a final ‘T’ shape design. The final depth was also measured to be 1.16 metres throughout the entire pool to ensure the ability to stand was never compromised and fulfilling the exact designs of our client’s dreams. 

    Professionally Designed & Constructed Swimming Pools across Melbourne & Wider Victoria

    Albatross Pools is a SPASA Award winning pool designer and builder, working with a range of diverse clients on barrier-breaking, steel, pre-engineered inground swimming pools throughout Melbourne and wider Victoria. Delivered meeting your exact specifications and assembled onsite, it has never been simpler to receive rapid installation of such custom, quality models for any shape, size or depth. Learn more by browsing our swimming pools Melbourne gallery, or speak with one of our talented professionals by contacting Albatross Pools today!

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    7 Key Poolscaping Design Considerations

    Congratulations on choosing to build a swimming pool, it is one of the best decisions you could ever make for your family! Now doubt you have a vision in mind for your dream outdoor space. Perhaps you have chosen your pool paving tile but have you considered how the tile feels underfoot on a 40 degree day? 

    The level of enjoyment to be had in and around your new swimming pool will be influenced by the level of thought and consideration when planning the pool surrounds, also known as your poolscape. It's the small considerations that will make a big difference to how your family and friends enjoy your new pool. 

    #1 Where will the pool be located?

    • Get to know your property first and foremost! Easements, property overlays and regulations will impact where your pool can be located.  Visit Victorian DELWP https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/maps/maps-and-spatial-data for your free property report.
    • What is on the other side of your boundary fences? If you would like the pool’s edge to be closer than 1m to your boundary, it is important to understand what is built on the other side of your boundary.
    • Where will the afternoon sun shine in your backyard? The afternoon is often the time you will enjoy your pool, the sun is also at its strongest at this time. The afternoon sun in your eyes when sitting in or around the pool watching the kids in the afternoon will become very uncomfortable and you'll end up becoming burnt.

    #2 How will you entertain in and around the pool?

    • Giving thought to and planning the social spaces in and around your pool area will ensure you create a backyard to be enjoyed now and for many years to come.
    • The area surrounding the pool entry/steps should also be well considered – if you do not allow enough space, the most basic of needs (getting in and out of the pool) can become a challenge.
    • Would you like to have sun lounges or even a day bed alongside your pool? Or perhaps you would prefer a table and chairs for entertaining or to feed the kids when you can drag them out of the pool for a snack and to reapply sunscreen.
    • If you are limited by space, perhaps a bench seat with a couple of bright scatter cushions would work – doubles as storage which is always a bonus!

    #3 How to landscape around the pool with budget in mind?

    • Before the median block size in Melbourne fell to 450 squares in 2017 (Domain), it was general rule to allow a budget equivalent to 50% of the pool cost for the landscaping and fencing – this obviously depends on space and your taste.
    • Be thoughtful when planning hard spaces surrounding your pool. Fully tiled areas may be desired but if you are looking to reduce landscaping costs, perhaps a small amount of tiling combined with instant synthetic lawn may be the perfect compromise (from a cost and maintenance point of view).
    • If working to a limited landscaping budget, it is worth keeping in mind that most families usually use only two sides of a pool – perhaps focus your investment in hard surfaces on those two sides and just allow one row of tiling on the other two unused sides of the pool.

    #4 What do I need to consider when planning my pool fence?

    • To understand your new pool’s fencing requirements, head to the Victorian Building Authority’s website (VBA): https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/consumers/safety-guides/swimming-pools
    • To take your understanding one step further, an independent surveyor can conduct a pre-safety barrier inspection and either provide verbal advice or a written report specific to your backyard pool plans. Making sure your plans comply with safety barrier regulations can save you a great deal of time and money.
    • Pool safety barrier options are endless, be sure to consider all options! From compliant screens (to clad your boundary fence), framed to frameless glass fencing, standard tubular pool fences to vertical uprights – there is an option (or even a combination of options) to suit your desired style and budget.
    • If you browse popular landscape architect designs you will notice many often incorporate both glass and tubular (or uprights) pool fences and not just glass on its own. Glass pool fencing can act as a sound barrier, by incorporating tubular fencing sound will travel and you will be able to listen to the fun being had in and around the pool. Pool safety and ventilation is also a driver of this landscape architecture principle.

    #5 What about my pool equipment and even the pool cover and roller?

    • Your pool equipment usually occupies a minimum area of 1.5m in length and 1.0m in width - this area will increase with the addition gas or electric heating (both have required clearance zones) and infloor cleaning.
    • To ensure you receive optimum filtration, it is best to locate the pool equipment within 8m of your pool edge. Any greater, you will need to increase the equipment sizes (increase in budget).
    • The pool equipment needs to be easily accessible (for convenience and practicality reasons) and try to avoid locating it alongside a social space or outside a bedroom window. Hayward equipment is the quietest on the market but there is still a constant hum.
    • Reduce evaporation and maintain your pool temperature with the addition of a pool blanket. Consider how you will store your blanket – if it is on a roller, where will this roller be located? Perhaps you could conceal it in a timber bench seat or you may choose to invest in an underground pool blanket box (featured below in the Brighton East Pool Project).

    #6 Choosing the colour pallet for my outdoor space?

    • When you browse pool inspiration photos you will notice most outdoor colour schemes are either neutrals (cream based tones as featured in the Yarraville Pool Project below) or greys. When selecting your pool colour, pool paving tiles, pool fence, screens and pool furniture be sure to check the colours and textures you have chosen complement each other and work with the tones of your home.
    • Avoid the ouch! factor and ask your pool paving supplier to see pool tile options which repel the sun’s heat. Porcelain, travertine and limestone tile options are the coolest under foot but may be out of your budget – if so, consider sticking with pool pavers light in colour.
    • Handy tip: painting a paling boundary fence? Always stick to dark greys, your fence will look smaller and the emphasis then focuses on what is in front of your fence – garden and your new pool!

    #7 How to style you pool and outdoor space on a budget?

    • It is important to invest in the main hard surfaces of your outdoor space - stick with neutrals or greys and this then forms the foundation of your outdoor style.
    • Although the hard surfaces may be bland, add colour, pattern and impact with:
      • a cluster of outdoor pots and statement plants (be sure to steer clear of spikey plants in and around the pool area! pool friendly and child friendly plants are the way to go!)
      • a few scatter cushions on outdoor furniture or bench seats – oversized outdoor cushions are a great option for primary school and teenaged kids
      • an outdoor matt is an effective way of layering in an outdoor space
      • what about a simple tray and bright drinkware on your outdoor entertaining table
        Even if your budget is limited, the above outdoor styling options can be added gradually or updated from time to time without costing a fortune.

    Our Pool Designers will draw on their wealth of experience in the pool industry to offer sound advice and planning for not only your swimming pool, but also the landscape surrounding it. Your Pool Designer is always abreast of current pool landscaping designs and trends, ensuring your finished pool will look stunning on the day of completion and long into the future.

    Although Albatross Pools do not handle your pool landscaping directly, we are more than happy to refer our clients to our personal landscape designer, Anthony Scott Landscaping Design. Anthony has been in the business for over 20 years and worked closely with us on The Home Team Project. His standards mirror our own at Albatross Pools, and he can create packages to suit all budgets if you are after a complete backyard poolscape concept plan. 

     

     

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    Do I really need a pool cover?

    One of the most common questions we receive from clients during the pool design and pool quotation stage is, ‘…do I really need a pool cover?’ and it's often accompanied by an odd facial expression. If you want to extend your swim season, reduce pool heating and chemical costs, and prevent water evaporation, then the answer is an absolute yes!

    The number one reason why people don’t like the idea of a pool cover (and make that facial expression) is purely due to aesthetics. Yes, a pool cover may detract from the visual you are trying to create. But, wouldn’t you prefer a pool (when combined with a heating system) that provides six, nine or twelve-months’ worth of family fitness and entertainment? Compared to your new pool simply becoming a very large water feature you cannot enjoy.

    Let's face it, we live in Victoria and are not blessed with balmy pool weather year round. Taking an holistic and considered approach to pool heating during the pool design stage of your project is essential if you would like to get the most enjoyment out of your new pool.

    Comparing Pool Cover Options

    With an industry wide focus on climate care solutions, you are now spoilt for choice when it comes to pool cover options. The Pool Cover Option Comparison Table below is a snapshot of a selection of pool cover products available in the marketplace today (June 2020), including an approximate budget you should allow when planning your pool project. The estimates are based on a rectangular pool design measuring 6.0m x 3.0m. 

    Pool Cover ProductBudgetReduces EvaporationRetains HeatAerates WaterPrevents Pet & Child AccessLockable/ AutomationWarranty 
    ABGAL Triple Cell Solar Pool Cover 610 Micron$570-$670Tick
    By 99%
    Tick Up to 8 Degrees Heat GainNoNoNo12 Years pro-rata
    Sunline AquaVent Pool Blanket $700-$800Tick
    By 97%
    TickTickNoNo12 Years pro-rata
    ABGAL Thermal Heatshield Pool Cover$750-$950Tick
    By 95%
    Tick Plus cuts Heat Loss by 75%NoNoNo8 Years pro-rata against UV degradation and 12 months against delamination
    ABGAL Oasis Solar Pool Cover 500 Micron$520-$620Tick
    By 99.84%
    Tick Up to 8 Degrees Heat GainNoNoNo8 Years pro-rata
    ABGAL Pooltex Leafstop Pool Cover$950-$1,050Tick
    By up to 70%
    No, does block sunlight to prevent algae growth.TickPets Only.No8 Years pro-rata
    Remco PoolGuard Pool Cover$3,500-$4,000TickTickTickTick Can withstand a load up to 100KGLockable - Yes
    Automated - No
    5 Years
    Remco Coverstar Pool CoverAbove Pool: $12,000-$15,000
    Integrated: $22,000-$30,000
    TickTickTickTick Can withstand a load up to 400KGTick5 Years
    Remco Swimroll Pool CoverAbove Pool: $12,000-$15,000
    Integrated: $22,000-$30,000
    TickTickNoTick Can withstand a load up to 70KGTick5 Years

    Table Notes:

    • All pool cover options require a compliant safety barrier to surround the pool zone. Although lockable, pet and child proof, the Remco Pool Cover Options do still require a compliant safety barrier. 
    • The prices listed above are inclusive of GST, representative of June 2020 pricing and are intended as a guide only. Due to delivery and installation, the price provided by your pool builder may be higher. 

    Top 2 Pool Covers

    To get the most enjoyment from your soon-to-be-built swimming pool without breaking the budget, our top 2 pool cover options for 2020: 

    Best Pool Cover Option Under $1,000

    For storage, consider an ABGAL Endurance Pool Cover Roller (when purchased with a ABGAL Pool Cover, receive a free Pool Cover and Roller Protector) or if budget allows, an Underground Pool Blanket Box may be the better space saving solution (for a 6.0m x 3.0m pool allow approximately $4,200 supply only of the blanket box). 

    Best Pet & Child Proof Pool Cover Option Under $4,000


     

    Can I add a pool cover later?

    Yes of course, your pool cover options may however become limited and if you have not planned for a pool cover (particularly its storage), a pool cover may become difficult and cumbersome to incorporate into your pool zone after it is complete. Some clients choose to see how they use the pool in the first 12 months before deciding on whether or not it is worth investing in a pool cover - this is also a great idea however, always remember to plan for this addition during your pool project planning stage. 

    If you are in the midst of pool planning and have not spoken to an Albatross Pools Designer or received an obligation free swimming pool quote, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you - let's discuss your pool project today!

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    Pool Builder Checklist

    Don't Build a Swimming Pool Until You’ve Asked These 10 Questions!

    So after many months of research and deliberation you’ve decided to invest in a swimming pool. You will have your own reasons for the purchase, whether a large pool for years of fun-filled summer days with the family and a lifetime of memories, a smaller plunge pool with swim jets for fitness, or to add a focal point to your backyard landscaping. Whatever your reasons an in-ground pool is a huge purchase for many homeowners, so of course you want to make sure you end up with the pool that's right for your needs. After all, unlike many other purchases, a swimming pool cannot be simply "returned" or exchanged if you're unhappy with the result. This is why it's so important to take your time shopping around for a new pool and carefully weighing your options before you decide to take the plunge!

    Pool Builder Checklist - Image 2

    If you are on the cusp of deciding on which pool builder to go with but can’t quite decide, here are ten key questions you should ask of any prospective pool builder before you consider hiring them for the job.

    1. How Long Have You Been in Business?

    Start by finding out about the pool builder's experience; ask how long they've been in business under their current name. Unfortunately, some less-than-reputable companies out there will simply change names if and when they run into financial trouble or receive bad feedback from customers. Therefore, the longer the pool builder has been in business, the better. It’s also imperative that they are a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria (SPASA) as this shows a commitment to upholding the values and code of ethics imposed on members.

    Also, make sure that the company you hire for your pool building job is one that does the work themselves rather than contracting out other workers.

    2. Can I Speak With Past Customers?

    Don’t be afraid to ask the pool builder for references. Also ask how many pools they have completed over the life of their business, how many pools have they completed this past year and of those recent ones, how many would be happy to give references? Reputable builders will be proud to give you details of past customers. Speak to them about their experiences and the quality of workmanship. If you get the chance to speak with references, be sure to ask the following:

    - Was it a pleasant experience working with the builder?
    - What pool option and accessories did you opt for?
    - Did the builder have the experience to overcome unforeseen problems?
    - Would you do anything differently?
    - Would you use the pool builder again?

    3. What's Included and What Costs Extra?

    Any reputable company should come out to your home and perform an obligation free site inspection before giving you any kind of quote for your project. Be wary of any pool builder that refuses a site inspection as it is an integral part of formulating a quote. Being on site allows a representative to measure your proposed area and advise on placement, levels and effective methods of installation. Any potential problems that may arise during the inspection should be handled by the representative via phone calls to experts such as senior installers, engineers, or construction managers. The site inspection is also an ideal time for the representative to meet the client and their family. A pool will be an extension of the family, a place where many hours are spent together, therefore it is imperative that the pool meets the needs of the family in terms of current and future needs, pool design and pool use. Some pool companies attempt to save money and time by skipping the physical site inspection, favouring instead to create quotes utilising technology such as Google Earth. How can you be offered a transparent and honest quote for a pool that meets the needs of your family or the uniqueness of your property if a representative never sets foot on your land?

    Soil tests are usually only conducted if there are concerns about your land, but are a requirement for certain pools due to the nature of their construction. There are other specific costs that need to be included in any pool quote though, items such as ‘overburden’ that covers all earthworks costs in relation to the pool, ‘boxing’, where one end of the pool is above natural ground level and may require timber boxing for the installation of the concrete, obstructions such as gas and electricity lines, sewer and storm water pipes, rock removal, cave-ins and tipping fees. Site access can have a bearing on cost. Inaccessible backyards or awkward access can add time and money to the excavation and building process as concrete trucks and cranes need specific access.

    4. What's Your Proposed Timeline?

    Many traditional pools can take some time to build, but you should always have a general idea of the construction timeline for your pool. Before you sign any kind of contract, then, make sure you've received a proposed timeline for your project and that it works with your schedule. While it is rare that a company can guarantee your pool will be done by a certain date (especially with unpredictable weather), you should have a general idea of when each stage of the project will be done. Quality pool builders are in high demand, and coupled with unforeseen delays in gaining permit approvals and the completion of progress payments may be the only speed humps to what should be a smooth process.

    5. How Can I Customise My Pool?

    Your pool is a major purchase that you'll be living with for many years to come, so make sure it's exactly what you want it to be by customising it where possible. Take some time to inquire with a potential pool builder about the types of customisation options available. For example, you might want to consider a custom lighting package to transform your pool at night, or you may want to explore unique shapes and sizes for your new pool that include safety steps or wading areas for little ones. Just make sure that your builder is confident in completing whatever it is you have in mind before moving forward.

    6. Where Will The Pool Be Located?

    Having a pool builder show up and start digging a hole without forward planning will only end in tears. Solid planning with regards to pool location is paramount. During the site inspection and planning stage, a quality pool builder should make you aware of the best location for your pool, taking into account local council laws, existing utility pipes and cabling, water run-off, and how much yard can be covered with pool and decking. Your builder should also advise you on pool orientation based on sun and wind exposure and the ease of access for swimmers. A pool will also need to look aesthetically pleasing, which leads us to...

    7. What About Landscaping?

    If you want a monstrosity that you draw the blinds to avoid seeing, any pool builder should do. But if you want a pool that is the star of your backyard then you want to select a pool builder with experience. Most pool owners will spend more time admiring their new pool from afar, as opposed to swimming in it, so it needs to be an enjoyable feature all year round. Allow your pool to be an extension of your indoor style so it flows naturally out into the yard. Landscaping should integrate the pool into your current design so it appears to have been there forever. If you wish to break your pool area and landscaping away from the home’s design, consider having a changing landscape that leads gradually into the new. Ask your pool builder if they do landscaping or can at least provide the names of reputable landscapers they are happy to work with.

    8. What Pool Design?

    Rectangular and square will be the limited choice from most pool builders, but others will offer fluid pool designs in almost any shape that will ensure you find the perfect one. Again, you should select something that complements the design elements and architecture of your home. If your home already contains lots of edges, such as eaves and straight pathways, you should stick with a straight edged pool. If your home and garden contains curves, a kidney shaped or round pool may suit best.

    9. What About Maintenance?

    Nobody likes doing maintenance, regardless of it being a pool or not. No pool is completely maintenance free, but thankfully technology has eased the burden. A choice of multi-speed pumps, in floor pool cleaning systems, Ionisers for water purification, and automatic sanitisers will all make your life easier. Speak to your builder about the options you have for automated maintenance. Some pool interiors also have inherent maintenance benefits, such as an Aqualux interior that is resistant to algae.

    10. What’s My Warranty?

    Warranties vary between the types of pool chosen. You need to clarify in writing with the builder the terms of your warranty. Ensure you ask:

    - What specific items does the pool builder’s warranty cover?
    - What is the duration of the warranty?
    - What is the process for making a warranty claim?

    Some pools, such as fibreglass ones, don’t react well to being drained. This can lead to damage and the costs associated with replacing the water and making garden repairs if works need to be conducted.

    Fibreglass pools often come with a ‘split responsibility’ guarantee that are a confusing mix of responsibilities between manufacturer and client, client and installer, or manufacturer and pool installer. Concrete pools are commonly backed by a 6 year 9 month structural warranty with an interior warranty that varies between types; 2 year for tiled and 5-7 years for rendered. Pre-engineered pools are often backed by lengthy 10 year structural warranties and 10 year pool interior warranties.

    At Albatross Pools, we offer no-obligation quotes and have two convenient SPASA award-winning pool display centres where you can experience the Albatross difference for yourself, so be sure to contact us before you make your final decision. Our unique Aqualux PVC membrane pools are a wonderful solution for many homeowners, and we have many years of experience in handling pool construction projects of varying scopes.

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    Do you have a green pool?

    The fastest and most effective way to fix your green is to boost chlorine levels through a shock treatment and add an algaecide.

    You have an algae bloom in your pool and unfortunately that is why it may be a nice shade of green at the moment instead crystal-clear blue. With 30 million spores of algae in a shot glass, it is important to kill the algae and prevent it from returning as quickly as possible…a slightly green pool can become a very green pool before your eyes.

    First things first, the BioGuard Colour Test!

    My pool is slightly green

    If your pool is light green (or even teal in colour), you have a small algae bloom and a standard shock dose will be required.

    My pool is very green

    If your pool is dark green, you have a medium algae bloom and will require a double shock dose.

    How to fix a green pool in 5 easy steps

    Step 1. Remove organic waste - empty all baskets, scoop your pool and vacuum (to waste) any debris remaining (this is what algae feeds on!). The more waste in your pool, the less effective your chlorine shock will be.

    Step 2. Test and balance your pool - your chlorine shock will be more effective if your total alkalinity and pH is balanced. 

    Step 3. Boost your chlorine – add via the skimmer a standard shock dose of a 600gm bag of BioGuard Burnout Extreme (to treat a 50,000 litre pool with a sand filter). If a double dose is required (remember the BioGuard Colour Test), then two bags will be needed.

    Step 4. Add an Algaecide – for a standard shock dose, shake, premix and add a 1L of BioGuard Algi Destroyer (to treat a 50,000 litre pool).  If a double dose is required (remember the BioGuard Colour Test), then two litres will be needed.

    Step 5. Remove the dead algae – don’t be surprised if you now have cloudy water. When algae dies it becomes somewhat of a grey colour and if you have enough dead algae in the pool, your pool water will go cloudy. Vacuum to waste if you have a sediment on the pool floor. If not, add BioGuard’s Pool Tonic with a BioGuard Super Clear Clarifying Tab to treat a 50,000 litre pool. Not only will Pool Tonic remove the dead algae, it will also remove at least 10 other unwanted contaminants resulting in stress free crystal clear water. 

    Get ready for an arm workout – to improve chemical efficiency of your products, remember to regularly brush your pool during the treatment (walls and floors - you should not have your automatic cleaner in the pool during a treatment).

    Depending on the state of your filtration equipment and the length of time you have had a green pool, an additional treatment may be needed. If you do not see a change in the appearance of your water during the treatment, be sure to contact your Pool Store within 24 hours. 

    Fix a green pool without costing a fortune

    Our Green Pool Kit has everything you could need to boost your chlorine, kill the algae bloom and remove the algae food from your pool water. Our team at Dandenong and Warrandyte Pool Stores will customise the How to Guide to suit your pool size and algae colour (including application and ideal filtration times). Buy a Green Pool Kit today!

    Do you have a green pool? Fix your green pool with a Green Pool Kit! 
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    Top 3 Pool Buying Tips in the midst of COVID-19

    What does life look like on the other side of COVID-19? It is a hard one to answer as the virus is still on our doorstep with no expiry in sight. One thing is for certain, life will be different. There has and probably will be continued heartache as the world battles something it cannot see and does not understand. In the midst of COVID-19, is there a silver lining?

    Personally, this pandemic has forced my family to refocus on what is important and everything else (that consumed us previously) has simply become irrelevant. Our health and spending quality time with our kids is our focus. With a winter escape to Bali or Queensland off the cards for the foreseeable, investing in our home and a life at home is back on the agenda.

    We don’t have a pool, we do however, have a grand plan for our dream backyard. With the pool front and center, we were going to update everything from the back door to the back fence and were planning to do it all at once in a couple of years. Not anymore. Keeping our boys busy year-round, being able to continue swimming lessons and looking after our health and wellbeing is now the priority. Our grand plan isn’t off the cards, we will just go about achieving it differently.

    Perhaps you too are in a similar position? Consider exploring finance options and staging your project so you too can enjoy a new pool sooner rather than later. Don’t forget to consider alternate heating solutions other than solar - a life at home needs a pool you can enjoy and keep the kids busy year-round!

    Tip 1. Consider finance solutions for your dream outdoor space

    By now, you may have an idea of how much a pool costs. The next consideration is how to finance a pool.

    Some dip into savings whilst the majority choose to extend their mortgage. If you are the majority, STOP and take a moment to compare your mortgage with the Outdoor Finance Calculator. The refinancing process through AB Phillips could free up enough money to fund your new pool project without the need of increasing your monthly mortgage repayments.

    Tip 2. Tackle your grand plan in stages and consider alternatives

    You can still have your grand plan but consider how to achieve the dream in stages. By staging your project, you could afford to install your swimming pool sooner rather than later and make the most of the restrictions we now find ourselves. Choosing alternative surrounds is also a great way to achieve the look whilst saving money!

    Stage 1. Install your swimming pool

    • Lighting, provision for pool heating (and if you choose gas, running of the gas line), water leveler, spa jets and infloor cleaning (if you are wanting this option - keep in mind there are much cost effective alternatives) must be installed at the point of pool construction. Everything else can be added once budget allows.
    • There are plenty of different poolside paving options on the market ranging from man-made products to natural stone. Whilst some of the more conventional paving options can sometimes be expensive, it pays to consider other options like OFF-FORM concrete. This type of finish can give you a high-end look without the high-end price tag.
    • If you choose to stage your project, consider basic safety barrier fencing instead of other options.

    Stage 2. Structures & Remaining Hard Surfaces

    Stage 3. Planting & Dressing

    Find yourself without a grand plan but like the idea and want to understand how you could then stage your total project? Seeking the advice of a landscape architect such as Anthony from Anthony Scott Landscape Design would be a great place to start.

    Tip 3. Swim year round with a total pool heating solution

    Let’s face it, we live in Melbourne and are not gifted with the consistent warm weather of the Gold Coast. We do however have extreme waves of heat and without easy access to kilometres of stunning beaches, a pool in the backyard is the next best thing!

    The restrictions we find ourselves in highlight the need to be able to swim and enjoy a pool year-round. Most people think solar but unless we have 3-4 days of consistent weather above 25 degrees (and a pool cover is on at night to prevent heat loss), the pool will simply not be warm enough to swim. By far the cheapest to run (averaging $200-$300 per year), solar does however provide the least amount of swim time. There are alternatives worth considering, if your dream pool was 40,000L for example:

    Swim year round with a combined system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System and a Gas Heating System (250 or 400MJ Unit)
    • 100% Solar System and an Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 21kW Unit*)

    Swim nine months of the year with reduced combined system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System and an Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 17kW Unit*)
    •  An Inverter Heat Pump System (minimum 17kw Unit*)

    Swim six months of the year with a singular system, choose from:

    • 100% Solar System
    • An Inverter Heat Pump (minimum 13kW Unit*)

    If you are looking at a combined system, an additional controller is worth investing in which will then communicate between the two systems to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.

    Take the September school holidays of 2019 for example: pool owners with solar only were not entertaining the kids in the pool – the pool water was simply too cold. Pool owners with a gas heater on the other hand were entertaining the kids and their friends for the entire two weeks – they had complete control of their pool water temperature. Food for thought

    Looking to invest in a life at home?

    We are here to help! To slow the spread of the virus and to protect our team and more importantly you, everyone across the business including our construction crew follow good hygiene principles and practice social distancing. We’d welcome the opportunity to work with you on your dream pool and would encourage you to still contact us during the period of COVID-19.

    We have a number of contact-free options to choose from:

    • Speak to a member of our team 7 days a week on 1300 136 316
    • Submit an online pool enquiry and your local Albatross Pools Designer will contact you directly
    • With the assistance of Google Earth and any plans you may have (or sketches), our Pool Designers can provide an indicative pool quotation subject to an obligation free site inspection.
    • With direct access to your outdoor space (without the need to enter your home), our Pool Designer can visit your property to conduct a site inspection. You can then speak via mobile with the Pool Designer while you remain inside your residence. This option is subject to Government advice.
    • When you choose to buy an Albatross Pool, a Digital SPASA Contract is available.
    • If you are concerned of your circumstances changing in the near future due to the impacts of COVID-19, we do have an option available known as a Preliminary Works Agreement. This would allow us to proceed with a soil test and a pool permit application on your behalf. Once the permit is issued, the Contract is then entered into for the original value less the amount paid for the Preliminary Works Agreement. If your circumstances do change, your only financial obligation is the cost of the Preliminary Works Agreement.    

    *Confirm the appropriate heat pump size for your pool with your pool builder.

    Take care during these challenging times we find ourselves in. Remember to focus on what is important. If that happens to be spending time at home with your family and investing in a life at home, we are here to help!

     

     

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    a message to our customers

    We will keep this short and try to be somewhat upbeat as we collectively experience very challenging and uncertain times. 

    As the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 continue to evolve, the well-being of the Albatross family - that's you, our customers, families looking to invest in a swimming pool and of course our team are our priority.

    Based on Government recommendations, our business will continue to remain open and trade as normal (until otherwise advised). A number of hygiene practices have been introduced across every location to ensure we can continue to provide services to our local community in a clean and safe environment. 

    If you are not in isolation and not exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms, we look forward to seeing you in store! We have however moved to our Winter roster and we appreciate your patience if you find yourself waiting to be served by our team.

    We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and continued business. Like many small family businesses (and even big businesses) our team rely on the continued support of the local community, particularly during challenging times.

    Being a pretend coffee drinker, I like to grab the occasional 'iced-coffee' on my way to work after dropping off the kids in the morning at day care. To my surprise, the barista thanked me for my business this morning...he was genuine and reminded me how important it is to still engage and support local business (as long as we are safe to do so).

    On a lighter note, a big thanks to our new Albatross Pool owners who have remained optimistic and shared pictures of their recently finished backyards to let us know where they will be (i.e. Poolside) if and when they are required to self-isolate 🙂 

    We will continue to communicate if our services change in any way across our locations over the coming months.

    Kindest regards,

    Peita Otterbach, Albatross Pools

     

     

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    Dirty Rain Pool Treatment

    If your pool looks anything like our display pools today, simply hitting the pool hard with chlorine and a clarifier will not do the trick! And your robotic pool cleaner certainly won't help either. Trust us, we tried doing this back in 2017 when we had a similar thing happen and we ended up battling cloudy and even green pools for the remainder of the season.

    In our experience, the quickest and most cost effective way to treat your pool is to use a flocculating product such as BioGuard Power Floc Maxi.

    How to treat my dirty rain-filled pool?

    Preparation is key

    • Clean out your skimmer basket and pump basket (if needed).
    • Scoop all debris from the pool (if you can’t see the bottom of the pool, scoop carefully as objects may have washed into the pool water). The water has probably brought in leaves and other debris from the surrounding areas. They will add large amounts of organic matter to the water, which will consume chlorine and could lead to an algae bloom. The sooner debris is removed from the pool; the sooner clean-up can begin.
    • Remove robotic/automatic pool cleaner from the pool and remove pool cover completely. 
    • Hose the dirty residue (from the rain) from the pool surrounds. If you receive more rain (hopefully it is clean), this rain may wash the dirty residue into the pool (you’d hate for this to happen after the pool has returned back to normal).
    • Turn off your Heating System. 
    • If you cannot see the bottom of the shallow end of your pool, the dust/dirt from the rain will not filter out. Chlorine, clarrifiers and the robotic pool cleaner will not be effective. In our experience, the most timely and cost effective approach is to use a flocculating product, vacuum the sediment and rebalance as soon as possible.

    Let's floc the dust away!

    Download our printer friendly version HERE.

    Step 1.

    • Sand Filter:
      • Turn your filter to Recirculate and turn the system on.
    • Cartridge Filter:
      • Remove the cartridge element from the Cartridge Filter and turn the system on.

    Step 2.

    • Start by testing your pH - if it is 7.6ppm or above, proceed to the next step. 
    • If the pH is 7.5ppm or lower, the following treatment is more effective with a high pH and we therefore recommend adding BioGuard Balance Pak 200 to the pool and filter for 2 hours.

    Step 3.

    • Pour 1L of BioGuard Power Floc Maxi (per 50,000L) into the skimmer (or pool) and leave the system on for 2 hours. 
    • After 2 hours, turn all equipment off for 12-24 hours or until you can see the floor of the pool (it could take up to 48 hours).
    • Please keep in mind the product works from the pool floor upwards - it will become brown milky water before it improves.
    • If BioGuard Power Floc Maxi is not available: BioGuard Polysheen Plus can be used in its place (using the same dosage listed above) however instead of running the system for 2 hours, 30 minutes is sufficient.

    Note: Unplug the power cord for your pool pump from your controller. The system must remain off and cannot turn on automatically during the treatment.

    Step 4.

    • Do not add the robotic pool cleaner into the pool. A robotic pool cleaner (or a suction cleaner) will simply undo the flocculating process and will only return the water back to its orignal dirty state.
    • To manually vacuum a pool (sand filter: to waste) you will need a telescopic pole, a vacuum head, a manual vacuum hose and a vacuum plate.
    • Sand Filter:
      • Vac-to-waste the dirt formed at the base of the pool.
      • This is vacuuming as normal however, instead of your sand filter turned to Filter, turn it to Waste.
    • Cartridge Filter:
      • Place your cartrdige element (ensure it is clean beforehand) back into you Cartridge Filter. 
      • Place a Skimmer Sock in the skimmer basket (which will collect as much sediment as possible), vac as normal, remove Skimmer Sock after vacuuming pool (clean as required) and hose cartridge element thoroughly (you may like to chemically clean depending on the state of the Cartridge filter).

    Step 5.

    • Top up water level and filter for four hours before a water sample is taken. Visit your local Albatross Pool Shop to test and rebalance the pool water. 
    • Rebalancing is crucial as your pool water is now very prone to an algae bloom, especially with the weather we are experiencing.

    Download our printer friendly version HERE.

    We are here to help!

    Open 7 days a week (except for public holidays), our team will be able to walk you through this process and answer any questions you may have. Pool Shop contact details.

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    What To Plant Around A Swimming Pool

    Now that your sparkling new swimming pool is fully installed, your next priority is a natural one: swimming pool landscaping. You definitely want to make an effort to help your pool blend into its surroundings, allowing it to become a pivotal part of a much larger whole. A lot of success in this area will come down to what you choose to plant around your swimming pool. You'll want plants that will thrive and maybe even offer you some shade on those hot summer days of the year, while also being low maintenance. When it comes to this particular goal, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

    Planting Around a Swimming Pool: Tips and Tricks

    The team at Albatross Pools are experts at designing & building  innovative swimming pools. We are not landscape designers. That being said, our founder way back in 1969 was a keen gardener, and his backyard show garden was impressive enough to have featured on Burke’s Backyard. Since then we have garnered a wealth of experience when it comes to plant knowledge and often offer our experience in guiding clients in the right direction. Our two pool display centres (which happen to be Australia’s oldest) are fully landscaped, and we have learnt from experience what works, and doesn’t work, with regards to pool landscaping over the years.

    Our preferred landscape designer, Anthony Scott from Anthony Scott Landscape Design, offers this advice:

    "Creating the perfect poolscape is all about finding the balance between functional space, the right furniture and of course plant life."

    Pool Friendly Plants

    According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association, a plant must have a few key characteristics if it can be officially classified as "pool friendly." They should be able to thrive in an environment where wind and salt exposure are expected, for example. They should also be capable of thriving in either a semi-shaded area or a full sun area, the specifics of which will obviously vary depending on your environment.

    They should also be highly tolerant to exposure to chlorine and other pool chemicals, which is particularly common in the area immediately surrounding your pool. Because of this, options like pineapple sage, peach leaved bellflower, swamp daisy and Ajuga are the way to go.

    Shrubs can also make a great addition to your swimming pool landscaping, with options like Siberian Iris, Mexican Orange Blossom and Mexican Mock Orange being popular selections all across the country.

    These are certainly not your only options, however. A few of the other types of plants that you can include in your swimming pool landscaping include but are not limited to ones like:

    • Bull Banksia
    • Blueberry Ash
    • Native Fuchsia
    • Holly Leaved Grevillea
    • Waxflower
    • Australe Storksbill
    • Himalayan Dogwood
    • Prostrate Grevillea

    Native Plants Pool-friendly

    Pool friendly plants share common characteristics such as low maintenance, little or no pruning, and high drought tolerance. If you have a salt chlorinated pool they need to be salt tolerant in case of water splashing. Depending on the location of the pool, you plant choice may be dictated by the environment in terms of privacy, wind factor, or ground coverage.

    Senecio Serpens - Blue Chalk Sticks

    For screening: If privacy is a concern, consider the following to create a natural, low maintenance screen that will mature over the years. Laurus nobilus-Bay Laurel, Olea Europa- Olive tree and Banksia marginata- Coastal Banksia.

    For mid-level planting: Consider Gardenia species, Westringea fruiticosa-Coastal rosemary, Rosemarinus officianalis-Rosemary, Cycas revoluta-Cycad and Philodendron 'Xanadu'.

    For ground cover: Consider Trachylospermum asiaticum-Star jasmine, Ophiopogon japonicus-Mondo grass, Dichondra 'Silver Falls'-Silver dichondra, Senecio serpens-Blue chalk sticks and Nepeta species-Catmint.

     

    Plants to avoid around your swimming pool

    No matter whether it is a plunge pool or a lap pool, an Albatross swimming pool requires little maintenance. Unless you require maintenance in your life, it is recommended you avoid plants that shed regularly. Deciduous plants are still okay, as they only require one large clean up session per year, whereas evergreens will require year round maintenance. The key to planting success is to select plants that don’t require regular pruning, or those that don’t shed berries or needles. You'll also want to avoid anything that will drop leaf litter onto your pool or the surrounding area, meaning that anything that hangs overhead just won't do.

    Along the same lines, there are a number of plants that you'll want to avoid as they have a potential to damage your pool surrounds via their root systems. Bamboo is one of these species, according to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association. Umbrella trees and rubber trees should also be on your "under no circumstances" list, as they very commonly cause problems with pools in particular due to things like underground plumbing and paving.

    Your new Albatross swimming pool should be an inviting, family friendly environment; therefore it is unwise to plant anything spiky. These plants are often spiky as a natural defense meaning you will need to keep your distance. Pool users won’t appreciate dodging spikes on their way to the water and likewise it will make pool maintenance that much harder for yourself.

    The function of the pool will dictate what can and can’t be planted with a view to maintenance and user friendliness. The above list of plants is a comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive, list of plants that experience has shown us are good or bad options to use in your pool landscaping. Consultation with a professional pool designer or landscaper will ensure the creation of an accurate planting design suitable for your individual pool project.

    If you're looking for the best pool builders in Melbourne, you've come to the right place. Contact Albatross Pools today for more information about swimming pool installation, swimming pool landscaping and so much more.

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    How to choose a pool colour?

    With so many pool colours to choose from, selecting the perfect pool colour for your backyard can be a tricky process. Clients often begin by asking to see the most popular pool colours when visiting our swimming pool display centres.  Yet, like most trends, what is popular today may not be popular tomorrow.  For this reason we encourage our clients to consider a number of important factors when choosing a pool colour.

    Look and Feel

    Before you begin to think about pool colour, first consider the look and feel you would like to create in your backyard. Are you after a tropical oasis, a Tuscan haven, a natural lagoon, or a modern chic outdoor space?  Be sure to consider the style and exterior tones of your home.  The theme of your backyard will begin to guide you towards a colour palette to work from.

    The Pool Colour

    Depending on the size of your swimming pool, your backyard design may feature your swimming pool as the centerpiece in its design.  Like any centerpiece, it should compliment the desired look and feel whilst adding the ‘wow’ factor to the overall design.

    Factors to be considered when choosing a pool colour include your backyard theme, pool surrounds, water reflection and water temperature, just to name a few.  To ensure the process of choosing a pool colour is as simple yet enjoyable as possible, I’d encourage you to use the table below as a reference point when selecting the right pool colour for your swimming pool.

    FactorLight Pool ColoursDark Pool Colours
    Pool ColoursPacific Light Blue Maldive Mosaic Reef Pebble Mediterranean MarbleAntique Bahama
    Caribbean Casablanca
    Costa Rica Dark Blue
    Pool SurroundsThe tone of your pool surrounds should be in contrast to your pool colour. If you choose a light pool colour, consider  darker pool surrounds including:

    • Dark Wooden Decking
    • Bluestone
    • Dark Granite
    • Sandstone with red, brown and orange earth tones
    • Travertine with chocolate and caramel tones
    • Dark Limestone
    • Dark Slate
    • Dark Bric
    The tone of your pool surrounds should be in contrast to your pool colour. If you choose a dark pool colour, consider  lighter pool surrounds including:

    • Light Wooden Decking
    • Light Granite
    • Natural or Ivory Sandstone
    • Travertine with cream and beige tones
    • Light Limestone
    • Light Slate
    • Light Brick
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Pool Reflection

    A lighter pool colour will draw your eye to the bottom of the swimming pool and you may be more inclined to notice settled debris.A darker pool colour will reflect the pool surrounds and create a mirror-like effect. You will be less likely to notice any settle debris at the bottom of the swimming pool.
    Pool Water TemperatureA lighter pool colour will reflect the sunrays and cooler pool water may result.  There is also a high potential for glare.A darker pool colour will attract and absorb the sunrays. A darker pool colour may increase your pool water temperature by 2 to 3 degrees.

    Impact of Water & Natural Light

    When people renovate or build, it is common to collect samples (bench top, splash back tile, paint swatch, cabinetry colour, etc) to see if the combination works well and creates the desired look and feel. In the case of a pool and it's surrounds, it is important to consider the impact of water and natural light (bright Summer's day vs. dull Winter's day) - samples can take on a completely different look and feel.

    Antique Pool Colour
    Antique in an Albatross Display Pool with a Pool Water Feature

    Helpful Pool Design Tip

    Take your favourite pool coping tile sample to your pool builder's display centre and place it alongside a pool with your chosen pool colour featured. This is the best way to get a feel for how your dream pool space will look!

    Pool Colour Samples taken inside under artificial light
    Pool Colour Samples in an Albatross Display Pool (water movement and natural light)

    Safety

    Don’t forget to consider how slippery your pool surrounds may become when wet. Perhaps consider a textured pool surround. And finally, we have found that dark pool surrounds can attract heat and retain heat in the surface, which may become uncomfortable to walk on during a hot summer’s day.

    We find by keeping a few simple factors in mind when choosing your pool colour, you will be able to achieve the desired look and feel in your backyard in little to no time at all! Your pool builder might help you to make the right decision. To see the pool colours available with Albatross Pools, simply visit one of our swimming pool display centres open seven days a week year round.

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    Dandenong VIC 3175, Australia

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    Sunday: 10am to 4pm

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    Closed Public Holidays

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    226 Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road
    Warrandyte VIC 3133, Australia

    Monday – Saturday: 9am to 5pm
    Sunday: 10am to 4pm

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