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.