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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 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):
    • 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. 




    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.


    Nearly Invisible Outdoor Furniture: The Clear Choice For 2017

    Your choice of outdoor furniture can truly make or break your outdoor living and entertainment space. This is especially true if you have a beautiful pool area that you're looking to transform into a relaxing oasis. If you're in the process of shopping around for outdoor furniture for your pool area, you may want to consider looking into nearly invisible furniture, which is becoming an increasingly popular trend for outdoor entertainment.

    What is Nearly Invisible Outdoor Furniture?

    Specifically, this type of furniture incorporates a minimalist design that not only provides a cosy setting to relax, but allows you to maximise your view and enjoyment of any outdoor space. Nearly invisible outdoor furniture was created in response to some homeowners' demand for furniture options that are less distracting, thus allowing for a greater enjoyment of their landscape. Some common examples of nearly invisible furniture include stylish patio chairs with a see-through wire design and lightweight wire bistro sets.

    Photo Credit:

    Nearly Invisible Outdoor Furniture Benefits

    This new type of furniture design has become especially popular among pool owners, who want to be able to enjoy an uninterrupted view of their beautiful, glistening pools and surrounding landscapes. Furthermore, lightweight and "barely there" patio and deck furniture allows for less obstruction of natural features of the environment. No longer do you have to worry about large, bulky patio furniture blocking a gentle breeze as you relax poolside. Instead, you're able to enjoy the experience as nature intended.

    At the same time, nearly invisible patio and deck furniture can still be very comfortable. Mesh material and lightly padded seat backs create added comfort and provide needed lumbar support without detracting from the simplicity of your overall pool deck design. In addition, of course, since the furniture is lightweight and minimalist in its design, it's easy to move around or move out of the way completely when needed to create a truly open pool area.

    Photo Credit:

    Enhance Your Poolside Space

    As you can see, there are many reasons to consider incorporating this "barely there" outdoor furniture trend into your poolside space or even a traditional deck or patio. This innovative furniture, when combined with lovely landscaping and a beautiful pool design, create the ultimate backyard retreat that you and your loved ones will enjoy for many years to come.


    Incorporating Your Swimming Pool Into Your Existing Landscaping Design

    If you've made the decision to purchase a swimming pool, congratulations: you have many warm summer days of fun in the sun ahead of you. A swimming pool represents an excellent opportunity to not only increase the property value of your home, but also to make sure that you always have something fun and enjoyable to look forward to every time you come home from a hard day at school or at the office. When purchasing a swimming pool, however, there are a few key things that you have to keep in mind. Namely, you're going to want to make sure that you're incorporating your swimming pool into your existing landscaping design so that you don't undo all of the hard work that you've already completed in an attempt to create visual consistency for the outside of your home.

    Swimming Pools Harris
    Swimming Pools Harris

    Environmental Considerations

    One of the biggest considerations that you have to make when buying a new pool has to do with the specific environment that you're working with. Just because you've settled on a pool design that you're incredibly happy with doesn't necessarily mean that design will suit the current physical layout of your home. You may have to factor in earthworks, excavation and other processes in order to fit a round peg into a square hole, so to speak, which will only add to the amount of money that you can expect to pay.

    By approaching the purchase of a pool from a landscaping perspective, however, you're cutting this issue off at the pass. Albatross Pools can help in this regard, too - we offer prefabricated frames that are designed to make installation as quick and as easy as possible, with minimal mess guaranteed. All of our designs can be custom built to integrate flawlessly with your existing landscaping, whereas other options, such as a fibreglass pool, is unable to be customised.

    Visual Consistency

    If you think about the way that you approached the current landscaping design of your home, you probably did so with a particular theme in mind. You wanted people who visited to see your home and for that home to invoke a particular feeling for each new person who arrived. Every choice that you made - from pavers to flowers and everything in between - was influenced by that goal.

    Installing the wrong pool is a great way to undo all of that hard work in an instant. You may have a pool that you can enjoy, but you also have a giant eyesore in the middle of your yard at the same time. By choosing a pool design that is complementary to your existing landscaping work, you can make sure that the pool looks right at home in the yard that you've already worked so hard to build.

    If you're thinking about purchasing and installing a swimming pool to call your own and would like help making sure that it fits in with the current landscaping design that you're working with, please feel free to call Albatross Pools today. Not only will we help you incorporate that pool into your home so that everything works together as one cohesive whole, but we can also provide you unfettered access to our Award Winning pool display centres to help make sure that you're getting a pool that you and your family will be incredibly happy with for years to come.


    Inground Pools Designed to Make A Real Statement

    They really can create quite an impression. Inground pools can be bold in design, aesthetically pleasing and incredibly functional. Ultimately the swimming pool design you choose should be based on your needs and purpose. For instance, if you intend to use your new pool for lazing and leisure (with a little exercise thrown in for good measure!) a kidney shaped pool will probably be the best choice. If swimming laps and a dedicated exercise regime is more your thing, then a rectangular Olympic pool is our recommendation.

    Inground Pool Design
    Inground Pool Design

    There are so many exciting and dramatic design options for inground pools. Here are just a few that will get you thinking.

    L Shaped Pools: An L shaped pool consists of two rectangular pools, joined at a right angle. This allows for a clear definition of the deep and the shallow end of the pool.

    Kidney Shaped Pools: Kidney shaped inground pools are actually oval pools, but with an indented side. These pools are extremely popular with homeowners as they fit easily into nearly any backyard shape and make allowances for a fantastic entertainment space.

    Wading area pool: If you would like a pool with a casual entry area we recommend designing your pool with a very large wading area. This would offer you a shallow zone which is great for sunbathing and a safety zone for kids and the elderly where the water is naturally warmer. This option is a great alternative to those thinking of building a pool with a ‘beach entry’ which can be prone to algae due to poor water circulation. With our wading area design you can incorporate a large area for a comfort seat before stepping down into the main swimming area of the pool.

    Roman End Pools: these are classical pools with generous proportions. They usually have curved edges and one end of the pool typically has steps leading down into the pool.

    Olympic Pools: one of the more traditional style pools available, these are oversized pools in a typically rectangular shape. These pools are mainly for anyone that enjoys exercise or loves sport.

    Another factor to take into consideration when designing your inground pool is maintenance. When your pool is well maintained it can enhance the appearance of your home. However, if neglected, it could easily become a bit of any eyesore, as well as a place where bugs call home. When planning your pool, you’ll need to realize that you will need to keep up with the necessary maintenance. The other consideration is when installing your pool, size up the outdoor area. The kind of ingound pool that you install depends on how much space you have available and the dimensions of the space. Some inground pools require a lot, others not so much.

    If you’re looking to make a real statement with your inground pool, we can show you how to achieve it at Albatross Pools. Our pool display centres have some superb examples on show that will give you plenty of inspirational ideas. Just come in and have a look around and talk to our friendly staff and they’ll provide you with all the information you need on how to go about installing the perfect inground pool.


    A Small Pool Can Still Make An Impressive Statement

    It doesn’t have to be grand to impress. Sometimes pools of the large variety can visually overtake the surrounds. And then there’s the cost factor. If you think about it, and of course it depends on the space available, a courtyard pool can be just as impressive, even more so when you surround it with tasteful landscaping and special design features.

    Courtyard Pool
    Courtyard Pool

    Let’s face it; the outdoor garden space is becoming smaller, which means there’s less space to put in a conventional swimming pool. That’s why the team at Albatross Pools has created The Courtyard Series. With this pool series there’s a real emphasis on aesthetics, practicality and costs. The Courtyard Series can work as a beautiful, tranquil feature as well as a great centre point for entertainment. And cost? Well it can be reduced. The simple thing is that the courtyard pools are extremely easy to maintain and heat all year round, so naturally your costs come down.

    Now with an outdoor space, naturally everything varies. There’s also the functionality and the look of the pool to consider. Albatross Pools have that part of the equation totally covered. They have three unique pools that are specifically designed to work within the parameters of confined outdoor spaces. So they’ve cleverly designed The Petite, The Classic and The Grande, all made of pre-engineered steel. They’re rectangular in shape, range in size and feature a wrap-around purpose built comfort seat in the shallows. A range of seat designs are available along with a fantastic collection of colours. They also include some excellent options like CleanAssist, Ionic Fresh Water Purification, Swim Jets, heating systems and a whole lot more.

    Now with The Courtyard Series, there are some really special features. They all have energy efficient pool pumps that are complete with a water efficient cartridge filter. Your filtration costs can be reduced even further if you choose to upgrade your standard pool pump to an eight star energy efficient variable speed pump. Quiet operation enables off-peak filtration and the three speed setting delivers optimal flow rates for your pool.

    Due to the compact nature of The Courtyard Series, together with significant advancements in pool equipment, they require very little maintenance which gives you one less thing to worry about. However if you require a virtually free maintenance option, Albatross Pools have developed CleanAssist which have two dirt removing base drains together with a series of strategically placed jets designed to sweep the pool floor.

    Here’s a good idea. If you’re looking to improve your health and fitness, you could install a swim jet system. Quiet in operation, it delivers adjustable smooth water flow which allows you to set your own pace and swim great lengths. For effective efficient operation, a minimum pool length of 4.5m is ideal. And that’s The Classique and The Grande.

    Small pools can be a brilliant addition. If you want to know more of how perfect they can be for your home, speak to our friendly Albatross Pools team. We’ll give you the best advice in the business.


    Be in the Swim All Year Round With an Indoor Pool

    What a luxury this is. Being able to take the plunge any time, all year round. Just think. You can turn a ninety day swim season into a 365 day pool party. Any type of pool – concrete, fiberglass or pre-engineered can be constructed indoors and the installations can be as simple as a lap pool or something more elaborate. Some people like to add something more. Like changing rooms, showers, exercise facilities, steam rooms, saunas, wet bars and other amenities to their indoor pool installation to create a health spa atmosphere. When you look at it, the possibilities with an indoor pool are only limited by imagination and budget.

    Indoor Swimming Pool
    Indoor Swimming Pool

    The best time to plan for an indoor pool is during the design and construction of a new house. However with the right help, it is possible to seamlessly add an indoor pool to an existing home. Either way you need an expert to guide you through the whole process. The main difference between an outdoor and an indoor pool is the pool deck. An indoor pool is designed with a slope towards the pool to keep water away from walls.

    When it comes to indoor pool ventilation, it’s important to get it right. The humidity level should be maintained at 50 to 60 percent, either by exchanging humid air for fresh, drier air, or by installing a dehumidification system. Any system should be designed to make sure that air is not forced across the pool surface which can speed up evaporation. The air should be evenly distributed over the outside walls to prevent condensation. To reduce evaporation and improve better comfort, the air temperature inside the enclosure should be kept two to four degrees above the water pool temperature.

    As for the pool water, when using chlorination it can be very pronounced and tricky to get the right balance. A much easier solution is to use an ionic fresh water system.

    Windows, skylights and sliding doors are a brilliant way to create a feeling of openness. It’s a good idea to have skylights or high windows that open to let hot air escape. With lots of sliding glass doors you have the delightful opportunity to treat your indoor pool like an outdoor pool in summer. Another option is to contain your pool within a retractable pool enclosure. These telescopic ‘domes’ are built around your outdoor pool and can offer protection during inclement weather or be fully retracted to leave your pool open on warm days.

    At night you naturally need indoor lighting to provide sufficient and highly attractive illumination. The lighting should be subtle – just enough to create the perfect ambiance. And here’s a tip; avoid overhead lights. The bulbs are just too difficult to access when they need changing. Best to consider using fiber optic cable fixtures which use remote illuminators that are easily accessible.

    As with the construction of an outdoor inground pool, council fencing regulations must be adhered to when designing an indoor pool. This can create some unforeseen challenges due to the pool being contained as part of a structure. We recommend consulting your State regulatory body to clarify pool fencing regulations in your area as the issue may not be as straightforward as it seems.

    If you want to know more about the ins and outs of an indoor pool, come and talk to us Albatross Pools. We’ll show you the best way to go about installing one.


    The Courtyard Around Your Pool Should Be a Special Invitation

    It’s such a welcoming sign and makes a real statement the moment anyone walks into the space. It’s a garden living area that comes closest to being another outdoor room. An elegant space that can provide either a great entertainment area or a real sense of privacy.

    Pool Design Courtyard
    Pool Design Courtyard

    If you have an existing space, there’s a lot you can do to create a special atmospheric mood around your pool. So when you are planning to add a courtyard, think about how it is orientated to the sun and how you will enter and exit from the house and the garden. The more entries you have, the more likely you are to use the space.

    When you are working out the type of paving you need make sure no matter the material used, that it drains away from the house. Also consider ways to provide a partial canopy by extending the rafters of the roof over the new courtyard.

    If your home is already built, plan a courtyard when adding onto the house. This may not add as much to the project as you might think. For example when adding a study, an extra bedroom or even an attached garage, you can add the same structure 15 or 20 ft from the house.

    A defining characteristic of a courtyard is having the space feel as though it has four “solid” walls. A vine covered trellis or hedge may close in a small space without making it claustrophobic. If you’re looking to add an even greater sense of closure, an open roof or canopy would be ideal. Whatever structure you choose, definitely allow an abundance of light to enter the courtyard so it always creates that wonderful sense of welcoming.

    In regards to design, you definitely have control over scale. The total absence of a roof makes the space feel a lot bigger than it actually is. A grouping of tables and chairs on an open patio may certainly look cramped in a walled courtyard, so keep the space uncluttered and roomy. Scale also comes into play when selecting plants. In terms of design and horticulture, it works better to have fewer and larger pots than many little pots that can dry out quickly and blow away when ever there’s a strong breeze.

    The ideal picture for a courtyard is having a view into it, rather than out of it. When you design your courtyard, take a look at views from windows, including those overhead and doors that enter the courtyard. If you have an attractive view from the courtyard, a clever idea would be to consider cutting a window in a wall of the courtyard to frame it.

    If you need some real assistance in deciding how a courtyard will fit into your pool plans, come and talk to us at Albatross Pools. We can give you tips and all the advice you need. We even have a special range of Courtyard Pools for those confined spaces. You can choose from The Petite 4m x 2m, The Classique, 5m x 2.5m, or The Grande, 5.5m x 2.75m.


    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.


    Five Ways to Match the Pool to the Landscape Design

    You’re thinking about adding a pool to your property. Maybe you’ve already got a well designed backyard, maybe it’s mostly grass and maybe you’ve done a little gardening and DIY landscaping. If you haven’t already, now is the time to nail down your landscape design. Your pool needs to be a component of that design, so it’s important that you know how you want your outdoor living space to look and feel before you make major decisions about your pool’s size, shape and surrounds. Coordinating the pool design and the landscape design can make a huge difference in how the pool looks, how pleasant it is to use and how much it enhances the value of your home.

    Playboy Mansion Grotto
    Playboy Mansion Grotto

    1. The location of the pool

    Not everyone has the luxury of choosing between separate pool locations, but everyone needs to think about the pool’s size and general placement and how it will synch with the landscape design. Picture your landscape design as a whole. Where will the pool entry or entries be, and where are the important observation points? How will the pool location work with other landscape elements such as alfresco, gardens, cooking areas and garden furniture? How will the design affect circulation and activities when your family is outside? How will things work when you have guests or are throwing a party?

    2. The shape of the pool

    If you have a very natural-looking outdoor space with curved retaining walls and garden beds, then you might want a curvy, natural-looking pool. A plain pool in a round, oval or rectangular shape can be a calm and beautiful focus for a more structured, formal garden. On the other hand, if your property is dominated by hard landscaping—patio stones or pavement—then the pool will definitely be a formal design element. You’ll want to study various shapes in plan view and think hard about how they will look from different angles and vantage points. This kind of modern landscape design can be very striking and sculptural.

    3. The pool surrounds

    Have you thought about what to put around the edges of the pool? Most people like to have a hard surface surrounding at least part of the pool so that they can relax and lay out in the sun. A pool surrounded by greenery looks fantastic, but it can be a challenge to keep the pool clean if it’s adjacent to soil and plants. Think about your options: poured concrete, paving stones, tiles, a wooden deck… each one has its own character and its practical advantages and disadvantages. Which fits best with your overall plan for the area around the pool?

    4. The pool fencing

    You probably already know that in Victoria, pool fencing is required by law. About...Swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers, a Building Commission publication, can give you more details. There are rules about the height, design and access that need to be followed. On the other hand, there’s still room for creativity. The pool fencing can be made of anything from toughened glass to white picket fencing. Wrought iron is a popular choice, too. Many pool owners choose to construct a wall or use a high wooden fence where the edge of their property is near the edge of the pool. Walls, in particular, have a great deal of design potential; water features are easy to add on.

    5. The pool interior colour

    Deeper water is darker blue, and every pool interior will appear darker in a deeper pool. Light pool interior colours reflect more light and heat, making the pool cooler, while dark colours absorb it, making for a warmer pool. In general, the colour of the pool interior you should choose, like the shape of the pool, depends on your overall landscape design. A light pool interior will give your pool more of a cool, classical Mediterranean look. A darker interior is more modern looking. It will mask variations in the depth of the water and give the pool more visual punch.

    The shape, the location, the colour, the pool surrounds, the pool fencing… they all need to compliment the total outdoor space. Every pool needs the right kind of landscaping to help it blend into its surroundings and become a pleasing part of a cohesive design. Before finalising your plans for the pool, make sure that you know your landscape design.

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