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    Pool Trends 2015

    It’s pool time. It’s the moment when you’re weighing up your options on putting in the pool. What style? What look? What is functional? What’s different? Well, here are a few ideas that might help. They’re the real trends in pools this year.

    Burwood Pool Desgin
    Burwood Pool Desgin

    More Water Features

    Pool waterfalls and water fountains are turning up in modern pools with adjustable water flow and height settings. Popular requests include fountain bubblers, water sources and even grottos behind waterfalls.

    A water feature depends on your taste and pool size, but you’ll find something for everyone, from sheer waterfalls for entertainment to spraying jets for the kids. Many home owners also install fancy features with LED lighting to create that extra bit of magic and drama.

    Geometric Shapes and Water Features Overflow

    Geometric is making a big comeback and it’s due to the terrific features that a builder can add. Things like using lighting with water and using the extra space for custom built-ins, like shallow entries, waterfalls and sun-tanning ledges. The brilliant visual display of overflow water cascading over the ledges, waterfalls or fountains and underwater illumination can create a great visual picture. The thing about geometric inground pools is that they generally fit the traditional backyard space better than many of the more complicated designs.

    Wading Area Pool with Ledges

    Their popularity is growing. Wading area pools are where one or more of the pool’s sides are designed with shallow entry zones, allowing swimmers to enter the water slowly. They’re sometimes chosen by pool owners to accommodate the kids, the elderly or disabled. It’s also a great invitation for sun-seekers and provides an extremely pleasant lounge space on those hot summer days. Albatross Pools can design your wading area pool to optimise water circulation, thereby eliminating the build-up of algae. If you’re considering adding this to your pool design, you’ll definitely need extra space in the yard and budget to accommodate it.

    If you want to know more about what the latest trends in pool designs are this year, contact us at Albatross Pools because we’ve got our finger on the pulse.

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    Rounded or Rectangular: What Your Pool Says About You

    At Albatross, we can design and construct steel-framed, Aqualux-lined pools of pretty much any size or shape. To see examples of some of our most recent pool designs, go to our Online Gallery.

    You’ll probably notice that some of our pools are rectilinear and others are round, oval or curvy and complex. What’s the best way to choose a shape for your pool? Well, many people come to us already knowing what kind of pool shape they’re interested in. Sometimes logic dictates what will work best on your property and for your family, but the pool shape you choose also depends on your personality and creative vision.

    A Rectangular Pool

    A rectangular pool is the first thing that most people think of, and it makes sense. Property tends to be divided into roughly rectangular pieces and houses tend to be rectilinear, too. So, a rectangular pool probably fits neatly into your site plan. In addition, a rectangular pool is ideal for swimming laps. The distance from one end to the other is predictable, and it’s easy to reverse direction on a wall that’s perpendicular to the direction you’re swimming in. It’s more straightforward to install a pool fence in the same shape as the pool, too. It’s all very simple and well defined.

    Rectangle Swimming Pool Design

    Who chooses rectangular pools? A simple rectangle is popular with people who have a modern aesthetic, with a house that’s minimalist and urbane. It’s also popular with people who have a limited, rectangle-shaped space for their pool. Rectangles are the go-to pool shape for those who like a disciplined, well groomed garden and strictly defined spaces. It’s the default shape for most of us, but maybe it can be a little ‘square’.

    A Rounded Pool

    In nature, ponds tend to have curved edges, so a rounded pool looks more natural. It’s got a few other advantages, too. When a rounded pool is combined with a squared-off house and parcel of land, it creates nice spaces for pool furniture, shelters, decks, vegetation and features where the corners would be, if the pool were rectangular. The rounded shape creates a contrast with the surrounding buildings and infrastructure. It’s a softer, more creative look. If the pool is for relaxation more than for exercise, than a rounded shape probably does a better job of promoting that; it lends a relaxed, easygoing feeling to the landscape design.

    Kidney Shaped Pool Design

    Who chooses rounded pools? The people who prefer rounded pools tend to have given a lot of thought to the design of their outdoor space. Sometimes, they want the pool to have an organic feel that harmonises with their lush garden. Sometimes, they’ve got a complex, well-worked out plan in mind for the recreational area in back of the house, and a rounded pool is what works best to tie everything together. It’s a good pool shape for thoughtful, creative people.

    Why Not Combine the Two?

    There’s no reason not to combine the two pool shapes in the same landscaping plan. Perhaps your pool could have a shallow, rounded area for wading and small children and a deeper, rectilinear area for swimming laps. Alternatively, you could connect a round plunge pool or spa to your lap pool, or provide rounded sitting areas at the edges of a rectangular pool, like the pool we recently designed in Ringwood, shown here. Maybe you’re analytical, concerned with fitness, creative and interested in relaxation, all at once. This kind of plan can offer the best of all worlds.

    Whatever pool shape you prefer, Albatross Pools can help you bring it to life. Call us on 1300 136 316 or fill out our online inquiry form. We’d be happy to answer all of your questions.

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    Five Pool Entry Design Issues

    When you think about the design of your new pool, the first two issues that come to mind are the shape and the location. How big will the pool be and how will it be placed on your property? In some cases, you’ll have a fairly small space to work with and you’ll be balancing priorities. In other cases, it will simply be a matter of figuring what you want to do with the pool and how to best design it to meet your needs. While you’re considering different geometric options, you are also going to want to think about the pool entry. It has a huge impact on how the pool functions.

    1. Children

    When you have children in the house, then of course they’re an important consideration when you design your pool. The thing about kids is, they grow up fast! So, while they may be small now, you need to think about how they’re going to use the pool both next summer and for years to come. How can the pool entry best meet the kids’ changing needs?

    Kid Swimming
    Kid Swimming

    Consider designing a sizeable entry that will allow small children to stay in shallow water, and has a bench or steps that will let teenagers sit and talk. Adding an additional top step can make it easier for small children to get in and out of the pool. You may also want to consider sizing the pool for games children enjoy, like water volleyball.

    2. People with physical limitations

    If you’re young and injury-free, you may not think to consider whether or not your pool is easily accessible to older adults and people with disabilities. Don’t forget, there are plenty of people with limits on their mobility, and not all of them are in wheelchairs. Your parents, neighbours, friends and colleagues may have bad knees, hips or ankles, or issues with strength or balance. In addition, you never know when you or someone in your family might need to use the pool to help recover strength and flexibility after an injury.

    You’ll also want to think about how you’ll use the pool once the kids are gone. If you stay in your home for many decades, then at some time in the future you will start to feel the effects of ageing yourself. There are many, many people who can’t pull themselves up out of a pool unaided, and there are quite a few who’d struggle with a pool ladder, as well. So, it’s a good idea to have a set of steps leading into the pool, preferably with something to hold onto at one side.

    3. Pool use

    Swimming laps is a fantastic form of exercise, and it’s one that is equally accessible to older people, heavier people and people with joint issues. If your pool is going to do double duty as a lap pool, then you’ll want to have corresponding areas on both of the short sides of the pool where there are flat walls without benches or steps, so that a lap swimmer can flip smoothly to change direction.

    4. Cleanliness

    When you design the pool entry, don’t forget to think about how you’re going to keep it clean. A shallow area on one side can easily have poor water circulation and may attract algae and debris. Nooks and crannies, including spa jets, may need regular cleaning, as well. If your pool has complicated interior features, then give plenty of consideration to water circulation, and make sure that you understand the cleaning routine that will be required.

    5. Temperature

    Remember that shallow areas of the pool tend to get very warm in the summer. It’s a consideration when designing an extended entry suitable for little kids. Using a light-coloured pool liner can help to keep the pool cooler.

    These are just a few of the issues to think about. Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail Albatross Pools with your ideas and your questions. We’re always happy to help you work out the perfect pool design.

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    Trend: Chlorine-Free “Natural Pools”

    It’s hard to believe, but there are a few people out there who don’t like swimming pools. Sure, there are some who aren’t comfortable in the water and others who will always opt for the beach over a pool. However, the number one reason we hear is ‘I hate chlorine’.

    Waterfall
    Natural Pool

    Why the Chlorine Haters Have a Point

    There are good reasons why chlorine is used in pool cleaning systems and has been for many decades. It keeps the water free of dangerous bacteria and dramatically cuts the risk of sicknesses and infections being spread through pool water. It’s also true that the dose makes the poison. The higher the concentration of chlorine, the more likely the negative side effects are to occur.

    Nevertheless, some people are very sensitive to chlorine and almost everyone will experience some irritation and respiratory distress if it’s too concentrated. It can turn dyed-blond hair green and fade swimsuit fabric. It can exacerbate asthma and allergies. It has even been linked to more serious health problems. So, cutting down on chlorine is generally a good thing, if you can find something that does the same job with fewer potential side effects.

    What is a Natural Pool?

    That brings us to natural pools. There are several pool cleaning systems that can cut down on or eliminate the use of chlorine. Pools that use these alternative systems are often called ‘natural pools’, however, the Europeans have a much stricter definition for the term. They define a natural pool as one that doesn’t use any type of artificial cleaning system at all and instead relies completely on plant-based filtration. Whether or not they create true European-style natural pools, here are a few of the alternatives to conventional pool chemicals.

    Salt Water and Mineral Systems

    Salt water pools sound ideal, but the fact is that they do actually contain chlorine. They simply produce it through electrolysis, which causes a chemical reaction in salt. They’re relatively expensive to install but inexpensive to maintain, and they can keep a pool sanitary with a lower concentration of chlorine than would usually be necessary, so they are still a good way to reduce your exposure to the chemical. Building a salt water pool also means that you don’t have to handle or store concentrated chlorine. More recently, Mineral-type systems have been released into the market and are being heavily promoted to potential pool buyers. A Mineral system works very similarly to a Salt system but instead of adding salt to the pool to produce chlorine, a different type of mineral is added such as magnesium.

    Ozone Systems

    Ozone systems use electricity or ultraviolet light to create ozone from water. This is done in an ozone cell that’s separate from the pool, and the pool water is pumped through it. They can be energy intensive, but this method of ozone treatment is so safe that it is used in many modern drinking water treatment plants. However, these systems are energy intensive. The pool water needs to be continuously pumped through the ozone chamber. Ozone units are most practical for small pools and spas.

    Pool Ionisers

    Pool ionisers add copper and silver ions to the pool water through filtration and/or an electrical charge. They reduce the amount of bacteria in pools, and they greatly reduce the amount of chemical treatment needed to keep them clean and sanitary. Ionisers are inexpensive to use and maintain, as well, so they will pay for themselves through money saved on pool maintenance and pool chemicals. We offer Dontek Ionisers as part of the disinfecting system for our Fresh Water Swimming Pools. Our Fresh Water Swimming Pools work with an inline tablet feeder system which creates water that is noticeably softer and more natural-feeling than the water in conventionally disinfected pools.

    Plants in Your Pool

    By European standards, none of the pool cleaning systems mentioned so far make for a true natural pool; the only way to create a natural pool is to eliminate artificial cleaning systems altogether. How do you do that? You use plants for filtration. Most natural pools have two areas: a swimming area that can look just like a regular pool and a regeneration area with species of plants selected specifically to clean and renew the water. Often, decorative plants are added to improve the look of the pool. These pools can be truly stunning and are certainly at the cutting edge of sustainable pool design. Are they as safe as conventional pools? Only time will tell. Most people who want to create a European-style natural pool hire a qualified designer, and here at Albatross Pools, we’re always happy to work with your landscape and pool design consultants.

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    Water Features for Pools

    A pool is a substantial investment, and it should enhance your property not just functionally, but aesthetically. A well-chosen water feature can make the difference between a plain, utilitarian swimming pool and a pool that will make you feel as if you’re immersed in beauty and opulence. If you’re saving money by selecting a pre-engineered pool, then perhaps you can afford to invest some of the savings into making the pool truly spectacular.

    Here four ideas for water features and the approximate amount that each might add to the cost of your pool:

    1. A Water Curtain

    $1,500 to $3,000
    Add a water curtain, such as a cascade or silk flow waterfall from AstralPool, to your swimming pool. Not only do water curtains look lovely and add fun to your pool, they also help to lower the temperature of your entire yard through evaporative cooling. When water falls through the air, some of it evaporates and when water changes from a liquid to a gas, it absorbs heat. That’s why a water curtain is just as functional as it is beautiful.

    Also, exclusive to Albatross Pools is our Cascade Water Curtain as part of our Courtyard Series.

    2. Deck Jets

    $1,800 to $2,500 / set of four
    Deck jets are a fountain feature that shoots water from your deck or paving, through the air and into your pool. Like water curtains, deck jets cool the air around the pool and can add an extra element of fun to the set-up. Deck jets are a great feature, but they do need to be carefully maintained so that they don’t become clogged with dirt or leaves.

    3. A Feature Wall or Rockery Wall

    $1,000 and up
    In the context of pool landscaping, a feature wall is a wall beside the pool that’s enhanced with a decorative surface or texture and may also incorporate plants, flowers and water features. A feature wall can help with privacy and even provide security, but it also sets off the pool, visually. A feature wall can include a water curtain or waterfall. One of the most attractive types of feature wall is a rockery wall with water trickling into the pool, much like the type of small waterfall you might see on the side of a mountain. Rockery walls can be designed in many different ways, and they look fantastic when combined with lush foliage. Their only drawback is that they can wash dirt into the pool, so depending on how the feature is detailed, extra filtering may be needed.

    4. Statuary

    $200 and up
    Decorate your pool or the garden around your pool with statues. Choose ornate planters, human figures, animals or even modern sculptures. Bring a classical, creative or artistic look to your pool area. Be an art collector or have a little fun. Some statues are also fountains, and like other water features, they’ll help to cool the air.

    Water Features Pools - Dandenong Pool Centre

    This pool has a rockery wall, a water curtain and deck jets

    Water features can make a huge difference in how your pool is framed in relationship to your home and the landscape. Decks, patios, pavement and landscaping can complete the design. Call or e-mail us to discuss which options would work best with the space you have at hand. Working with water features and landscaping is one of the fun parts of our job at Albatross.

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    Small Pools for Entertaining

    As new communities become higher density and lot sizes shrink, we're seeing more demand for small pools. When we work with our clients to design a small pool, we talk to them about how they're going to use it. Will they use it mostly for exercise like water aerobics or lap swimming, or will it be used more often for family fun and for entertaining? Will the pool be used mostly by children, teenagers or adults? How will the pool fit in with the family's everyday life, and how often will it be used for weekend parties and get-togethers? Of course, it's also important to know the size and shape of the yard and the other purposes that it serves.

    Recently, we posted about small pools that will be used primarily for exercise. This week, we'll talk about small pools for entertaining guests and for family fun.

    Plunge Pools

    The term "plunge pool" originally referred to the deep pool that forms under a waterfall. Water plunges from a cliff for centuries and impacts the same spot over and over again. The soil or stone erodes, and the pool keeps getting deeper. The water may flow into a shallower river or lake, but there's a plunge pool underneath the foam and mist of the waterfall. What a beautiful image!

    Today, "plunge pool" is also a term we use in the pool industry to indicate a relatively small pool that's used mostly for cooling off. Sometimes, plunge pools are associated with saunas. They're something that you can jump into to cool down. They're generally from two to seven metres on each side, and they're smaller in plan than a standard pool. Plunge pools can be any depth, although they're sometimes defined as either deep or shallow. The depth really depends on the intended uses and on who will have access to the pool area.

    Wading Pools

    Wading pools are shallow pools that are tailored for young children. Of course, adults can use them to cool off, as well. We're sometimes asked to build a wading pool for the children and a deeper pool for the adults. In the future, when there are no small children to use it, the wading pool can be repurposed into a water feature. Separate wading pools are safer for children than pools that are shallower on one end, but of course they still need to be supervised.

    Wading Pools
    Source: Wikipedia Commons, Small pool with small Jacuzzi

    Large Spas

    A spa is a small pool designed for sitting. Spas are often equipped with air or water jets that give your back a refreshing massage while you soak. They can be independent, or they can be located on one side of a bigger pool. A large spa can double as a small plunge pool.

    Large Spas
    Source: Flickr, Large Spas

    Small pools are not only easier to fit into a small yard, they are also quicker and less expensive to heat and to clean. They have lower maintenance costs than larger pools. Our pre-engineered pools can be any size or depth, and we can equip them with jets, steps and other features. They are a good value both short and long-term, and they look good, too. Get in touch with us today and tell us about the kind of small pool you'd like to enjoy with your family and friends.

    Back to Small Pools for Exercise

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    Small Pools for Exercise

    In today's housing market, there is an increasing awareness of the value of higher urban density in creating liveable, walkable neighbourhoods. While living in less space per person can bring us closer together as communities, it does limit our options when it comes to the outdoor amenities we can build on our properties. At Albatross Pools, an increasing number of our customers are asking us to design pools for small yards that impose strict limitations on the size and shape of the pools. These constraints give us an opportunity to work with our clients to help them clarify their priorities. What we've found is that there are two very common reasons to build a pool: for exercise and for entertainment. Many families are interested in both, however, one is usually primary and the other secondary. In this post, we'll focus on pools for fitness, and in a later article, we'll talk more about small pools for entertaining and for pure family fun.

    Water Exercise

    A pool really is a fantastic place to exercise. Water exercise offers cardiovascular intensity combined with zero impact. Unlike running, water exercise is almost completely safe for hips and knees. Unlike biking, water exercise does not involve being unprotected in the midst of vehicular traffic. You can swim, water jog or do water aerobics all your life without worrying about wearing down your joints, getting run over by a hummer or otherwise damaging your body.

    Natacio
    Source: Wikipedia, Natacio

    When it comes to residential pools with limited space, there are three approaches to water exercise: a pool that's designed for lap swimming, a pool for swimming in place and a pool for standing exercise like water jogging or water aerobics. Of course, the same pool can be used for more than one type of activity.

    Lap Pools

    A small lap pool is by nature long and narrow, and it will generally be 1.5 metres to 2.0 metres in depth. Swimming back and fourth is a straightforward way to stay fit, and everyone who swims knows the drill: swim one way, flip against the far wall, swim the other way and repeat. On a small lot, a lap pool might span the length or the width of the back yard or even bisect it diagonally. It has the potential to help shape the geometry of an interesting overall landscape design.

    Lap Pools
    Source: Flickr, Lap Pools

    Modified Plunge Pools and Large Spas

    A plunge pool is a popular choice for families who have a limited amount of space to work with and who use their pools for entertaining guests. However, plunge pools tend to be small and deep, while water aerobics and water jogging are best done in pools where the water is shallow enough to stand. Swimming does not require deep water, either. That's why many people choose a small pool of a little less than 1.5 metres in depth for exercise. Jogging in place and water aerobics do not require a huge amount of width or length. These activities can be done in any pool with enough room to spread out the arms and move around a little. Swimming in place, whether its facilitated by swim jets or a swimming harness, requires a pool that's at least 4.5 metres in length and at least half that in width.

    A swimming harness is an arrangement of resistance bands and pads that will allow you to swim in a stationary position. The Stillswim system is an example of a swimming harness. Swim jets create an artificial current that can be adjusted to match your swimming speed, allowing you to swim in place. Davey Water Products makes swim jets that can be used with pre-engineered pools. Both of these methods can work well for a small pool, however, not everyone finds them comfortable or pleasant. Before installing a pool with the intention of using swim jets or a swimming harness, be sure to try using the method in advance to see if you like it.

    In summary, small pools that are going to used primarily for exercise, if water jogging or water aerobics are part of the plan, should have a depth that allows a person to stand upright. If the pool is only going to be used for swimming, then the depth is not as much of an issue.

    Of course, our customers usually like to use their pools for cooling off, too, and we can build them on almost any type of base, for example, with a variable depth or steps for sitting. At Albatross, we specialise in pre-engineered pools. Our pools can easily be built at any size, and we can build very affordable, very durable small pools for exercise.

    Go check Small Pools for Entertaining

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