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    There are so many creative possibilities when designing a pool

    Before you jump in to purchase a new inground pool, it’s a good idea to give some serious thought about its design. There are also key factors to consider that will do more than just contribute to the pool’s look. If the design is properly planned and laid out it will maximize your investment and overall enjoyment of the pool.

    Pool Design
    Pool Design

    In the early stages of the purchase process, you should give great consideration to the design and shape. An important thing to consider when designing an inground pool or considering its shape is defining who will be using the pool and what will it be used for. It could be just for family use or for family entertainment. The answer will help determine the pool’s design and shape. Should it be freeform, geometric or a hybrid of the two? It’s very important to determine the pool’s primary users and uses. Will it be mostly for entertaining, sport, lounging around, playing poolside sports, or a combination of all? Could it be for exercise, casual diving and lap swimming? Whoever uses the pool should play a major role in deciding the pool’s size and shape.

    The dynamics of your yard play a major factor in your pool’s shape and design. Rectangular pools sometimes do not work well in small, tight or oddly shaped yards. On the other hand, freeform pools with no true geometric lines can work brilliantly. Take a long hard look at what your yard will dictate and that will give you a real idea of the size, shape, look and feel your pool should have. Other factors that may influence the design could be the actual space where the pool will be and its proximity to your house. Another thing to consider is, does the nature of your yard pose any building challenges for a specific pool design? (i.e. Easements, building envelopes, etc.)

    A lot of people favour the freeform shaped pool because of its visual appeal. Freeform pools many times start as a rectangular box pool. However as you start to take a closer look at radius and shape, the square footage is reduced as is the swimming pool. With freeforms, you have to compensate by making the overall size larger. This is to achieve the inherent square footage that you normally get with a geometric shape. A very important factor is to consider how much effective swimming and usage area will be available based upon the shape.

    When designing your pool, decide upon the specialty features and options that you want to build into the structure of the pool as this will significantly influence the shape, size and look. Can you picture a rock waterfall, an attached or detached spa, or a sun deck? For instance, a pool with a very large sun deck will either add to the overall size of the pool, or take away from it. Again, it’s vitally important in the design phase to include all the options you want to build into the pool.

    The creative possibilities in designing a pool are endless. At Albatross Pools, our team can show you how to create the perfect pool. Whether it’s for relaxation, entertainment or pure fun, come and talk to us. We’re only too happy to help.

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    How My Dream Pool Becomes a Reality

    You take one look out the back window of your home and there it is. A blank backyard. It’s hot and bound to get even hotter as summer rolls on. The kids are trying to cool down by simply spraying each other with a hose. Its kind of fun, but it won’t last long. That blank backyard is a blank canvas, crying out for something to happen.

    Landscaping springs to mind. What about a pergola at least to get some shade, or maybe an outdoor barbecue setup for some entertaining? But what would make everyone really happy is undoubtedly a pool.

    Pool Construction Reality
    Pool Construction Reality

    So plans are put in motion. The backyard is measured and the discussion begins on what size and shape pool would best suit and what is the cost involved. Naturally a good place to start is to get an idea of how it might come together and do some research by jumping on-line and selecting some gallery pictures. Then it’s family and friends for discussion time. How did they go about creating their pools, who did they contact, how long did it take from start to finish, what were the pitfalls, and ultimately what was the cost?

    So begins the sometimes-laborious task of contacting pool building companies for their input of quoting. At this point in time, it would be an excellent idea to be able visit a display centre to get a close up view of pools in settings, and to speak to someone with real experience on everything that’s involved in creating the perfect pool and surrounds. Unfortunately there aren’t too many display centres about anymore.

    Moving on in the process, there’s the site inspection. The pool builder visits the property and suggests sizes and shapes and takes you through all the options. It’s always a good idea to have some idea of what type of pool you’re after; otherwise you may become confused in the process with so many ideas thrown at you. Then there’s pricing which will certainly bring you down to earth rather quickly. You then compare quotes and size up the reputation of the builders, but wait a minute, there’s also the rest of the outdoor space to take into consideration: The landscaping and design of other structures to compliment the pool for one. Then it’s back to family and friends for further discussion and their thoughts. It can be quite a challenging and frustrating process to go through.

    Thankfully there is an easier way to go about it all. Simply come down to Albatross Pools. Our display centres have terrific examples of contemporary pools in settings that will help bring some of your pool ideas to fruition. Our experienced team can show you designs of all shapes and sizes, that will give you some great ideas about what style of pool would be perfect for your place. They will take you through detailed costings so you really know what you’re in for. They’ll even show how cost savings can be made. Plus, they can help you with inspiring landscaping ideas and tips that will bring your whole pool and entertainment area to life.

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    Safety Ledges / Safety Rails? Yes and No.

    Have you heard about ‘safety ledges’ or ‘safety rails’? They’re being marketed by some of our friends in the fibreglass pool business as a feature. If you’ve been over at their websites reading up on your options, then you might have run across articles and even videos extolling the virtues of safety ledges.

    They say, ‘It’s great for small children’, ‘It provides a safe place to stand at the side of the pool as they learn to swim’. Well, perhaps, but let’s get the whole story out there. Safety ledges aren’t a feature; they’re a structural necessity for fibreglass pools, and they definitely have their disadvantages.

    Small Fibreglass Pool
    Small Fibreglass Pool

    Clever Marketing Alert!

    Have you ever heard the expression, ‘It’s not a bug, it’s a feature’? That well known saying must have been in the mind of whoever came up with the ‘safety ledge’ idea. Because fibreglass pools are relatively weak and brittle, they require ridges along the edges in order to hold their shape and prevent damage in the course of normal use. Those ridges are simply an unavoidable consequence of building a large pool out of fibreglass. In fact, even small, fibreglass kiddy pools are often built with reinforcing ridges. Fibreglass pools are cheap for a reason. They are not as stable and durable as steel and concrete pools.

    Are Safety Rails Useful?

    So, does the ‘safety ledge’ marketing have any merit? Are these structural ledges, rebranded as safety ledges, actually good for safety? Well, it’s true that small children can use them to rest, standing, at the edge of the deep areas of the pool. Adults and older kids may also be able to use them as an aid to pulling themselves up onto the side of the pool. However, keep in mind that in most cases, the position of a fibreglass pool’s safety rail is fairly near the surface of the water.

    Fibreglass Pool With Safety Ledge
    Fibreglass Pool With Safety Ledge

    Disadvantages of Safety Ledges

    There are several reasons why you might want to opt out of the safety ledge idea. Children don’t stay small forever, and they are not usually convenient for taller people to stand on. They get in the way of lap swimming, making flips a little hazardous - you can slip or stub your toe on them. In fact, they tend to become slippery; algae often collects on them. That makes the lap swimming flip and the pull-up to the poolside a bit hazardous. The little people walking along the ledge can slip on the algae, too.

    Still Want a Safety Rail?

    Safety rails have their uses, and if you like the idea of having one, but would prefer the quality and durability of a steel-framed pool, then we can certainly build one in for you. With a steel pool, you are free to focus on safety and convenience when designing the safety rail. For example, we’d recommend that you place it around a metre below the surface rather than closer to the top of the water, as in fibreglass pools, and make it approximately 100mm wide. That way, it’s useful for taller people to stand on, it’s not in the way of lap swimming, and it’s much less likely to collect algae.

    So, in conclusion, the ideal safety ledge is not the one that’s a structural necessity in fibreglass pools; it’s lower and wider. The safety rail marketing that you might have seen isn’t exactly a horrible lie, but it is a bit disingenuous in some cases. It’s a classic attempt to turn a disadvantage into a perceived advantage. However, we can’t really blame our colleagues in the fibreglass pool business. They do provide a low-priced product that’s generally fit for purpose, and they want to sell you one.

    If you’d like to step up to a higher quality product, then get in touch with us. Don’t make up your mind until you’ve seen the cost estimates; you may be pleasantly surprised.

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    We’re Much More Than Just Our Website

    The internet can be a great equaliser, and when you’re judging products and especially services online, there’s a lot of room for false razzle-dazzle. A slick website and a good pitch can sell you on a company at a superficial level, but how can you tell when there’s real substance behind the online image?

    We’re an Established Melbourne Company

    At Albatross Pools, we’re marketing our business online, but we want you to know that what you see on our website is just the tip of the iceberg. We have been building steel-framed pools in Melbourne and the surrounding area since 1969. That’s well over 40 years of well constructed pools and satisfied customers. Our many years of experience and our good reputation have kept our business going — and growing — for decades, and that’s why we can do such an outstanding job at such a fair price. In fact, we’re increasingly being asked to build pools outside of our local area, and if you have a job outside of Melbourne that you’d like us to provide an estimate on, please feel free to contact us.

    We’re Active in SPASA, Our Industry Association

    A company like Albatross doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We’re active in our industry association: SPASA, the Swimming Pool and Spa Alliance. In fact, we’re a long term and well respected member, and SPASA’s Outdoor Living Expo is a highlight of our year, every year. In fact, if you’re thinking about buying a pool and you’re not in a hurry to get it into the ground by summer, we’d encourage you to attend the expo in February. If you do come to the expo, there’s a good chance that you’ll see Albatross winning an award.

    What does this tell you about Albartross Pools? If you’re part of an industry association yourself, then you may already know the answer. It means that we stay up to date with new regulations, products and technology. It means we follow a Code of Ethics. Most importantly, perhaps, it means that we have a good reputation that we care deeply about maintaining. We always stand by our work and stand by our customers, both because it’s the right thing to do and because we are highly visible as one of Melbourne’s top pool companies. We are not happy unless we’re constantly exceeding our customers’ expectations.

    Come See Our Products In Person

    You don’t need to be guided by online pool photos and industry accolades, though. Come see the pools at our two real-life display centres in metropolitan Melbourne. If you’re to the south of the city, then visit our Dandenong showroom at 157 Foster Street. If you’re further up to the north, then our Warrandyte location at 226 Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road will be more convenient. Both of our locations are open during the week and on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

    Dandenong Display Pool
    Dandenong Display Pool

    You can also see examples of our projects in Melbourne Pool + Outdoor Design Magazine. Just pick one up, and you’ll find that one of our projects is featured in every issue. We’re happy to provide references, too. Our customers are proud of their beautiful, low maintenance Albatross pools. Maybe you’ll be one of them soon. Explore our past projects online, at our display centres and in Melbourne Pool + Outdoor Design Magazine, and work with a pool company that has a long history of happy customers.

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    Pool Lighting Secrets Revealed

    A lighted pool is a pool that can be used for more hours of the day and for more days of the year. Pool lighting keeps the pool visible after dark, too. Of course it looks fantastic, but it also makes the pool safer; it’s easier to see and therefore harder to stumble into! Finally, pool lighting makes the ever popular, ever wonderful after-dark pool party both possible and memorable.

    Underwater Lighting

    As you undoubtedly know, electricity and water don’t mix. That’s one of the reasons why underwater lighting has to be considered as part of the design of the pool. It’s got to be safely installed and correctly designed to protect both the swimmers and the pool. Albatross pools has formed a partnership with Spa Electrics, a leading Australian manufacturer of LED swimming pool lights. Spa Electrics has been manufacturing pool lights for the Australian market for more than 30 years. We will install Spa Electrics LED underwater lights when we build your pool.

    Pool Light Color
    Pool Light Color

    Why did we choose Spa Electrics? Their LED lights are efficient and long lasting, with a 50,000 hour life expectancy for each globe — that’s much greater than the industry standard. They are designed with clear rims and installed flush so that the light will spread evenly throughout the pool, not just directly in front of the position of the light, but around the sides, as well. They’re high quality LEDs with cooling built-in, so that they’ll keep functioning at maximum efficiency. They are expertly matched in their colour range and intensity, so your pool lighting will always look even and professional. Finally, Spa Electrics lights, unlike lower quality pool lights, are designed to be repairable. If a bulb needs to be changed or if there’s a problem with one of the lights, the fixture can simply be disassembled and fixed; it won’t need to be replaced.

    Pool Light Quality
    Pool Light Quality

    Most of our customers opt for lights that are located on the wall closest to the house; that way, the side of the pool that they can see from the windows will be softly and evenly illuminated, with no light fixtures showing. The fact is, the lights work with the coloured pool interior and the water to create the overall after-dark look of the pool. Spa Electric lights are designed to work with the blue tones in the water and the pool interior to produce the maximum possible luminosity with a minimum of energy use.

    For more information on the lighting system that comes with Albatross pools, refer to the Spa Electrics brochure, which is available as a pdf and can be downloaded from our website.

    Exterior Lights

    You’ll probably want to have exterior lights around your pool, as well. It’s a basic requirement for getting around your property after dark, and the pool would be a hazard without them; though the water might be illuminated, you still don’t want to trip into it! Of course, the exterior lighting deserves some thought; it might be wall mounted on the house and/or on a canopy, alfresco or deck. Alternatively, the exterior lights could be mounted on the pool fence or on poles. They might be in the form of bright spotlights or strings of durable, high output fairy lights. There are so many possibilities; safety is the number one concern, but the aesthetic possibilities are both endless and exciting.

    Designing exterior pool lighting is much like designing the lighting for a room, and it’s definitely worth considering which spaces will be used most heavily after dark and which should be lighted for security reasons. Most people have a pretty good idea about what they want for exterior lighting around the pool area, and landscape designers and contractors are certainly willing to help and offer advice, as needed. Don’t forget to give serious consideration to this issue.

    Pool lighting, both underwater and around the pool area, is a key part of the overall design of the pool. We’ll discuss it with you when the other major decisions about pool size, shape and location are made, and you can rest easy knowing that the Spa Electrics lights we use are absolutely top quality.

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    What’s popular in pool design?

    Similar to the styling of your home, your chosen pool design should be an expression of who you are and the desired lifestyle you seek to create for your family.  When visiting clients’ properties some 20, 30 or even 40 years down the track, the most aesthetically pleasing and timeless backyards are those which feature a unique pool design that has been tailored to suit the space available and work in unison with the architectural styling of the home.

    Popular Pool Shapes

    Rectangles of all dimensions are on trend in pool design.  Easily positioned along a boundary fence or a straight line of the family home, the rectangle pool shape is a practical yet simplistic and timeless pool design popular amongst renovators, builders and architects.  A wedge, roman, half roman, L shape, B shape and a lap pool are all popular variations of a rectangle pool design.  Creativity can be had with how the pool entry is incorporated into the pool design - an external swim out area (circular, rectangular or freeform in shape) or bench and soft seats internally positioned in the swim area of the pool.

    Freeform pools are by far the most exciting and innovative option in pool design today.  Some clients choose to incorporate the contemporary lines of their newly built or renovated home into the design of their pool and opt for a structured geometric freeform pool shape.  While others desire a natural pool lagoon and decide on a more fluid freeform pool design to blend in with the natural surrounds of the pool, creating a landscape architectural statement.  The pre-engineered nature of an Albatross pool offers complete freedom in pool design achieving almost any shape and size.

    Family size, property easements, natural slope of the property, pool fencing requirements, sun exposure, how you intend to use the pool, pool surrounds and the desired look and feel of your backyard are also key areas worth consideration when tailoring your pool design with a qualified sales consultant.  To organize an obligation free swimming pool quotation, contact us today.

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    157 Foster Street
    Dandenong VIC 3175

    Mon-Sat: 9am to 5pm
    Sun: 10am to 4pm

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    Warrandyte

    226 Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road
    Warrandyte VIC 3133

    Mon-Sat: 9am to 5pm
    Sun: 10am to 4pm

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