It's a good idea to have some information about what you’re buying so you can compare products, know industry terminology and show that you are not a complete novice. We recommend that you do some research before contacting a pool builder. Having some ideas about your wish list will give him (it is usually a ‘him’!) some background information and a good start on designing what you want. We know that you want to hear his recommendations (after all you do have to pay for that!) but he will still come up with ideas; these ideas will work better with how he perceives your own needs and lifestyle requirements.
To help you plan what will go into your space, collect photographs of what others have done with the features that you admire. Start a scrapbook of ideas. Showing this to your pool builder will really help him visualise what you are thinking, and you can work out what will stay and what will go based on other factors. Your spending expectations are an important factor.
Shape and type of swimming pool
You will need to consider what shape and type of swimming pool you want. The type of pool can be a choice of aboveground, concrete, vinyl or fibreglass. There are advantages and disadvantages in all types. The shape will depend mostly on your space, especially if you have a small unusually shaped area. The area may determine the shape. If you have a large area, you can have any shape you wish, so you will need to consider how you want to use the swimming pool and what sort of look you are after. Have a look at some examples of the different styles available in our gallery.
Another aspect you need to consider is the weather. In most of Australia, we are lucky to have hot dry summers so protection from rain is not so much of an issue. However, you may want a heated pool so you can swim all year round and therefore need an enclosure to protect you from the rain. You may also want to consider an indoor pool if the weather is a real issue in your area.
Use of your swimming pool
Think about how you will use your pool. Do you have young children who are learning to swim, love diving and frolicking in the pool? Are you an older couple who just want to enjoy a quick dip and a drink by the pool? Do you love swimming laps? A standard pool size is 1–1.8 metres deep and there should be a gradual slope to the deep end. Your use of the pool will determine its shape and size so think about this early.
You can certainly get your wish list ready but be prepared to adjust this according to your budget and size of your area. Aboveground pools are the lowest in cost followed by fibreglass, vinyl and finally concrete. You should have a budget in mind and let the pool builder know so that he can adapt the products and features to suit.
Be prepared to face some long-term costs when it comes to pool maintenance. However, by carefully choosing products, you can minimise this cost. Do some research on this or ask your pool builder.
Get an idea about your council’s building codes and allowances. Your pool builder will usually liaise with them for you but gather information so you don’t get any surprises.
Contact your insurance company to find out about extra insurance costs that may be required when you get a pool. All pool builders who are members of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association have indemnity insurance.
Swimming pool features
Be familiar with the features that are available so you can factor them into your wish list, scrapbook and ideas for the total design.
Try to be as energy efficient as you can. This means doing some research on pool appliances that have good energy ratings, pool covers to save water evaporation, timers, preventative maintenance and lowering the temperature of the pool heater when not in use. There are energy-efficient pool pumps on the market that can reduce power consumption significantly.
Most pool builders will do an initial site visit as a free consultation.
Choose a pool designer
A pool designer will design your entire outdoor landscape to maximise the potential of your property while seamlessly blending your style choices. If you want the best investment for your pool, you should consider a pool designer.
Questions from your pool designer
The pool designer will ask you some questions so you need to be prepared for these. Some of his questions may be:
How long have you been looking for a pool?
Have you been to a display centre to get ideas?
Do you know the difference between fibreglass and concrete?
Do you want a concrete or a fibreglass pool?
How would you like to use your pool?
More on the answers to these questions and more in our next post and if you'd like our FREE ebook, get it here.