Swimming pools are more than just a sign of wealth; they’re a great way to make the most of your outdoor space, get some exercise and entertain guests. A garden pool in the right weather can make you feel as if you’re on holiday!
Nor are pools solely for the rich! These days, there are a number of options in terms of shapes, sizes and materials that can make it possible to install a pool for much less than you would think.
Having said that, there are a number of important considerations that go into installing a pool. Having an outdoor pool will not necessarily add value to your property, and you cannot expect to get full use out of your product without following proper care and safety guidelines.
While there are plenty of DIY kits and online guides, the best way to build a swimming pool without breaking the bank will be to arrange a professional swimming pool build service. These specialists will be familiar with all of the options available to you and will also have access to equipment that will get the job done quickly and efficiently. Failing this, you could also arrange the job with an experienced local builder or landscape designer.
One of the first things to consider is how big your pool will be. Remember, you should not completely deprive yourself of your garden if you can help it.
Before you get started, you should first consider whether or not a pool is really suitable for your property. It’s a sad fact that a pool will not necessarily add value to a property, partly because of the space they take away from gardens and partly because of the associated running and upkeep costs, which can put buyers off. Having said that, pools can be a welcome addition for the right property; you may want to spend some time looking for other homes in your area which have had an outdoor pool installed. You could also speak to an estate agent about whether your installation will have a positive effect on your property's value.
It is also worth looking at the cheaper alternatives to installing a pool. Above ground pools can be bought for a few thousand pounds, and are fairly easy to install and remove. While they will not add value to your property, they are a safer bet than digging out part of your garden for a traditional pool.
Another thing to consider is how much use you will get out of your pool. While they are welcome in summer, a pool can fail to get any use in the colder months of the year. To give you a clue, it can cost around £5 a day to run a pool in summer and £10 a day for the rest of the year, with the costs of heating and chemical treatments included.
Ask yourself these questions: how many people in my household will use my pool? Will it make my property more appealing? Am I willing to take the time to treat it regularly?
Once you’re certain that you’re on the right track, you can start planning out your new swimming pool. The good news is that an outdoor swimming pool will not usually require planning permission, although you will still have to follow Building Regulations. There may be an exception if your property is in a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, a green belt or if it is a listed building. To save yourself some grief, it can be good to contact your Local Authority for specific details early on in your project.
One of the first things to consider is how big your pool will be. Remember, you should not completely deprive yourself of your garden if you can help it. You will also need to keep in mind that we are not just talking about the size of the pool itself: you also need to make room for safe access, a filtration kit, security and so on.
If you find that your available space is too small for it to be worth building a pool, you might want to consider buying a swim jet machine. These are, in essence, water treadmills that allow you to swim in place. Even better, you can take them with you when you move!
The next thing to think about will be safety. It should go without saying that a garden swimming pool can be a huge safety hazard, particularly if you have pets or young children. A standard safety measure is to arrange a fence installation service to erect a barrier around your pool, at least four feet high. This setup would also require an alarm for the gate, as well as storage for life saving equipment nearby. Another option is to buy and install a safety cover with your pool. While these can be expensive, they are your best guarantee of safety. Solar covers can even reduce your upkeep costs by helping to keep your pool clean and well heated.
The third point to consider is proper care. You cannot just leave a swimming pool alone and expect the water to stay clean; most pools require regular treatment to keep the chlorine and pH balances in check. While you can do this manually, there are more expensive solutions which can reduce your burden, such as specialist filters or the previously mentioned solar covers. A cheaper alternative will be to regularly treat your pool using a salt system, which is also more environmentally friendly than using chlorine.
A final choice to make will be which shell you want for your pool. Generally speaking, there are four options: masonry blocks with a vinyl liner, a gunite shell, a polyethylene shell or a carbon ceramic model. This last choice is the most expensive, but it is also the most energy efficient. Carbon ceramic pools can also be easier to install, as they come in a pre made shell with all the plumbing already set up.
The costs of a swimming pool can be difficult to gauge without proper planning. While there are several ‘average’ costs, the actual quotes for your job will depend on several variables, such as the size of the pool, the cost of installation, pumps, filters, covers, excavation, soil removal, building materials, labour and so on. Some people will tell you that you can build an outdoor pool for £4,000, but when you take every cost into account this figure is likely to be closer to £10,000.
One thing that you should keep in mind is the cost of decor. Certain materials, such as mosaic tiles and antibacterial layering, can add thousands to your quote. While these can make a pool look beautiful, it all goes back to whether the cost is worthwhile. If you are going to get a great deal of use out of your pool, or if you are certain that it will add value to your property, then you can feel more confident about spending more on aesthetic touches
In general, you could expect to pay around £12k for an average sized upmarket above ground swimming pool. It would be wise to have a design in place before you start collecting quotes for the installation work, as having a definite plan will make it easier to get an approximate price. As always, collect several quotes to compare before making your decision on who to hire.
When you want a swimming pool design/ build service, your best guarantee of a great finished project will be to deal with a specialist company. In addition to being able to provide more material and design options, their specialist experience will make it far more likely that your project will be finished quickly and efficiently.
Having said that, a tradesman with experience building pools may not necessarily focus on being a ‘specialist’. After all, it’s quite a niche market! Speak to a local landscape designer about wanting to install a swimming pool in a garden; they will be able to help you plan and organise your project. A local builder will be your go-to-Pro for excavating and building the actual pool, providing your candidate has experience working with the necessary materials and equipment. If your candidates have worked on projects similar to yours in the past, ask if they have any photographs of their work, or if the customers from those jobs left reviews.
It is always a good sign to look for Pros that belong to national tradesmans’ organisations, as these groups have very high standards for their members. Look for any tradesmen that belong to the Society of Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA). This organisation specialises in designing, building and maintaining swimming pools, and its members will have solid experience.