We feel, in fact the evidence is there, that not enough planning goes into many new pool builds, even when done in conjunction with a house build. It seems to us that it’s just an add-on, as in “and we want a pool”. The problem with that is that after having that sort of a pool for a while you will start to realise that you should have put more thought into the planning: installed better equipment; thought more about the layout and depths. For instance, why have I got shallow end; I cannot swim in it; it’s in the wrong spot; I should have looked at the drainage. After putting too much emphasis on catering for the little ones you will find yourself saying “Gee the kids grew up quick!” when they stop living in the pool because you didn’t look at all the future pool uses before building your pool. We can accommodate little ones in an adult pool.
Before building your pool think about what you want to use the pool for during your lifetime in the house.
Parties – Kids – Teenagers – Family Barbeques – Middle Age Fitness – Operation Recovery – Hydrotherapy – Wake.
Or, just plain relaxing with a beer or glass of wine after a hard days work, in a truly pleasant environment.
If you are installing a pool you really want to be able to use it throughout your life. Consider design that will be enjoyed by teenagers and can be used by you in your old age. We have house bound customers (in their eighties) who use their heated pool for hydrotherapy, so they need to able to walk around it.
Pool DESIGN is the second cornerstone of a good pool build after pool location.
Pool LOCATION is the first cornerstone of a good pool build. Go into google maps for any area and look at where the pools are located in relation to the house. In many cases there seems to be a total disconnect between the pool and the house. Many of them are stuck at the end of the backyard. I have never really understood that. It’s a bit like having an outhouse. The backyard could be the best room in your house. We see a swimming pool as being the focal point around which you build your entertainment area and your landscape. If your backyard is a great place to be, your own resort and an escape from the harsh realities of life, then that will make your home the only place to be.
Swimjets give you a lap pool without having a lap pool. With a minimum length of four meters your pool can be used for fitness along with all the other normal pool activities. You don’t need to find the space to put your lap pool or build a lap pool into your overall design just so you can exercise. At a depth of 1.1 meters to 1.4 meters it can also be used for operation recovery and for hydrotherapy later in life. Children will get plenty of exercise just having fun. You need a minimum width of 2.5 meters. We can build the Swimjet operating box into the shell so that you can install the mechanism at a later date, if you want to contain initial outlay costs.
Teenagers want to be able to play games and horse-around in a pool. Again a very good reason to have the same depth throughout the pool. You can install the post holders for your volleyball net as part of the pool build.
If relaxing with a drink with a few friends or after the kids have gone to bed on a hot night then consider a bench along one of the pool sides. With the right lighting and a bit of music, who knows? You can add spa jets and blowers to set the mood. What a great way to watch the cricket on the big screen in the back room. If this suits you style then a suitably located spa will achieve the same thing during the football season.
Once we have established the pool location and uses we can then decide on the pool structure. How you want the pool to look and blend in with your house and yard is the difficult part of the exercise. Like anything else in life you want the pool to reflect your style and display an atmosphere and feel that you want. It comes down to the colours and the combinations you select, along with the style of landscape that you desire. All of this needs to blend in with your house and give you a pool and backyard that will see plenty of you, your family and friends.
Hotels and resorts have pools that very few people would want or could afford. Googling and looking through ‘hotel pool images’ is a good way to see how the professionals combine colours and landscape. After my first exercise of doing this, the thing that struck me most was how important colour is. It just hit me in the face, so much so, that I think taking the time and perhaps seeking professional advice is a very important step in your pool design.
As for landscape design we co-ordinate with Landscape Gardner I have worked with for 30 odd years.
The closer you can locate the pump to your pool suction (skimmer Box) the better. This helps considerably with your pump’s efficiency and will reduce your running costs. In saying that, skimmer box location is important as you may have to take wind direction into account.
Obviously, if your equipment is covered, the longer it will last. Noise isn’t a problem if installing variable speed pumps. Keep in mind that you need to be able to work on the equipment while servicing your pool. Also, you need to be able to get to the equipment to carry out maintenance. If you are going to use an equipment cover, make sure the build allows you to disassemble the cover, to some extent, to give you access for repairs and equipment replacement. We have seen some magnificent nuclear shelters built over equipment. If you are installing the equipment under a deck or in a room, make sure you have plenty of area and head room. Allow enough space for the correct equipment to be installed; for you to do a pool service and equipment maintenance. You won’t be agile forever. Make sure you don’t block your equipment off with too small a doorway. Yes, that happens. That’s great when it’s a small metal framed door in a Besser block wall and a new filter is needed. Install your equipment on a solid base. If the base moves, your equipment moves, things break, and the dollars will leave your wallet.
The plumbing of a rectangular pool can be straight forward, although we have seen plenty of examples where this has been messed up. A simple thing, like skimmer box selection (and location) is a small, but very important part of a pool build. Have a look at the range of sizes and designs of the different skimmer baskets in your local pool shop. Some are small and some split far too easily. When pool design presents with different shapes and shelving then more thought (and calculation) needs to be given to the pool hydraulics. Good HYDRAULICS is the third cornerstone of a good pool build. The larger the pool the more the hydraulics becomes important. Pool plumbing is hugely important when designing your pool and how it is eventually done will affect service requirements and maintenance costs over the life of your pool. This is where the very well thought out QuikClean in-floor system comes into play. While these are promoted as a top of the range cleaning system, we see them as being a top of the range pool water hydraulics system. We can install just the plumbing for the system which can then be upgraded at a later date, when needed as your backyard develops. Don’t rush things, get it right.
We were once asked to plumb what is a well-designed pool for the limited area available. We came up with a plan that would result in the same turnover rates for the different volumes throughout the pool no matter what the pump flow rate was. Balanced hydraulics is an important component when using a low flow pump as well as installing sufficiently large pipe size.
That house builder also sought the advice of a commercial pool representative of one of the large pool equipment manufacturing companies. The advice he received was to put two returns up one end, a skimmer box down the other and to put a big pump on. That advice, had it been followed, would have increased the running costs of the filtration by four to five times over the life of that pool. That adds up to an awful lot of money.
Needs to be suited to the volume of the pool and the expected pool usage. A pool in an apartment building will require much larger equipment than the same pool in a domestic backyard. It is quite clear that Variable Speed Pumps will reduce running costs. It is important to be aware the you still need to turn you water over twice during the day when the pool is being used. An apartment building pool should have the water turning over every four hours. This can be decreased, that is, by reducing the pump flow rate (and power consumption) during periods when the pool isn’t being used.
When considering what item of equipment to choose we need to look at all the costs associated with that item over time.
Those costs are:-
Quality filtration equipment does not stand alone. You need to have your pool plumbing (hydraulics) done correctly first. Pool hydraulics is the foundation to an excellent filtration system.
Most domestic pools have salt water chlorinators installed for simplicity of pool operation. Most people are quite happy with that. However, give serious consideration to an acid feeder because pH control is important.
For those of you who are concerned about high levels of ‘chlorine’ should consider a chemical controller. These units will keep your pH at the correct level as well as prevent excessive ‘chlorine’ being produced or added to the pool.
You need to consider how much debris you can expect in your pool after the garden matures. Robotic Cleaners will handle most situations. If, however, you are surrounded by trees that drop a lot of leaf or you expect your garden to grow into a tropical paradise then consider installing an in-floor cleaning system. Not only will an in-floor system save you a lot of time, it will also greatly improve the hydraulics of your pool. You only need to put the plumbing in the pool to start with and you can add the rest later, when you have the need. Years ago, I saw a pool, that sat in the middle of a well-kept lawn in a large fenced off area. The pool had a magnificent fig spread over the pool. It looked fantastic, but it was a cleaning nightmare that an in-floor cleaning system would have been perfect for. You want your pool to be a pleasure not a chore.
Research the plants that are going in and look at places where they are already mature. This will give you an idea of how things will look after a few years and help ascertain your expected pool cleaning requirements. Some plants should be avoided at all costs. Some
Drainage is another important thing to look at. Water from other properties can really cause some problems with a pool. You don’t want to spend your weekends getting mud out of your pool. Good drainage really isn’t an expensive or an impossible component of a landscape, but it often gets left out.
One of our recently deceased customers (just turned eighty) who had had one operation after another did laps in his pool every day for years right up to his death and one of his operations was for breast cancer. Believe it, apparently blokes can get breast cancer. He didn’t want a pool, his wife did. The dig went wrong, and he ended up with a pool much larger than planned and that error as luck would have it gave him a pool useable for many, many years well after his children presented his grandchildren. We don’t always hear stories this good.
You cannot always afford the pool you want. You can upgrade equipment, add heating, resurface, improve the surrounds and landscape as time goes on. You cannot, without great expense, change the location, the layout and the hydraulics. So give very careful thought and planning to those three cornerstones before building your pool.
Try and budget more for the build, think about its intended use over time, get your location and design right, plumb it correctly, sit back and enjoys many years of Swimming Pool Enjoyment and save on the running costs.