A backyard pool is a major investment. And we’re not just talking cash. This kind of project requires a considerable investment of time and energy – not to mention yard space.
If you are thinking about getting a pool for your backyard, here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge.
- Why do you want a pool?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but think about the intended function and purpose of your future pool. Is it mainly for the kids to splash around in on hot days? Or is it about creating an aesthetically pleasing water feature for your outdoor area? Having a clear idea of how you see yourself using your future pool will help narrow your focus and save you spending money on unnecessary features.
- What is your budget?
Pool installations aren’t cheap. You need to have a clear idea of how much money the project is going to cost and how much you have to spend. Make sure you factor in the ongoing running costs of a pool, such as the purchase of pool chemicals, increased utility bills, and ongoing maintenance of the pool’s interior finish, pumps and other equipment.
- How much space do you have?
It goes without saying that the size of your yard will determine the size of your pool.
Hire a skip bin for rubbish removal to clear away any clutter and you’ll get a clearer picture of exactly how much yard space is available. Measure out your ideal pool space and have these dimensions on hand when you start speaking with pool builders.
- Consider the lay of your land:
As well as looking at the amount of space available, consider things like the slope of your yard, the soil type, and any accessibility issues. Yards with steep slopes or rocky soil, or yards that are difficult to access will have special construction and installation considerations. This will have a big impact on the type of pool you decide to go for, and will typically add to the overall cost and duration of the project.
- What style of pool are you after?
Above-ground? In-ground? Lagoon style? Pebble finish? There is a lot to choose from when it comes to modern pool designs and styles.
- Above-ground pools are the most economical option. They are generally made from prefabricated kits and are relatively easy to install. The down side is that they are less durable and generally considered less attractive than their fancy in-ground counterparts.
- In-ground pools allow for greater freedom in terms of design and the selection of building materials available, but are considerably more expensive and time consuming to build and install.
Different pool builders will often specialise in particular pool styles and materials. Do your research to work out what is the best option for you, your yard and your budget.
Familiarise yourself with local rules and regulations:
Have a chat with your local council early in your pool planning. Make sure you know exactly what you need to do to comply with local building and safety regulations. Each local council is different, so make contact and get familiar with the specific rules and regulations that apply in your municipality.
Get your permits sorted:
In Victoria, you will need to obtain a building permit for a swimming pool or spa deeper than 30cm. This also applies to above-ground pools and spas.
You will also need a permit for the installation of pool safety barriers, which are required by law for pools or spas deeper than 30cm.
For more information about safety fences for pools and spas, visit your local council’s website and the Victorian Building Authority website.
The VBA has also created a handy resource about swimming pools, spas and their safety barriers, which outlines your legal obligations, before, during and after building and installing a pool.
Find the right pool builder:
You are about to invest a large sum of money, so do your homework and make sure you secure a pool builder who is qualified, skilled and who understands exactly what you want. Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing, so start by asking around for recommendations from friends and relatives in the know. When you find a pool builder you like, be sure to ask for testimonials from past clients, and view examples of their recent installations if you can.
Also make sure your pool builder is professionally accredited, and is a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia. SPASA has a very strict code of ethics for their pool builders – to be a member of SPASA a pool builder must be licensed, insured and must have had a recent credit rating check.
And don’t forget to get a detailed quote. What’s included and what’s not? If it’s not set out in writing in your quote at the very start, it could end up being a hidden extra cost to you at the end of the job.