Finding the best place to site a new swimming pool can be challenging. At best it might blow your budget; at worst it can result in council penalties brought on by breaches in building bylaws.
Above image courtesy of Out From The Blue
Sydney landscape architect and swimming pool designer Peter Glass says establishing a strong relationship with the dwelling and its surrounding environment is a critical design component when siting a residential pool.
“This works on many levels, with the former relating to visibility of (for safety and enjoyment purposes) and connection to the main informal living/outdoor entertaining areas; and with the latter relating to general site context, topography and views,” he said.
For example, on a smaller to medium sized property, Peter often sites the pool closer to the boundary in order to maximise garden and lawn areas between the house and pool, and give the impression of the property being larger than it is.
“The pool becomes the water view and a water feature to swim in,” he says. “This can be further accentuated through the incorporation of feature walls and water features.”
For Brisbane-based architect and master planner Will Marcus, pumps have the greatest intolerance for poor location.
“Pool pumps do not like sucking water but they will push all day long due to the slipping impeller design,” he explains. “As a result, pumps cannot be effectively located much more than 500mm higher than the pool coping level. Also, the closer the pump is to the pool, the more efficient the system will be.”
Prevailing breezes or winds can remove heat from your pool faster, forcing the heating system to work overtime and energy bills to rise.
“Most heat leaves your pool in evaporating water molecules; in fact it is around 86% of all the heat your pool loses,” Will says. “A constant breeze will double the evaporative rate and as a consequence chill the pool.”
Residential and commercial pool designer John Storch believes the most important component to pool siting is integration.
“This takes into account the lifestyle of the owner; the style of the house; all aesthetic and functional considerations like cabanas, outdoor kitchens, lawn and gardens; to create an adhesive and integrated finished product that enhances the your lifestyle and adds immeasurable resale value to the home,” Will adds.
To start the design process for your own swimming pool, he recommends you look at your overall property and determine what uses you require.
“Take into account your lifestyle and what the pool will be used for – exercise, jumping in summer to cool off, fun for the whole family, entertaining in small or large numbers – as this will determine the pool’s end size and design,” John says.
Regardless of whether you have a narrow city block or large acreage property, it pays to do your research when it comes to a pool’s potential placement. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
- Get a clear idea of what the overall project will cost from your pool designer and/or builder before you begin
- Be aware of Council and other authority regulations and requirements from the outset, as there are many rules to adhere to and approvals to be sought
- Consider physical aspects such as north facing locations; sun and shade requirements; noise from neighbours, nearby roads, schools or playgrounds; prevailing winds; and potential views
- You’re likely to spend more time looking at your pool than actually swimming in it, so think carefully about the view from and of the pool
- Underground services, easements and covenants may affect the location of your pool. Avoid building over underground services such as sewer, electric, gas and water supply, and stormwater drainage as it can be very expensive to access these down the track if needed
- Supervision of children in pools is essential for safety so ensure lines of sight from key points in the house, like the kitchen and entertaining areas, remain unobstructed
- Avoid siting pools near large trees as lateral roots can place pressure on the pool and damage pipe work over the years
- For blocks with steep slopes, restrictive access to level garden and entertaining areas can be improved by incorporating a pool at house level (or slightly lower) and in direct relationship with informal living areas
- If you have a small to medium sized property, consider siting the pool closer to the boundary in order to maximise garden and lawn areas between the house and pool. This also gives the impression of the property being larger than it is
- Determine soil conditions that may be encountered during excavation. This will not only influence the costs of excavation and backfill but will also likely determine whether or not such costs will be included in the contract as part of the contract sum or as a Provisional Sum item. In some areas and locations a geophysical survey may be necessary