It’s time to take the plunge with a backyard pool


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To dive for. Pictures show pools by Landart Landscapes. Pool pictures: Jason Busch

You’ve got the space, the budget and the pool design in mind, but have you got the time?

According to Matt Leacy, a pool and landscape design expert who stars on Channel 10’s The Living Room, people should allow six months, in most instances, to install a pool.

“This includes concept development with a professional pool designer, as well as the approval and build phases,” Mr Leacy said.

“You may be able to fast-track the process a little by cutting some corners and with good luck, but I’d never suggest taking this approach if you have a choice. Give yourself ample time to tick every box and allow for contingencies and any unexpected delays.”

So, with that in mind, here is where to start.

Pool and landscape design expert Matt Leacy says to allow six months to put in a new pool.

Plan ahead

Mr Leacy, the director and principal designer of Landart Landscapes recommended conducting an on-site consultation with a professional pool designer or landscape designer before buying a pool.

“All properties and outdoor spaces are different,” he said. “In most circumstances, a pool will be retrofitted into an outdoor space with existing designs, infrastructure, garden beds and features, so it’s often a complex process that requires professional planning.”

These days, he said, there was a huge range of pool options, including above-ground, in-ground and plunge pools.

“And they come in loads of different shapes, colours and materials which can be customised to suit nearly every home and space.

“There are even different types of pool filtration systems beyond the traditional norm — for example, mineral pools, which can be great for chemical-conscious families and people with skin sensitivities.”

Most pools are retrofitted into outdoor spaces.

Concrete versus fibreglass

Some people opt for a fibreglass pool, but most choose concrete.

“A concrete pool can be created to a bespoke shape and size, with additions like glass windows and spill-overs,” Mr Leacy said.

“The flexibility around what you can do (with concrete) is far greater, compared to fibreglass. That said, fibreglass is often seen as a more cost-effective option, but it often comes with heavy foundation requirements to support its weight, so by the time foundations are taken into account, price can even out overall.”

The bottom line

Mr Leacy cautioned people against opting for a cheaper builder, pool or landscape designer just to save a few dollars.

“Everyone has a budget, but I’d err against making decisions around a pool installation on price alone,” he said.

“If a quote comes in far below all the others in the market, there’s a high risk that the quality of materials and expertise you’ll receive will end up being below industry standard.”

He recommended, where possible, to go for a pool installer who offered landscaping as well, to create a seamless integration into the natural surrounds.

“No pool comes cheap, so you want to ensure you get the most out of your investment and get it right the first time around,” Mr Leacy said.

“That’s why picking the right professional team to do the job is so important. They need to be up to the task of not only delivering a high-quality pool on time, budget and brief, but also designing and installing a pool that complements your property from a holistic perspective.”

He recommended getting several quotes.

“Ask lots of questions. Request case studies and testimonials and read reviews. Even jump on social media and do some digging around. There’s loads of information out there — you often just need to look for it.”

Aim to seamlessly integrate the pool and garden.

Hot right now

When it came to trends, people were becoming more adventurous with colour, Mr Leacy said.

“Fewer people are picking the mid-blues, which have traditionally been the preference for most pool owners,” he said.

“We are seeing more people opt for white and black, and colours with natural tones, such as limestone finishes and marble-looking finishes.”

He said more people were also realising a pool was more than a monument to extravagance, and less was often more.

“It should nestle comfortably into the garden and seamlessly integrate into the space,” he said.

“Of course, a pool is a standout property feature and that won’t and shouldn’t change, but it’s not always about being flashy.”

Leacy says pools should “nestle comfortably” into the garden.

Safety first

Pool fencing is required by law in Australia. But Mr Leacy recommended looking beyond mere compliance to ensure the fence complemented the pool and property as a whole.

“There’s no point having a beautiful dream pool if it’s surrounded or obstructed by an ugly pool fence,” he said. “It defeats the whole purpose and can significantly diminish the overall aesthetic, appeal and value of your property.”

Ensure your dream pool has the right fence, both legally and aesthetically.

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