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Designing your dream home swimming pool

May 04, 2023

Here's everything you need to know about creating your dream swimming pool, indoor or outdoor, this year.

A home swimming pool can provide significant health and wellbeing benefits, creating an everydaycation lifestyle for the whole family to enjoy, but building a swimming pool is a major undertaking and needs careful planning to reap the rewards of your investment. The size and specification of your dream pool will ultimately (and undeniably) affect the cost.

Before you start trawling through the internet and your diary is full of pool contractor appointments to come and quote for the work, it's advisable to read the following tips to avoid the pitfalls by getting the right contractor for your particular project in place from the outset. This simple advice could save you from some difficulties and future problems (and may also save you time and money).

There is help from the wet leisure trade association – SPATA (the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association), who provide a range of resources for the swimming pool buyer.

SPATA's ten considerations to ensure that you get the right pool (indoor or outdoor) and the right contractor for your needs are as follows.

You are buying into a lifestyle, and you will have definite ideas about how your new swimming pool will look, its features, and how it will improve your life. Swimming pools are custom construction/installation projects, so you will want to ensure the pool contractor you use has high standards and is a member of SPATA. All poolsare different, so being clear on your requirements and customisation is vital in the pool design. There will be features of the environment, landscape, setting and usage to consider. With a swimming pool, it's the elements you don't see that will significantly impact your budget.

You will want to find the right people for the job, but if you hear too many opinions, you’ll lose track of your dream, inviting too many contractors to quote for your pool project, and you’ll get bogged down with the estimates. There's a fine line between making an educated decision and being overwhelmed by too many opinions. Practice due diligence and ask three or four reputable swimming pool companies to provide detailed quotes, and then you will be better placed to make a confident decision.

You are bound to have done your homework, and this won't have been a hasty decision. Whether installing a pool for the first time or renovating an existing pool, detailed research will give you more understanding of swimming pool construction to make a more informed decision and be better placed to choose the right pool contractor. SPATA provides a range of free factsheets on their website to help point swimming pool buyers in the right direction.

SPATA set the standards within the wet leisure industry. Therefore all SPATA members must work to SPATA standards and adhere to the SPATA code of ethics. Using the postcode search, you can find SPATA members in your local area through the easy-to-use member's search tool on the SPATA website.

Swimming pool contractors must visit the proposed pool site so that you can meet them, ask them questions about their work, and see the proposed site for themselves. This visit should occur before the contractor submits a quote for the works. By doing this, the contractor can understand your detailed requirements, and you can gain confidence in their abilities to undertake the required work. In addition, it will be worth seeing some of the company's work, and you are sure they have actually done the work they show you.

If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is! Choosing a job by price alone won't bring you the best results. Careful planning and getting the right company for the job is time well spent. A detailed quote will assure you that they have understood your requirements accurately and prevent any nasty surprises at a later stage of the works. A reputable company will reassure you that the quality of the job is up to the standard you require by demonstrating their work on other projects and achieving the same results on your project.

Most people want to maximise the use of their pool during the summer months, so you will want to ensure that your pool is under construction out of season. Please consider that everyone else will also have this idea, so planning well will help you get the pool when you want. A reputable swimming pool company will be able to provide you with a timeline of work and give you an idea of when your pool will be finished. Please be aware that there will likely be various reinstatement works in the garden once a project is completed.

It is imperative that before any work takes place, detailed drawings are provided by the pool contractor so that you can see what the final pool will look like and that nothing has been missed from your requirements. This will ensure the finished pool is aesthetically pleasing and fits in with your home. It would help if you also considered some practicalities such as location, heating, pool cover or enclosure, cleaning, chemical dosing, and the swimming pool's ongoing running costs. Additional money spent on the design and construction at the start may save you money over the pool's lifetime.

Swimming pools are great for exercising, training, relaxing and socialising, but they can also present a risk if the proper precautions are not implemented at the design stage. By taking safety into account from the offset, you will enjoy your pool, knowing that the risks of using the pool have been reduced. At the design stage, your chosen pool company will be able to advise you on the safety protection devices available to safeguard your pool, such as a pool cover, enclosure or fencing, to name but a few products.

Ensure that everything is in writing by you and the pool contractor, covering all specified requirements. There will usually be an obligatory cancellation period, and this is your opportunity to check through the contract, making sure everything is included, as agreed. Remember the contract is put in place to protect you and the contractor.

You’ve decided that now is the time to add a touch of luxury to your home by installing a swimming pool. There's no better feeling than plunging into your pool after a hard day's work or sharing the experience with your family and friends.

There are several key advantages to outdoor pools, more if you include soaking up the sun whilst swimming. For the most part, an outdoor pool is often treated as a permitted development, so it may not require planning permission unless you are building in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty. But, it would be wise to take advice from your local planning department to make sure.

There are also fewer restrictions to the size, shape and overall design of your pool, so you can be as outlandish as you like. Outdoor pools lend themselves to being social as they integrate into the expanse of the garden space so you can fulfil dreams of summer pool parties with family and friends, a barbeque on the go and drinks in hand.

Keeping it warm doesn't need to cost a fortune, and installing a water heat pump can be incredibly efficient. Once a week or so, it will need leaves raking off the surface and its pH and chlorine levels checked, but whilst outdoor pools generally require more manual maintenance, it is easy to keep on top of. An outdoor pool will need to shut down from October to March, and for added protection from the elements, if you intend to keep it full of water, it will require a robust protective cover to keep out the debris and provide safety.

An indoor pool can provide much more usability, and if you also like to exercise on land, it makes a fantastic addition to your exercise suite. They are great fun on a rainy day, and you can enjoy it all year round; whether you want to swim a few lengths or enjoy a quick dip after a day at the office, you can enjoy your pool whenever it suits you, day or night, summer or winter.

Its heating system will most likely warm the water and the air within the pool room whilst eliminating the smell of chlorine so that you can swim in a lovely cosy environment all year round. Moreover, it doesn't require as much maintenance as it is far less likely to become home to algae, leaves and other debris, and the environmental control unit will do much of the cleaning for you.

The primary consideration when deciding between the two is space and budget – unless you’re lucky enough to have an existing building, you’ll need to build a structure to house the pool. This will most often require planning permission and will typically increase the initial cost due to the extra building work required.

Whilst both options have advantages and disadvantages, enjoying the best of both worlds is possible.

If you’d like an outdoor pool but can't cope with the chilly air in the winter, then a quick and easy way to protect your pool is to incorporate a swimming pool enclosure. Pool enclosures are usually made from glass or polycarbonate material with an aluminium frame, so whilst they are permanent structures, they aren't quite as substantial as a pool house which helps with cost and flexibility. Assuming your pool is heated, it will be warm enough to swim in once it is securely enclosed, even on the coldest days. You will need to keep a cover on the pool when it is not in use, or condensation will become a problem.

If the thought of an indoor pool appeals, then you can create that outdoor feeling for the warmer months with large bi-fold or sliding doors on one or two sides, perhaps leading to a patio area, so you can easily slip onto a lounger and soak up the sun between dips or sit and enjoy a drink by the pool whilst the kids have a splash about

Now that you have decided what pool you want, you need to speak to an expert. I would always recommend that you consult with a SPATA member as they work to an agreed set of standards and are covered by Professional Indemnity insurance, so you’ll have that extra bit of reassurance about their credentials and expertise.

The specialist advice and assistance of a SPATA member in the design process can help you bring your ideas to life practically and cost-effectively and streamline the project to ensure that the timescales and budgets are met with the overall assurance of quality. Plus, every member works to the SPATA code of ethics, which adds peace of mind to your purchase decision.

Another good starting point is SPATEX, the UK's only dedicated international spa, pool and wellness show, which is free to attend and takes place 6-8 February 2024 at the Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry.

To learn more about SPATA, get design inspiration and connect with one of our members, visit Don't forget to follow us on Instagram for all the swimming pool inspiration you need.

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