A survey conducted in 2015 by selling agents highlighted the value of a pool was not measured by its monetary return but more by its ability to add enjoyment to the homeowners lifestyle. Although this notion has been around longer than this survey, it irrevocably changed the requirements of a pool area from the previously perceived notion of it being a simple swimming hole in the backyard.
A pool area should enhance the homeowners’ lifestyle and address the following objectives;
- Be functional
- Low maintenance
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Flow between outdoor and indoor living
These 5 factors will guide you through the designing and building of your pool space and ensure it will be an extension of you and your family’s lifestyle.
Due to decreased land size and increased house sizes, maximisation of the limited space is vital. To accomplish this, creating versatile and multi-functional areas in and out of your pool area is key.
Knowing exactly what you want and want you need is the first step to understand the characteristics required to suit your lifestyle. With space being a real issue, you may discard the possibility of some elements that you’d love for your pool space. This may not be necessary – converting one simple design element into a dual functioning feature will alleviate space constrictions. Below are some surprising examples of this:
- Retaining walls doubled as bench seating around a fire pit
- A well designed pool pavilion which include bathroom and/or kitchen facilities
- Several strategically placed seclusions with lounges, hammocks, swings, bird baths, BBQ area etc. that allow for multiple uses in the yard without compromising on privacy
- Create a seamless flow from indoors to outdoors by placing the internal toilet near the pool area or open up the kitchen to service indoor or outdoor dining with bi-fold windows or doors
- Install the pool somewhere different from the usual backyard. Try the front yard or even along the side of the house; giving more space in the back yard (if you have one) and utilising the limited space you do have (if you don’t have one)!
- Build an above ground rather than in ground pool. Some above ground pools create depth, character and add personal style to an outdoor space!
- Is your outdoor space is limited but you desire a pool AND spa? Consider a plunge pool with jets installed or a full sized pool with inbuilt spa in its steps or submerged edging
- Create a pool with a “pond” feel or cascading water feature.
- Low Maintenance
Most people are time poor and don’t want a pool that needs constant maintenance.
To begin, consider installing a salt water pool which requires less chlorine – keeping the water sanitized more effectively through its pumping process than a chlorine pool. Investing in high quality pumps, heaters and filters or even an automatic pool cover further reduces time spent on maintenance. However, the ultimate in low maintenance modern pools are self-cleaning. They either incorporate a drainage system which draws leaves to a skimmer or a vacuum style device that roams the pools walls and floors. To add additional ease in pool care, a self-automation system with a timer installed within your home allows you to set the timer and walk away.
Another option which is surprisingly low maintenance are natural pools. Being chemical-free and environmentally friendly, they rely on nature to keep the water sanitized and healthy. The water attracts birds, bugs, tadpoles and plants to grow. This does conjure the question;
“Will I be swimming with frogs?”
The main pool is separate to a smaller pond, which encourages plants and creatures away from the pool itself. The only requirement is a pump or fountain to circulate the water and keep it from becoming stagnant. No more chemicals, water testing, chlorinators and such devices…. And think about the amount you’ll save on your electricity bill!
Out of the pool, look to low maintenance plants that suit your requirements and privacy needs. Installing a timer sprinkler system further reduces time spent on maintenance . Artificial turf has become a popular option around pools.
Questions to ponder:
- Are you an entertainer of big parties or small affairs?
- Do you esteem privacy or are you OK with being exposed to your surrounds?
- Does relaxation mean family or solitary time?
- Do you like being active or rather a good book to unwind?
Consideration to how you relax will assist in creating a “you” lifestyle pool area. However, regardless of how you like to spend your downtime, there are some basic considerations to implement prior to infusing personal touches. These are;
- Lighting – At a practical level, proper lighting ensures safe manoeuvring around the outdoor space. By staging your pool area with the right light fixtures and proper placement you can create an ambience and atmosphere that will draw you to spend the twilight hours outdoors – maximising your leisure time in this space of your home. Highlight features such as trees, garden sculptures and fountains with coloured up lights so that can be admired from indoors; increasing the enjoyment and versatility of your outdoor space. Traditionally, pool lighting was a singular fitting at the deep end for safety during night swimming. Nowadays several white or coloured light fittings can be incorporated into the coping walls of your pool which showcases the pool and heighten the mood. These can be remote controlled to change colours; also changing the mood you want to create.
- Privacy – Judging the degree of privacy you require is a personal thing but everyone needs some level of privacy from the neighbours. Therefore, visual screening considerations need to be accounted for in the designing of your pool area. For visual privacy screening opt for large trees, fast growing bamboo, high fencing or alternative materials such as decorative aluminium screens. Keep in mind that appropriate screening placement will enhance the overall atmosphere of your outdoor experience – remember, don’t limit your choices to the standard boundary fence!
- Acoustics – are often overlooked as a design element. Acoustics can heighten the aural senses, muffle private conversations and dim the noisy neighbours. So if your goal is to create the ultimate lifestyle pool area, consider what acoustic barrier options suit your needs and budget. To sooth the senses and hide any unpleasant background sounds create a “white noise” feature such as a waterfall, fountain or wind chimes. Alternatively, consider installing speakers in you pergola or deck ceiling.
There are several ways to ensure that your outdoor space is a place that is aesthetically pleasing. Keeping to a theme will further enhance your yards appeal.
Appropriate landscaping creates balance to your space, soften hard lines of pool safety fencing and adds natural colour by using a wide array of plants. The layout, and type of plants used is critical to the aesthetics. If you require low maintenance plants choose species that blend into your theming and place them in areas they will thrive and heighten the ambience.
Try replicating your ultimate holiday spot in your yard and pool design. Maybe a Mediterranean courtyard with vines and bright soft furnishings overlooking a cascading water feature/pool for a European holiday feel or a sand bottom pool surrounded by palm trees and entertainers cabana to transport you to Malibu – creating a holiday destination without stepping out of your neighbourhood.
Another element to factor is other members of the household desires and needs. This will allow for maximum utilisation as each person will feel more inclined to escape and relax in this space if their preferences have been considered. A well designed area can be synergised to minimise clashes in personal tastes and cohesively blend individual style. An example of this is by installing playground equipment that is placed and themed strategically for optimal use and minimal hindrance to the overall look.
- Indoor/outdoor living
In Australia indoor/outdoor living is a necessity. With our warmer climate there is nothing more coveted than a house that extends to the outdoors. There are several key elements that can aid in achieving a seamless indoor/outdoor flow. Firstly, install large stacking or sliding doors which lead to the outdoor space or deck to create continuity and space efficiency. If these present proportion issues to your small home consider bi-fold windows from the kitchen to deck that can be transformed to a bar area. Also, easily opened windows and doors address the issue of ventilation during the hot summers by allowing cool breezes to circulate throughout the home. Secondly, choose furniture that weather well and are UV resistant and match your internal furnishing. This will make your space appear larger as well as melt both living areas together to form a natural flow from inside to outside. Pick soft furnishing that transition between the two areas – making the external look like it’s meant to be an internal living space or vice versa. Another option is to inject a focal piece to your outdoor space such as a fireplace, pizza oven or water fountain. This is will attract the eye to your exterior and add a homely mood that invites outdoor entertaining.
Always keep in mind ease of access to your pool area without compromising safety. Installing a pool at the very back of a big block reduces the likelihood of use for those summer evening dips. Unless excessive lighting is also installed to minimise walkway accidents, it is best to have your pool near the outdoor entertaining area. If planned wisely not only will you utilise the pool more but it can be the focal piece that attracts indoor dwellers to the outdoors.
There are so many more components that can be incorporated into your pool area design however if you can keep these 5 factors in mind it will minimise any oversight and future regrets – increasing your enjoyment and satisfaction in your lifestyle pool!Categories: Custom Homes, House Renovations, All Articles