Set yourself up for next summer with a cool pool

Set yourself up for next summer with a cool pool

Did you spend the summer holidays wishing you’d taken the plunge and put in a pool?

It’s never too late – there is always next summer to look forward to!

So, where to start? First thing is to determine what you want out of your pool, says award-winning landscape designer and director of Franklin Pools David Franklin.

“Do you want a family-sized pool where playtime is the focus? Or do you work during the day and come home late at night? In this case, you’re probably looking for something you can just slip in and out of, so a plunge pool may be more suitable,” said Mr Franklin, known for his work on TV renovating shows Reno Rumble and The Block.

Here, Mr Franklin shares important points to consider before putting in a pool.


Check if your site has easy access, otherwise you might need building equipment and even the pool craned in, adding to the cost. Dirt from the pool dig might also need to be craned out.

Mr Franklin recommended not having the pool in the centre of the backyard because it made the garden space less usable.

Instead, locate it to the side and integrate it with the natural surroundings, while still allowing enough space for other garden activities.

“Don’t put it too far from the house,” he said. “Bring it closer to your home and outdoor dining area so it becomes a feature you can enjoy when entertaining.”

He advised looking at the design and site together, not separately. Think about what size best suits your home and garden layout, which is where a pool builder with a landscape-design background can really help.


Mr Franklin said lining the pool with glass tiles was definitely on trend, particularly blue tiles, which he said beautifully captured a holiday-resort feel.

“At least 95 per cent of our pools now are fully tiled. It gives a better look, better finish and keeps the inside of the pool cleaner,” he said.

However, he urged people to be wary of cheap glass-tile imports, which had been known to fall off.


Apart from excavation, other costs include design and landscaping and, of course, day-to-day running and maintenance.

“I would look at using a three-speed water pump. You can get ones that start on a high speed then drop this down to a lower speed, making it more economical to run,” Mr Franklin said. “And invest in a quality robotic cleaner because nobody likes spending time cleaning the pool.”

Alternatively, he said, an in-built pool-cleaning system was a smart move but more costly and had to be considered at the design stage.

In terms of structure, fibre-glass pools are cheaper as they are made off-site, while concrete pools are pricier because they’re poured on-site.


Mr Franklin said to carefully consider the design of the area adjoining the pool and what could be added to extend your pleasure.

Think about adding features, such as a day bed or seating, where you can relax beside the water.

“Glass windows in the pool are also popular because they provide transparency and make the pool feel bigger,” he said. “You’ll be able to see straight into the pool from inside the house as well, which adds to the wow factor.”

Consider creating different levels in and around the pool. It makes the design look interesting and makes the pool fun. It also provides areas where you can sit and talk, even when in the water.

Also consider a hand-poured, honed-concrete ledge. It will create a shadow-line effect that defines the perimeter and is something the kids can use to jump into the water.

“It looks fantastic and creates the effect that the pool is virtually floating,” Mr Franklin said.

Mistake to avoid

All too often, people want pools that are too big and far too deep.

“They’re after a 10m x 8m pool that’s eight-foot (2.4m) deep all the way through. It makes the pool unplayable,” Mr Franklin said.

Tips for new pools

Here is more advice from Mr Franklin for those considering putting in a pool:

• Install an app on your phone to remotely clean the pool and set the water temperature. This way, the pool will be ready to enjoy as soon as you get home.

• Set lights on a timer so the pool becomes a garden feature at night.

• Break up hard and soft surfaces to create design balance and make the colour of the water pop. Think paving with an area of decking.

• Go for a magnesium-based water treatment. Natural filtration systems, especially ones with an ozone element, are healthier on the skin, have no odour and give the cleanest, clearest water.

• Combine solar and gas systems to heat the pool and spa. Solar will generally do most of the work and is very cost efficient. Gas heating can boost the temperature quickly if it hasn’t quite reached your ideal.

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