When it comes to a country with a hot climate, like South Africa, it is up to clever planning and creative designs to make the most of those high temperatures, and one of the most popular ways in which we beat the heat is via a swimming pool (also called a garden pool). After all, there is nothing better than letting go of the day’s responsibilities (even if only for a few minutes) and cooling off in a body of fresh, clean water – that is, if you are fortunate enough to have your own pool.
Whether it’s located in your front yard, back garden, along the side of your house or on your balcony (yes, pool designs are quite unique), a swimming pool is one of those sought-after elements that not only enhances one’s lifestyle, but can also increase a property’s asking price.
That is like asking how long is a piece of string – how big can you make it? How spacious is your yard? How big is your budget?
One of the great things about swimming pools is that they are available in a multitude of different sizes and designs. Whether you fancy a great, big spacious one to help you practice your diving skills, or just something small and cosy in which you can submerge yourself to cool off (which we usually call “splash pools”), there is definitely the right size and design for your swimming or dipping needs.
Depending on your budget, available space and style of your house or garden, you have various options to consider when it comes to choosing the perfect pool.
Elongated, rectangular designs are some of the more popular ones in South Africa, as they suit almost any yard or garden. But opting for a traditional design doesn’t mean you need to compromise on quality or striking finishes, as a host of design touches (from mosaic tiles to water fountains) are available.
Numerous holiday resorts (in South Africa and abroad) flaunt tropical-style swimming pools, which tend to be more of a curvy shape instead of rectangular. Other rustic elements like rocks, wood and plants can be added in and around the pool to create a more natural-looking ambience.
Infinity pools are the epitome of elegance, especially when they allow the bather a beautiful view to admire while cooling off.
Are concrete pools the best choice, or have fibreglass designs taken over the swimming- and splashing world? There are various kinds of swimming pools, in all shapes and sizes, but the most popular seem to be hand-packed concrete, gunite and pre-moulded fibreglass pools. You decide which is best based on your needs.
Go for a concrete pool if:
· You want a customised shape or size that’s not available in a fibreglass design (such as an L-shaped pool or one that’s much wider than 5m).
· You want your swimming pool to be deeper than 1.8m.
· Possible costly future repairs don’t bother you.
· The weekly maintenance that is part and parcel of having a pool doesn’t concern you.
· You want your pool to have a completely natural, “rough” look.
· You are not concerned with the roughness of a concrete surface under your bare feet.
Pick a pre-moulded fibreglass pool if:
· You want the least amount of weekly swimming pool maintenance possible.
· You want your pool installation to be quick.
· You want a pool on the smaller end of the size scale (approximately 5m x 10m or less).
· You just require a basic functional pool that’ll be used for simple swimming and cooling off. Choose a gunite pool if:
· You want a lot of flexibility in your pool’s shape and design (a lot of additional elements can be added to a gunite pool, like waterfalls, custom-built steps and beach entries).
· A big budget is not a major concern.
· Installation time is not a problem (a gunite pool installation generally takes up to 12 weeks to complete).
Having a swimming pool in South Africa means you have a wonderful spot where you can relax and socialise for at least 6 months out of the year. And for those that have indoor pools, the weather has no bearing on their use. But take the following into consideration as well:
· A swimming pool is a great way to get exercise for both young and old, at any time of the day.
· In the current building economy, installing a swimming pool is not as costly as it was a few years ago. Of course this also depends on what type of pool you opt for.
· Building a pool adds significant value to a home (and buying a home that already has one is cheaper than having one installed later on).
· With a pool comes a dedication to maintenance, but there are also plenty of professional pool companies that can ensure your pool is as neat and clean as it needs to be.
· Swimming pools can be dangerous for both young and old, which is why various safety measures need to be put into place (such as a security fence to keep toddlers away).
· When selling your home with a pool, you may not receive back the amount of money that you paid for the pool. Remember that all home upgrades and renovations equate to what the current market demands are in your area. An expert residential appraiser can tell you how much increase your swimming pool is worth at the time of resale.
· Proper chemical use is required to keep a pool’s water PH levels accurate. Improper use can lead to swimmers getting ill, or algae and other bacteria forming in the pool.
Depending on materials, supplier, size and additional touches (like rocks and lighting fixtures), a swimming pool can be quite costly – a 6m x 3m gunite pool is priced at about R60,000. Then again, an above-ground model (that you assemble yourself) with a size of 3.66m x 1m shouldn’t cost more than R3,250. Scoping out various designs and prices is part of the fun!
Whether it’s an indoor pool or one in your garden, and regardless of whether it’s dug into the ground or built on top of your lawn, you are sure to find the right Pools & Spas expert to help you acquire the perfect swimming pool come that scorching South African summer!