Decades ago, having a large swimming pool installed in the backyard would have made you the talk of the neighbourhood and everyone in your street keenly awaiting an invitation to pop over for a swim and barbecue. A swimming pool back then was such an exciting novelty that not much consideration was given to the décor of the pool’s surrounds. These days the backyard pool, its beautifully manicured decking and surrounding landscape, is seen as an extension of your home; a unique statement about the life you live. Australians love their swimming pools. A survey in 2015 found that more than 20 per cent of Australian families (with children aged 12 to 15) own a swimming pool. Renowned for sweltering summer temperatures that regularly surpass the 40-degree mark, Perth is Australia’s swimming-pool heartland.
Well-built swimming pools can last for years but gradually lose their lustre as the outer surrounds show signs of weathering, the coping edges begin to falter and tiles start to crack and lift. Often all that’s needed is a spruce and freshen up. A resurfacing of the surrounds or refitting of new waterline tiles can make your pool like new again. Sooner or later every pool needs some renewal work done, whether for practical reasons or purely cosmetic ones.
Keeping in mind that any swimming pool construction, renovation, alteration or repairs should only be carried out by certified contractors, here are some things to consider if you’re looking at giving your swimming pool area a makeover.
RENOVATE OR GET A NEW POOL
Do you need to renovate your pool and/or surrounds or would it be more practical to install a whole new one of different size and shape? A dramatic transformation is very much like installing a new pool, but without the added expense of removing the old one. Aesthetics aside, are you happy with the existing pool? Basically, there’s not much you can do in a new pool installation that you can’t do in a remodel, but of course the more extreme the makeover, the more it will cost. A quality renovation that goes beyond resurfacing the pool surrounds and garden landscape may not be much cheaper than the cost of a newly installed pool and landscape. You may need to consider if your pool’s operating mechanisms of pump, filter, plumbing and cleaning systems need an overhaul to bring up to current standards, or if your pool’s interior linings and waterline tiles have to be replaced.
PLAN YOUR POOL RENOVATIONS
So, the pool you once treated as your personal water gymnasium and a place to work out is now primarily a place of relaxation and entertainment. Be mindful of your current lifestyle and how you plan to use the pool. In the planning stages of your pool renovations, consider:
- What your budget is – Does your budget allow for a major pool overhaul, fencing and new garden or are you limited to updating pool surrounds and adding some inexpensive decorative touches like new furniture and LED lights. A concrete pour presents great value for pool surrounds that cover an extensive area, whereas a layout made of pavers and bricks can be an expensive labour-intensive task.
- What types of surrounds – Resurfacing pool surrounds provides excellent value for money in the way it can dramatically improve the look and function of your pool. There are several choices for the outer area of your pool: stone; imitation stone; wood decking; pavers and tiles. Safe skid resistant surfaces are the best choice for wet areas. Decorative concrete is an economically viable choice – it comes in a wide range of colours and textured finishes. Geostone’s wide range of exposed aggregate mixes highlights the raw texture of stone on a skid resistant surface.
- Future maintenance – There are many tough and long-lasting pool paving materials available but most will require regular maintenance in order to keep your pool surrounds in mint condition. Timber decks require re-coatings of protective oils, cracked tiles will need replacing. A well sealed decorative concrete deck should only need the occasional scrub and rinse to keep it as clean and fresh as the day it was installed.
How much space do you need for the pool surrounds? What areas are going to get hot sun for most of the day? Avoid leaf-shedding plants and large trees that will need lopping to prevent them shading the water and dropping materials into the pool. Use plantings to conceal pumps and equipment or unattractive fencing. Your tall exotic palm may be better suited providing shade over your favourite deckchair where you like to lounge and read. Try to balance soft and hard finishes – use pot plants and planters to diminish the harshness of a rendered brick wall.
- Water features – As well as upping the fun factor for you and the kids, pool features such as waterfalls and bubblers, a water slide or diving board are relatively easy to maintain and add to your pool’s visual appeal.
- Pool lighting – Really bring your pool area to life after dark. A wide range of LED, flush-mounted and multi-coloured underwater lights can impact and complement as well as make your pool areas safer.