Pool decks made from decorative concrete are growing in popularity for a number of reasons. For a start, exposed or honed concrete has skid resistant qualities in wet areas making it a naturally safer choice for pool surrounds, as well as driveways and walkways, and even laundries and bathrooms. Concrete pool decks are also UV-resistant, weeds are less likely to grow through them, and they’re relatively easy to maintain.
All this functionality should not overshadow the aesthetic appeal of decorative concrete around the pool, in particular its “seamless” qualities. In these modern times, where flow from one area of the home to another is often considered to be a highly desirable feature, decorative concrete stands out for being able to link one location to another. A concrete pool deck can, through colour and texture, perfectly reflect its surroundings including the house, other outdoor entertainment areas and garden.
This is achieved through the sheer versatility of decorative concrete. Exposed, honed and coloured concrete options can all be used in a pool deck to varying degrees. On their own, or in combination, they can create a mirror image of the environs outside of the pool area. For example, a pattern or strip of coloured concrete within a honed pool deck can match the colour palette of a nearby garden. A concrete pool deck can also lead onto any walkway that links the pool area to another outdoor entertainment space, or the home itself. With all the ways a concrete pool deck can make a connection between different outdoor areas or buildings, it is no surprise that the surface is now a common choice when pool areas are being built.
While other pool deck materials may provide a limited amount of exterior flow, few, if any, can match the versatility of decorative concrete. When colour, texture and finish combine in a concrete pool deck, it accentuates the feel of exterior flow. This degree of seamlessness might not be possible when using other surfaces. For example, timber decking may be available in a range of colours, but the texture and finish might not be as versatile: this is a major consideration if exterior flow is a desired look in an outdoor area. With decorative concrete, texture, finish and colour are used to striking effect in many applications.
Great looking driveways add much street appeal and value to a home so it is no surprise to see decorative concrete used quite often on new driveways, as well as accompanying walkways. Polished internal floors and honed concrete of the same colour in adjoining outdoor spaces allows for flow from one area to another. Why shouldn’t it be the same for pool decks? The use of decorative concrete certainly allows you to create an exterior where one area naturally flows or connects to another; such is the seamlessness of a concrete pool deck.
Before the sun goes down and the barbecue is fired up, it’s your pool that is usually the centre of attention on a hot summer’s afternoon. It’s perfectly understandable that you want the pool to capture that attention in a very eye-catching way, and cool surrounds can help you make that desired impression.
One of the keys to creating beautiful pool surrounds is integration with the rest of the backyard. There’s nothing wrong with bold, contrasting touches here and there, such as a brightly coloured feature wall, or clever lighting effects, but the overall impression should be one of a pool area that fits in beautifully and naturally with its surroundings.
An intelligent selection of plants can help achieve this sense of integration. Plants similar to the ones already in the garden might strongly emphasise the flow from back yard to pool area. Similarly, furniture that reflects the architecture and age of the home can also help to form a seamless impression. Indoor outdoor flow is seen as a major selling point these days, and creating a similar feeling from back yard to pool area might be seen as just as desirable.
A pool’s immediate surrounds should have the biggest visual impact, so pay extra attention to the surface you choose. Timber decking might once have been the “go to” surface, a staple of many Australian pools. Today, however, decorative concrete seems to be leading the charge as people look for more innovative ways to combine looks with practicality. Decorative concrete can achieve this in many ways:
- Exposed and honed concrete have slip-resistant properties that many other surfaces lack.
- Coloured concrete can be used as a border or pattern amongst exposed or honed concrete. It can be customised to complement other features of the back yard and tie everything together.
- Mosquitoes are less likely to breed under concrete surfaces.
- Weeds cannot grow through concrete pool surrounds.
- The raw texture of Australian stone in exposed concrete can create a striking visual effect around water.
- Concrete is comfortable on bare feet, while honed concrete is smooth and very easy to walk on.
- Decorative concrete is versatile with a wide range of design options.
For these, and other reasons, decorative concrete is a smart choice as the centrepiece of your cool pool surrounds. In conjunction with the right plants, furniture and accessories, it has the potential to give you a stunning yet easy-care surface.
One final note, the most important thing surrounding your pool should always be the fence. Safety must be a high priority, even as you’re trying to create great looking pool surrounds. By all means, go all out when designing your pool area, but keep in mind the safety of everyone who will use it. A good idea is to go to the Royal Lifesaving Society’s website for their Home Pool Safety Checklist. When you’re creating your cool pool surrounds, refer to this checklist as often as you refer to your wish list.
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.