Swimming pools come in different types, sizes, shapes, designs and are used for various purposes. The cost, area, local regulations, and availability of materials are all factors that determine what kind of pool you will decide to build on your property.
Before plunging, assess what type of swimming pool best works for you and your family. They come in a wide range of options, from in-ground or above to concrete or fiberglass composite, painted or tiled, or infinity edge to a lap pool.
There are many aspects to consider when constructing a swimming pool on your property, aside from the planning permission and building regulations. Indeed, you also have to contemplate the materials, location, type of pool, and the fencing regulations you have to comply with to achieve the swimming pool you want.
In this article, we run down the factors to consider before building a swimming pool on your property. We will also discuss the planning permission and building regulations in cases where you build a pool out of your property line.
10 Things to Consider Before Building an Outdoor Pool
Swimming pools are a great addition to your home if you have enough space on your lot. Having a swimming pool means you’ll be spending hours in there, especially during the summer months with your family, friends, and neighbors.
However, a swimming pool isn’t an instant structure you can have; it takes months to complete. So, before plunging into building your water feature, here are the things to consider.
- Why have a pool?
Do you need to have a pool? Before building an outdoor pool, ask yourself if you need one. Will you use it for exercise, recreation, or relaxing? Is it for your family, children, and their friends, to enhance your backyard view, or to act as a focal point in your yard?
Having a clear purpose for your pool is important as the rest of your decision will not be hard to sort out. Start as you would with any huge projects by narrowing down the reason why you need to put up a swimming pool.
These common questions will have a crucial impact on your decisions regarding your pool’s size, depth, design, and layout. Also, this will help you plan and prepare for the expense.
- Is my area up to it?
Swimming pools are easy to build in a flat and leveled area. If you have steep slopes, however, it will be more expensive. Building your swimming pool on the problematic ground, such as a high water table, very sandy, rocky, and unstable soil can be tricky.
Also, are you located in an earthquake-prone, sliding, or flood-prone area? In such cases, you probably need to commission a geotechnical engineering report or assess your ground sustainability by conducting a soil test.
The size and shape of your swimming pool can be determined based on the size of your residence. Small urban areas have strict requirements for any type of construction close to boundaries, shading from other residences, and neighboring trees.
These cases can limit where you would position your swimming pool. But, if you have a clever designer, they can be of big help in finding solutions to particular issues.
- Where do I put it?
Once you have decided on the design, layout, and type of pool you want, it’s time to pick where you want to put it. You can check and verify with your local council and building regulations about site coverage allowance, fencing requirements, and nearness to stormwater drains.
You can also contact them to inspect the location of utilities, such as electricity, telephone, cable, gas, and water. Here are other factors to include:
The sightline is the view of the swimming pool from indoors and the rest of your backyard. Lighting and water features will make it more appealing and attractive, so you can consider adding them. Your swimming pool’s placement is very important, especially if you have kids living in the house.
- Sun and wind exposure
Make sure your swimming pool receives partial shade and is located in an open area. Although trees can block the sun, their leaves can fall in the pool, forcing you to collect them. Your pool wind exposure will cool the water when it is warm due to sun exposure and will also increases evaporation. Finally, you can plant or build screens to shelter your swimming pool.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing the location of your pool is its accessibility to the entry and exit point of your residence. Thus, ask yourself how you will enter and exit the pool and where you will lounge around the pool.
These are crucial details since swimming must provide circulation routes and a relaxing and entertaining poolside.
Storage is also an important factor to consider when constructing your swimming pool. It is where you keep the filtration equipment, pool cleaner, toys, loungers, umbrellas, and everything related to your pool.
- In-ground or above ground: which is best?
This is one of the primary factors to consider when determining your swimming pool’s structure. Should it be above or in the ground? Soil removal and excavation are expensive, but in-ground pools have more permanent touch than above-ground pool structures.
If you live on steep terrain, it might be cheaper, easier, and faster to construct. Although, installing a ground swimming pool made of fiberglass with a surrounding deck can be tricky.
If you want a cheaper option, you should consider prefabricated swimming pools and above-ground ones. Those are usually made of steel with vinyl liner or fiberglass.
If you are renting and want to bring your pool with you, DIY models that are easy to dismantle are great options too. Swimming pool options vary from basic ones with no filtration to larger models that are perfect for swimming laps and include decking, steps, and filtration. However, the downside is that most of these options have a limited lifespan.
- How much will it cost?
A basic, concrete swimming pool is more expensive than one made of fiberglass. An above-ground fiberglass pool costs about $25,000 or more while concrete ones cost over $50,000 due to their customizable shapes and sizes.
You should also consider the cost of additional pool installation, including decking, covers, landscaping, and heating system in some areas. Then, you have to think about the ongoing maintenance costs of filtration and keeping the water with saltwater chlorinators, chemicals, self-cleaning units, and suction cleaners.
The most expensive maintenance cost for a swimming pool is its lining. Some concrete pools need to be acid-washed every 3 to 5 years and re-plastered or resurfaced every 10 to 15 years.
For vinyl-lined swimming pools, repairs are done every 5 to 10 years, while fiberglass pools are low maintenance and come with a 25 to 35 years structural warranty.
- Fiberglass or concrete?
Fiberglass and concrete are the most popular swimming pool materials. In-ground concrete pools that are reinforced with steel are traditionally viewed as the strongest and most durable options. As time passed, fiberglass gained popularity due to its composite technology that increased the material’s strength and longevity.
The sprayed concrete technique speeds up the process compared to box-poured concrete. The construction of a concrete swimming pool can last three months, while building a fiberglass one can take even longer.
Bad weather can delay the construction, and the porous nature of concrete can result in mold and large issues if the surface isn’t properly done.
If you want a customized layout and design, go for concrete since it offers:
- Flexibility in size, shape, and depth
- Infinity edge or “a beach” entry to the pool
- Many options for finishing the interior, such as marble, tiles, pebbles, colored quartz, plaster, pool paint, and vinyl
Fiberglass pools are pre-molded into different shapes and can be placed in excavated holes or set above ground built with extra-strength strong support. Choosing a fiberglass pool offers:
- Cost efficiency
- The possibility for addling, swim jets, spa, and infinity edge
- Fewer issues with chemical imbalances and calcium build-up
- A gel coating
- Durability and resistance to stains and mold
- Fencing laws
In some places, local governments require pool fencing for residential swimming pools for safety reasons. Each state and local unit has its own regulations and permits that make sure that every pool owner complies with the implemented fencing law.
You can contact and check with your local council for permits and to ensure that you meet your legal responsibilities.
- Who will build it?
You can ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues who have swimming pools or can go to a local and certified pool builder in your area. Either way, it is best to have your swimming pool constructed by professionals.
- What will go around it?
Maintenance varies based on the material you use. Fencing, landscaping, paving, and a pump house can add to the swimming pool’s total cost. If you are drawn in timber, composite decking, pavers, or stone, it is best to consider slip-resistant and well-maintained materials.
For example, a composite decking contains no timber, so it cannot rot, split, and resists fade, but it gets your underfoot hot.
- Mistakes to avoid
Building a swimming pool requires an intensive plan and making strong decisions. Here are mistakes to avoid when constructing a swimming pool:
- Choosing the wrong location. The swimming pool can’t be moved once it is installed, so choose the location wisely.
- Getting a diving board that you are not going to use. If you want a diving board, your pool must have a deep end. It is another cost to consider. Plus, it isn’t child-friendly.
- Buying on price alone. Cutting corners isn’t worth it with swimming pools.
- Underestimating the size of the swimming pool.
- Skimping on paved or decking areas around the pool to save money.
When are planning permissions required or not?
Building regulations and planning permissions do not usually apply to outdoor swimming pools. An outdoor pool is considered by the planning council a “backyard or garden project.” However, you must still check with your local planning authority, just in case.
Planning permissions and building regulations are needed if your property’s surrounding area is classified as a:
- National park
- Greenbelt land
- Conservation area
- Designated land
- Listed building
To avoid planning permissions, the swimming pool must be located behind the building line, which refers to a line drawn across the property by the front elevation of the house. Also, avoid putting verandas, balconies, or raised platforms.
If you want a pool house, it has to be a single story with a maximum height at the eaves of 8’2 and an overall height of 13 feet, with a dual pitched roof or 9’8 for any other roof. If you plan on constructing within 6’5 of your building line, then the overall height must be 8’2 or less. Anything higher than requires permission to be built.
Your swimming pool will also need planning permission if it’s settled close to national parks, the broads, and World Heritage sites, whereas the maximum area the pool can cover is 107 square feet. If you want to build at the side of your house rather than the back, you still need planning permission.
If the swimming pool is overlooking a public highway or is near a road, path walk, or bridleway, you have to apply for planning permission as well.
Building regulations don’t usually apply to an indoor pool as long as it is less than 323 square feet, features no sleeping accommodation, and is not attached to your house.
Planning permission is a very complicated matter and some local authorities interpret the rules in different ways. Therefore, it is best to check with the local planning officer to be sure. If you build a swimming pool without planning permission, the consequences can go as far as having to demolish what has been built.
With this article, you now have an idea of what should be considered before building a swimming pool. A pool is a major investment, so planning and deciding the best for it should be your top priority.
Also, make sure to check with your local unit whether you need planning permission for the swimming pool you will be constructed or not. Whichever type, design, and size you end up picking, always take note of the important factors to avoid any problems.