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Part 1: Top considerations when buying an outdoor pool

Location

As potentially one of the largest components of your garden, the swimming pool requires a lot of thought and planning in determining where to put it. You will need to consider the path of the sun, proximity to trees, ground levels and topography as well as safety and security and the ability to survey the pool from your house. Typically the pool area will include a paved area, landscaping and planting.

A good pool company should be happy to visit and survey the site as well as provide guidance for where the pool should sit and the naturally desired routes any bathers would be likely to take when accessing the pool from the house. The pool location should avoid areas of lawn by the access route so as to protect the pool water from dirt, mud, animal faeces, grass and other debris as this is all potentially carried on bathers feet into the pool and will provide an unnecessary burden on the pool dosing system, not to mention require more regular pool cleaning. Another consideration is where to situate the small plant room required to house the pool equipment which is needed to be kept dry and clean from general garden waste.

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Style

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The most common outdoor pool size in the UK is 8m x 4m but for those of you who are serious about swimming or have a larger garden a 10m x 4 or even a 12m x 5m may be better suited. It’s worth remembering that the installation costs are directly proportional to the size and a larger pool will also cost more to run. Adding a resistance swim device is a cost effective option for serious swimmers who don’t have space for a larger pool. Irregular shape pools were popular back in the 1980s, however modern tastes tend to favour rectangular pools and these do have some benefits.

The most common type of pool cover on an irregular shaped pool is a bubble cover on a manual roller, these covers can be cut to any shape, are cost effective and good at retaining the heat however, they don’t offer much in the way of safety. If your pool isn’t going to be fenced off, or you’re concerned about safety of children and animals then a rectangular shape pools the best option as it benefits from a wide range of automatic safety covers. Constant depth pools are more cost effective to construct, cheaper to run and allow younger children to use the entirety of the pool. If you’re planning to use your pool for diving then your pool contractor must design the pool chamber to meet the SPATA cage of safety regulations. This will lead to a deeper pool and affect the construction and running cost.

Construction

The choices you make during construction will determine the longevity and running costs of your pool. It’s common practice to have an insulated chamber on outdoor pools as this helps to reduce your running costs as well as being more eco-friendly. You’ll need to think about your garden access and logistics of getting materials to and from the site as this can sometimes affect the cost.

The type of construction can sometimes limit the finish on the inside of the pool chamber but this is something that our team of experts can talk you through and find a solution for. Another point to consider is that time of year can play a part in the construction cycle - believe it or not the winter is sometimes the best time for the heavy works as they go relatively unnoticed so you can enjoy your garden in the summer.

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Swim Season

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The swim season for outdoor pools is typically May to September, but some may prefer an extended season such as, April to October or for the brave - all year round! If your pool is heated by a gas or oil boiler then it’s critical to ensure that the heat demand can be met. If you are heating your outdoor pool by using an air source heat pump then this too needs to be designed to cope with the demand as it is likely to need either a bigger heat pump or multiple heat pumps which will increase the capital cost.

Before asking us to quote for an all year round heating system, have a think about if you’re really likely to be swimming on a chilly December morning as the costs do increase. Our experts can talk you through the options and design a solution to fit your needs whatever you decide.

Temperature

The typical design standard for water temperature in an outdoor pool is 28°c. In our experience people who swim for exercise frequently and for extended durations prefer the water temperature to be lower, between 25°c to 27°c as it’s more comfortable as your body warms while exercising. However, people who use the pool more recreationally prefer the water to be 29°c to 30°c. The reason temperature is important is because a pool designer will need to calculate the correct sizing of the heating equipment to ensure you can enjoy your pool at the most comfortable temperature.

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