How to Get a Perfect Pool at Home?

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Play with various textures to give your pool a finish that’s inglorious harmony with your home and garden. A pool is built for pleasure and not merely as an investment – but selecting the right style is vital. A pool that is poorly installed, or that doesn’t match the style of your home, will detract from the value of your property. We feature a few pools made all the more striking with the perfect textural finishes.

The latest trends

Forget conventional paving around the pool; you can create texture with a wide variety of tiles, concrete, stone and wooden decks.

Location  

Pools are being built closer to the home, with the design of the pool matching that of the house to present a cohesive look.

Size  

The smaller the better – these days, the average pool is 6 x 3m; smaller pools are not only cheaper but require less maintenance – and the water’s warmer. Shape  Straight lines can complement those of the house itself and long, narrow pools of 8 x 2m are also in demand.

Color  

Apart from pale blue, a wide variety of colors are fashionable – including reds and earthy tones.

Lighting

LED lighting is a must – particularly the type that changes color every 30 seconds.

Design principals

The shape, location, and design of a pool can influence an entire house, says architect Pieter Mathews in his recent book, Detail Housed (Visual Books, 2007). A long, relatively narrow pool angled directly away from the house can visually extend a fairly small space; if it runs parallel with the house, it may produce the opposite effect – with the advantage of more rooms being close to the water.

A round pool is directionless and tends to look like an unpretentious farm dam; however, this design works well in a square courtyard, or in an area where no direction is necessary.

A square pool provides direction thanks to the four sides but doesn’t emphasize one direction as a rectangular one would. This friendly form gains impact when angled diagonally – like a diamond. Beware of organic shapes such as the iconic kidney-shaped pools; these shapes are usually teamed with manmade rocks and can look extremely artificial. Water features are an integral element of any pool design. As water needs to be circulated, why not make a feature of a function? Designs range from ornamental lion heads and super-simple copper pipes to flat metal spouts and waterfalls over glass surfaces.

The regular spacing or grouping of water features can have an enchanting, serene effect. Textural finishes Introduce as many different textures as possible to all your finishes: from slate tiles, a balau wooden deck and paving stones to fine gravel and white pebbles. The cobalt-blue mosaic tiles of the water feature (below) boldly contrast with the natural finishes, emphasizing it as a statement.

Go with the flow

With pools being built closer to – or right up against – the home, it’s important to extend the interior style to the outside, to create an integrated effect. Hard landscaping such as paths and paving is ideal for connecting the two areas and although the pool area’s paving or decking will differ from that indoors, you can ensure that they complement each other by using similar colors, materials, and textures. If you’re wondering what to do about the rest of your lawn, remember that a small space seldom has room for both a pool and lawn and the latter is not only labor intensive but also makes it more difficult to keep the pool clean. You could, instead, opt for a finish such as a wooden deck to soften the appearance of hard paving, or combine wood and tiles. There’s no end to the possibilities of playing with texture.

Introduce greenery in specimen plants and containers and create striking focal points. Succulents such as aloes or quiver trees are the ideal choice for pools, as they enjoy full sun, are hardy and not particularly prone to pests and diseases. Use containers that are large enough to ensure that your plants and pots are in scale.

Surrounds and decking

The right surround for your pool, whether it’s wood, brick or tiles, improves its overall appearance and safety, and assists in keeping the pool clean. Leave at least 0.5m around your pool for your surround and increase that to 1m or 1.5m if you have a lawn – or you’ll constantly have to contend with grass clippings in the pool. Surrounds are most commonly created from wood, tiles, stones, pavers or concrete, available in all sorts of colors and shapes.

Wood  

These days, wooden decks and wooden tiles are among the most popular choices – but do remember to seal them, and to repeat the process every three years, to protect the wood against perpetual moisture. Concrete Tough and affordable, concrete paving is available in versions that look like tiles, pavers or cobbles – it can also be colored in almost any shade. Sandstone and stone tiles are non-slip and durable, but fairly expensive and also need to be sealed, as the stone is porous. Paving  It’s the most common surface around pools because it’s non-slip. For added texture and color, you can easily combine small pavers with larger blocks.

Material matters

The National Spa and Swimming Pool Institute (NSPI) categorizes pools in its annual competition by construction method. Gunite pools and concrete ones constructed on-site by hand are generally grouped together, while preformed fiberglass and vinyl pools fall into a second category. Make sure the pool company you contract uses a supplier registered with the NSPI. Gunite consists of special cement mixed with river sand; once the hole has been excavated, the dry material is sprayed over the surface and then set with water. Correctly installed, a gunite pool should last a lifetime – and can be finished with either fiberglass or a marble cement such as Marble, which can be tinted any color.

Fiberglass pools are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They’re molded at the factory and then transported to your home for installation. Vinyl pools are by far the most affordable option; they consist of a thick, sturdy lining supported by brick walls or steel panels. Freestanding pools are the ideal solution for townhouse complexes with strict regulations regarding additional construction. Some freestanding fiberglass pools resemble spas and, at about R20 000, they’re fairly affordable, compared with other pools – and their advantage is that when you move, your pool goes with you.