Saturday , May 25 2024

Swim in your own back garden

If someone told you they had a swimming pool in their back garden, then your immediate thought might well be that they must be rich. Let’s face it, we’re not living in Australia, where a pool in the garden is about as normal as grass on the lawn.

This is Britain. Only the wealthy have swimming pools,don’t they? Well maybe not. You may be surprised to hear that it can cost as little as £3,000 to have your very own pool and the advantages of doing so could stay with you for years to come.

Tom Holman, managing director of Fowler Swimming Pools, explains why sales at his company are booming. “Swimming pools are now seen as a way to keep the family fit with great exercise in your own surroundings,” he says.”Children love them and adults enjoy entertaining their friends at the poolside with barbecues and evening drinks.

Even the weather doesn’t have to be a problem now because we can create covered pool areas for all-year-round use.”With an estimated 6,000 pools built each year in the UK, the industry has never looked so buoyant – no pun intended. “Modern pool construction methods have slashed both the time it takes to build a swimming pool and the cost,” says Richard Carrington, chairman of Spata (Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association), the trade body for the UK swimming pool industry.

If you fancy your own private pool then the options have never been better. The choice kicks off with above-ground models for the budget-conscious starting at about £3,000 and ranges up to fully tiled, reinforced concrete pools costing from £35,000. Holman has some words of warning before you take the plunge though. “By choosing a Spata-registered supplier or contractor, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you are dealing with a reputable company with the necessary experience, expertise and back-up, should you encounter any problems,” he says.

Fowler Swimming Pools advices those considering a pool to set a budget and think carefully about who is going to use it, how it will be used and when. Think carefully about the size and location of the new pool and the possibility of extending its use all year round with an enclosure. Althoughthis will obviously add to the cost, the benefits in terms of use could behuge. There are numerous types of pools to choose from, including the following.

Luxury option A fully tiled, reinforced concrete pool takes the title of top of the range when it comes to home pool options. Usually finished with tiles or mosaics,concrete pools can be as glamorous and elaborative as you like, with prices starting at about £35,000.While this may seem a lot of money initially, many such pools will last upto 30 years, which actually makes them great value in the long term.For those looking for a mid-priced investment, a panel and liner pool offers a realistic alternative, with prices starting at about £20,000. Taking about a month to install, liners will need replacing every 10 years or so and come in a variety of colours and patterns including very convincing mock tiling or mosaics. All-in-one-option A quick-fix alternative, and gaining in popularity all the time, is the one-piece pool that can be up and running within about two weeks and will cost upwards of £15,000.These are available as fibreglass or ceramic all-in-one moulds and are simply lowered into a pre-prepared hole. They use the same technology as that used by builders of luxury motor cruisers and can be fitted with all the necessary equipment, such as skimmers, drain, inlets, pump filter and lights, before they are even delivered.The complete structure is craned into position and lowered onto a pre-prepared excavation with a crushed gravel base.

Once all the pre-assembled pipe-work is connected, a concrete surround collar is fitted and coping or paving stones are put in place. Then it is ready for use. Whatever type of pool you decide to have, make sure you’ve done your homework. Holman says: “Talk to a pool builder about the options and talk to former clients who have dealt with the pool company.” Spata is the industry watchdog and it is worth ensuring the company you deal with is a member. It offers a warranty scheme that guarantees the work of its members and a mediation service in the unlikely event of anything going wrong.”But the big question on many people’s lips will be: will a swimming pool add value to the property? It’s a tricky question to answer. In some cases, yes,particularly if the property is improved by the addition. But never assume that a £50,000 pool will add the same amount to a property price. And it’s worth remembering that a poorly designed and constructed pool will do nothing to a house price. “It could even hamper a house sale,” says Holman.”It pays to go for the best that can be afforded and to use a reliable company with an excellent reputation.”


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