The only thing better than beating the Aussie heat at the beach is cooling off in the pool with family, friends and a flotation device. Let’s face it – our summer temperatures are tough. With the cost of power rising, the thought of running the air conditioning all summer long has many people sweating for reasons other than the heat and asking themselves the question: can I put a swimming pool in my backyard?

The simple answer is yes. With the huge range of pool sizes and designs available today, backyard pool installation is a possibility for most Australian homeowners. However, there are a few things you need to consider before ‘jumping in’ – keep reading to find out more.

Backyard Pools: Key Considerations

Like any kind of home renovation, installing a pool in your backyard is a big job. So, before you get all excited booking the bulldozer, putting on your togs and picking a Pool Perf design, here are 5 key things you need to consider before installing a pool in your backyard:

  1. Is There Enough Space And Access?
  2. What Type Of Backyard Pool Do I Want?
  3. Are There Council Permits Required?
  4.  Will I Need A Pool Fence?
  5. Who Will Install The Pool? 

Is There Enough Space To Install A Swimming Pool?

As I said before, with the huge range of backyard pools available on the market today, there is an option to fit outdoor spaces of all shapes and sizes. However, as a general rule, a backyard pool and its surrounds (such as the pool fence and/or decking) should occupy approximately 25% of the space. That way, there’s plenty of space for access, cleaning and of course, the construction process itself.

Here are the most common pool sizes in Australia:

1. Small Backyard Pool:

  • 4.0m x 2.0m
  • Takes up 8 square metres
  • Approximately 32 square metres of backyard space required

2. Medium Backyard Pool:

  • 5.0m x 2.5m
  • Takes up 12.5 square metres
  • Approximately 50 square metres of backyard space required

3. Large Backyard Pool:

  • 5.5m x 2.75m
  • Takes up 15.1 square metres
  • Approximately 60.4 metres of backyard space required.

What Type Of Pool Should I Install?

The size you select depends on how big your backyard is, but also what you plan to use the pool for most. When you picture your new backyard pool, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Hold that image in your mind and keep reading:

1. Above-Ground Pools

Most above-ground pools are constructed from aluminium, resin, or steel sidings and vinyl liners. Economical and easy to install, these are a popular choice with people looking to install a backyard pool. As the name suggests, these pools sit on the yard’s surface with no digging or construction required, so they’re the perfect choice if your pool of funds isn’t very deep. You can often assemble and disassemble these models yourself, so they’re great for renters or people with growing families who may need to increase the size of their backyard pool in the future.

2. In-Ground Pools

This pool style is built into the structure of the landscape so it can be designed to fit backyards of all shapes and sizes. The style, size and shape of the pool itself is also fully customisable, so if you have a specific vision in mind, then an in-ground pool is for you. However, due to the scale of the work required, the cost and length of the installation process can be on the high side, so make sure it fits your budget first. The water will also be on ground level, which poses a higher risk to the safety of kids and pets, so a pool fence installed by an experienced professional is essential.

3. Lap Pools

If your main reason for installing a backyard pool is fitness, then a lap pool is your best bet. Long and rectangular, this in-ground pool is designed specifically for swimming laps. Just like with all in-ground pools, installation time and costs will be big, but if you’re a fitness fanatic who likes to start the day with sets of freestyle and backstroke – a lap pool is worth the investment.

4. Swim Spas 

If you want to relax and soak away your aches and pains but also have space for lap swimming, then a swim spa is the backyard pool for you. They’re smaller than a regular pool but big enough for swimming, so they’re ideal for fitness fans with smaller backyards. And they’re equipped with spa jets, get the hydrotherapy benefits of a hot tub or jacuzzi as well.

Do I Need Council Approval To Install A Pool?

Yes – you will need a building permit from your local council before installing a backyard pool or spa. The process of obtaining a building permit differs in every State, but requirements remain the same:

  • You must appoint a registered building surveyor to issue the building permit before installation begins.
  • All backyard pool designs must comply with Australian Standard AS 1926.1 Swimming Pool Safety – Safety Barriers for Swimming Pools.
  • You are legally required to register your pool or spa with your local council.
  • Pools with a depth of 30cm or more (300mm) must be surrounded by a safety barrier.

But make sure you contact your council for more information on pool installation permits and requirements before breaking ground.

Do I Need A Pool Fence?

Yes – safety barriers around pools and spas are a legal requirement in Australia.

  • All pools must be fully enclosed by a pool fence or wall that is at least 1200mm in height.
  • The bottom of the pool fence and gate must be no more than 100mm off the ground.
  • If the horizontal rails are 900mm or more apart, the verticals cannot exceed 100mm apart.
  • If the horizontals are less than 900mm apart, the verticals must be no more than 10mm wide.
  • Pool fence gates must always open away from the pool and be self-closing and self-latching
  • The gate latch must be located at least 1500mm above the ground and at least 1400mm above the top part of the horizontal railings. Or the gate latch must be located on the inside of the fence.
  • You cannot have door access to the pool from the house, and windows around the pool must not open more than 100mm or have screens and/or locks.

As you can see, there are several requirements regarding pool fences in Australia, so if you’re installing a pool in your backyard, make sure you have an experienced professional on hand to oversee the installation.

Can I Install My Own Backyard Pool?

Technically, yes.

As I said before, above-ground pools are relatively easy to install as they don’t require any excavation or construction work. However, if you opt for any kind of in-ground pool for your backyard, then I highly recommend leaving it to the professionals. Installing an in-ground pool requires ground preparation, plumbing and electrical work, concrete laying and more. So to ensure you end up with a safe backyard pool that looks good and is built to last, give your local pool installation professional a call.

So there you have it – a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know before installing a pool in your backyard. Having a place to cool off in the summer months makes a great addition to your house and your life.

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