What should you consider when thinking about building a pool?

What should you consider when thinking about building a pool?

by Chris Gill, February 8, 2018

What should you consider when thinking about building a pool?

When building a swimming pool and outdoor living areas there are many things to consider that can impact the design and placement of the pool.  Whilst the aesthetics of your pool and outdoor living areas are critical to the design, their are some elements that can have a significant impact on not only the aesthetics but also on the cost. The aim of this post is to help you consider the impacts that several of these can have on your design and layout and possibly help you navigate this process. Let’s start with a few of the items that can often be overlooked.

Underground services.

When you start considering building a swimming pool, apart from the aesthetics which are very important, there are some items that will have a big impact on your design and costs.  One of these is underground services. There are two main types of underground services that can impact your design.  The first of these are council or government owned services such as water mains, sewer lines, stormwater lines and other easements that are set out on your block.  If you have recently built or bought your home, you should have or be able to get a plan from council that will show any easements.  Generally these easements will define the location of such a service and help you determine areas where you cannot build your pool or outdoor areas. A good place to start if you don’t have these plans is either Dial before you Dig https://www.1100.com.au which provides a free service showing possible service locations on your site.  Generally your local council can also provide plans that were submitted when your house was built at a low cost.  Once you have these plans you can see where service are which is a great starting point for your design.

The second of these underground services are those related to your own home and can include stormwater, sewer, phone/data, gas and electrical connections. There may be others but these are the main ones. If these run where you wish to build your pool or outdoor entertaining area then this can add additional costs for relocation however generally it can be done.

Depending on where these services lie on your property can impact the design and layout of your Swimming pool and outdoor living areas, however a good designer will be able to guide you through how to work around these with minimal impact on your design.

Flow or function of the space and interaction with your home.

The flow of your outdoor areas should be simple and well considered. If for example you plan an outdoor living area adjacent to your pool, these spaces should consider their intended use and how people will interact or flow through them.  For example, setting a dining space inside your pool area, where guests have to navigate through a pool fence gate, may make movement and food handling a challenge.  A good rule of thumb is to maintain all cooking and eating areas closer to your home and adjacent any internal kitchen areas, otherwise the installation of an outdoor kitchen may be beneficial. We consider how you wish to use your outdoor spaces, how many people you would generally entertain, and how these guests would move through the space when designing your outdoor areas.

How you will use not only your swimming pool but also your outdoor living areas should be considered to ensure you can move within individual spaces or rooms within your outdoor areas efficiently.  Placing your pool at the end of your property may discourage use, as would outdoor entertaining areas so balancing the layout and design of your spaces is critical in the design process. You also don’t want to cut off the back of your property and prevent access for maintenance or for children to play by fencing across your property.  Creative layout and design can answer a multitude of needs.

Creating a usable space and a pool that suits your needs will require an understanding of how you intend to use the pool.  For example if the pool is for swimming and exercising then a plunge pool will not suit, however creative design can incorporate multiple needs of a family not just for now but into the future.

A good idea when entertaining small children around a pool is to site the pool and outdoor living areas adjacent areas that may provide access to a bathroom.  Side access into your home through a laundry door or similar will be beneficial for those times children need to use the facilities.  Whilst this is not practical in every site, it is just one thought when considering placement of your pool.


Access to your desired swimming pool and outdoor living areas for construction will have a massive impact on construction costs. If your property has poor access then costs will escalate not only for excavation of your pool area, but also for access for all construction crews, for material handling and also for maintenance in the future.  Consider options for your home, discuss with your neighbours access through their property if it is possible, and explore the impact of your sites constraints with a good designer to understand how these constraints can be overcome and managed. If you project is a significant one, then your costs will increase significantly if access is poor.

Vision vs Budget.

All of us will have a desire at some times in our lives to create a home or outdoor area that we can uniquely appreciate.  Mediums like Pinterest, Houzz, and instagram can create a great opportunity for us to explore those elements we would love to include in our outdoor spaces, however they can come with a great big catch.  In my experience those elements we fall in love with are often the most expensive and at some point our budget needs to be compared to our vision. Starting with some visual inspiration is a great place to begin, however understanding your budget and priorities will also help define your project more than a series of pinterest pins.  Whilst we can use these pins to understand the look you are hoping to achieve, a good designer will help work you through the budget aspect as well, and help you define the design based on your vision and also your budget.  At Lifestyle Landscape Design & Construction we have developed a process that brings both of these together, working with you on creating a design and considering your budget within this process.  We can create an amazing design but as we are contractors as well, we can help you understand the cost of elements of your project and provide options to help bring your budget and vision together.  Why not have a look at our design process https://lifestylelandscape.com.au/landscape-design-process/

Environmental Factors.

As part of a design, all environmental factors that will impact your property and outdoor living areas will be considered.  Westerly winds in winter, harsh sun in summer, prevailing breezes and predominant rainfall centres will all be considered as part of your design.  Creating adequate outdoor shade in summer whilst allowing prevailing winds to cool your area will benefit your design.   However other environmental factors can also impact your design.  Large trees that may shade your outdoor living areas will also possibly drop many leaves and as such designing for this impact is important both in terms of managing leaf drop into your pool but also in reducing maintenance in your outdoor areas. A pool that receives a lot of shade in summer will be beneficial in terms of reducing the temperature of the pool and providing a nicer swimming environment however it may also reduce the length of swimming throughout the year. Privacy from neighbours, screening and protection should also be considered when designing your outdoor spaces.

Other considerations.

Each site will have its own constraints and as such a good designer will guide you through the impact these may have on your pool and outdoor living areas.  These constraints may even lend to design ideas or options you haven’t considered. Ground level changes, drainage considerations, and other aspects of your site will impact your design.  If you receive considerable overland water flow over your site then drainage will need to be considered to reduce the risk of damage or even dirt flowing into your pool or entertaining areas during a big storm.  There are also many other hidden costs when building a pool.  To view our article about this topic you can visit https://lifestylelandscape.com.au/avoiding-hidden-costs-building-pool/

If you would like to discuss your pool or outdoor living areas whether you are planning a new build or would like to renovate your existing spaces, give us a call to see how we can help you with your design and build.

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