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Pool party

By Jeanette Misiak

In summer, you only have to venture into a packed public pool or try to find a vacant inch of sand at the beach to understand why private pool ownership in Australia is growing. Currently, 12% of households have a pool, with Sydney having the third highest proportion behind Perth and regional Queensland.

Yet getting a pool comes at a cost, generally from $35,000 to $200,000 for a concrete model. Sam Snaith from Harrison’s Landscaping says that an average 8m x 4m swimming pool ranges from $65,000 to $80,000.

It’s a worthy investment when you take into consideration the time and money you can save from entertaining at your property, says Sam. “For people with young families especially, their house becomes like an amusement park,” he says. “On the weekend they don’t need to leave the residence, because kids are more than happy to jump in and out of the pool, spending hours in there. It takes the pressure off parents to have to take the kids out to entertain them. Parents can relax or do their chores around the home while the kids entertain themselves.”

You may find half the neighbourhood starts appearing in your backyard, and poolside is the perfect location for entertaining during these warmer months. And for older homeowners, having your own pool makes exercise more accessible. “We have elderly couples who we install pools for to use for hydrotherapy because this exercise is low impact on their joints,” says Sam.

When it comes to selecting a pool, a landscape designer will help you find the best fit. “Generally the pool design concept is developed by the landscape designer and tailored to suit the site, existing architecture of the residence and the proposed surrounding landscape,” says Sam. “It is also driven by the budget; pool materials, finishes and equipment can vary in price considerably.” These days the spatial layout of a pool is simple, with the focus being on material selection instead, says Sam. Modern mosaic tiles and rebated coping tiles on the inside of the pool are especially popular.

New South Wales has the country’s strictest regulations when it comes topool fencing, so check with your council to find out what’s required. Sam recommends frameless glass fencing so that the pool can still be seen.

And while there is maintenance required, owning a pool is easier than it used to be. “You can balance the levels of the pool, turn on spa jets and adjust the heating from your iPhone,” says Sam. “There are also robotic pool cleaners which save you from having to stand out there with a scoop for hours on end.”

Aaron Greffenius, a senior finance broker with Loan Market says home equity and personal loans are the two best options when it comes to financing your pool. There’s no limit to a home equity loan, within reason he says. “As long as the lender can see the specific purpose,” says Aaron. “Say from $50,000 upwards, if they’re going to be advancing the money, they’re going to want to see quotes and a scope of the build to run past a valuer.”

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