At the budget end of the scale is the above-ground pool, which is basically an overgrown paddling pool that sits on the ground rather than in it. Meaningful swimming won’t be an option, but if you simply want to cool off on a hot summer’s day then this could be the pool for you.
Choose from self-supporting inflatable circular models, circular and rectangular models up to 11 metres long with supporting external frames, and attractive timber-framed pools that can co-ordinate unobtrusively with decking and other design features in your garden. With a clever design scheme, an above-ground pool can be disguised to look as if it is in-ground, particularly on a sloping site.
Some models can also accommodate a counter-current jet – the swimming equivalent of a gym treadmill – enabling you to swim ‘on the spot’.
The great advantage of an above-ground pool is that you can be using it in anger within hours of getting it home – although the biggest models might take a day or so to fill with water.
If you decide that you would rather have your pool in the ground rather than on top of it, there’s the choice of a panel-pool, one-piece pre-formed pool, liner pool or concrete pool – pretty well in that order in cost terms as rough guide.
A panel pool is normally made up from sections of prefabricated panels that enable you to construct a pool of almost any size according to your requirements. Some panel-pool kits also enable you to have almost any shape of pool you want as well (called freeform). Once the hole has been dug to the correct depth, many panel pools can be assembled in a matter of hours, so construction time is much shorter than for traditional pools.
Fancy swimming in a classy sparkling pool in less than a week from the start of construction? In the past few years, one-piece pools have become increasingly popular –thanks to their speed of installation. These pre-formed pool shells are craned into position, the excess space is back filled with concrete, and then the pool is filled with water (in fact, ceramic pools are so strong that you can actually start filling them while back filling is going on, saving huge amounts of construction time).
Ceramic pools are available in a range of sizes and colours, and often come with a striking sparkling effect created by crystal flecking in the ceramic layers. Do check whether a crane will have sufficient reach from the access road to your property, as these pre-formed shells are not the kind of thing you can lug across a field by hand.
A liner pool gives you the flexibility of having a completely bespoke pool in whatever shape you decide. You simply dig a hole in the ground, line the walls and floor with concrete, and then install a liner made from tough PVC or similar material.
Liners can be supplied in almost any colour for a variety of decorative effects, and the best examples make an extremely passable imitation of an expensive mosaic-tiled pool costing tens of thousands of pounds.
Pool liners can degrade over time as a result of ultraviolet rays from the sun and the effect of pool chemicals, but good-quality liners should last ten years or more if looked after properly. In any case, most liners are easily replaceable. Your National Leisure pool retailer will have all the necessary specialist knowledge to help you choose the right liner for your needs.
If your pockets are deeper and luxury possibly your aim, then you’re likely to want to opt for a concrete pool, which can be of any shape or depth, and with any colour and pattern of tiling or mosaics. You can even opt for one of the latest types of coloured pool rendering that enable you to bring an extra touch of class to your pool. Life expectancy for this type of pool should be in terms of decades rather than years.
There is nothing quite like owing a luxury indoor swimming pool that can be totally personalised to your own style and taste. The list of possible options is endless with your choice of deck level or freeboards pools, feature lighting, bespoke mosaic designs and beautiful pool surround finishes of all descriptions, Providing you with your own, personal oasis to enjoy whenever you ewant to without having the ned to brave the elements.
The DIY culture has pervaded most household activities, so why not swimming pools? Today’s top DIY kits take much of the hassle out of pool construction, and a seasoned DIYer should have few problems assembling these well-designed kits. Of course, it’ll save you money too, as you won’t be paying a contractor to install it, and you’ll also have the personal satisfaction of having done the job yourself.
Self-build kits contain all the parts you need to complete your entire pool without outside help – there are detailed instructions, and most even come with a video or DVD demonstrating exact construction sequences. There’s even advice on where to site the pool, and how to excavate the hole that your liner will go in.
And if you do happen to have bits left over or insufficient parts to complete the job according to the instructions, don’t panic. Your National Leisure supplier will have the knowledge, expertise and goodwill to get you back on the right track.