“Developing a concept – if done properly – usually takes between two to three months to complete, and then you’ve got to factor in getting the design approved to build, which can take up to three months. Once approved, the pool needs to be installed.”
“Every year, we hear from people who have rushed their purchase for summer and have ended up having to spend extra time and money post pool-installation refitting sewer lines, gardens, design elements and the like,” says Matt.
“After all is said and done, you can potentially be looking at a six-month process at best – so it’s smart to get a wriggle on now if you’re aiming to make a summer splash.”
Matt’s top tips for planning the perfect pool
Plan before purchasing
The first step is to get a professional in to assess the logistics and suitability of installing a pool in your specific property space. “You don’t want to do things in reverse,” warns Matt. “Buying a pool on a whim without first looking at things like how it will connect and integrate with existing spaces is very rarely a good idea,” he says. “If you approach it the other way around, you’re likely going to have fork out extra cash in the long-run making tweaks to either the pool or the backyard.”
Find your A-Team
“Starting the process now will also give you time to speak to different experts and find a team that works for you,” suggests Matt.
“You need to be confident that your team is credible, trustworthy and capable of delivering a premium product both on-brief and on-time.”
"I would also recommend making sure that the company has the correct licence and insurance for the type of build you are carrying out,” Matt adds. “A pool builder’s license is different to a structural landscaper’s, so make sure that they have the appropriate license.”
While budget will always be a relevant factor, Matt recommends working with companies that offer both landscape design and pool installation services, rather than just pool design companies.
“Pool companies, may deliver a pool that functions and looks great in isolation, but they won’t necessarily consider surrounding features and holistic outdoor design,” says Matt, recommending you check their credentials too. “In New South Wales, this means the SPASA for pool builders and the LNA Master Landscape Association for all other exterior construction. There are equivalent bodies in all Australian states that are worth checking out if you’re unsure.”
Set a brief and have a budget
“It’s always good to come to the table with at least a rough budget in mind. That way, from the outset, your design team can conceptualise a plan that’s achievable,’ says Matt.
“You can only pay for what you can afford, but you don’t want to barter down too much on price because the quality of the pool will ultimately suffer - you may end up spending more in the long run fixing up defects and retrofitting to make the pool flow and connect with the other spaces.”
“Good collaboration between client and designer is paramount to a successful project. It is really helpful when the client provides a clear brief.” Matt says. “Good landscape design teams will be able to build off the brief you provide to create a design that fits within your budget.”
Don’t overlook the need for DA or CDC approval and pool fencing
“All pools, in every state, will need to be compliant with local building codes and registered with local council – or pool owners risk facing fines,” says Matt. For example, in New South Wales, a ‘Development Application’ needs to be lodged and approved. Check with your local building authority for the rules that apply to your home.
Take your time with design
“When clients are rushing around and leaving things to the last minute, pool compliance often becomes the sole concern – and that very rarely yields the best long-term solution for the pool, fence and overall property,” concludes Matt.