Swimming Pool Gardens

The sun has finally pushed through to make an appearance across most of the UK this month and for many homeowners this will mean one thing – taking the plunge and building a swimming pool. Chris, our garden designer tackles the questions anyone considering a pool will need to ask.

How do you know a swimming pool is right for your garden?

You do need a fairly good-sized garden for a pool to sit comfortably in the design of your outdoor space but there are lots of smaller options for smaller gardens. The same golden rule applies, whatever the size of your garden, which is that the pool should not dominate the entire garden and when you decide where to put it, you need to leave adequate space for access to the entire pool.

Where is the best place to site a swimming pool?

A well-designed pool should be a pleasing enhancement to the garden so there’s no need to hide it away. The aesthetic will be more pleasing if it is square to the house and if its proportions reflect the architecture of the home. If the pool is further away from the house then you need to think about access routes to and from the new pool.

What is a good solution for smaller gardens where space is an issue?

The new swim spa/pools and hot tubs that are becoming increasingly popular are a great solution for smaller gardens. The swim spas create a constant stream of water to swim against so you get a really good work out whilst remaining stationary. From a design point of view, these kinds of features can really help enhance a small, cramped space and you don’t need the expenses of contouring to change levels as you can simply site the tub where you want it and then build decking around it to make a level access platform.

Lots of people worry about maintenance. Are there any short cuts?

Maintenance of your pool is absolutely key not only to your enjoyment of the feature but how it looks within the garden design. There is nothing that looks sadder than a neglected, empty crumbling and forgotten pool. Maintenance costs need to be factored in right at the outset when you decide what size pool to have and sadly no, there are no short cuts. The two most important maintenance requirements are the chemicals needed to prevent stagnation and the energy costs of heating the pool.

How about natural swimming pools?

A natural pool is unheated and filtered through the planted areas so that does remove the two key maintenance issues that come with conventional heated pools. A natural pool uses less energy, no chemicals and is far friendlier to wildlife although actually not suitable for fish. A natural pool is a joy to design since it can also be built into the existing landscape in a much more natural way.

Is there a swimming pool garden that you find particularly inspiring?

My favourite is the Thomas Church swimming pool garden in Sonoma, California. With its sinuous outline and modernist sculpture it sits beautifully in the borrowed landscape and although it was built in the 1940s, it still embodies the enviable outdoor living aesthetic of California – a concept that continues to influence our garden designs today.

A swimming pool garden has to give the impression of an effortless, natural composition yet to get to this end result requires careful planning, meticulous attention to detail and most importantly the ability to maintain a garden. This careful maintenance ensures the garden can develop and grow as planned whilst safeguarding it throughout every season and over the many years, decades and even centuries of its life.


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