Pros and cons of having a swimming pool at home
QWe live on the edge of Harrogate and for several years have been considering whether we should have a swimming pool built in the garden of our home. Our children are obviously keen but have you any advice?
AUnquestionably, private pools are glamorous and great for parties. They can keep you fit and will almost certainly make you the most popular parents in town. However, unless you live in a large £2m-plus property they may not make such a good financial investment. Pools are very much a lifestyle choice contributing little to the value of your house and often limiting the number of potential buyers.
A simple outdoor pool will cost between £20,000-£30,000. While an indoor one will be considerably more due to the building envelope and running costs, there is more chance of it adding value. Also it should be remembered that depending on where they are located, even outdoor pools may require planning permission.
Location is everything, so where at all possible avoid areas that will take the water into shade, are subject to wind and deciduous trees.
If you want to encourage use then the pool needs to be integrated into the design of the garden, be close to the house and barbecue areas, etc.
Running costs for outdoor pools are about £10 per day so it is worthwhile considering alternative energy sources such as ground source heat pumps and solar collection.
Electric pool covers are a must and if children are to be the main users, I suggest a continuous depth throughout together with a saltwater purification system rather than the more traditional chlorine. It avoids the chemical smell and is easier on the eyes.
However, an alternative worth considering is a natural pool. These are becoming increasingly quite de rigueur. They can have a more organic shape and rely on plants to clean the water rather than electrically powered filters and chlorine.
Natural pools cost about the same to install but aside from the obvious environmental benefits can become part of the landscape and greatly enhance the appearance of your garden. Unfortunately, they won’t stand up to a teenage water polo match.
Jonathon Wingfield is the managing director of Acanthus WSM Architects Ltd and Woodhall Planning and Conservation, Leeds.