Small pools are getting increasingly popular in Australia. Most people dream not only of having a home but also their very own swimming pool. In countries like Australia, having one’s own pool is a priority among homeowners. In fact, research by Roy Morgan shows that in 2018, about 13 percent of the population, or 2.7 million Australians, live in a house with a swimming pool.
And we understand how important having a pool can be.
Own pool at your home
With a pool at home, you have a place to refresh yourself and cool down, especially during the hot and humid months. You’ll have your own sanctuary at home for when you need to decompress, relax and just let go of the daily stress of life.
When you have your own pool, there’s no need to go elsewhere. You can stay at home and enjoy your pool with family and friends. You’ll also have your own exercise space, so you can stay fit and healthy.
One problem here, though, is that real estate prices just keep increasing, making it more difficult to purchase land with enough space to accommodate a regular pool. So, if you’re in the same boat, should you just abandon your dream of owning a swimming pool?
No, of course, you shouldn’t.
Having less backyard space does not necessarily imply you can’t have a pool anymore. And it doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice style and quality, as well. Like other Australian homeowners, you can hold on to your dream of having your own swimming pool – just a scaled-down version of it.
This means opting for a small swimming pool. But even with a small pool, you need to do some research so you can understand your options, and look into designs or models that can seamlessly fit into your available backyard space.
So, let’s move on and talk about other small pool-related concerns before you officially embark on your small pool project.
What exactly is a small pool?
The answer to this question is not as obvious as you may think. You need to consider the size or dimensions of a pool to know if it belongs to the small pool category. Based on our experience, a small pool would have a maximum length of eight metres and a width of four metres. A medium-sized pool would be 11 metres long and over four metres wide. Larger pools would simply be bigger than small and medium-sized pools. Also, small pools are often referred to as plunge pool as they are mainly used for leisure and not swimming (you can swim in your small pool with a swim jet or another aid, too).
Among the different types of pools based on material, fibreglass pools don’t normally exceed 12 metres by five metres. The reason being that they need to meet sizing restrictions as these types of pools are delivered directly to pool owners for quick installation.
Concrete pools and vinyl liner pools are customisable, so you can also go bigger with these. These types of pools are built in people’s backyards, so they take time to construct and set up. With all the construction work that needs to be done, building either of these latter two types of pools can end up as quite a big project.
The ideal small pool shape
The best shapes for small pools are square or rectangular, or more free-form. Deciding on which shape your small pool should take depends on your swimming goals.
It’s easy to maximise available open swim space with a linear pool. However, if you want to allocate extra room for patio and poolside furniture, a pool with free-form curves can give you the layout you need.
The cost of a small pool
The price you’ll pay for a small pool depends largely on its dimensions.
In general, you can expect to pay less than you would for a bigger pool from the same manufacturer. However, there are other factors to consider, such as the material, area, pool model, and the brand. The complete cost of installing a small pool, though, will not be that significantly lower compared to a bigger pool, due to similar costs involving transport, digging, piping, pool cleaning system, pool heating, pool lighting, pool landscaping etc. However, small pools can definitely be more cost-efficient to run and maintain, due to the smaller water body that needs to be heated, cleaned and circulated.
Small pools – pros and cons
Getting a smaller pool doesn’t mean sacrificing any of the benefits associated with a pool. Some of the obvious benefits of having a small pool include the following:
- You’ll have your own poolside hangout at home.
- You can fit it with water features and accessories that work well even with its small size. This means you can still have most (if not all) of the things you envision that come with having a swimming pool. These include bench seats, tanning ledges, a waterfall, cascades, pool lights, etc.
- You can easily and quickly maintain it, since there’s less surface area to inspect and clean.
- You can save thousands of dollars buying a small pool compared to investing in a large or full-sized one. How much you actually save is also dependent on the pool model, brand or type, and the pool contractor you choose.
- You can easily find one that’ll fit into your small backyard.
But it’s not all nice and rosy with small pools.
Some disadvantages include the obvious reduction of the available swim space. So you can’t really expect to swim laps although there are ways to work around this. For example, you can get a propeller-powered, jet-propulsion, or paddlewheel system installed to function like a pool treadmill. You can then swim against the current it produces.
Also, a small pool may not be deep enough for you to practise your diving skills. However, it’s also a safe space for family pool play with kids as it would be generally shallow.
Small pool materials to choose from
Parts of Australia experience earthquakes now and then, so it’s a good idea to be cautious when it comes to pool-building. This means selecting a pool fabricated from durable, strong material that stays structurally sound.
Concrete and fibreglass are both such materials. They are designed to withstand tremors or shocks emanating from ground movements. They are both durable, hard-wearing and can survive extreme weather conditions.
Reasons to go with a concrete pool
As mentioned earlier, concrete pools are versatile, durable and long lasting. They can also be built to fit the pool concept you have in mind. They are customisable, so they can follow the shape of the available space. However, this does not necessarily make concrete pools ideal for small spaces.
Constructing or installing a concrete pool is not only messy but it is also complex, and can take months to set up. You’ll need to put up with the daily disruption of construction work, and perhaps face the wrath of your neighbours even after securing all the necessary permits. Concrete is also quite pricey, and is prone to algae, so it is somewhat difficult to clean and maintain.
But if you don’t mind the expense, maintenance work required, and the noise and dust of construction work, a concrete pool can be an excellent small pool option.
Benefits of fibreglass pools
Fibreglass pools of all sizes, on the other hand, are a popular choice among Australian homeowners. This popularity is driven in part by the immediate availability of fibreglass composite pools. These are durable and can withstand earthquakes just like concrete pools. They are also very easy to clean and maintain as fibreglass is not prone to algal and bacterial growth, and can be set up with self-cleaning systems.
What can be considered a downside (or an advantage, too, depending on your priorities) is that fibreglass pools are prefabricated, so there’s no room for customisation. Your choices are limited to the shapes, designs and sizes that are available.
However, some pool contractors offer bespoke solutions, as well. A skilful contractor can help you fulfil your dream of owning a small in-ground pool spa made of fibreglass material. They can also install your pool aboveground, if that’s what you want.
If there’s ample space, you can also get a deck built, and add the accessories and safety features you need in the pool area. Installing a fibreglass pool takes only a short amount of time, and you can expect to start using your pool in a few days’ time after ordering it.
For a complete comparison of both pool materials, please refer to our fibreglass vs concrete pool advice article.
Time to get your small pool
Small pools are also called spools, wading pools, cocktail pools and courtyard pools. Being small, they are usually just the right size for your limited backyard space. Small pools are versatile so you may choose to dress them up or down. You can maintain them easily all year round due to their limited size. It also takes a lot less time to heat up a small pool, so you can save on energy costs in the long term.
With limited space, the solution is usually to just go smaller – and going smaller doesn’t mean downsizing the benefits of having a small pool. On the contrary, it is a good practical solution to a common problem. And if getting a small pool is your best option, you’ll find plenty of variety in the brands and models available.
You can also rely on our expertise at Local Pools & Spas.
So if you have any pool-related concerns and queries, big or small, you can depend on our professional input. Please get in touch with us today.