Talking Trends

Updating your outdoor area can refresh your entire home, but where do you start? With a vast array of aquatic options on the market, everything from stylistic preferences to practical inclusions ought to be considered. To help, Pamela Hale interviews winners of the 2018 Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) Victoria Awards of Excellence about the latest design trends in the industry.

National sales manager of Just Spas, John Pandelis talks…

SAFE AND SIMPLE DESIGNS

The Low-Down: We have seen an increased demand from consumers seeking products that are simple and easy to use, as well as safe for their family and friends to enjoy.

Strengths: The new 2018 Model Cyclone Spas provide the highest level of safety within the spa market. We would recommend this range of spas for anyone considering the purchase of a spa.

Weaknesses: While the water in a 2019 Cyclone Spa is the cleanest in the market, some water maintenance is still required, including monthly filter cleaning and weekly water testing.

The Verdict: Our 2019 Model Cyclone Spas range features visually appealing touch pads that are exceptionally easy to use. We have also removed suctions from the spa foot wells, which has resulted in safer and sleeker-looking spas. All water is now 100 percent filtered, which results in Cyclone Spas being the cleanest spas on the market.

Sales and marketing manager for Albatross Pools, Peita Otterbach, talks…

UNDERGROUND BLANKETS

The Low-Down: We’ve seen a trend towards homeowners investing in concealed underground pool blanket roller solutions.

Strengths: Space has become a premium and so too has the need to keep a pool’s heating costs as manageable as possible. The sheer size, appearance and weight of pool rollers with a blanket attached has, on occasion, deterred pool owners from investing in a blanket system. Custom-made underground pool roller and blanket pits now allow pool owners to hide the pool blanket out of sight. This results in more usable poolside space, while also providing the ability to better manage ongoing heating costs. Protecting the pool blanket from harmful UV rays, not to mention the dust and dirty rain that is often a result of Melbourne’s weather patterns, is a crucial benefit of underground storage options.

Weaknesses: You need to have sufficient underground space around the pool to install the concealed pit. Depending on the pool width, a concealed pit generally starts from $4,000. While they tick so many boxes from a practical standpoint, the investment may be too great for some families, and in these cases an above-ground roller can be tastefully integrated into the pool area.

The Verdict: If visual appeal and year-round usage of your pool area are priorities, and you have the space, then a concealed roller storage pit is well worth the investment.

Pro Tip: Using the concealed pit as inspiration, some homeowners are opting to create outdoor furniture with multiple uses, such as a timber bench designed with the inclusion of a hatch at the front, so items like pool blankets and rollers can be concealed within. With a few colourful scatter cushions on top, this can be a fantastic visual feature for your pool area, and also presents a very practical and cost-effective storage solution.

Director of Good Soil and Water Landscaping, Jolyon Good talks…

INNOVATIVE BARRIERS

The Low-Down: Lately we’ve seen innovations in fence barrier technology, which reduce some of the visual bulk associated with traditional fences. For example, if a pool is adequately elevated above ground level, it may not require fencing. Instead, it can be surrounded by a moat of plants or stones. This also provides an opportunity to have a negative edge as a feature.

Strengths: Atypical fencing can provide a number of stylistic and practical benefits. Not only will the visual bulk of a typical fence be reduced, but you can avoid the high maintenance and cleaning requirements of glass fences. Elevated pool designs also provide an opportunity for the innovative placement of feature plants, especially when space is tight.

Weaknesses: An elevated pool design without traditional fencing is better suited to families with older children. It can be difficult to see the bottom of the pool when it’s raised, and pool entry can sometimes be restricted on some sides. It’s also worth noting that introducing features like negative edges or exterior cladding can incur additional expenses, and any perimeter plants you have incorporated will require maintenance.

The Verdict: This concept is a great safety-compliant barrier solution for families with older children, who are largely independent and competent around water.

Marketing manager for Hayward Pool Products (Australia) Pty Ltd, Rob Emmett talks…

CUSTOM POOL DESIGNS

The Low-Down: The popularity of custom pool designs has been on the rise for a while, however the need to produce something different from the norm is now being taken very seriously by pool builders. Custom designs used to be reserved for big budgets, however pool builders have really taken up the challenge, using their ability to create bespoke designs as a strong point of difference over run-of-the-mill offerings. This is now bringing custom design features within the reach of the mass market.

Strengths: Custom pool designs allow you to tailor your pool according to your unique set of needs. This provides both practical and visual benefits, allowing you to incorporate shallow ledges for sunbaking, niches to house lights, or even windows to help merge your pool with its surroundings.

Weaknesses: There can be some cons associated with custom pool design. The first is the cost – a custom pool can be significantly more expensive than something more standard. Other potential drawbacks revolve around the practicalities of maintaining and living with a custom pool. It’s important to research each of the features before giving the go-ahead. For example, most robotic pool cleaners will struggle to clean shallow ledges, and if you have multiple powered features you will probably want to install an automation system for centralised control.

The Verdict: The drive to be different shows no sign of slowing, which is great news for anyone thinking about installing a pool. With the increase in builders offering custom creations, there’s nothing to stop you achieving a pool that perfectly matches your unique needs and environment, as well as creating something truly eye-catching. Whether your preference is fibreglass or concrete, unique features such as ledges, niches and windows are now much easier and cheaper features to include in your build.