Homes & Gardens' choice of the latest swimming pools, including compact designs for terraces, infinity pools with a view, natural pools and oases for entertaining
HIDE AND SEEK
A large garden offers scope to position the pool away from the house and to create a dedicated environment for the feature, like the one above. Landscape and garden designer Andy Sturgeon suggests disguising the pool behind a low wall or a hedge to blend it into the surrounding area.
Top tip “Plant right up to one or two edges of the pool, to make it into a proper garden feature and to bring the flowers and foliage up close the swimmers,” says Andy.
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND
Infinity-edged pools offer an exciting swimming experience, blurring the line between the water and landscape beyond. Ideal for a contemporary garden with panoramic views, such as the one by Clear Water Revival above, infinity pools are the designers’ choice for modern settings. “For a classic home, choose a more conventional pool and frame the views so that they can be enjoyed by swimmers from the water,” advises garden and landscape designer Janine Pattison.
“Add a spa to your pool so that you and your friends can relax together and take in the view from the hot tub,” suggests garden designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin.
STEP RIGHT UP
If your garden is on a slope, build a partly raised pool into the terraced section and use coping to double as seating. Janine Pattison recommends composite decking around a raised pool, as it is non-slip and low maintenance. An expert will make sure the pool is integrated into your design and not too high off the ground.
Create wide steps at an angle to the pool to create an eye-catching design feature and easy access.
Changing a traditional pool into a natural one
“Natural pool filters are quite easy to install, making swimming pool conversions relatively simple,” says David Nettleton, of Clear Water Revival. “We often use the existing pipework but replace old liners or bright tiles with more suitable colours. However, if you want a swimming pond like the one we created above, the conversion is more involved.”
Installing a heated pool in a sunny, sheltered spot close to or within the house (the one above is by Guncast Swimming Pools), or a garden building with a dedicated changing area creates the experience of a luxury holiday home. Janine Pattison recommends a consistent water depth of five feet, which is deep enough for adults to swim in and is also suitable for older children to enjoy safely.
Top tip An automatic safety cover will keep children from harm when the pool is not in use.
ON THE CURVE
“In an awkwardly shaped garden, a pool with a free-flowing design is a good way to make the most of the space,” suggests Janine Pattison. If you prefer clean lines and symmetry, use planting to fill the awkward areas left around the straight sides.
Top tip A pool with an irregular shape like the Clear Water Revival infinity pool shown above is more difficult to cover, so be prepared for greater heating loss if you leave it exposed. Alternatively, have a bespoke cover installed.
A DIP IN THE COUNTRY
Period country houses can look at odds with a modern tiled pool. Andy Sturgeon advises edging the pool with York or sandstone, and lining it with tiles to match the paving, to create a more natural appearance. An Italianate-style planting scheme will help blend the pool into a traditional landscape; if you choose to have a poolhouse as well, then create one with architectural features that echo those of the house.
Top tip “Link the planting around the pool with that in the landscape beyond to create a cohesive design,” says Andrew Fisher Tomlin.
In a city garden, use plants, walls, screens and canopies to shield your pool from neighbours’ windows and to hide it when it is covered during the winter. A small round or rectangular plunge pool can double as a water feature, providing a beautiful focal point for your outdoor space.
Top tip Regularly using a surface skimmer and a robotic cleaner, as in the pool above, by Guncast, to remove dirt and debris from the bottomwill help to keep your pool clean and clear of fallen leaves and insects.
How to illuminate a pool
“Good lighting helps to make swimming safer and adds ambience and drama to a design,” says Janine Pattison. “We use LEDs in and around our pools because they have a long life and lower running costs. They also have colour-change capability, so different moods can be created at the touch of a button.”
“Natural pools can be plant-free and use biological filters to keep the water clear, or it could be a pond with plants, for a wild swimming experience. Neither design uses chemicals, but only a natural pool can be heated, not a pond,” says David Nettleton, whose design pictured above features a natural pool filter at one end of this impressive stretch of water.