Transform Your Backyard by Adding a Pool

Posted by Admin on Saturday, December 16, 2023 Under: Outdoor Living

When it comes to adding a swimming pool to your home, there are several factors that can influence the type of pool possible and its overall cost. From planning and design to material selection, labour and construction, permits and inspections, and ongoing maintenance and upkeep, understanding the various cost factors involved will help you make informed decisions and ensure that your dream pool stays within your budget. So, let's dive in!


Planning and Design

Before starting the construction process, careful planning and design are crucial. This step ensures that your swimming pool meets your specific needs and preferences while complementing the overall aesthetics of your home.

The right location of the pool in your backyard is of vital importance. Below are a few issues to consider:

·       Access: Depending on the layout of your property, access for the pool builder to bring in plant and equipment may be limited. This influences the type and size of pool that can be installed. For example, if installing a fibreglass pool, a crane may need to be hired to install it in position if access to the backyard is limited.


·       Utilities: The position of underground utilities such as fibre lines, electrical cables, and water pipes should be known before undertaking a pool installation project to avoid clashes. If they are not known, a survey can be commissioned to determine their position ahead of the design process. Similarly, homeowners should check their title deeds to ensure there are no servitudes registered over the property. A servitude is a right that a utility company can exercise over your property, e.g. the right to run a pipe through a portion of your property.


·       Trees: Tree roots can be a nuisance during construction or once the pool has been built so the position of the pool should be away from the roots of any large trees. Similarly, tree leaves can become a maintenance problem if the tree is positioned close enough.

·       Soil: Soil conditions can vary on a particular site, e.g. a corner of the backyard may have rock below ground. The type of soil will influence the type of pool you can build. If in doubt, consult a geo-technical engineer to avoid challenges during construction.


Factors that can influence the cost at this stage include:

  • Pool Size and Shape: The size and shape of the pool will greatly impact the cost. Larger pools require more materials and excavation, which can drive up the overall cost. Generally, square or rectangular pools are easier to build than circular pools.

  • Custom Features: Additional features such as waterfalls, slides, or integrated spa areas will add to the overall cost. These features require specialised engineering and installation.

  • Landscaping: Incorporating landscaping elements around the pool, such as hardscaping, plants, or lighting, can enhance the overall design. However, these features come with an additional cost.

Material Selection

The materials used in constructing your swimming pool play a significant role in both aesthetics and cost. Here are some key considerations:

  • Pool Shell: The most common materials used for the pool shell are concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl. Concrete pools offer the most design flexibility but tend to be more expensive. Fibreglass pools are pre-fabricated and require less construction time, making them a more affordable option. Vinyl pools are the least expensive upfront but may require liner replacement over time.

  • Decking: Materials for the pool deck can include concrete, natural stone, pavers, wood decking or composite decking. Each material has its own cost associated with installation and maintenance.

  • Finishes and Tiles: Selecting finishes and tiles for the pool surface greatly impacts the overall cost. More luxurious finishes and intricate tile designs will increase the price.

Labour and Construction

The cost of labour and construction can vary greatly depending on your location and the complexity of the project. Factors that influence labour and construction costs include:

  • Excavation and Site Preparation: The cost of excavation, demolition (if necessary), and site preparation can be significant, especially if the area is inaccessible or requires extensive removal of existing structures.

  • Plumbing and Electrical Work: Proper plumbing and electrical systems are crucial for the functionality of your pool. Installing and connecting pipes, pumps, filters, and lighting will incur additional costs.

  • Equipment and Installation: The cost of installing necessary equipment, such as pool filters, heaters, and pool covers, should be included in your budget.


Building a swimming pool requires obtaining the necessary permits and scheduling inspections to ensure compliance with local regulations. In South Africa, the National Building Regulations (SANS 10400 Part D) covers aspects such as the position of the pool in relation to building lines and the importance of controlled access.  The cost of obtaining permits can vary depending on your location. Check with your local authorities to determine the fees associated with pool construction.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Once your pool is built, it's essential to factor in ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs. These include:

  • Cleaning and Chemicals: Regular cleaning, as well as the cost of chemicals to maintain water balance and cleanliness, should be accounted for in your budget.

  • Energy Costs: Heating the pool, running the circulation system, and powering any additional features will contribute to your energy bills. Solar pool heaters are a good option to consider if your budget allows.

  • Repairs and Upgrades: Over time, your pool may require repairs or upgrades such as resurfacing, replacing pool equipment, or updating features. Plan for these expenses in the long term.

It's important to note that the above cost factors are general guidelines and can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of your pool, regional labour costs, and material availability. It's always a good idea to consult with pool contractors and professionals who can provide you with more accurate estimates based on your specific requirements. The National Pool and Spa Institute is a good resource for information and advice.

By understanding these cost factors and planning accordingly, you can ensure that building a swimming pool at home fits both your vision and your budget. Happy swimming!


In : Outdoor Living 

Tags: "swimming pool" "outdoor living" "home improvement" 
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