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My custom pool design

Valued Contributor

My custom pool design

I have the great pleasure and challenge of designing the pool for the new house


In our current place we have a small fibreglass pool which we didn't have much flexibility with given the small area we had to work in. It's smaller than we'd like and uninteresting in its design. However in the new house we have much more room and we'l be doing a concrete pool so we get the design we want.


Would love to hear from anyone that's done this before and/or is a pool designer/installer by trade. My current plan is to build it from precast slabs, join it up, seal it, tile/skin it and fill. And this is where I'm looking for some insights/feedback.

  • Best/most efficient way to build this pool? I'm think most, if not all, is precast slabs but can see a possible combination with some intricacies frame and built on site.
  • Suggestions on finish? Fe options; raw concrete with appropriate sealant, membrane, tiling.
  • Specific consideration for effective jet/filtration positioning?
  • Sand or cartridge filter? Pros and cons...
  • Anything else you have to offer is welcome

We're looking at a pool around 7m x 4m in swimming area and would like a more unique and appealing entry such as below (ideally in addion to the swimming area but open to some compromise).

Love the idea of being able to lay on the flatLove the idea of being able to lay on the flatNice steps plus "spa"Nice steps plus "spa"Nice steps plus "spa"Nice steps plus "spa"

Thanks very much!

Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

@ProjectPeteI seem to recollect you are building on reactive soils?
If this is  the case then I wouldn't recommend you attempting the shell in either masonry or precast with liners..
You will be in for more problems than what it is worth... Stick to fibreglass pools mate

At a guess those pools are 70K+ BTW Interesting designs coSt  Goodluck

Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

Hi @ProjectPete,


I don't know anything about pool building or reactive soils! But I can help on the pool filter question. 


Go for a sand filter everytime. A lot of pool builders will push cartridge filters but they require regular cleaning and can be a pain in the long-term. A sand filter is a much better option for ease of cleaning and long-term maintenance. There’s usually not that much price difference – probably only a few hundred dollars. Apparently pool builders prefer the ease of a cartridge because they don't have to plumb a waste line - they are being lazy for their own benefit.


If you do end up going with a cartridge, absolutely make sure there is provision to empty (reduce the water level) of the pool. I've got a friend who runs a pool maintenance business and he's seen heaps of pools with no provision to reduce the water level. This is crazy as with a decent amount of rain you obviously end up with a pool that overflows. This can kill nearby plants and cause other issues. 


Some other things you're probably already thinking about:


I assume you're going to go with salt?


Any interest in a self-cleaning system?


Spa jets and swim jets?




Water feature?






Hard or soft cover? And how to hide it/put it away when retracted? 


By the way, a swimming area of 7 x 4 is great. I'd also recommend in your entry area having a shallow area for sitting/relaxing in the shallows (and drinking cocktails). 


Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

@BIM_Engineer Don't recall a convo about reactive soils - i assume I can ask my builder/surveyor for the details...What's the issue with reactive soils and masonry?

Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

@Kermit Thanks for the tip on the sandfilter - makes sense. Currently have cartridge filter. The cleaning doesnt bother me so much but always nice to remove unnecessary labour. How often do you need to change the sand compared to cartridge? How does the price vary in these replacement costs?


Salt? Yes.


Self cleaning? Haven't thought about that just yet. Pretty happy with manual + creepy crawly.


Spa/swim jets? Spa jets if we go for the spa like entry.  No need for swim jets. Just the right amount for circulation/filtration.


Lights? Yes but unsure how many and positioning. Currently just have one but assume will need two in a bigger pool.


Water feature? Possibly.


Paving? Will likely go for mostly aggregate but have paving over the main plumbing/filtration pipes in case it ever needs to be serviced.


Heating? Most likely. Currently have electric heater and its great although for a bigger pool unsure how effective/efficient it'll be. We have solar + battery in the new house so will be able to keep those costs down. Would be great to have a hybrid solar + electric heating setup.


Hard/soft cover? Most likely soft onto underground/hidden roller.


Shallow spot for cocktails and beers? Its on plan


Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

Aren't you building East out Guildford/Midland way?

Yep...Rosehill waters I suggest you check the geo tech report

The issues with building masonry on reactive soils is the upgrade Engineering Costs, code non-compliance, long term maintanance,etc,etc

Valued Contributor

Re: My custom pool design

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you @ProjectPete.


Most people say you should replace the sand in a sand filter every 3 - 5 years, but others suggest even less often or not at all. As sand is cheap it's obviously not a big deal.


Good you are going for salt and are happy with manual cleaning. I reckon those self-cleaning systems are a gimmick and create expensive problems in the long-run.


I also don't recommend swim jets. It's not that fun to swim against choppy water. 


You'll definitely want one light at each end of the pool if its 7-8m long. 


When you say aggregate for the surround, I assume you mean something that's sealed? Eg


Definitely go for solar heating of the pool, it will extend your swimming season by a lot and is cheap to run. You need a decent amount of roof space though, the solar collector area should be at least 100 percent of the area of your pool. I reckon your pool is too big to consider gas or electric heating, but you could do it for the spa only. 


Would be great to see what you're thinking of about the underground roller system. I've seen some awesome pictures online but wonder how practical they are. I reckon its essential that the cover is really easy to put on and off. A good cover is probably even more important than a solar system for keeping the pool warm. 

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