Even as real estate is getting more expensive in Melbourne and other Australian urban centres, people continue to build larger houses to maximise space. This can mean shrinking backyard space, and people giving up on their dream of owning a swimming pool.
However, we beg to differ. Just because you have less space in your backyard, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream pool project. It also doesn’t mean that you need to compromise on quality or style. In fact, a lot of families in Melbourne continue to enjoy having their own backyard pools.
Whatever its shape or size, a swimming pool is always a great home addition. It’s the place where you can spend time together as a family, relaxing, getting some exercise, or simply enjoying each other’s company. Here, you can hold pool parties and celebrate holidays with friends and family. It’s also the place where you can decompress, and enjoy the quiet isolation of solo swimming, or the sensation of floating on the water.
With a swimming pool in Melbourne (or wherever you may be), you have a place that inspires physical activity and exercise. This way, you can stay fit and healthy. If you have elderly or physically injured family members, swimming and pool exercises are low-impact activities they can engage in regularly.
However, investing in a small swimming pool still entails a significant investment (though not as big as when you’re getting a bigger pool). This is why you need to dedicate some time researching your options for small swimming pools in Melbourne, particularly ones that are appropriate for small backyard designs.
To get you started here’s all you need to know about pools in Melbourne that work best in small spaces. Moreover, we’ll present information that’s focused on small pools so that in the end, you can confidently begin your small pool project.
Exactly how small is a small pool?
It’s helpful to know the exact measurements that make a pool small by industry standards. This way, you’ll know if the small pool you envision really is a small pool, and whether a small pool can fit into the space you’ve allocated for it.
What we consider to be a small pool would be up to eight metres long and up to four metres wide. A pool that’s middling in size would run up to 11 metres long by more than four metres wide. Of course, large pools would be (much) bigger.
Fibreglass pools usually aren’t much bigger than 12 metres by five metres. Since they’re delivered directly to your place, they have to meet sizing restrictions. There are some companies out there who can build larger/longer fibreglass pools. Compass Pools Australia, for example, developed a technology for joining two or free pools together to create a super long fibreglass lap pool – up to 30m. However, you can go bigger with concrete pools and vinyl liner pools and have these customised. That’s because construction is done right there in your backyard. They take longer to build and install, though, and building these is a much messier process.
What would be the ideal small pool shape?
For a small pool, you can decide between having a linear style or freeform pool shape. Depending on your goals, either one may be ideal. A linear pool can provide maximum use of the open swim space, whilst a freeform pool has curves that cut into the available swim space.
If you want to allocate the maximum patio space available for your tables, chairs and other patio furniture, you’ll need every single decimetre that’s free. In this instance, you have the extra patio space you need from the spaces left by freeform curves.
How much would it cost to have a small pool?
In general, fibreglass pools are priced based on the dimensions of the pool. So, of course, a small pool of the same model or pool style made by the same manufacturer would cost less than a bigger version. Pool prices also vary based on the pool model, area, material, and manufacturer, among other things.
Pros and cons of small pools
Just because you’re getting a smaller pool doesn’t mean you’re downsizing the many benefits it offers:
- Private socialising space: You’ve got sufficient space for family fun and play, as well as opportunities to simply hang out and relax with friends.
- Accessories and water features: You can have tanning ledges and bench seats where you can enjoy the view of the water and relax without actively swimming. You can also add a gorgeous waterfall, deck jets, cascades, pool lights, the works! Functional pool accessories such as saltwater chlorinators and heat pumps can be installed as they work on any pool, regardless of size. You can fulfil your dream in a small pool project.
- Less maintenance: Regular pool maintenance is essential, and it just gets less tedious with a small pool where there’s less surface area to check and clean. There’s a lot less water that needs to be treated and tested. You’ll also have less water surface area to skim leaves and bugs off. This means more time for pool fun for you and the family!
- Costs less upfront: This depends on the pool model or type that you choose, as well as the pool contractor you’ll be working with. In general terms, however, getting a small pool can save you thousands of dollars compared to getting a large pool. Having a limited budget and opting for a small pool means you can save and get the accessories you want at the same time. You’ll have money you can earmark for a pool cover, water features, or for general maintenance expenses.
- Easily accommodated in small yards: When your backyard space is limited, getting a small pool makes perfect sense.
Of course, having a small pool can also present a few disadvantages, such as:
- Reduction in open swim space: If your purpose for having a pool is to swim laps, a small pool won’t have enough space for users to swim traditional laps.
- A small pool won’t offer much in terms of resistance: However, you can install a propeller-powered, jet-propulsion, or paddlewheel system to act as a pool treadmill as it creates a current you can swim against. This way, you’ll get an Olympic-sized workout with a lot less open swim space. Another option is to make use of a tether system where you can swim against your resistance.
- Not deep enough: The limited length of a small pool makes them relatively shallow. However, this is actually a perfect pool for family play as players can stand instead of tread through the water. A small pool then is generally safer for families with kids.
Best swimming pool types for Melbourne
The city of Melbourne is subject to fickle weather conditions where it can get rainy, windy, and stormy throughout the year and even in a day. This is especially true during spring and summer.
With this in mind, it’s essential to have an excellent pool heating system in place so you can regularly use your small pool throughout the year. A common option is to use a solar heating system during months with adequate sunlight, and an electric or gas pool heating system for those months when there is insufficient solar power.
Melbourne also gets its occasional share of earthquakes. Though usually not catastrophic, exposure to earthquakes demands that your pool, no matter the size, be made from hardwearing, strong material that can withstand earthquakes without losing structural integrity.
This is the main reason why concrete and fibreglass are two of the most popular pool materials used in Melbourne. Both concrete and fibreglass are designed to withstand ground movements and extreme weather changes, and they last for years.
1. Concrete pools
Concrete pools are versatile since you can design them to fit your pool concept. And since concrete pools are extremely easy to customise to suit the shape of your backyard, you may falsely assume these to be the best pools for small spaces. Not necessarily.
The process of building or installing one is complex, messy, and can take months to complete. Since you have a small backyard space to begin with, a concrete pool may not be the best option – not unless you’re willing to put up with the disruption it can cause your daily life. You may also have to deal with complaints from your neighbours, that is, if you get the necessary building permissions in the first place.
Concrete is also pretty expensive, and it also needs to be lined with pebbles or tiles – an additional expense on what may already be a huge pool construction bill. Concrete pools are also a bit difficult to clean and maintain since they are prone to algae.
However, concrete pools are designed to last in whatever climate, so if you have the budget and building one in your backyard remains feasible, it may be an option worth considering.
2. Fibreglass pools
The popularity of fibreglass pools in Melbourne has been growing recently. In fact, both big and small fibreglass pools are a popular option among Australians, especially fibreglass composite pools that are durable and strong, and proven capable of enduring earth movements.
One other great thing about fibreglass pools is that they are incredibly easy to maintain as they do not attract algae and bacteria the way concrete pools do. They can even be installed with self-cleaning systems. This means maintenance is a breeze, barely requiring time and effort.
However, unlike fully customisable concrete pools, fibreglass pools are pre-made in factories. This means that you can only select from a limited range of available sizes and designs. This completely takes away the option to have a bespoke pool design to suit your property.
However, some pool makers and contractors offer customisation options, too. For example, an excellent pool contractor can help you to combine your pool with a spa, or you can have your fibreglass pool installed above the ground.
You can also add accessories and make adjustments in the pool lighting, safety features, and other changes. These options can make deciding to have a fibreglass pool significantly easier. Once work begins, it is likely to be completed within a couple of weeks, so you can start using your pool in a matter of days, not months.
Your very own dream pool in your Melbourne backyard
If you have a small or narrow lot, where do you put your dream pool?
For most, the simple answer would be to just go smaller. This way, you can take advantage of the many pleasures of owning a pool – for relaxation, exercise, refreshment, entertaining, and to serve as an attractive water feature in your backyard. Some pools are so small, they make room for other aesthetic and functional backyard elements such as decks, patios and outdoor kitchens.
These small pools go by different names such as spools, wading pools, cocktail pools, courtyard pools, and plunge pools. Aside from being just the right size to perfectly fit into your backyard space, these are also versatile enough to dress up or down as you please. They are also generally easy to maintain all year round because of their limited size and take a lot less time to heat, making them an all-round affordable option.
So if you’re thinking of getting your own small pool, consider the popular round stock tanks or above-ground pool options available in Melbourne, which can be sunken into or surrounded by decking.
The Little Pool Co. for your small pool needs
If you are planning on having your own pool in Melbourne and require the help of a small pool expert, The Little Pool Co., is ready to assist you. We have the experience and a team of professionals ready and able to address any questions regarding DIY pools in Melbourne, and everything else that’s pool-related.
We make instantly transportable fibreglass pools in various sizes and styles – perfect for your available backyard space. You also have the option to customise specific functional and aesthetic features to truly make it your own.
Pretty soon, you’ll be enjoying family time in your very own backyard pool.