Backyard swimming pools are evolving all the time, with a wide variety of options now available to suit every home. Increasing numbers of Australians are now opting for above-ground pools because of their lower cost and the convenience they offer. With a number of pool manufacturers now specialising in smaller sizes of above-ground pools, there has never been a better time to invest in a swimming pool for your backyard.
Here’s everything you need to know about small above-ground pools, including the various options available to you.
What is an above-ground pool?
Traditionally, most swimming pools were built in-ground, which meant they were actually dug into the soil of your backyard. This meant your yard had to be excavated before the pool could be installed, which can be a lengthy and difficult process, depending on the size and shape of your yard and the condition of the soil. You may have builders on your property for days or even several weeks.
Many people still opt for in-ground pools, even if they choose a small-sized pool to suit the amount of land they have. However, because of the amount of construction work involved, in-ground pools involve a considerable initial cost.
The popularity of above-ground pools is growing, and there are a number of reasons for this.
Above-ground pools offer far greater convenience at a much lower cost. An above-ground pool sits on the surface of your yard rather than having to be dug into the ground, so there are far fewer construction costs involved. While there is still some building work involved, as the ground beneath your pool must be completely level in order for it to comply with Australian regulations, an above-ground pool can be installed much more quickly and cheaply. This not only saves you money, it also saves you time and disruption, and it means you can start enjoying your pool practically straight away instead of having to wait for a complex building project to be completed.
Some home owners choose an in-ground pool because they believe it looks more attractive than an above-ground pool. An above-ground pool cannot lie flush with your backyard, which is what many people want. However, there are more and more options for customising the appearance of above-ground pools, with different sizes, styles and colour options available. Some manufacturers, such as The Little Pool Co, offer ways to personalise the outside as well as the inside of the pool, with various colour choices to select from, and a gelcoat surface on the inside to protect the appearance of the interior of the pool.
With some creative landscaping, an above-ground pool can be a beautiful design feature which will add value to your home. Depending on the design and installation of an above-ground pool, you may also be able to take it with you if you choose to move home in the future, whereas an in-ground pool will remain in the same position for life. This makes an above-ground pool a far more convenient choice.
Cost is obviously an extremely important factor. Any swimming pool is a large investment, so it will involve spending a considerable amount of money. However, by choosing an above-ground pool instead of an in-ground model, you can easily save yourself thousands of dollars.
This does not always necessarily mean compromising on quality, either. For example, The Little Pool Co has developed its small above-ground fibreglass pools in conjunction with one of Australia’s leading swimming pool manufacturers, using the exact same technologies as the full-sized pools. This means you are getting world-class engineering and a beautiful, durable pool for a much lower price.
What are the different materials used to create above-ground pools?
Just the same as with full-sized swimming pools, there are three main materials used to construct high-quality, small pools above ground. These are:
1. Vinyl liner
Vinyl liner pools are the cheapest swimming pools you can buy. The outside is usually made from a durable resin, sometimes with a steel structure. These small above-ground pools are a quick and cost-effective solution, but there are some issues you should be aware of when making a purchase decision.
Firstly, many vinyl-liner pools, such as those manufactured by Clark Rubber in Australia, are sold as complete kits, including the pool shell, pump, filter and plumbing kit. This means you may have to plumb them in yourself, which should never be attempted unless you are highly experienced. Plumbing and electrical work for swimming pools should always be done by a licensed professional.
Secondly, vinyl liners are not as hard wearing as other swimming pool interiors. They can be damaged with regular use, and are likely to need regular maintenance and repairs, which can cost a considerable amount of money. This is something to think carefully about, especially if you have a family who will want to play games in the water, accelerating the general wear and tear. Approximately every 10 to 15 years, the lining will need replacing completely, so this is a cost you will need to factor into your budget.
However, vinyl-liner pools can be a convenient option, as they are often the easiest pools to pack up and take with you if you decide to move home.
Concrete is the most tried and tested material for swimming pools, as it has been used in swimming pool construction for many decades. It is tough and hardwearing, and many concrete pools built many years ago are still in use today, proving the success of the material. As concrete is strong enough to provide a solid structure, your above-ground concrete pool will last a lifetime.
The main drawback of concrete above-ground pools is that they are expensive to build. Even for a small pool, the construction costs will be higher than for any other type of above-ground pool. This is because concrete pools cannot be pre-fabricated – they have to be built from scratch in your backyard, which is a process that can take weeks or even months. Because of this, you also need to factor in the disruption to your lifestyle that comes from having builders on your property each day.
Concrete pools also carry a number of other additional costs which consumers do not always think about when choosing a pool. The interior of the pool will need to be tiled or decorated with another form of cladding such as pebbles, in order for the pool to be watertight and look attractive. This will add to the construction costs. Concrete is also a notoriously cold material, so the costs of heating your pool are likely to be higher if you want to create an environment which is comfortable to swim in.
Despite the costs, however, concrete pools do have some advantages over other small above-ground pools. They are more easily customisable than any other type of pool, so your pool can be designed in literally any shape and size to suit your backyard. This enables you to put your own personal stamp on your above-ground pool in a way that isn’t possible with pre-fabricated models.
Fibreglass is an extremely popular choice for small above-ground pools in Australia, because it offers the convenience and low cost of a vinyl-liner pool, with the strength and durability of concrete.
Modern technology means it is now as easy to create an above-ground pool from fibreglass as from concrete. Innovations such as the Maxi-Rib technology from Compass Pools Australia enable extremely strong pool structures to be built above-ground, so a pre-fabricated fibreglass composite pool shell can easily be installed, and will be strong enough to withstand all weathers and last a lifetime.
Because of this, fibreglass above ground pools are now being installed in a wide variety of ways. Some home owners are choosing to have their pool structures built from scratch on-site, while others are purchasing shipping containers with fibreglass pool shells inserted. Shipping container pools are cheaper to purchase and easier to install, but their shape is long and narrow, so it might not be an option for some backyards. They also are not always the most attractive pool options from the outside.
The Little Pool Co wanted to take this concept one step further, creating small fibreglass above-ground pools which could be sold as a complete unit, but would suit a wide variety of backyards with limited space. Coming in two different shapes, Little Pools offer the convenience of a small above-ground pool without any need to compromise on quality. As they were developed in conjunction with one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of fibreglass composite pools, using all the same engineering expertise and technology, they are designed to be as strong and durable as a full-sized fibreglass pool.
The appearance of Little Pools has also been thought about carefully. The exterior can be customised with a choice of three different styles of exterior cladding, with various colour options available. The inside of the pool comes in four different colour choices, and the gelcoat surface ensures that the pool’s appearance is protected from UV and chemical damage, so it will continue to look fresh and bright for many years to come.
Installation of a Little Pool is quick and easy, with very little building work required. All it needs is a level concrete pad installed in your backyard for the pool to rest on, and an electrical hook-up so the pump and filter system can be connected. You also have the option of adding lighting to make the pool area attractive and usable after dark.
This makes it a fast and convenient above-ground fibreglass pool solution which you can start enjoying practically straight away. It is ideal for those with smaller backyards who still want the enjoyment of a swimming pool without the cost and disruption of having an in-ground pool installed.
Find out more about small above-ground pools
If you are thinking of purchasing a small above-ground pool, the right choice of pool depends on your individual property and your usage needs. If you would like to know more about Little Pools, and think this might be the right solution for you, please contact us, and our friendly team will be happy to advise you further.