swimming pool

How to build a swimming pool in a garden

Swimming pools are more than just a sign of wealth; they’re a great way to make the most of your outdoor space, get some exercise and entertain guests. A garden pool in the right weather can make you feel as if you’re on holiday!

Nor are pools solely for the rich! These days, there are a number of options in terms of shapes, sizes and materials that can make it possible to install a pool for much less than you would think.

While there are plenty of DIY kits and online guides, you can also build a swimming pool without breaking the bank by arranging a professional swimming pool build service. These specialists will be familiar with all of the options available to you and will also have access to equipment that will get the job done quickly and efficiently. Failing this, you could also arrange the job with an experienced local builder or landscape designer.

Building a garden swimming pool

Step 1: Design and Plan

Make sure you design a pool that you know you can do. Work with an architectural designer or structural engineer, or someone who has plenty of knowledge on the pros and cons of building a pool in line with municipal regulations.

You will also need to subcontract a surveyor to determine the lie of the land. You want a pool level that is perfect but still need to allow for paving around the pool that allows for a slope for water to drain away from the pool and away from the property.

Step 2: Excavation

After marking out the area excavators can be subcontracted to start digging out the area. For this step you need to make sure any equipment has access to the area, unless you plan to dig out your pool using a spade! A structural engineer can advise on how much reinforcing will be required for the size of pool you are building.

Step 3: Pipes and Filtration

A plumbing or pool subcontractor will be able to advise on the size of the pump and type of filtration system needed to run the pool effectively. You need to plan for placing the pool pump and check local regulations for where – and where not – this can be placed.

Step 4: Reinforcing

Rebar has to be added around the pool and added features to increase the tensile strength of your pool. Without the rebar, the shell would be much more apt to crack under the force of the water and soil against it. The plans for laying rebar are drawn up by a structural engineer. The structural engineering plans are important because they indicate the amount of reinforcing necessary at each location throughout pool.

Step 5: Electrical

An electrical subcontractor can install all the electrical connections for operating the pool and other equipment. They are also responsible for insuring that the installation conforms to minimum safety requirements and local regulations.

Step 6: Pouring cement

The structural engineer will advise on the quantity of poured concrete required for the size and shape of pool being installed. The top 150mm portion of the pool shell that forms the lip around the perimeter of the pool is 300mm thick – twice as thick as the pool walls to add extra support to increase the structural integrity of the shell.

Cracks are the most common problem with poured concrete. Temperature and humidity can affect the curing process, causing the concrete to shrink too fast. As concrete hardens it shrinks due to the evaporation of moisture in the concrete. Shrinkage cracks occur when the concrete dries too rapidly. The first 24 hours is when most shrinkage cracks occur.

Keeping new concrete wet insures that the curing process occurs at the proper rate and this can be done with a regular light spraying with a hose pipe and spray nozzle 3 to 4 times a day during hot weather for a period of 7 days, or covering the concrete with a plastic sheet.

Step 7: Filling the pool

Filling up may take a day or more depending on the size of the pool. After filling the water will be murky. You will find plenty of information on the Internet for the correct procedure for pool startup.

Important considerations when building a garden pool


One of the first things to consider is how big your pool will be. Remember, you should not completely deprive yourself of your garden if you can help it. You will also need to keep in mind that we are not just talking about the size of the pool itself: you also need to make room for safe access, a filtration kit, security and so on.
If you find that your available space is too small for it to be worth building a pool, you might want to consider buying a swim jet machine. These are, in essence, water treadmills that allow you to swim in place. Even better, you can take them with you when you move!


The best position for an garden swimming pool can depend on various factors, including the orientation of the garden and where it will benefit from the most sun, and the location of any trees, which can cause problems as they drop their leaves. The topography of the land can influence the location, as can proximity to services such as electricity and water.


The costs of a swimming pool can be difficult to gauge without proper planning. While there are several average costs, the actual quotes for your job will depend on several variables, such as the size of the pool, the cost of installation, pumps, filters, covers, excavation, soil removal, building materials, labor and so on. Some people will tell you that you can build an garden swimming pool for $4,000, but when you take every cost into account this figure is likely to be closer to $10,000.

One thing that you should keep in mind is the cost of decor. Certain materials, such as mosaic tiles and antibacterial layering, can add thousands to your quote. While these can make a pool look beautiful, it all goes back to whether the cost is worthwhile. If you are going to get a great deal of use out of your pool, or if you are certain that it will add value to your property, then you can feel more confident about spending more on aesthetic touches

The cost also depends on the type of swimming pool:

1. Outdoor above-ground pools

If you’re looking for a simple pool, it’s wise to choose an above-ground pool product. These are also the cheapest solution, and are ideal if you’re looking to keep costs down. In addition, they’re easy to remove, so though a badly positioned pool might still negatively affect your home’s value it won’t cause as much of a problem as an in-ground model.

Many above-ground pools start at a relatively cheap $2,500 for a 12ft by 24ft product. If you’ve got a little experience with DIY, they’re also fairly easy to put up yourself, meaning you can enjoy your swimming pool without paying out a small fortune.

It’s important to remember, however, that these aren’t the beautifully landscaped pools you’ll see in many brochures. In fact, these often look more like a large paddling pool, and though you can do some landscaping to help smooth the transition from pool to garden, it will never be the stunning aesthetic many people look for.

2. Outdoor in-ground pools

The traditional swimming pool is an in-ground model that allows you to seamlessly walk across your patio and plunge straight into the awaiting warm waters. That’s the dream, right? There are many innovative and chic modern designs to help create gorgeous pools, including those that are built beneath your garden and include a hard, functioning cover to maximize your outside space.

Costs vary widely for in-ground pools. For example, a budget self-build start kit can often be bought for just $5,000. However, if you intend to do the work yourself, you’ll need some substantial building knowledge to get the project off the ground. You’ll also need to draw up a precise budget because once all the labor, excavation work and additional costs are considered, it might be worth having a professional team come and install the swimming pool for you.

The cost to have a pool installed start at around $15,000 for a simple in-ground liner. If you want something a little flashier, you should expect to pay a minimum of $25,000 for a mosaic tiled concrete pool. Though this might seem rather expensive, if you’re not competent in DIY, it can offer a lot of peace of mind to know it’s been properly installed. In addition, if you take into account potential leaks or other problems you might encounter putting the pool in yourself, DIY might be a false economy.

3. Fiberglass and polyester pool

These are delivered in one piece and are craned directly into an excavated hole. This means that they are quick to install and require little maintenance when compared to concrete pools with a PVC liner. Unfortunately due to the nature of the material they are prone to osmosis: having ground water pass through the shell and into the pool, which can cause staining and ultimately even the failure of the shell. They are also limited to a temperature of 28 degree due to the material. The average cost of building these pools is $20,000 to $65,000.

Shell options

Generally speaking, there are four options: masonry blocks with a vinyl liner, a gunite shell, a polyethylene shell or a carbon ceramic model. This last choice is the most expensive, but it is also the most energy efficient. Carbon ceramic pools can also be easier to install, as they come in a pre-made shell with all the plumbing already set up.


The next thing to think about will be safety. It should go without saying that a garden swimming pool can be a huge safety hazard, particularly if you have pets or young children. A standard safety measure is to arrange a fence installation service to erect a barrier around your pool, at least four feet high. This setup would also require an alarm for the gate, as well as storage for life saving equipment nearby. Another option is to invest in an automatic pool cleaner which will clean the pool for you so you don’t have to put your life at risk. You can also buy and install a safety cover with your pool. While these can be expensive, they are your best guarantee of safety. Solar covers can even reduce your upkeep costs by helping to keep your pool clean and well heated.

Proper care

The final point to consider is proper care. You cannot just leave a swimming pool alone and expect the water to stay clean; most pools require regular treatment to keep the chlorine and pH balances in check. While you can do this manually or , there are more expensive solutions which can reduce your burden, such as specialist filters or the previously mentioned solar covers. Cheaper alternatives are using the best robotic pool cleaner for cleaning, and a salt system for treating the pool.

All said and done, ensure you follow these important considerations when installing a garden swimming pool. Having an garden swimming pool will not necessarily add value to your property, and you cannot expect to get full use out of your product without following proper care and safety guidelines.

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