Backyard pools – choosing the best for your Brisbane home

Backyard pools – choosing the best for your Brisbane home

Renovations, Tips and Advice, New Homes

art deco queenslander renovation pool area and house at nightBrisbane’s sub-tropical climate and outdoor lifestyle lend themselves to backyard pools. But creating a functional pool that suits your needs is not as simple as calling in a pool builder or buying an above ground pool and a pump. As you’re about to see there are lots of things that go into choosing the right swimming pool for your Brisbane backyard…

What is the purpose of backyard pools?

Swimming in it would be the obvious answer, but do you intend to actually ‘swim’ in your pool, or do you intend to float around, stand around or splash about? Typical Brisbane backyard pool is going to be 10 metres long or less, which is hardly long enough for swimming laps. So if you’re not going to be swimming laps, then what do you intend to do in it? This is an important consideration because how you intend to use it should be the cornerstone of your design.

If you intend to sit in the pool, then how about some built in underwater seating? Or if you do want to swim laps but don’t have a lot of available space, then maybe a swim spa might suit your needs best?

How many people will your pool need to accommodate? If you have children will their friends be coming over to swim, or is it more for the adults and if it is for adults, will you be spending more time in the pool or sitting beside the pool relaxing?

Swimming pools are a considerable investment so ensuring you are clear on how you intend to use the pool will help you make the right decision on which pool to buy.

What type of pool?

carina heights new luxury home design poolThere are a number of different pool options to choose from. Custom built concrete backyard pools are popular among Brisbane home owners but they also among the most expensive with prices starting from $25,000 and often going well beyond that. Concrete pools offer the advantage of design flexibility because they can be made in pretty much any size or shape you can imagine. Want a swim in cave on the side of your pool? No problems that can be done. Want an imitation volcano in the middle of your pool? You can get that made too (whether or not it should is a different story).

Pre-made fiberglass backyard pools have become reasonably popular. They are made off site in a factory and then shipped to your home where they are placed in a hole that has been dug for them. They are then backfilled with concrete and filled with water. These tend to be fairly low maintenance however you will have limited sizes, colours and styles to choose from. They can look sensational but be warned, they don’t always suit every home.

Vinyl lined backyard pools are another option, whether above ground in a frame or below ground as essentially a vinyl lined hole in the ground. As with fiberglass, vinyl lined backyard pools do not suit every home and tend not to be as visually appealing as other forms of pools. However, with the right design (think decking, landscaping etc) they can be transformed into a thing of beauty.

The type of pool you go with may well depend on your budget, needs and the space you have to work with. Each have their pros and cons but in the end your choice should suit your needs and add value to your home both visually and financially.

Consider the lay of the land.

entertainment area designIt’s common for people to get carried away and want an enormous pool in their backyard, but ask yourself, do you really need a huge pool? And would a huge pool even fit in your yard? And even if it could fit, does it leave room for anything else? If it’s only going to be used for part of the year you might not want it taking up all of your backyard real estate.

It’s important to consider your intended location in terms of exposure to sunlight and wind. Generally speaking when it comes to backyard pools, sunlight is good, breezes are bad. However keep in mind that a pool which gets full sun exposure might be too hot to swim in during the day. Shadows from trees or buildings that cover part of the pool can be useful here, or alternatively shade sails can help create areas of relief. Privacy is another thing to keep in mind. You might not want your neighbours starring at you in your bathers every time you take a dip.

Beyond that, how about your block itself? Is it flat or does it have a slope? Is that slope gentle, moderate or extreme? This can also influence the style and location of the pool you choose as well as the price. And of course, you need to ensure the hole for your pool isn’t going to be dug anywhere near pipes or cables.

How well will it blend in with your home?

cashmere pool pavilion renovation poolThe type of pool you choose should compliment your home. The landscaping, pool fencing and style of pool should all enhance both the visual appeal and the liveability of your property.

Access should be restricted as required by law. However, the type of pool fencing you choose can play a big part in helping or hindering your pool in terms of ‘fitting in’ with your home. Glass panels are expensive but can look stunning in some pools, whereas others will get away with more traditional styles of metal pool fencing. But don’t make the mistake of building a stunning looking pool only to ruin the look with a tacky looking fence.

A further consideration is the view of your pool from your home. You’re not always going to be able to use your pool, but ideally you get to see your investment often. The location of your pool should take into account your outdoor entertaining areas. What connection do you want between these spaces? Do you want people in the pool to be able to converse with people in your entertaining spaces, or would you prefer some separation?

By now you might be starting to think that this all sounds too hard and in reality, it can be. There a lot of things that you need to take into account. And whilst pool builders are good at selling or building backyard pools, they are not necessarily good at ensuring that your pool works well with the other parts of your home.

This is where working with an architect can make an enormous difference to your outcome. An architect will take the time to understand your needs whilst also considering all the other factors that go into making a beautiful, functional aquatic recreational area.

There are a lot of backyard pools in Brisbane but not all of them suit the property or their owners needs. Working with an experienced Brisbane architect like dion seminara architecture can help ensure you get the maximum benefit out of your swimming pool investment. Contact us today to get your pool project started.

Dion Seminara Architect


We are experts at home design, renovations and new homes and ensure good value for money outcomes.

Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 30 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.