A swimming pool can be a luxurious addition to your home, providing hours of entertainment and fun to little and big swimmers alike. With so many different designs and materials on offer, it is no longer a privilege for those with plenty of space and a larger budget, but an accessible possibility for all backyard sizes.

However, deciding you’d like to include a pool in your final home is just the first step.  There is a lot to think about in the initial stages, with size, position and materials all coming into play. The first, and arguably the most important choice is whether your pool will be above ground or in-ground.

Aboveground pool

The advantage of an aboveground swimming pool is in its cost – there’s no need to excavate or lay foundations and underground plumbing. However, this also means there is a limitation to the depth and design of your pool, as most aboveground pools come in one of three shapes: circle, oval or rectangle. What’s more, a pool that sits exposed to the elements isn’t generally going to last a long time, with most coming in at a 8-15 year life.

That said, it doesn’t mean you have to disregard this option straight away. Plunge pools and ‘spools’ (spa/pool combinations) can both sit above ground and often don’t need to be that big, resulting in a reduction of water usage and less maintenance.

In-ground pool

If you opt for an in-ground pool, the costs generally go up, but you have more scope for design and functionality. For example, if your new home is situated on a narrow block, you could design a pool that runs parallel to the house, going all the way up to the fence line. Similarly, if your backyard doesn’t have a firm shape, you could install a concrete pool that follows the shape of the existing space. This means no wasted space and if integrated into the garden, a more natural feel.

However, the decisions don’t end there. In-ground pools come in a variety of materials, including vinyl liner, concrete and fibreglass. Vinyl is generally the most cost-effective option as the actual cost for the material is low. It’s also easy to manipulate, allowing for a wide range of sizes and shapes. However, as it is a polymer in constant contact with chemicals, vinyl can also break down over the years, with lots of maintenance required. As a result, it may detract from the value of your home over time.

Concrete pool

A concrete pool is another option that can be custom-designed to fit your space, with no restrictions on shape or depth. However, it requires plenty of maintenance and can take much longer to initially build. Finally, fibreglass is a relatively new material that requires the least amount of maintenance and can be installed in a short amount of time. As it is built from a mould, it is generally assembled off site and then transported to your home, ready to be placed in the excavated space. While this is beneficial in saving time, it also restricts the potential size and shape of your pool, as every design must be based off the same mould.

At the end of the day, you need to choose a pool that suits your lifestyle and budget. However, with a little more knowledge about the possible designs and materials, your choice may be that little bit easier.

At McGowan Homes we take pride in staying ahead of the market with the latest trends, techniques and materials. To help you with your building journey we’ve put together the 10 essential must-knows before building. Download today or sign up to our newsletter.


For design inspiration and helpful tips and tricks, check out our Instagram