In Australia, it is estimated that over 10 percent of homes have a pool, which is a very high percentage compared to many other parts of the world. Apart from a very favourable climate, there is obviously also a cultural aspect to it, with wealthier suburbs seeing a much higher percentage of pool ownership, given the status it invokes. Households with children are also far more likely to have a swimming pool, as are people in the hotter states, with Queensland seeing pool ownership at almost 20 percent.
Is a Pool a Good Investement?
Many people assume that a pool increases the value of a house. However, due to the installation costs, a lot of times, any value added at the end of the day is negligible to the person who built it. There are exceptions to this. For example, in more affluent suburbs where pools are more common, a house without one may not fetch as much on auction day due to not fitting in with the expected standards of the area. These houses would typically be far more expensive though, and the expense of a pool install would not be as large a percentage of the overall home value, compared to a pool constructed on a smaller block in a more affordable suburb.
In cases where the pool area is the dominating enclosure of the backyard, as opposed to a tasteful feature, filling in a pool may actually increase the value of the home. Yes, Australia’s climate is ideally suited to a swimming pool for many months of the year, but outdoor entertaining is also a huge part of the Australian way of life. With a pool filled in, a multitude of options become realistic possibilities, with any number of them being a vast improvement to an otherwise rather confined backyard.
Obtaining Your Geotech Report
Bear in mind, there would be a number of hurdles to cross prior to starting the filling in process, with the most obvious being the necessary engineers report. This geo-tech report is vital to ensure important checks are carried out to identify any potential slippage or drainage issues with the ground. Before this is done there is actually no way of knowing what the total cost of the filling in project will be, and even once the report has been submitted, as in any construction project, there is the potential for unseen costs to crop up before the completion of it.
You Don’t Need a Pool to Stay Cool
Something that also needs to be taken into account before filling in a pool is that it can be hard for homeowners to imagine the change in lifestyle the absence of a pool will result in, especially during the intense heatwaves of the summer season. Obviously, there are many weeks not suitable for swimming and these periods will most likely be at the forefront of someone’s mind when considering filling in their pool. But consideration should also be taken when contemplating weekends at home in the scorching heat.
In saying that, there is an almost endless array of water play alternatives that don’t require more than the backyard tap. A long hose, coupled to a hose sprinkler attachment, along with water pistols and other water play activities can provide hours of amusement for toddlers right through to older children.
Thankfully, modern homes are typically far more capable of coping with both cold and hot extremes in temperature than in times past and indoor games and relaxation are a realistic alternative to a pool when they can be carried out in the comfort of climate-controlled surroundings. This means that a swimming pool is not the be-all and end-all on a hot summer’s day and in fact, due to the sheer intensity of a scorching summer’s day, an indoor alternative is occasionally required regardless.
Is a Pool a Waste of Money?
The benefit of filling in a pool, despite perhaps the initial financial outlay to achieve this, is that over time, this money will gradually be ‘earnt’ back through savings in pool maintenance. While pool maintenance costs may not be perceived as a waste of money, they undoubtedly arise over time and can accumulate quickly when living with the luxury of a pool. These pool expenses involve things like the cost of pool chemicals, which need regular checking and adjustment to ensure clean and healthy water and the cost of running the pool pump which is reflected in the increased electricity bills. In addition to these regular costs, there is also the ever-present chance of the unforeseen. Expenses may pile up relatively quickly due to leaks in the pool plumbing or failure of components such as the pool pump, or accessories like skimming baskets and pool vacuums.
Green Level Lawn Alternative Provides Endless Opportunities
Another obvious benefit of filling in a pool would be the classic lawn alternative. A perfectly level lawn, with quality turf, lends itself to being the ideal outdoor area suitable for any occasion. In addition to being the perfect space for families with children to run around and play outdoor games, it lends itself conveniently to being transformed into an evening entertaining area when complemented by some outdoor furniture and lighting.
For the animal lovers out there the absence of a pool will clearly open up the yard for their furry friends, which will first and foremost benefit homeowners with large or active breeds of dog.
Creating Your Dream Garden Retreat
With significantly more invested in landscaping, the backyard previously limited to swimming in summer months has the potential to become your very own dream garden all year round. Depending on the amount of maintenance desired, the area previously occupied by a pool can be landscaped into different levels creating a multi-use backyard. A Bali Hut could be used as the focal point of one corner of the garden, accessible by a paved path, surrounded by a variety of plants, stonework, and an iconic water feature to create an oasis overlooking the rest of the garden. To give it a more practical element, why not add a traditional pizza oven to enhance the dining possibilities at this secluded, shaded corner.
There’s Never Enough Space!
For households that need more storage space or an additional working area, filling in a pool would create much-needed space to set up either a garden shed or a workshop type set up, to house longer-term car projects or to store materials. The advantages are many, one being that this would immediately free-up the driveway for day to day use and provide a secure, undercover location for items that would otherwise perhaps have cluttered the garage.
Projects that initially would be off the cards or unrealistic due to the space they take up would suddenly become more viable, enabling more leisure time to be spent doing something productive and enjoyable. A car project, for example, is not something one starts in a garage unless it receives the green light from the better half of the household due to the indefinite aspect of the timeline, as well as the additional dust, noise, and mess that ensues.
This is where the ingenuity of a separate shed or workshop to house, for example, a car project, comes in. Having a dedicated space for a long term hobby or venture takes the pressure off the need to complete it purely to free up space, and also eliminates the constant hassle of having to navigate around it day-to-day. The advantage of this is that nothing needs to be rushed just for the sake of it, and unexpected delays, for example, whilst waiting on parts, etc. don’t mean the end of the world as it isn’t in anyone’s way. Parts dismantling are able to be done in an orderly fashion and everything will always be found where one left it, safe from the random ‘clean-ups’ that other areas of the property typically succumb to by zealous family members.
Make Space for a Home Extension
On a larger scale, another benefit of filling in a pool would be the option down the track of building an extension, or something detached – be it an office, rumpus room or granny flat. This would invariably increase the value of the property as well as meeting the needs of the household in question. However as touched on earlier, this kind of financial investment would obviously need to be carefully evaluated due to the costs associated with filling in a pool.
Why Would You Fill in a Pool When You Can Just Sell?
Some homeowners who aren’t particularly vested in the property may find it more straight forward to sell the property and purchase something more suitable to their requirements, rather than spending a significant amount of money on a backyard project of this magnitude which they aren’t guaranteed to recoup, at least in the short term.
Water Safety Issues Either Way
One factor that also is eliminated with the filling in of a pool is the stress associated with the risk of drowning. Having a pool free backyard changes the dynamics of a household with potential reductions in insurance premiums, no need for compulsory fencing and compliance inspections, as well as (relative) peace of mind when children are playing in the backyard on their own.
Despite the increased supervision required around kids and pools, one advantage of retaining a backyard pool is the familiarity children gain with water from an early age. Confidence to jump in can be seen in the youngest toddlers and small children can rapidly become capable of swimming, even before they have attended official lessons. Spending time in the pool is a great form of exercise, especially in this day and age where it can be a constant struggle to reduce ‘screen time’ throughout the day.
The Convenience of a Backyard Swimming Pool
Sure, it is possible to drive down to the local pool or head to the beach, but for families with children, this often becomes an exhausting expedition that needs to be timed to perfection to fit around nap times for the youngest family members, as well as the need to drag everything back and forth from the car including towels, eskies, picnic blankets, sunscreen and so on. All this coupled with the fact that when one child has ‘had enough’ then the pressure is on to pack up and get out.
The opposite of this is the serene, tranquil surroundings of the humble backyard pool. Parents have the opportunity to cool off during toddler nap times, and young children can be rinsed off and brought inside if they start to get cold or simply want out of the water. Energetic teenagers who would otherwise pace the house in boredom waiting for their turn on a game console have the chance to engage in some healthy outdoor activity and burn off countless calories in the pool, solving all number of conflict scenarios before they even arise.
The Filling in a Swimming Pool Discussion is Complex
Filling in a pool does certainly have a host of both valid and enticing reasons associated with the conquest of valuable square meters of backyard real estate, but it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially for families with young children or for people in areas that experience sustained periods of gorgeous weather.
When push comes to shove, comprehensive research does need to be done and either way, things will cost money, be it pool maintenance or the expenses surrounding a pool fill-in project. Nothing in this world is free, and it’s definitely worth investing in something one is passionate about, whether that be choosing to get a geo-tech report and getting some pool fill in quotes from professionals and going from there, or choosing to enjoy the blessings a pool brings with it.
At the end of the day, there is no black and white, yes or no answer to the question of whether one should fill in a pool. There are just too many variables to take into account, when it concerns the type of ground and soil a pool is situated on, proximity to neighboring fences, the chance of decreased or added value to the property overall and as covered in-depth – the lifestyle situation of the homeowners that need to make the final call.
Mr Dig has years of experience in excavation and construction. Call Steinar today to discuss options for your backyard swimming pool.