Landscape architect John Storch, of A Total Concept, reveals the hottest upcoming pool trends for 2019
Whatever your needs in 2019, one certainty is that Australians will continue to develop their external spaces to improve their quality of everyday life by creating resort-style outdoor living at home.
Quality over quantity
The trend: Architecturally designed backyards and courtyards that maximise space.
Homeowners who want a quality product are approaching independent specialist design companies such as A Total Concept Landscape Architects + Swimming Pool Designers to examine their property holistically and create a fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces. We provide unbiased advice on which materials, pool builders and filtration equipment are best suited to a particular project. This then allows the client to obtain comparative “apple with apple” prices, rather than having to analyse building quotes and choose products themselves.
With the population growing rapidly, inner-city block sizes are generally smaller and more people are choosing to build family homes on half blocks. Homeowners are spending more money and effort making their courtyards or small backyards work for them. Instead of a “bigger is better” mentality, it’s all about smart storage and an outdoor design that maximises space.
The trend: Indoor-outdoor integration.
The trend to make indoor and outdoor spaces work together will continue and is being enhanced through the use of similar materials, textures and colours throughout a property. For example, homeowners are choosing to use the same internal tiles in a swimming pool for the kitchen splashback, or repeating the colour of the external paving in the internal flooring.
The trend: Smaller pools for family entertaining.
Another answer to address higher-density living is the trend towards plunge pools. These are typically smaller than 6m x 4m and are used to relax, sit and cool off in, often on long seats and benches. In winter, plunge pools are often treated as giant spas and heated so that children and adults can comfortably sit in the pool and entertain. More expensive materials are often used inside these pools. Tiles are usually preferred as the surface area is less than that of a normal pool and the cost of using a more expensive finish reduces proportionally. Another trend is to create entertainment nooks with seats and benches on three sides so that people can sit facing each other. This adds a great social aspect to a small pool.
Attention to pool edges
The trend: Wet and floating edges to frame the pool.
People are investing more effort in turning the edges of their pools into subtle design features. One of the trends for the coming year is the hovering or floating coping look. This is where the edges of the pool are cantilevered and appear to float without support above the pool. LED lights under the floating edge can enhance the design and create an ethereal effect at night. Another recent trend has been the resurgence in wet edges to bring the water level of the pool up to the same level as the coping. This allows the water to flow out of the pool to be recirculated through grates.
A twist on paving
The trend: Unique materials used in pool surrounds instead of paving.
We are creating more entertaining and relaxation areas around pools with paving alternatives such as hardwood sleepers, stepping stones and lawn. However, where traditional paving materials are used, homeowners are choosing natural materials including Sydney sandstone, basalt, travertine and limestone. Man-made materials that mimic the look and texture of natural stone are also popular, such as porcelain tiles with a sandstone, limestone or timber finish. Larger-unit pavers such as 900mm x 900mm will remain on trend in 2019, as well busy grey colours that hide accidental stains.
The trend: Very shallow wading areas suitable for inbuilt or freestanding lounge chairs.
We have also been incorporating tanning benches within pools that have a water cover of 150mm to 250mm, with a wider bench that can accommodate lounge chairs in the pool. This allows a person to lie on the bench and drape a hand in the water to cool off, or fully immerse.”
The trend: Unique pool colours that better match homeowners’ personalities.
Thanks to recent increases in the diversity of interior finishes and colours available in Australia, pool colours are becoming more individual, creating a greater feature of the pool in the outdoor space. Interior finishes such as coloured-glass pebble and large-format paving suitable for full immersion allow for greater colour opportunities than ever before.
Turn down the water feature
The trend: Simple water features.
Long gone are the large fountains or water walls of the past. These days, most consumers are interested in more restrained water features, such as simple spouts hidden in the garden to create movement in the water. However, the relaxing sound of trickling water and its mesmerising appearance will always be on trend and coveted in the market.
A clear view
The trend: Glass pool fences.
Unobtrusive pool fencing such as frameless glass continues to be in vogue. Slimline, simple metal fences are also becoming popular again.
Turn on the button
The trend: Pool automation.
Pool-automation systems that link the pool to the home keep improving and becoming more affordable. For pools, this means easy cleaning and being able to remotely control heating, lighting and water features, as well as turning filtration systems on and off.
The trend: Energy and water saving.
Homeowners are becoming increasingly environmentally aware and interested in more “green” options. Numerous steps can be taken that do not add substantially to the cost of a project. Rainwater tanks linked to a pool top-up and drip-irrigation system are the most effective ways to be green, and the collected water can also be used for toilets and washing. Early design decisions can also make pools more environmentally sound. For example, the north aspect of a pool can be chosen to trap heat — a dark-coloured interior and paving surrounds will hold heat, while light colours cool things down. Surrounding a pool with a hedge of lilly pillies will act as a windbreak to retard heat loss and water evaporation from the pool. A pool cover can be incorporated to restrict water loss and retain heat from the heating system.
Swimming pools can be filtered using natural methods such as an attached pond through a biological system, and many chemical sanitary treatments can be replaced by less harsh alternatives. Rocks and soil from excavation can be reused on-site in walls, gardens, lawns and levelling, reducing the environmental footprint.
For more project inspiration, visit our Pools & Spas section