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The great outdoors: our guide below shows you how to create a splash in your home with a swimming poolONE of the biggest advantages in warm weather living is the outdoor life. The best designed tropical homes take advantage of the climate with features like outdoor kitchens, open air dining and patio areas, as well as landscaping details like ponds, decks and play areas.
A swimming pool is often high on the list of priorities for an outdoor space. The benefits are obvious: a pool provides a convenient form of exercise and recreation and it is also a great focus for entertaining - not to mention the advantages of being able to cool off easily in the dry season heat.
Many housing developments have their own communal pool, shared by all residents, to offset the relative expense of building and maintaining it. But if you don’t live (or don’t want to live) in such a project, what are the options when it comes to building your own?
The first thing to note is that a swimming pool is definitely a luxury item. In addition, the expense of construction is rarely offset by a similar increase in the value of your home. Although a pool is often an attractive add-on to a house, the majority of buyers don’t want or need one, so the value added is minimal. Installing a swimming pool should thus be done primarily for personal enjoyment, because you want one, rather than as an investment.
On the other hand, if you’re a buyer and find a home with a proper pool already built, it will probably be a bargain. Planning a swimming pool is critical. There are many factors to consider before you let someone start excavating your garden.
First of all, determine the purpose of the pool and how it fits into your lifestyle: will it be used mainly for fitness, recreation, or as a focal point to the garden? What design, shape and size of pool do you want? A straightforward lap pool, or something with water features, tile mosaics, or complicated landscaping? Do you need special access, or safety features for children?
Look at the options for construction: above ground; in-ground with a concrete frame (recommended); or cheaper, but less durable, vinyl-liner pools.
Once you have some ideas in place, you should seek professional advice about installation. Always choose a local shop here in Krabi so you can benefit from ongoing after-sales service and maintenance. Ask for detailed quotes from several firms and compare building materials and techniques to see which seems better.
Michel Gaultier, of Desjoyaux Pools (an international network, with a branch in Krabi Town), says quotations can vary considerably. “The price will depend on the location and distance, access for machinery, the quality of the soil (resistance), depth, steps, surrounding coping, terrace and also the equipment required. Our filtration system is upgradable and includes a hydrotherapy spa and cross-current swimming system as standard. Each pool we make is then adapted to the customer, his house and his budget.”
Gaultier also says there’s nowhere that a swimming pool can’t be built, including a completed house. “We don’t need a big area to work - for the construction of a pool 8x4 metres we can use an area of only 9x5 metres.
The filtration unit is the ‘engine’ of the pool, and as such should be of a high quality, efficient and economical, to save on maintenance time and energy bills. Investing in a good system will save money long term. Any unit should also be independent of the casing, so it can be easily repaired or upgraded. The Desjoyaux system, for example, doesn’t use underground piping, which means no leaks or backwash from waste water, and no need for a separate technical room.
Heating is of course not necessary in this climate; you may in fact wish to consider investing in a pool cover to reduce water evaporation in the heat, or erecting a roof so that you can swim in the shade. Lighting will also be necessary for night time use of the pool.
Landscaping your pool, so it fits into your garden, is important, whether you’re after a natural look with rocks and waterfalls, or a clean, open area with decking. If you are planning on having guests, you may want to build an outdoor shower and changing area, so that they don’t have to go into the house - this should all be factored into the cost. Most importantly, do not skimp or cut corners on any part of the swimming pool construction or equipment itself: what should be a lifetime investment can quickly turn into a nightmare if not done properly.
Above: Railay Beach (west) - although most property in Krabi is not on the beach, places like this are never far away
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