Expert Advice: 10 tips on how to save money when building a new pool

  • 7 minutes
  • 20 November 2019

When designing a dream backyard, you’d be hard-pressed to find a homeowner who doesn’t include a pool in that vision; however, it can be quite an expensive and prolonged project. In fact, the average cost of a 6x3m pool in Australia reaches a whopping $36,000! If you’re looking to build the pool of your dreams without breaking the bank, here’s some expert advice on how to save money when building a new pool.

TrendWall pool wall

1. Local council regulations and approvals

In most areas in Australia, you’ll need a council permit to build a pool in your yard or register it with council once its built.

Ensure you’re aware of all local council requirements and the costs involved, so you can factor that into your budget at the get-go, rather than having to cut something out of the budget down the track.

2. Size matters

The size of the pool has the biggest impact on your budget. Do you want an intimate plunge pool, or will you need a bigger family pool for the kids to play in?

Picking a smaller sized pool will save you money from labour, materials, machines and it’ll be completely finished in a shorter amount of time; in fact, a smaller pool can save you estimated $10,000. Depth is also an important factor for your budget. A pool depth of 2m or less can be around $2,000 cheaper than deeper pools.

Don’t forget, you’re not simply digging a hole in the ground; you’re building a whole pool area. Paving or decks, landscaping and fencing can also add up in the overall budget, as well as take up its own room in your yard. Plan and measure the whole pool area before getting attached to a pool size!

VogueWall Byron Bay NSW

Case Study: The Designory #makeitmodular for their luxe Byron Bay Villa!

3. Consider above-ground pools

Above-ground pools are safer, easy to maintain and clean, and way cheaper than built-in pools. There are a lot of shapes, sizes and materials from which you can choose and have been an increasingly popular solution to levelling out sloping land and tiered backyards. Even though below-ground pools are the usual go-to, weigh up all the pros and cons of above- or below-ground pools; then you can decide if the aesthetic of a below-ground pool is really worth the extra dough!

4. Location, location, location

What’s the soil type in the backyard? Is there a lot of rock? Do you have a lot of trees? Examine the backyard and decide how much each location would cost you in excavation work, installation costs and ongoing maintenance. If you’re not confident doing this on your own, you can also save this task for when you’re choosing your professional pool builder and compare some expert opinions.

Building the pool as close as you can to the house may also save you some money in the long run. It can help reduce water and electricity expenses, while the house itself creates a pleasant shade, without the fallen leaves and debris that a tree would bring.

5. Choose building materials according to your budget:

  • Vinyl can be easily customised. Choosing vinyl will dramatically reduce the cost compared to concrete or fibreglass. However, you’ll need to change the linen regularly, which may add to the
    cost over the years. Vinyl is also not as durable as other building materials; it can be stained, scratched and damaged.
  • Fibreglass is more expensive than vinyl, but the installation process is easy. It has a low maintenance cost and it can heat the water very quickly. On the other hand, fibreglass can’t be customised in different shapes and can be limited with sizes. If it’s not properly installed, it can also crack and get damaged.
  • Concrete is very durable, can last way longer than both vinyl and fibreglass and can be customised to the size and shape you need. However, concrete pools are expensive, takes longer to install and requires resurfacing every 10 years or so. You’ll also need to use more chemicals, as its porous surface is predisposed to algae growth.
VogueWall pool wall

Case Study: DIY renovator sings praises of VogueWall pool wall!

6. Don’t overdo it

Building your dream oasis in your backyard can be exciting and overwhelming. Hold off from the waterfalls, slides, massage jets, spas and other special features; these things can always be added later and if your goal is to stick to a small budget, you need to save them for another day.

7. Build off-season

Contractors are the busiest during the spring, as most people want their pool ready for summer. The contractors have a lot of work during that period, so it’s possible they’ll charge you extra money. To save some money, build your pool during autumn; in this period, contractors aren’t as busy, so you might get a better deal.

8. The pool builder

Talk to a couple of companies and compare at least three quotes. Get to know the previous work of the contractor and speak to the previous clients, if possible. Ask friends or family members with pools in your area. Basically, make sure you can trust the contractor before trusting them with that much money and responsibility!

When getting quotes to compare, make sure to ask if the contractor is licensed and insured to do the job. Ask how much of the whole pool area they can install, including the filtration and heating systems, coping, decking and fencing; if they won’t cover this, you’ll have to engage other contractors, which adds to the final cost. Also find out if they offer ongoing maintenance or repair services, just in case you need more work done down the track.

Before any decisions are made or any work begins, clearly explain your plan and budget limits with the contractor. Set the right expectations early and don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer your opinion during the process!

SlimWall pool wall with express joints

Case Study: Stunning SlimWall feature wall completes new pool makeover

9. The final budget

After you’ve written down your plan, it’s time to set the budget. Create a detailed budget covering every potential cost we just went through — approvals, materials, site works, pool builder quotes, decking/coping, fencing, heating systems and maintenance materials.

The next step is to avoid the biggest mistake homeowners make in budgeting; not allowing for surprise costs. When you’re done with the budget, add an extra 15% on top. This is to cover you if (or should we say, when) an unforeseen speed bump arises. Building a pool includes pretty major structural changes to your backyard; even if everything looks good on the surface, once they start digging deep, they may uncover some challenges.

10. Stick to it

The last tip to really save money on your new pool build is sticking to your budget!

You’ve gone through all this trouble researching your project; do yourself a huge favour and respect your financial limitations. Don’t fall into the trap of borrowing from other budgets or promising yourself you’ll find the money somewhere when the time comes.

Who is Eva Bowker?

Eva Bowker is the home improvement coordinator at Fantastic Handyman Australia, which is one part of Fantastic Services – a recognisable and much-loved Aussie brand. Fantastic Handyman company began operations in 2011 to become one of the most reliable home improvement and property maintenance service provider in the country. Their website covers almost everything for the well-being of your property, with services designed to address an extensive range of property maintenance aspects that a home or office may need.

Whether you require an experienced handyperson to fix and repair, a craftsman painter to decorate your bedrooms or a multi-skilled technician to completely renovate your bathroom or kitchen, Fantastic Handyman is the company to call!