Dreaming of hot summer days spent in your outdoor pool doesn’t have to be something that’s relegated to holidays. Although it’s not common to see, installing a swimming pool in your garden in the UK is a possibility – if you’re willing to take a chance on the ever-changing climate.
From in-ground pools to above-ground, inflatable to fibreglass; the options are practically endless when it comes to selecting the right pool for you and your budget. In this article, we’ll be covering:
- How much a swimming pool costs
- What influences the cost of a swimming pool
- How you can save money on a swimming pool
- What’s involved in fitting a swimming pool
- What the best material for a pool is
- If you need planning permission for a pool
- How to keep children safe in and around a pool
- How much space you need around your pool
- How to find and hire someone to fit your pool
If you want to make your swimming pool dreams a reality, keep reading to find out what the best solution is for you.
How Much Does a Swimming Pool Cost?
The table below breaks down the estimated cost of pools by size and material:
|Pool Type||Small Pool||Medium Pool||Large Pool|
|Inflatable, above ground||£100 (10 feet diameter)||£120 (12 feet diameter)||£200 (15 feet diameter)|
|Steel, above ground||£2,995 (16x10 feet)||£6,995 (24x12 feet)||£7,995 (30x15 feet)|
|Concrete block, in-ground||£20,000||£30,000||£40,000|
|Concrete and vinyl liner, in-ground||£20,000||£25,000||£30,000|
|Stainless steel, in-ground||£20,000||£40,000||£60,000|
As you can see, the estimated cost of a pool varies considerably depending on the size and material you want.
Inflatable pools are among the most affordable, ranging in cost from approximately £100 to £200 for a large pool. These pools are perfect if you only want to use the pool on the hottest days of the year.
Above ground steel pools can also be affordable if you’re on a budget, ranging from roughly £2,995 to £7,995. These pools are affordable because you don’t need significant excavation to install them.
In-ground pools are considerably more expensive, ranging from £20,000 for a small concrete or stainless steel pool, up to £60,000 for a large, stainless steel pool.
Fibreglass pools are a popular choice, but they often command a premium price, ranging from approximately £25,000 to £45,000 depending on size.
To learn more about what affects the cost of installing a swimming pool in your garden, continue reading below.
If you’re ready to get some quotes to see how the pool of your dreams could cost, click the link below:
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What Influences the Cost of a Swimming Pool?
The bigger the pool, the bigger the cost – but as we’ll cover later, there are ways to reduce the cost by swapping in more affordable materials, or opting for temporary solutions if you’re not ready to take the plunge on an entire in-ground pool just yet.
Pool Type: Above-ground
If you’re looking for a simple pool, it’s usually best to choose an above-ground product. Not only are they the cheapest solution, but they’re also easy to remove – so though a badly positioned pool might negatively affect your home’s value, it won’t cause as much of a problem as an in-ground model.
If you’ve got a little experience with DIY, above-ground pools are fairly easy to put up yourself, meaning you can enjoy your swimming pool without paying out a small fortune to have it installed.
Pool Type: In-ground
The traditional swimming pool is an in-ground model that allows you to seamlessly walk across your patio and plunge straight into the waters. There are many innovative designs for in-ground models, including those that are built beneath your garden and include a hard, functioning cover to maximise your outside space when it’s not in use.
Costs vary widely for in-ground pools. For example, a budget self-build start kit can often be bought for just £5,000 – however, if you intend to do the work yourself, you’ll need some substantial building knowledge to get the project off the ground.
Having an in-ground pool installed starts at around £15,000 for a simple liner. If you want something more premium, you should expect to pay a minimum of £25,000 for a mosaic-tiled concrete pool.
When dealing with this amount of money, if you’re not competent in DIY, getting in professionals can offer peace of mind to know everything has been properly installed. Also, if you take into account potential leaks or other problems you might encounter putting the pool in yourself, DIY might be a false economy.
In addition to the above, the material you choose will dictate the price you pay, with some options being more expensive than others.
As shown in the table above, plastic above-ground pools are highly affordable. You can buy them from most high street shops during the summer, and once you’re done splashing about, they’re easy to drain and store for the next time.
Steel pools can also be quite affordable—especially if you choose an above-ground pool. You don’t need to excavate very much to install these types of pools, which can save you thousands of pounds.
This is a great choice if you want a more permanent pool that’s also relatively easy to maintain.
You’ll pay substantially more for an in-ground pool because of the significant excavation work required before installation.
Concrete pools are among the most affordable choices for an in-ground pool.
However, the cost can increase if you choose to add bespoke touches such as paint, mosaic tiles, or coping stones.
These additions can push the cost by at least £2,700—and likely more if you’re building a large pool.
Pool liners can also affect the cost of a concrete pool. Liners are a great addition to concrete pools because they make the inside of the pool waterproof.
This can extend the longevity of your pool over the long term.
Vinyl is the most common material for pool liners, and it can be cut to any shape or size. If your pool is an unusual size or design, this can increase the overall cost of the pool and liner you need.
Stainless steel pools are an increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking for an infinity pool or who want to create something truly bespoke. These pools are also durable and low maintenance.
You’ll pay more upfront for a high-quality stainless steel pool, but with proper care, the pool should last a lifetime.
Stainless steel pools are also quick to instal because the panels are welded on-site, so they’re perfect for smaller gardens with limited access.
Finally, fibreglass pools are also very popular. Fibreglass is a strong and extremely durable material that is also lightweight.
Fibreglass pools are easy to maintain because the smooth surface means algae doesn’t grow as well—saving you money on maintenance costs.
A specialist company can instal a fibreglass pool in as little as a week. Whereas stainless steel pools are constructed from small panels that are welded together, fibreglass pools are built all in one piece.
If you have plenty of space for access, a fibreglass pool could be an excellent choice that should stand the test of time.
Swimming Pool Designer
If you’re wanting a bespoke style, hiring a swimming pool designer is the way to get exactly what you want – but it comes at a cost. For a one-off pool design, you can look to spend anywhere between £3,000 to £50,000, depending on the scope and scale of your proposed project.
Preparation and Landscaping
While there’s next to no preparation needed for an above-ground pool further to removing any debris or furniture from the area, in-ground pools require significant excavation before they can be fitted. This is a labour and time-intensive job, which can add additional costs to your project.
Safety Equipment and Running Costs
Unfortunately, once the pool is fitted the costs won’t stop – you’ll then have to keep the pool running with a supply of water, electricity if you’re using a pump, filter or heater, as well as chemicals to keep the pool clean and the pH stable.
You may also want to invest in safety equipment like fencing or gates to stop access to the pool when it’s not in use or add a cover on top to stop unwanted debris from getting into the water.
How Can I Save Money on a Swimming Pool?
Considering the high cost a swimming pool installation can have, it’s important to know where you can look to shave money off your final invoice.
What Do You Need?
Although it may be inviting to go all out and get the biggest pool you can afford, that’s not always the best option – even if you have the money to do it. First, you should consider what you need for your usage level, and work from there.
How much space do you have in your garden or indoor space? Is there room for something permanent, or would you benefit from a temporary solution while you work out if the pool will be used regularly?
If the pool is to be used mostly by children, perhaps an inflatable might suffice – but if it’s something for adults to practice lengths every day, maybe an indoor pool is the best option given the range of temperatures and weather conditions you may encounter outside.
It’s no surprise that there’s a lot of upkeep involved in keeping your swimming pool in top condition, and one essential course of action is to shock your pool at least once a week to keep algae at bay, maintain the correct pH balance, as well as helping to prolong the life of your filter.
Looking after your pool over time will keep you from any costly repairs, or the need for having professionals come in to clean it if it’s been left unattended for a while.
Keep Your Pool Covered
Although it may be tempting to just leave the pool uncovered after a swim, it’s best practice not to. Not only will it save you money on water costs as it’ll reduce evaporation, but your pool will also stay warmer for longer as it’s lightly insulated when covered.
It’s also a lot safer to cover your pool when it’s not in use, especially if you have children, as they can easily trip and fall into the water and be in danger in a very short amount of time.
And, it’ll also ensure that pesky leaves or branches won’t be bobbing next to you when you swim.
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What’s Involved in Building an Outdoor Pool?
Although installation will differ depending on the materials you choose, this is the general course of events for building an outdoor pool:
- Finding out if planning permission is required if building on protected outdoor land, then measuring the space and marking up the planned excavation
- Site preparation, removing any existing furniture and loose debris
- Excavating the marked space, then framing the walls of the space with supports
- Installation of necessary plumbing to set up the water circulation, as well as wiring any electricity required for heaters
- Your chosen material will then be added as the foundation (be that poured concrete, fibreglass or vinyl)
- Water can then be added, and then treated to get to the correct pH level
- Waste removal and clean up
What’s the Best Material for a Pool?
Whether or not you’re choosing an above-ground or an in-ground pool is one option – then come all the variations in materials for each style. Let’s go through the main variants and discuss their pros and cons.
Advantages of Inflatable Pools
- Incredibly affordable when pitted against other swimming pool variants
- Easy to dismantle and store away if the pool isn’t needed all year round
- Easy to clean non-porous material
- Portable – they can even come with you to the beach!
Disadvantages of Inflatable Pools
- Not a permanent solution, susceptible to damage over time including punctures
- No water filtration system, meaning water will need to be manually changed when in use which makes it less efficient than other models
- Limited depth, not suitable for diving or underwater swimming
Advantages of Steel Pools
- Light-weight, making it something you can potentially move with you when you leave your property for another
- Longevity – steel pools won’t puncture or peel like an inflatable might
- Delivered in one set piece, meaning there’s no building required once it’s in your garden
- Naturally hygienic
Disadvantages of Steel Pools
- Expensive compared to other options
- If this isn’t adding value to your home, it can be a big upfront cost with no hope of a return on investment when you come to sell your home
Advantages of Concrete (only) Pools
- Hugely customisable – whereas other materials may come in one original cast, with concrete you can adapt the style and shape to your needs
- Provides the quintessential ‘pool’ aesthetic that you’d expect from swimming baths
- Durable and sturdy
Disadvantages of Concrete (only) Pools
- Concrete pools can take up to 3 to 6 months to be cast, even before they make it into your back garden, so it’s not a quick-fix solution
- High maintenance, requiring steel brushing at least once a week to keep algae at bay, as well as frequent water checking to ensure the pH balance is correct
- It will require refinishing over its lifetime to maintain the structural integrity
Advantages of Concrete Block and Vinyl Liner Pools
- Great, budget-friendly option
- Variety of free-form shapes due to the vinyl liner insert
Disadvantages of Concrete Block and Vinyl Liner Pools
- Expect the pool to last somewhere in the region of five to ten years, which is substantially lower than other materials
- Can puncture easily, and repairs are usually expensive
- Visually looks cheaper than other swimming pool options
Advantages of Stainless Steel Pools
- Hygienic and hard-wearing, with little maintenance required due to natural properties
- Bespoke style and sizes can be made, creating unusual shapes which can be hard to replicate with other materials
- A sustainable material, and is 100% recyclable
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Pools
- Expensive upfront, and can run at a loss if it’s not something that’s adding value to your property as it won’t add to the resale value
Advantages of Fibreglass Pools
- Easy to maintain, as the surface is smooth so algae has a hard time attaching itself to it, unlike in concrete pools where the rough surface attracts it
- Flexible design and depths
- Environmentally-friendly, and will usually have heat-trapping capabilities reducing the need to heat the pool separately
Disadvantages of Fibreglass Pools
- Contractors will need specialist experience in fitting fibreglass pools as opposed to other, more common materials, which can drive labour fees up
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Pool?
Outdoor pools are usually penned as a garden project, not needing permission. If your indoor pool needs to be fitted into a brand new outbuilding, this usually will fall under permitted development, although it’s best to check this before proceeding.
If you live in a listed property or have land that’s protected from developments such as being in a greenbelt or conservation area, you will have to apply for permission before undertaking the project as the building may contravene those terms. If you’re unsure, your contractor will be able to help you find out if you need permission, or you can check the Planning Portal guidance yourself.
How Do I Keep Kids Safe Around My Pool?
If you have children at home and you decide to build a pool, it’s essential that you supervise them at all times and never, ever leave them unattended.
Unlike what we might see on TV, drowning usually happens quickly and quietly. Children can drown in 30 seconds in just 2 centimetres of water, so you must take precautions when installing a swimming pool at home.
In contrast to Australia and the United States, the UK has no laws requiring homeowners to install a fence around their pool. Unlike at public swimming baths, at home, there won’t be a lifeguard on duty to keep an eye on the pool when you’re not there, so extra care needs to be taken to ensure safety at all times.
To this end, the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) recommends homeowners enclose their pool with a fence that’s at least four feet high. They also suggest that you install a self-closing or self-latching gate, much like you would on stairs to help to keep children safe.
RLSS also recommends that, when not in use, all hot tubs, home spas and ponds should be covered with safety covers that are “strong enough to support a child’s weight” in the event they trip or fall into them, to prevent them from penetrating the water. Most pool retailers sell safety covers to fit different above-ground and in-ground pools, with some also selling pool alarms and security fencing.
When you have your swimming pool fitted, it’s a good idea to teach your children about water safety so they know what to do (and what not to do) when in and around the water. Also, it’s an idea to keep a rescue aid, such as a buoy or pole and hook, next to the pool at all times in the event they’re needed.
How Much Space Do I Need Around My Pool?
When looking at your outdoor or indoor space, it’s important to not forget about the walking space required around the edge of the swimming pool itself.
There are regulations on a minimum footprint and what’s considered a ‘comfortable’ footprint around a pool, which is what you should aim for in a best-case scenario to ensure there’s adequate room for you to get access to each side of the pool.
Your contractor will be able to give you specific guidance, but for a rough idea of the space, you’ll need around a pool you can take a look at this web page for further guidance.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Install a Pool?
Using a contractor will impact the price of your swimming pool project as the labour costs will be high. For this reason, you must find a suitable practitioner to carry out your job in a timely, safe and efficient manner, and don’t just hire the first person that comes along with the cheapest price.
Seeking out friends and family recommendations is a good place to start, as it’ll guarantee that the tradesmen are capable of completing a job to a good standard – else hopefully your friends and family wouldn’t recommend them to you!
Secondly, you should ensure any professionals you hire are registered members of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA). This means you’ll get warranty insurance cover and will be financially protected in case your contractors don’t complete the project for any reason.
If you’re not able to find someone from a word-of-mouth recommendation, using HouseholdQuotes can help to trim down your potential search time by serving you multiple results for you to compare quotes from, saving you up to 40%.
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Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
If for any reason a potential contractor refuses to give you a written quote, you should stop your negotiations with them. This is a red flag and they could be potential cowboy traders.
Within this quote, find out if waste removal and skip hire is included as with swimming pool projects there will be a great deal of debris to move off-site, which might be too much for you to solely cope with.
Whether or not the contractor has experience in similar projects, be that of the same size, style or shape is good to find out to see if they’d be a good fit for you. Especially if you’re going to be working on a complex shape, it’s good to know before they start if their work caters for more bespoke structures.
If your tradesmen aren’t coming from a recommendation, asking for their references should be a right of passage. A web page can say anything, but testimonials and examples of their previous work should speak for themselves.
Finally, all contractors should be part of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA) which will give you a warranty and a guarantee if they don’t complete the project for any reason, and they should also have the relevant insurance in case of any physical or bodily damage caused during the fitting.
If you’ve settled on the idea of a swimming pool for your home, here’s our final checklist to make sure you’ve covered all bases before tackling your project:
- Consider the usage – will it be predominately children or adults, and is it an evergreen solution or just something for the warmer months?
- Settle on an indoor or outdoor pool depending on your requirements, taking into consideration the space needed and if any planning permission is required
- Choose an in-ground or above-ground pool, taking into consideration if either will impact the resale value of your home
- Pick your material – inflatables are great for a temporary solution, whereas fibreglass will be the best long-term solution
- Find a trusted professional to carry out the work for you using HouseholdQuotesComparing Quotes Could Save You Up To 40%:
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Keep My Pool Clean?
This article is a great place to start to see what’s needed from you in your maintenance schedule, how often you should do it, and how to rectify any problems.
Can a Swimming Pool Increase the Value of My Home?
A badly, ill-thought pool can devalue your home, as potential buyers will have to consider the costs of removing the pool – and when you think of a British garden, an outdoor swimming pool isn’t something that often springs to mind with the turbulent weather conditions.
But, if you have no intention of moving and see adding a pool as an extension to your home, then there’s nothing stopping you. You want to make sure you build it in a place where it’ll catch the most daylight while keeping it away from trees – unless you’re happy to spend a lot of time removing leaves from the surface of your pool.
Can I Add a Heater to My Pool?
There are a few options, so it’s best to scope out what would work best for you and your needs. There are some options listed in this article for you to consider.
What Are Some Good Alternatives to a Swimming Pool?
For children, you can try inflatable water parks in your local area, or try out different types of swim classes at local gyms to see if they like the atmosphere before committing to getting anything of your own.
What’s the Best Temperature for a Pool?
For recreational at-home pools, somewhere between 26°C and 28°C is considered to be the best temperature, although other factors can come into play, so it’s best to check on a case-by-case basis here.
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