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Africa, as a whole, has one of the most beautiful climates in the world, with long hot summers which are perfect for outdoor activities and entertaining, very often around the backyard swimming pool or spa. Even if the outdoor entertainment area is small, room can usually be made for a splash pool which provides an immediate form of relief on a blistering hot day. Let’s face it – you don’t have to be a swimmer to appreciate the joy of sinking your overheated body into wonderfully cool water when the temperatures are soaring. On the other hand, on cooler days, or when you have completed a hard day’s labour in the garden or at work or have a regular workout regime, what could be nicer than relaxing in the warm, soothing massage jets of your own private spa? If you have reached the point where you just know that you HAVE to have a swimming pool and/or private spa, you will need the expert services of a pool and spa specialist.
Why is it that swimming pools are usually thought of as being fairly large and space-consuming features? Whilst some people like to use their swimming pools for just that – swimming lengths and getting good cardio exercise, others just want a cool place in which to play and relax. Others with compact townhouse-style gardens are happy with smaller splash pools which don’t allow much room for actually swimming, but are great for cooling down on a hot day, and providing an additional outdoor entertainment factor for younger children without creating too much fuss and mess.
Since swimming pools are such a permanent and integral part of any garden, it makes sense that the style of the pool suits the garden as well as the needs of the owners. For this reason, swimming pools come in any number of shapes, sizes and styles, from standard pre-manufactured fibreglass shells to bespoke, highly individualistic designs.
Generally, pools and spas serve two entirely different functions. One is designed to provide an area for cooling down, exercising or indulging in water-based activities and games such as water-polo, air-ball or fishing-for-coins. Who hasn’t spent time catching the sun’s rays whilst lying on a floating water-bed or pool-float hammock in their swimming pool? A spa, on the other hand, is much smaller, and generally has seating built in around the inner perimeter. Spa water is heated and provides various levels of massage, from gentle to strong, depending on the strength and number of jets built into the unit. Spas can be either above- or in-ground units which are attached to an in-ground swimming pool. More commonly, one will find an above-ground portable spa or hot tub, which is a completely self-contained unit and is often situated on a deck or patio. Everything which makes the hot tub operate is built into the surrounding support or cabinet, such as the plumbing, electrical control system and any other components. The advantage of such a system is that it may be drained at any time, can be filled with a garden hose, and is able to be transported and reinstalled in another location when you move house. These above-ground spas or hot tubs are probably the better option than in-ground units as they provide more comfort, are more energy efficient and provide better massage options, as well as being generally easier to care for and maintain.
Having decided that you want a pool and/or spa, the next question is : what design is best for your needs and the space which is available? A long, narrow garden can be a perfect setting for a functional and highly effective exercise pool, which requires length but not width, whilst a small townhouse garden can easily accommodate and benefit from a compact splash pool. With a larger garden, the choice of design is almost limitless, as are the build choices. Pools can be either manufactured pre-formed moulded fibreglass shells which are sunk into a corresponding hole, or gunite or concrete pools designed to individual specifications and built on site.
Fibreglass pools are the quickest and easiest to install, but may not offer the WOW factor that some home owners desire, although careful choice of the surrounding stone, tile or brick coping will add an element of luxury to any pool. It has rightfully been said that “Pool coping is the crowning glory of your pool.” Coping is used to separate the swimming pool inner from the surrounding surface area and adds a measure of protection to the pool structure. Properly installed coping will ensure that water which is splashed out of the pool will flow away from the pool and into the nearest drains. Judicious choice of pool surround will allow homeowners to attain a unique look without the price tag of a bespoke pool design and build. Gunite or concrete pools, due to the nature of their construction, can take weeks to install and complete, so if you cannot live with your garden being somewhat of a building site for some time, it is better not to choose this option. They also require more chemicals, regular cleaning and maintenance and are somewhat colder than fibreglass pools, which is something that must be taken into account if you are habitually short of time and want to use your pool for as long as possible during the year.
Fibreglass pools come in a range of finish colours, from sparkling clear blue to darker tones which may be considered more visually appealing and provide a further complementary extension of the house or garden. Additional advantages of these pools are that they are also warmer than traditional gunite or concrete pools and use fewer chemicals as their smooth gel coat is algae-resistant. However well positioned in the ground, it is wise to remember that they rely on the weight of the water to keep from buckling and warping over the years. A fibreglass pool should never be drained (except for repairs) as severe structure problems, cracking and more serious damage could result. It is also worth noting that, over time, the gel topcoat can start to fade, crack and peel from constant UV exposure. For this reason, it is advisable to keep to one constant colour rather than layering different colours in the finish, as these will be difficult to accurately replicate if the pool needs to be repaired in the future.
All pools, whether fibreglass or concrete, can be customised to some degree. Pools may have fountains at one end which add an extra touch of glamour and pizazz, may be designed to resemble a large rock pool, complete with artificial or natural rock surrounds and even waterfalls or may include a wet bar or built-in permanent sunbathing seating. If the pool is large enough, you can explore the options of incorporating stone, metal or glass design features, sculptures or fountains for a truly unique look. You can make your swimming pool as individual as you are!
Pool and spa specialists are not difficult to locate. You can find them very easily through online searches. Search sites such as Uptasker will speed up such searches as Uptasker itself lists in geographical areas, which makes it quicker and more convenient to find one close to you. Uptasker also provides online ratings and customer reviews which are extremely useful when checking on a supplier’s service and reliability. Because it lists in geographical areas, Uptasker is extremely useful when trying to get a general idea of costs from different suppliers by asking for online quotes, which is a great time-saver. You can also find these specialists by looking through house and home magazines, asking building contractors, attending home expos and checking newspapers and the Yellow Pages. One can never underestimate the power of personal recommendation, so if you know anyone who has had a pool or spa installed and has obtained brilliant service and results, don’t hesitate to ask them for the name of their supplier.
There is no doubt that a pool or built-in spa will enhance the value and pleasure of any home. Whether you choose to dive in on a large, eye-opening scale or dip your toes into something smaller and more discrete, there is a pool and spa specialist who will be able to turn your dreams into reality. There is really no limit to the shape, size, colour and in-pool additions available, and if they are not yet in existence, then make it your mission to create something totally unique and which fits all your needs. For more tips, see our pool and spa specialist articles.
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Charles is not a honest person not trust worthy and we have found things missing from our premises.