Building and buying

Six pool ideas: go for a swim right outside your door

Susanne Loacker

There are lots of reasons for preferring your own garden to a public swimming pool: you don’t have to travel there by car or bus, pack a picnic in a cooler or buy a membership. Having a private pool of your own, or at least a shower in the garden, is by far superior. We present six ideas for every budget in more detail.

A modern, cubic single-family house with a rectangular private swimming pool next to it.
© Getty Images / piovesempre

In this article

1. Easy: a pop-up pool

Ready, steady, go! An inflatable pool is the simple version of a private pool: it’s practical, inexpensive and not subject to authorization. This one has side walls that are 66 cm high and a diameter of almost two and a half meters. It costs 59.95 francs (price on 30 November 2020) from Bau+Hobby.

But caution is still advised: the pool holds more than 2,300 liters of water. If you set it up on a concrete floor and children jump around in it, it’s advisable to put a tarpaulin underneath. Otherwise friction will soon be generated against the ground – and you could end up with water in the basement or underground garage.

A child jumps into a round, inflatable pool with a blue exterior.

Quick to set up, quick to put away: a pop-up pool does not require a building permit.

2. More stable, but mobile: a pool with a steel frame

Not quite a decision for life, but more stability: with a diameter of a good three and a half meters and a height of 76 centimeters, a “frame pool” has enough space for one or two swim strokes. The walls consist of three layers, and extra reinforcement is provided by an outer band. The Frame Pool has a capacity of 6,500 liters and costs about 250 francs (price on 15 September 2020) from Intexpool.

The picture shows a round pool with a steel frame. A girl stands in the water, a boy is jumping in.

A “frame pool” offers a lot of fun and relatively good stability.

3. For swimmers: a pool that’s almost ten meters long

9.75 meters long, 4.88 meters wide, 1.32 meters high: these are the dream dimensions of this pool, which comes with a sand filter. It has a capacity of 55,000 liters of water. No chemicals are required thanks to the Necontec water treatment system, and you won’t need to dig a hole for it in your garden. The tubular steel pool is very stable, and the side walls have triple reinforcement. You can easily assemble the pool yourself with a little skill. The delivery includes a floor tarpaulin, a cover and a pool ladder. Cost: approx. 3,200 francs (price on 15 September 2020) from Intexpool.

A very large oval pool can be seen on some grass; there are trees on the right and a fence on the left, behind which there is another garden.

There is room for a whole party in this pool.

4. The long-term solution: a pool embedded in the ground

Before you plan to have a pool embedded in the ground, it’s best to have the ground conditions checked by a specialist. Depending on the ground composition and the groundwater level, it may be necessary to adapt the material for the pool walls as well as the location. You should check with technical experts in advance whether additional costs could be incurred – for example due to unfavorable ground conditions.

To create an embedded pool, you have to dig out the soil in order to insert a kind of “bathtub” of the desired shape and size. You will also need to fit inflow and outflow pipes, as well as a power supply for the water pump. Underwater lighting, massage jets or a counter current system (also known as an “endless pool”) for “real” swim training are available as optional extras. The starting price for an endless pool from SpaYourLife is around 38,000 francs (price on 15 September 2020).

An endless pool with a whirlpool can be seen on a patio. A sunshade provides shade, and there are bushes in the background.

It’s great to be able to swim for kilometers in the garden – after going for a run or at any other time. Alternatively, you can simply transfer your whole exercise session to the endless pool right away.

5. For individualists: an above-ground pool

An above-ground pool, either with a steel shell or a polystyrene construction, can be easily tailored to suit your particular needs. The pool lining, plants on the walls or other embellishments, will make it even more unique. The cost will depend on the size, as well as on any specific individual requests or equipment. An additional splash shower is great fun and gives the pool a spa feeling at the same time – prices range from 200 to 2,000 francs, depending on your preferences. For individual advice, it’s best to visit a specialist shop.

Water flows into a pool in two jets from a fountain decorated with a small mosaic.

Water flows into a pool in two jets from a fountain decorated with a small mosaic.

6. Naturally: a natural swimming pool

A self-cleaning natural pool is particularly close to nature because phytoplankton and plants take over the task of water purification. The classic natural swimming pool consists of one area for swimming and another area for plant regeneration – in fact, there are two separate pools, to prevent the plants from spreading out too much. In spring and fall, water turbidity can occur, which corresponds to the natural rhythm of the plankton and is harmless.

The picture shows a natural pool, with a cabin and mountains in the background.

Pure nature: no chemicals are necessary in a natural swimming pool.

Conclusion: the choice is vast

We hope our selection has inspired you on how you can treat yourself to your own pool in your garden. However, before you start building your pool, remember that most pools require a permit. This in turn depends on the size of the pool you’re planning – and, to a certain extent, on the goodwill of the neighbors. So make sure you ask the local authority before you start planning.

You need to allow at least six meters in length and two meters in width for a pool that is big enough to swim a few lengths in. If you want two people to be able to swim side by side, the pool must be at least seven meters wide. You should also remember that you will be liable if an accident happens in your pool. No matter how small the pool: cover it when you are not in the immediate vicinity.

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