An outdoor pool is a dream for most homeowners, but in the Capital, where space is at a premium, it is perhaps the ultimate luxury. Where the best in architecture and landscaping meet, there’s inspiration aplenty in these recently realised projects
Whether you plump for a pool that’s minimalist and ultra-modern, or one that respectfully stays within the bounds of your period property’s aesthetic, an outdoor pool can be visually stunning. Today’s most innovative designs include infinity pools that seemingly blend into the horizon, and sleek indoor/outdoor pools with garden access that can be enjoyed year-round. But before you take the plunge on the design front, it’s worth thinking about functionality. As with any major addition or large-scale home renovation, day-to-day lifestyle is key.
There’s always going to be restrictions on space, too, no matter how long or wide your garden is, so consider how much of your lawn you’re willing to give up, and whether you’ll do a larger pool justice with regular use. For one fitness-oriented Octagon Bespoke customer, only a professional-standard pool would do. “A recent request from a client has been for a 50m Olympic swimming pool,” reveals director Laurence Holder. “Consisting of a few lanes for perfecting each stroke, this is an ideal practical fitness option, should you have the space. This recent Bespoke instruction also included a zinc plunge pool at one end, mainly for the health benefits associated with the cold water. Inspired by a hotel in the Alps, the client returned from a trip with full knowledge of the impact of cold plunges and immediately added this to their leisure must-haves.”
Octagon Bespoke incorporated fountains to make a feature of this pool
For us less sporty types, and for family households in particular, a fun, splash about pool is the dream. You’ll need to work carefully with your design team on the best position and placement of your outdoor pool, taking into account your garden’s aspect and which areas enjoy the most uninterrupted sunshine in the summer months; do you want an entertainment-focused pool you can dip in and out of, one that sits within a dedicated patio area complete with an outdoor dining set-up? Or would you rather a tranquil, mixed height swimming pool come water feature that’s tucked away from the main property and blends beautifully with tall planting and its adjoining landscape?
Whichever aesthetic you go for, your pool’s surround is all-important. The Grade II listed medieval property below has been given a chic outdoor update. Designed by David Loy of Your Garden Design, the pool is complete with pale stone patio tiles that both complement the historic building and sympathetically connect the entire outside space. “The swimming pool, barbecue and bar area have been given a cool, contemporary look with our Buscot limestone in an etched finish, says Hamish Smith, creative director of luxury stone company Artisans of Devizes. “As well as designing the pool surround and pathways, David has also beautifully landscaped the entire garden with carefully selected flowers and shrubs to complement the traditional charm of this characterful home.”
Limestone paving connects this pool to the mature gardens it sits within
Andy Carr, design and commercial director at Guncast offers expert advice on what we need to consider when envisaging our outdoor pool – and how we can make it a reality. “It is important to think about how you plan to use the pool,” he says. “Would you prefer the idea of leaving the house to head to your outdoor oasis at the end of the garden, or rather have facilities as part of your open-plan living space that are easy to dip into every day?”
Once you’ve decided on your outdoor pool’s design, its placement, and importantly, its functionality, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. But this is no small project, and it would be easy to feel overwhelmed at the sight of diggers ripping up your previously manicured lawn. This is why you should seek out a design team with a comprehensive approach, great communication, and experience in delivering dreamy outdoor pools of all shapes and sizes. Andy explains the process: “After the design is finalised, installing the pool itself usually takes about three to four months, but this of course depends on specification, materials and size. Time-scale wise, if you were hoping to install a swimming pool to enjoy next summer, I’d recommend speaking to our team in September – this gives us plenty of time to create the perfect design and take into account everything else, from terracing or paving, to a pool house or wider landscaping.” Dream big, we’ll see you poolside.