Architects who specialize in designing individual homes are often requested to incorporate a swimming pool, whether it is for construction at the same time or for adding later when the client’s budget permits.
One of the challenges of designing a pool and it’s surrounding patio areas is finding the best way to hide all the ugly pool filtration equipment, pool pumps, plumbing and other accessories.
A creatively screened pool equipment area can also serve the purpose of reducing the noise from the pool pumps. Of course, the first priority should be to install only quality pumps with a low noise output. Established pool equipment retailers like Mr Pool Man can advise on the best pumps to use to keep noise levels down.
Sloping and flat sites
When houses and pools are built on sloping sites, usually the architect can find a way to incorporate the pool filtration equipment under one of the patio overhangs on the side of the pool where the land slopes downwards. This is usually the cheapest and most practical option to hide the pool equipment.
It is on flat sites that the challenge for the architect is greater because there is no natural hiding place for all the pipes and equipment. For these types of sites there are basically three alternatives:
- Using plants or landscaping features to hide the equipment.
- Screening the pool equipment area with a solid barrier but still leaving it open to the weather.
- Fully enclosing the pool filtration equipment in a shed or specially constructed enclosure.
The ‘green’ option is one that appeals to many home owners because it is often the cheapest and also can do a good job of absorbing noise from the pool pumps if the vegetation around the pool pump equipment is planted densely enough.
This is an option where the architect should call upon a landscape designer for advice because there are certain types of plants that shouldn’t be planted close to a pool.
Plants with aggressive root systems should not be planted because they will not only damage the concrete slab on which it is assumed the pool equipment will be installed, but may also damage the sides of the pool itself.
The best options are always evergreen plants that don’t drop a lot of leaves, and also plants that are not flowering because these may attract a lot of pollinating insects, which may not be desirable around a pool.
If the pool equipment is fairly close to the patio area around the pool, then plants with thorns or sharp leaves should be avoided too, in case swimmers brush against them when moving around the pool area.
The next option is an intermediate one as far as budget is concerned, and a good one if landscaping is not a practical option for any reason. This is the option most often chosen in very dry climates or climates with winters where the pool is not used for long periods.
Solid screens can be constructed out of timber or concrete. Timber screens can look good with most types of pool designs, whereas concrete walls can be faced with any manner of material to match or complement the finishes of the patio areas around the pool.
A combination approach of the first two options can be a concrete wall with a planter box on the poolside of the wall. The planter box can accommodate screening plants, which will help with absorbing sound and perhaps lessen the need to have anything more than a plain plaster finish on the concrete.
In the photograph at the head of this article, a screening wall can be seen at the back of the pool behind which the pool filtration equipment has been hidden. Plants in front of the screening wall hide the starkness of the wall. At this particular site, an alternative option would have been to place the filtration equipment behind the waterfall.
The third option is a shed or something else that is fully enclosed and purpose built. This is invariably the most expensive option but is the best option for upmarket properties and does the best job of reducing noise levels from the pool pumps.
Within this option, usually the most economical is a prefabricated shed that can be used to house pool filtration equipment as well as other garden tools and all the equipment and hoses that are used to vacuum the pool.
A purpose built shed can be constructed out of timber, concrete or brick and if budget permits even incorporate showers on the side for swimmers to use to wash chlorine or salt from their bodies after swimming.
For the most upmarket properties, such sheds could be designed as changing rooms with toilets so that it becomes a multi-purpose outbuilding that enables not only the pool equipment to be hidden, but provides additional facilities for swimmers and for entertaining.