When you decide to have a swimming pool installed in your backyard, you actually do take on more than deciding on the shape and depth of the pool, because once the pool has been installed the expensive bit of this exercise follows – deciding which ground covering to surround your pool with. Selecting a paving material for your pool decking is an important part of your pool’s design as it has a tremendous impact on the look and feel of your pool. Choosing the correct ground covering can however often be confusing and if you do not do your homework, you can end up paying a fortune because of the large amount of square footage that is involved.
The following issues should also be considered before making a final decision:
• The slope of the ground and the run-off of water from the surrounding areas.
• Factors affecting the visual water level of the pool itself.
• Tactile and safety problems like slipperyness, heat absorption and sharp edges.
• The distortion characteristics of different types of pools.
• Split levels.
• The effect of salt chlorination on paving products.
Here are a few options of available ground covering that would be suited for your pool area and some information about the effect it could have on your pocket and pool …
This is one of the most affordable options of ground covering around the pool at the moment and if you are willing to be a bit creative and work out a specific design that you are satisfied with, the result could actually blow you away. Concrete is very versatile and you could even make patterns and incorporate colour into your concrete paving before it dries – just be careful as mistakes in this category could end up being permanent. Stamped concrete is another paving option for your pool area, but the problem with this is that construction joints often run through the pattern, which might spoil the design.
This is actually a very popular option and not as expensive as brick and natural stone paving. Concrete pavers are available in many different colours and can create an interesting design. Combine two or more colours pavers for a more natural look or use one colour throughout your pool to create a feeling of unity and elegance.
Always bare in mind that the shade of colour you choose to use around your pool area is very important as dark colours draws a lot of heat, whilst light colours are often cooler. You don’t want to end up frying your feet each time you get out the pool, just because you thought black pavers would make a clear statement.
Clay pavers are an inorganic material yet being “of the earth” they afford an organic look and feel, combined with modern design concepts that encourage the use of different textures to create interesting visual appeal. These pavers embody all the wonderful qualities of fired clay and compliment other materials and finishes in and around your home. The intense firing process through which these pavers are created makes it resistant to acid which means that it will not rot, peel or fade when installed around the pool. This option is also slip-free, which excludes nasty accidents around the pool area. These pavers are manufactured in different thicknesses and are available in many different colours. It is an affordable option with a long life expectancy.
This option is a more expensive ground covering around the pool area than concrete pavers, but the result is striking. Travertine pavers are made from a natural stone that has been cut into different shapes and sizes. These pavers are very strong and are very gentle on your feet as it does not overheat in the sun. It is easy to install and almost immediately ready to step on.
Natural stone products are usually very solid and have a long life expectancy, but is the most expensive choice for a pool paving material. Some granite materials are used as natural ground covering products and one of its most appealing characteristics is the fact that it doesn’t overheat in the sun. These products are also hardened and can withstand the toughest weather conditions. Sandstone, slate and limestone are also often used as a floor covering option around the pool area.
Like with any other design, pool pavers also need to be finished off in an elegant manner to make it neat and complete. Coping is the stone that borders the pool and overhangs slightly. Copings are especially made for pool edges as a safety aspect to smooth out sharp edges and allow for easy grabbing from the water. The coping stone can match the rest of the pool paving or can be made from an entirely different kind of material. Copings are available in many shapes and colours and if applied correctly it can compliment the design and style of your pool.
Decking has become very popular because of its clean look and smooth texture as well as the fact that it is a natural product and a great alternative as paver around the pool area. Decking creates the illusion of space and is ideal to make smaller backyards seem more spacious. It is important to keep in mind that wood will deteriorate over time, especially if it is in constant contact with water. It is therefore essential to ensure that decking around the pool is not permanently exposed to water. Decking around the pool should at least be 100mm above the water level. Hard wood is used to manufacture decks and in South Africa wood species like Kiat, Teak, Balau, Rosewood and Cloeisana are often used, because they are able to sustain the weather environment and won’t collapse under heavy traffic. Wooden decks are usually kept together by screws and bolts, but Easy Clip has now made it possible to clip wood segments together, giving you a screw-free deck. The result is a deck that is great and neat looking and easy to maintain with no screws sticking out that might result in injury or damages to fabric.
An alternative to the natural deck is the recycled eco friendly deck – made from biodegradable plastic. The benefits of installing this decking option is the fact that you do not need a lot of time to maintain and oil it, there are no splinters that can cause damage to clothing or little feet, it won’t deteriorate when it comes into contact with water and insects can’t invest the deck.