Owning a home with a swimming pool is a lot like owning a boat. Some say the two best days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. At least that is one side of the argument. The other side, both for boats and backyard pools, is that they are the best thing since sliced bread and well worth the cost and effort to get the most out of them. The difference in these points of view is often down to how much use the owner gets from either the boat or the pool.

Obviously a swimming pool is not a cheap proposition; either to build, operate or maintain. They take up large chunks of real estate and if the landscaping isn’t well thought out, can become little more than green, slimy leaf catchers. Even properly fenced there is always the risk of tragedy occurring.

Despite backyard drowning being far less common than once was the case, backyard pools account for more than half the drowning deaths of children in this country. In New South Wales, where six children drown in backyard pools each year on average, there is new legislation requiring the registration of a backyard pool and at present there are some 340,000 of them on the register. According to a press release from Don Page MP, the Minister for Local Government:

“In addition to the totally unacceptable levels of child drowning, each year about 36 children in NSW suffer permanent brain injuries from swimming pool accidents.’’

All this despite the laws requiring proper pool fencing having been in force for decades now. So the question you must ask yourself is:

“Do I really want a swimming pool?”

The Pros are:

  • Lifestyle
  • Health and Fitness
  • Prestige – real or perceived
  • Resale for added value to property

The Cons are:

  • Cost
  • Effort
  • Risk

It is lovely to have your own swimming pool you can dive into any time you choose; but many owners find they use it far less often than they had imagined doing, especially once the children grow a little older. For them the costs of maintaining the pool are prohibitive, not so much in chemicals or salt but in electricity to power the filters and cleaning apparatus. If a pump fails then it can become a very expensive proposition to replace. Additionally, resale value might suffer as not everyone wants a swimming pool, no matter how many boxes the house itself might tick for them.

Those owners that swear by their pool rather than at it are the ones who use it almost every day. It becomes a part of their lifestyle and routine and they accept it takes some effort and expense to keep clean or to hire someone to do it for them. They mostly have salt water pools, live in the more warmer northern areas of the country and thus get more all-year use out of their $30K plus investment.

The common thread you will find if you spend some time on pool owner forums is that:

Salt water is the way to go for cost and ease of maintenance
Unless you plan to swim a lot, spend the $30K+ to build it and $1,000 a year to run it on holiday resorts that have their own pools!
For every pool lover there is at least one person who will never have a pool in their backyard ever again, so which one are you?