All decked out
So you've chosen the design of your new pool - it looks great, but to really cap it off you need a killer surrounding deck area. Think of it like a frame around a picture; the right decking can make or break the overall look of a pool.
When designing the pool deck, it's important to take into consideration factors such as the surrounding landscape, people traffic, slip resistance, heat conductivity, available space, care, upkeep and, of course, budget.
One of the most effective ways to connect a pool and home is to choose materials, textures and colours for the pool area that take their cue from the design of the house. Select tones that fit in with the rest of the house and garden. The most popular colour trends for pools are tones reminiscent of a tropical beach, with light cream or beige side paving providing a perfect 'sandy' accompaniment to pale blue or aqua tile interiors.
So many choices
Some materials are more flexible than others in regards to maintenance and long term life. Lighter coloured surfaces tend to be the most heat reflective - something to take into consideration in hot climates. Nobody wants 'ouchy' feet on their way into or out of the pool. Another good tip is to slightly slope the pool deck away from the pool for efficient run-off.
So what's on offer?
Pavers. These offer a great diversity of colours, textures, patterns, shape and sizes. They can also mimic the look of brick or stone and can be laid in a variety of patterns and designs.
Stone tiles. For a more natural look and textured feel, consider stone tiles such as limestone, sandstone, bluestone and honed (semi-polished) granite tile, as well as cobblestones. Opting for larger format tiles with less grout joints in a smaller area can give the illusion of more space.
Stone tiles create an organic, natural look with their rough texture providing an inherent non-slip surface. They can be more expensive to install due to the labour involved and because they are a natural material, but you will be rewarded with a stylish, long lasting pool deck that will stand the test of time. On the downside, some stone tiles can get uncomfortably warm to walk on in hot weather.
Concrete decks are favoured primarily because they offer so many options at a reasonable price with flexible design options like stamped stone masonry looks, stencilling (to imitate brick or other patterns), exposed aggregate, colour concrete or interlocking paving stones.
Concrete pavers are generally more affordable than most natural stones, and they come in a wide range of colours, sizes and formats. And they usually have more consistency in colour than natural stone.
Timber decks are popular, particularly for above ground pools. They create a warm and inviting look and help integrate the pool and home with a natural flow. They also blend in harmoniously with all types of surroundings.
Timber decking offers a cost effective way to maximise living space on sloping blocks where pavers and tiles can be difficult and expensive to install. And with the long lasting water-based timber finishing products available on the market, maintaining a deck is easier than ever.
Brick is another popular choice for pool deck surfaces. Bricks are long lasting and can be very aesthetically appealing. However, they can be expensive to install due to labour costs and they can shift over time or break and need replacement. The biggest concern is that can get hot in the afternoon sun which is something to consider if you have children.
As you can see, there are myriad choices; you just need to work out what will suit your needs and alfresco environment. Take the time to consider all your options and do some research to find the best solution for your pool, so you can relax and enjoy it for many years to come.