This summer, it’s not just sales of rosé wine and ice cream that have rocketed during the heatwave. Interest in swimming pools has also surged.
‘This sweltering summer has undoubtedly inspired people to install swimming pools,’ says Sallie Leslie-Golding of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA).
‘There are now 270,000 in-ground pools in the UK, with about 65 per cent of them in the southern half of the country.’
There is something incredibly glamorous about a Hockney-blue pool. But how does the reality match up to the imagery?
Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather
‘It’s been wonderful to be able to take a swim at the end of a long day,’ says Felicity Cooper, 55, who in 2006 installed a 12m x 6m pool outside her country house in Potterne, near Devizes, Wiltshire.
‘It has also been great for the children, Lily and Ryan, who learnt to swim here.’
Felicity stresses the importance of finding the right setting for a new pool.
She ensured hers was west-facing to catch the evening sun; then she went to the trouble of digging out a mini-amphitheatre so that the displaced earth formed a windbreak around the pool itself.
‘The pool is the optimum distance from the house, being not so near that it detracts from the garden and not so far away that anyone in trouble would not be heard by those inside.
‘It is far from trees so few leaves blow into the water and, with the children in mind, it has a top quality safety cover. Felicity’s six-bedroom Jacobean stone house standing in 1.7 acres is for sale for £1.95 million.
Opinions vary as to whether an outdoor pool helps or hinders a house sale. Some think that the hassle of maintenance may be off-putting to buyers. However, the property buying agent, Jonathan Harington, disagrees.
‘I have had many clients come to me with a pool on their wishlist of luxuries,’ he says. ‘But I have never had anyone say they wouldn’t buy a house because of the pool. If they felt strongly they could easily fill it in anyway.’
Yet owning a swimming pool is an expensive hobby. An above-ground pool — like a giant paddling pool — costs from £1,500 to £15,000. These pools may not quite cut it in terms of glamour, but their lower water capacity means maintenance costs are more reasonable.
For those looking at a more substantial in-ground pool, one with a liner finish of PVC will cost about £75,000. A concrete pool, finished with mosaic tiles, marbled plaster or paint will be about £125,000.
Larger projects can easily cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
You may opt for an infinity pool — a pool designed with an edge that gives the illusion that the water is overflowing.
Those who want to improve their fitness may have a counter current device installed; the equivalent of swimming on a treadmill.
Many pool owners are interested in sustainability and heating the pool with solar panels is popular, as are covers that help heat retention.
Maintaining an outdoor swimming pool is expensive. The cost of heating and chemicals has increased so buyers should budget for at least £8 to £10 a day, dependent on the weather, according to SPATA.
Anyone fancying a workout in their own home may be interested in Ivy Cottage, Grendon, Northamptonshire.
Outside, the four-bedroom cottage is a 10m x 5m pool neatly positioned in the north-west corner to catch the sun.
‘After swimming in the pool, you could go running, riding or cycling on the countless trails nearby,’ says Ian Denton, of Jackson Stops. ‘It’s a lifestyle amenity in your own garden.’ Ivy Cottage is for sale for £825,000.