The Best Pool-Side Plants to Create a Resort-Feel At Home

There’s nothing more relaxing than a tropical holiday. From the warm weather to the sun-soaked days at the beach to the breathtaking scenery, everything about a resort getaway is perfect for unwinding and getting back in touch with nature.

Unfortunately, we can’t be on holiday full-time (as much as we’d like to). However, there are ways to replicate the resort aesthetic at home. For example, adding tropical plants to your pool area can amp up the tropical vibes to make you feel like you’re on a permanent vacation.

Below, find a list of five of the best pool-side plants to bring the resort feel to your home.

Palm trees

Of course, no list of resort-style plants would be complete without palm trees. These versatile plants come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll find plenty of options for your pool area – no matter how much space you have.

If your backyard is suited for tall palms, consider a Bangalow palm or a golden cane palm. Either one will instantly add a holiday-like vibe to your backyard and make you feel like you’re in the tropics. You can purchase potted palms from Bunnings and plant them yourself, or you can contact a local landscaper for more options.

Bamboo

Bamboo is another excellent option to create a resort-like pool area – particularly if you’re aiming for a zen, spa-style aesthetic. There are numerous species of bamboo, including leafy green plants like the Chinese dwarf or dwarf green stripe bamboo. If you prefer a taller, more classic-looking bamboo, look out for Slender Weavers or China gold bamboo.

Hibiscus

As the state flower of Hawaii, hibiscus is a must-have in any tropical-themed pool area. It grows in several different sizes and colours, including pink, purple, white, and yellow, so you can choose one that complements your outdoor space. To really amp up the tropical vibe, plant your hibiscus alongside a fragrant bunch of frangipani.

Ornamental ginger

Ornamental ginger plants are unique, colourful plants that work perfectly in a Balinese or tropical-inspired garden. You can find them in diverse shapes, sizes, and shades, ranging from elongated blue-purple styles to bulbous orange-red styles. No matter which colour you choose, these stunning plants will undoubtedly make a statement in your pool area.

Tree fern

Finally, tree ferns are another quintessential tropical plant. Some species of tree ferns (like the dwarf tree fern are small and dainty, growing to just one metre in height. Others, like the Australian tree fern, can grow up to 10 metres, providing big patches of shade for your backyard. If you have enough space, pool-side tree ferns are certainly worth the consideration.

Incorporating tropical plants and flowers is just one way to create a resort-style feel in your pool area. Another option is to upgrade your current pool to a state-of-the-art luxury model from Affordable Pools.

Based in Sydney, Affordable Pools specialises in quality and cost-effective above ground swimming pools for various budgets and styles. Call us today on (02) 8625 3656 to learn more or get started on your pool project.

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How to Keep Your Children Safe Around the Pool this Summer
6 Benefits of Choosing a Salt Water Pool

How to Keep Your Children Safe Around the Pool this Summer

Summertime is all about making happy memories, and for those fortunate enough to have access to a above ground pool, many special moments are made splishing and splashing poolside! But, there are hidden dangers around the swimming pool, and it’s vital that all appropriate safety precautions are taken. Here we take you through some of the best ways to keep your children safe around the pool this summer.

Fence it!

It is an Australian legal requirement that all private pools and spas are fenced in accordance with the legislation. This includes restrictions on fence height and child safety locks. It is important to teach children that pool fences are only to be opened by a supervising adult. Ensure that pool fences are securely closed AT ALL TIMES, including while children are swimming – so that younger children or pets do not accidentally access the pool area.

Check the surroundings

Pools usually require chemicals and equipment to help maintain the water quality. It’s important to keep all chemicals, hoses and other objects out of reach of children. When the pool is in use, remove anything that children could become tangled in, and keep pool decks clean and clutter-free to avoid tripping hazards.

Active supervision

Children must only ever swim under the supervision of a responsible adult. Adults should actively supervise children at all times, which means eyes should never leave sight of swimmers. Avoid distractions such as phones, reading material or momentary absences, e.g. answering the door or using the bathroom. Supervisors must be over 16 years of age, and children under the age of five must be within arms’ reach at all times.

During social occasions, it is very easy to become distracted by conversation. Sadly, drownings can still occur when there are a number of adults present. Unfortunately, it’s easy to feel as though children are sufficiently supervised when surrounded by adults, however, unless a designated adult is actively watching the children (even strong swimmers), tragedies can happen.

Be up to date on First Aid

We strongly recommend that parents and carers participate in a first aid course to learn paediatric CPR and general first aid strategies in case of an emergency. Stay up to date by refreshing your CPR skills annually and your general first aid skills every three years.

Teach water awareness

The Aussie lifestyle is centred around water, so it’s crucial that children learn water awareness from a young age. In infancy, children can build their water awareness skills with simple water play, bathtime fun, books, songs and gentle instruction of water safety rules.

Swimming lessons and water safety lessons are strongly recommended for all children. Contact your local aquatic centre to find a suitable class for your child. Baby swim lessons will help build your child’s confidence in the water, experiencing water immersion and learning safety strategies such as floating, turning around and reaching for the edge of the pool. These strategies save lives.

For older children, water safety education includes:

  • Learning about water depth.
  • Interpreting rips in oceans and rivers.
  • Diving safety.
  • Never running around a pool area
  • How to flag for help if you find yourself in trouble in the water.

Use pool toys as instructed

Pool toys such as lilos and pool noodles can add so much fun to pool time. They can also be dangerous when not used in accordance with their instructions and under strict adult supervision at all times. Children may find themselves trapped under large pool floats with obstructed access to the water’s surface. Noodles and other floatation devices may create a false sense of security. Always maintain proximity to young children and early swimmers, and always keep active supervision on all swimmers, even when using floatation aids and toys in the pool.

Following these safety guidelines will help ensure that your summer is filled with happy memories and your family and friends stay safe around the pool. Affordable Pools helpful and friendly staff are here to help you create a safe and fun pool setting. Contact us today to get your safe summer play underway!

How to Prepare Your Pool for the Summer Season

As a pool owner, summer is one of the best seasons of the year. It’s the perfect time for relaxing and spending quality time with friends and family while also enjoying the outdoors. But after a long winter without using your pool, there is some prep work required to get it ready for summer.

Below, we’ve outlined a few basic steps that you should take to prepare your backyard pool for the hottest months of the year.

Start with a quick clean

Begin the prep process by removing your cover and doing a quick visual assessment of your pool and equipment (including the pump). It’s likely that the water will be discoloured, but don’t worry too much at this point.

The goal at this point isn’t to completely clean the pool but simply to remove any large debris (which could block your filter). Instead, focus on skimming the top to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris. Once that’s done, make sure to clean out your filter and skimmer box.

Top up the chemicals and add water

Now is the time to get your pool’s chemical and water levels back to an appropriate range. It might be tempting to drain the entire pool and start fresh, but there’s no need to do this. Instead, you can add fresh water from a garden hose and use the right combination of chemicals to get your pool nice and clean for summer.

If your pool is particularly murky or filled with algae, you may need to shock it with a dose of chlorine. The appropriate amount will depend on the size of your pool and the type of chlorine you’re using, so make sure to consult us if you have any questions.

Test and adjust levels

Once you’ve added the chemicals and water, turn on your pool equipment and allow it to run for about 24-48 hours. From there, you can test the chemical levels with a pool test kit from your local pool or hardware store (or the one we supplied with your pool purchase). You’ll also want to assess how much salt is in your water with the salt test strips.

Depending on the results, you may need to adjust the chlorine, calcium, pH, or salt levels. Before adding anything to your pool, have a chat with Affordable Pools to make sure you purchase the right products and use the correct amounts.

End with a deep clean

After you’ve confirmed that your pool is damage-free and in good working condition, you’ll want to do a final clean. This entails vacuuming the bottom of the pool, and cleaning around the outside of the pool.

If you’re thinking about buying a pool or upgrading your current one, get in touch with the team at Affordable Pools today. We’ll help you design and install the backyard pool of your dreams, whether it’s an semi-inground or above-ground pool, creating an incredible gathering place for years to come.

Above Ground Pool Maintenance in the Winter Season

As we have waved goodbye to daylight saving, and summer, we are in winter. You have probably noticed that your above ground pool isn’t being used as often. It’s getting too cold, so the kids *have packed it in*, but even though your pool isn’t being used anymore – and won’t be in use over the winter months, it doesn’t mean you can forget about pool maintenance for winter. If you do, you’ll start spring with a green pool, a lot of *mess* to clean up, and a hefty pool maintenance bill.

Getting your above ground pool ready for winter will take time, but it will be worth it come summer!

Follow these simple steps to keep your pool healthy over winter, so, when summer arrives your pool will be *ready to go*.

  • Give your pool a clean. Remove all the debris from the water, filters, pump basket and skimmer. If you leave anything behind, it can fall to the bottom of the pool and stain it.
  • Make sure all your pool equipment is working – check the pump is working and that there isn’t a build-up on the chlorination cell. Even though you’re heading into cooler weather, you will still need to run the pump, filter, and chlorinator for at least 4 hours each day.
  • Take time to backwash your filter, especially if it contains any contaminants.
  • Still, balance your water. Even with the pool not in use, your pool will stay more efficient when it has water that is properly balanced. While you balance the water to protect from any annoying outbreaks of algae, all your surface equipment will last longer when it’s only dealing with well-balanced water.
  • Even if your pool doesn’t have algae in it, add a phosphate remover as this will remove the algae’s food source, and if there is no food in your pool, algae can’t start growing.
  • Always use an above ground pool cover. If you don’t already have a pool cover, now is an excellent time to get one. A cover protects your pool from evaporation and the elements. Do you want to spend your time in winter out by the pool skimming and vacuuming?
  • Even though it’s autumn/winter, you should always continue your essential above ground swimming pool maintenance. Check your pool waters chemistry every two weeks and adjust where necessary.

Having a pool is a lot of fun. You have invested time and money in your pool, and it isn’t *worth it* just to let your pool *go* over the winter months. You might not want to take care of your pool in winter, but, if you take the time needed and follow the above tips, your pool will be in much better condition when you need it to come spring/summer. Leaving your pool will see the water turn green, you may end up having to drain the water and start again, including cleaning out the pool lining, filters and everything else.

Make Sure You Maintain Your Pool in Summer

Pool Accessories You Have to Have

DIY Above Ground Pool Maintenance

A swimming pool is an amazing addition to your home allowing you to enjoy a refreshing dip any time of day. An entertainers dream, pool parties, bbqs and endless memories with family and friends.

In this article, we compiled a few tips on how to affordably maintain your pool. Whether you are a new or seasoned owner of an above ground pool in Australia, these tips could save you some time and money.

 

Regular Cleaning

The first thing you can make a habit of is to clean your pool regularly. The frequency and intensity of cleaning vary depending on how you use the pool as well as how much debris gets into it.

If there is a tree that regularly sheds leaves, spores or pollen, near your pool, then you may need to add pool cleaning to your daily work out routine. You can use your leaf skimmer to scoop out leaves and other debris from your pool before they get soggy and sink to the bottom.

If organic material accumulates in your pool, it can promote the growth of bacteria that could be hard to manage. Moreover, if there is too much dirt in your pool, it could clog your filters. Regular cleaning reduces the burden on your filters. Prevention is key!

If you can, invest in an automated cheap swimming pool vacuum that you can program to clean the bottom of your pool every few days or on a weekly schedule. This will save you a lot of time and energy. Regular vacuuming prevents the development of murky, slimy layers at the bottom of your pool.

 

Maintain pH levels

Many people overlook the necessity of checking the pH of their swimming pools. You can use pH strips to test the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The appropriate pH for your swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.8, which is close to neutral.

If the pH of your pool is above 8, the efficiency of chlorine will be low and you will need more of it to keep the water fresh. Lower pH means you can save on chlorine costs. However, if the pH is not well balanced, it could cause skin rashes or eye irritation.

 

Maintain Water levels

If the level of water in your pool keeps fluctuating, you could be unknowingly incurring unnecessary maintenance costs. If you don’t control the water getting into your pool, then your utility bills could rise when the water levels get too high. Moreover, when there is too much water in the pool, you need more chlorine to keep it clean.

On the other hand, if the water levels get too low, your pump could run dry. Running dry can seriously damage the pump and cost you a lot in repairs.

If all this seems tooo much, there are experts that can do the job for you.

Make Sure You Maintain Your Pool in Summer

Everyone has maintained their pool, and got it ready for summer, but, when you own an above ground pool, it’s also important to keep maintaining your pool in summer.

 

Here are our top tips for maintaining your above ground pool this summer.

  • Skim debris. If you – or your neighbour has trees or bushes there is a chance a breeze will blow debris into your pool. You’ll need to use your leaf skimmer to remove that debris, so your pool looks clean and clear before anyone jumps in. You will need to continue to do this a few times a week, as it helps increase the pools water circulation and decreases the amount of chemicals in the water.
  • Vacuum the pool. To get to any of that hard-to-reach debris you should vacuum your pool on a weekly basis or get an automated vacuum that you can schedule. The vacuum goes over the floor of your above ground pool in the same way you clean a floor. Make sure you overlap each part of the pool, to ensure you don’t miss any spots. It usually takes around 30 minutes to completely clean a pool with a vacuum.
  • Clean your pools filter. Maintenance on your pool filter will depend on what type you have, but every pool filter needs periodic cleaning. If your filter isn’t cleaned regularly it won’t trap debris, which means your water may start to look discoloured or murky. The flow of your water will also change, this is generally signalled by the increase in the pressure gauge and flow meter.
  • Maintain the pH level. To avoid any injuries or damage to clothing make sure your pools pH levels remain the same. A pH scale measures the acidity of the pool water and anywhere from 0 to 14. The ideal range for pool water should be between 7.2 and 7.8 which is not only keeping the water clean, it is also making the water safe for swimmers. You should have a testing kit and test strips available to test the water.
  • Find and repair any leaks. Before summer begins you should have checked for any leaks or problems with your pool, before anyone jumps in, but it can be hard to find some leaks if it’s the beginning of the season and your water just looks *low*. The best way to check is to do a *bucket test*. Fill a bucket to ¾’s of the way and mark the water line. Put the bucket in the pool, mark the water line outside the bucket and let it float around for a few days. If the water has gone down the same amount, it’s simply evaporation. If the water has gone down on the outside of the bucket, you probably have a leak.

 

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Pool Accessories You Have to Have

Tips For Handling The Extra Use of Your Pool Over Christmas

Pool Accessories You Have to Have

Summer is here and it’s time for some fun in the sun. It’s also time to replace your clothes for your bathing suit, and spend the long summer days around the pool with friends and family. Of course, you are going need some accessories to add a little fun and spice to your poolside life. Imagine riding on an oversized pink flamingo or dancing around to your very own floating wireless speaker. In this post, we explore the weird and wonderful world of pool accessories.

 

The Wireless Floating Pool Speaker

It isn’t a pool party without music! That’s where these little babies come in to play. They are completely waterproof and float on top of the pool. All you have to do is connect via Bluetooth on your phone and you will be bumping your favourite poolside playlist in no time.

 

Pool Jam for the In-Ground Pool

Pool Jam is basically a basketball hoop designed for an in-ground pool. It’s easy to install. All you have to do is set it up on the side of the pool and your game is ready. You and your friends can pretend to be the aquatic version of the Chicago Bulls. Fly high and dunk on your friend’s head. Take a shot from outside for the big three with the Pool Jam basketball hoop.

 

Giant Inflatable Flamingo

The giant inflatable pink flamingo is fashionable these days. If you take look on Instagram, you’re bound to come across someone riding a flamingo in the pool. It’s the sheer size that gives it the wow factor. This thing is literally bigger than a large human. You can also get unicorns, swans, and pelicans. Get an oversized inflatable in your life.

 

Game Table with Chairs

Ever wanted to play your favourite card games in the pool? Well now you can, with this gaming table complete with floating chairs. You and three of your friends can sit around the floating table playing poker in the pool while keeping cool.

 

Jellyfish Pool Lights

These are unique and very cool pool lights. They are shaped like a jellyfish with tentacles and will float around your pool while lighting it up at the same time.

 

Mermaid Swim Fin

Have you ever wanted to be a mermaid? Well, now you can with a mermaid swim fin – it’s every girl’s (and some boys!) dream. All you have to do is put both feet inside the mermaid swim fin you’re an instant mermaid.

 

Floating Bean Bags

Have you ever sat in a bean bag and wished that you could take it in a pool? We haven’t, but someone must have because they have created the ultimate oversized bean bag that floats on water. The bean bags also come with a floating ottoman that has drink holders for max relaxing.

 

For all your pool needs this summer, or anytime for that matter, contact us at Affordable Pools and we will happily help you with all your pool installation queries and questions.

Tips For Handling The Extra Use of Your Pool Over Christmas

Are you expecting your pool to get a real workout over the Christmas holidays? Fair chances it will. Relatives and neighbours tend to visit more often over the Summer period and cool off in the pool and it’s hard to say no. Not that you’d want to. It’s all part of being neighborly and building community spirit.

 

But the extra use means extra maintenance to ensure that the water is safe to swim in. The extra bodies in the water will result in more bacteria entering the above ground pool and this must be counteracted by regular testing and maintenance. In this post, we give you some tricks and tips on how to stay on top of your pool maintenance over the bust Christmas period.

 

Regular Testing

In the Summer months, you should test your pool once or twice per week depending on the usage. If people are practically living in your pool you should step it up to three to four times per week. Make sure the pH levels are sitting between 7.2 and 7.8. The lower the p.H the less chlorine you have to use. This is a good thing because too much chlorine can be hazardous. We’ve all been in pools that sting your eyes and degrade clothing and it takes the fun out of swimming.

 

When the pH level gets above the recommended level chlorine becomes less efficient and you will have to add more to get the same result.

 

Keep It Clean

Keep your pool nice and clean. Scoop out all the leaves and other debris that can cause bacteria to build up in your pool. Don’t forget to empty out the lint trap located at the front of the pump. Turn the pump off before you do it to prevent damage. Then empty it out. This should be done once every two or three days.

 

Check the Water Level

Keep an eye on the water level. If it’s too low, it can run your pump dry and you don’t you don’t want that to happen. It will cause damage to the pump and cost a packet to fix it. If your pool is too high, it will negatively affect the efficiency of the skimmer. Of course, if you have to top up the pool you will also have to do another test to see if your pH levels are at the optimum level.

 

Clean the Tiles

Extra bodies mean extra dirt and grease and you will be surprised how quickly it accumulates. If you feel that your tiles or pool lining a getting a bit slippery this is an indication that it’s time to give them a clean.

 

Staying on top of your pool maintenance if easy if you know what to be on the lookout for. Do regular inspections of the thing mentioned in this post and you will be right as rain and you, your family, the neighbours down the road, Uncle Ian, Aunt Helen, their kids, the nieces, and nephews can enjoy the pool all Summer long. Ask us for a hand at Affordable Pools if you need any assistance!

 

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Keeping Your Pool Clean Without Using A Lot of Chlorine

Keeping Your Pool Clean Without Using A Lot of Chlorine

Among the uninitiated, chlorine is a mandatory part of any swimming pool experience. It sanitises many above ground swimming pools in Australia, and elsewhere around the world. And while it’s been used to sterilise swimming and drinking water since the late 1800s, it has always been problematic. Chlorine reddens your eyes, dries out your skin, makes you itch, and causes rashes in some people. In others, it can trigger bronchial problems. Plus, it has bleaching properties. Still, we use it because it kills germs and prevents algae. And while it’s not ideal, we can’t completely eliminate it from our pools. What we can do is use less of it. We can switch to other sterilisers, combined with limited volumes of chlorine. So what are the pool-cleaning options available that can lessen your overall chlorine? As it turns out, they’re all natural products. Your pool is going organic, and will feel silky on your skin.

 

Air

Ozone (O3) isn’t just a depleting part of the planet. It’s a naturally occurring substance made by three atoms of Oxygen (O2), so it’s sometimes called triatomic oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen sustain life. That third atom destroys it – and it’s how ozone keeps your pool clean. It kills micro-organisms and other contaminants. To form ozone, you need an ozone generator. It comprises a corona discharger or an ultraviolet bulb. Either one takes regular oxygen and adds a third atom, converting it to ozone. After the ozone kills your pool bugs, it breaks back down to regular oxygen which is fed back into the ozone generator and the process repeats. However, because ozone can only exist for 20 minutes to an hour before it reverts to oxygen, you need a small chlorine primer to supplement O3 and keep your pool consistently clean.

 

Light

UV bulbs can be used to generate ozone, but they can also be used as a standalone steriliser. A UV filter works by passing pool water through powerful UV rays contained in an enclosed chamber. Water flows in and out of the light, mixing with the rest of the pool until it’s all clean. The advantage of UV is it destroys regular germs, but it also kills micro-organisms like cyclosporam, e.coli, cryptosporidium, and giardia, which are usually resistant to chlorine. UV treatment doesn’t make water sparkly in the way that ozone does, but it gives it the same silky, skin-refreshing texture. It messes with your pool germs’ DNA, and it’s the only method that doesn’t require any added chlorine.

 

Salt or minerals

Cheap above ground swimming pools sanitised with salt are still chlorinated – it’s just that the chlorine is in a gentler form. Rather than powdered chlorine, salt-water pools use electrolysis to convert table salt into chlorine gas. This gas dissolves in the water, becoming liquid chlorine. The cycle is endless, with salt turning into chlorine, back to salt, and back to chlorine. Its bleaching properties are kinder, but they still kill germs. The salt is supplied in the form of a salt cell / cartridge, and the pool does need a small injection of chlorine powder to catalyse the conversion process. Finally, mineral pools have the least amount of chlorine. Mineral cartridges release the ions of borates, copper, and silver into the water, killing germs. A small amount of chlorine is added, but not enough to bleach or bother swimmers.

For your choice of low-chlorine pools, call Affordable Pools today on (02) 8625 3656.

How deep should your pool be?

Statistics claim 85% of Aussies live within 50km of a beach. That doesn’t mean we can hit the sands whenever we want, but it does mean our prevailing weather is hot and humid, making swimming pools an essential part of many households. If you plan it right, you can even install a tank below your pool. The available space and your budget will dictate the size of your pool. At Affordable Pools, we install cheap swimming pools that range from a little over 1m to nearly 12m.

Our standard pool depth is 1.32 metres, but we have the technology to add a deep-end to your existing pool, as long as it’s a Palm Cove or Cape York. We can refurbish these models, tapering your deep end up to 1.7m, and our pool models have warranties of 10 to 20 years.

Here are some tips for choosing your pool.

Fitness pools

Serious swimmers prefer to practice in Olympic pools, but few homes have that kind of space. An Olympic pool is up to 3m deep, and your landscape and soil type would have to be strong enough to accommodate that. Plus it would have to be an in-ground model to support all that weight, or maybe an above-ground swimming pool made from a repurposed shipping container. That’s becoming a popular choice because it doesn’t need additional finishing.

Also Read This: Start Planning Your New Pool Now

For home fitness, a lap pool can be useful, especially for narrower yards, though you’re still limited to the sizing options offered by your pool company. As a general guideline, diving pools have to be 2.8m or more to avoid head injuries. If your pool is a metre or two, you’re safer jumping in feet first, using a ladder, or installing pool steps. Kids need smaller swim spaces, but they’ll soon outgrow anything shallower than a metre.

Just splashing about

If you merely want an excuse to get wet on a hot day, then a footbath or inflatable is adequate. But for proper swimming and pool games, you want to manage basic strokes without your feet touching the ground, even if you don’t have enough room to tread water. Our 1.32m depth does that suitably because it provides ample buoyancy. And our sterilisation options include both salt-water and regular chlorine so that you can take your pick.

That said, if you must have a deep pool, you can talk to us about commercial pool options. Ordinarily, concrete site-poured pools are recommended for enhanced depth, because you can make them any size you want. But our commercial models offer more flexibility regarding depth, so if you’re shopping for your mall, school, hotel, or gym, talk to us about commercial pool dimensions. We offer interest-free instalment plans, regardless of pool size.

For pools that are the perfect depth, call Affordable Pools today on (02) 8625 3656.