Important considerations for poolside fencing
Designing an idyllic recreation and entertaining setting around a pool can add value and deliver many lifestyle benefits. Yet the pool design itself is just one of several elements that need to be considered when planning an outdoor oasis. Fencing, paving, tiling and landscaping are all equally important and should not be tacked on as an afterthought.
Installing a high-quality, architectural-style fence will surround the pool area beautifully and be the perfect backdrop for furniture, plants and other elements such as an outdoor kitchen for alfresco dining.
When deciding on a poolside fence, it is imperative to have good design principles and safety compliance in mind from the outset. Once safety has been established, consider the style of fence to ensure it complements the home and garden. Look at the surrounding entertaining spaces as critical to the overall design outcome and how they can connect to enhance the space. Ask yourself questions regarding whether the entertaining space sits better inside the internal fence zone or outside it? Should it include a covered area?
Also consider what the space is to be used for. This will help determine the general orientation of the pool and adjacent cabanas so that you can make the best use of available space. For example, if the area is to be used for capturing the sun for weekend breakfasts, then choose an east-facing orientation. If a sunset party space is preferred, then a west-facing orientation is more appropriate.
Creating a real connection between spaces ensures each area contributes to the form and flow of the property. The pool area should be in line with the outdoor entertaining space, and the outdoor entertaining space in line with the adjacent living area and kitchen.
An architectural-style fence allows for customisation to suit any property and lifestyle, blends in with the home's overall design and showcases the pool to its full effect. To achieve this, consider also replacing the existing perimeter fence for a consistent look. With smaller sites, large planting may not be possible to frame or enhance a space and connect it with the home. In these instances, the fence becomes a greater consideration.
Most pressing when it comes to pool fencing is making sure that the fence complies with the strict council laws that govern the installation of pool fences. Recent changes in laws across states and territories have been implemented to improve safety and there are standard minimum requirements, with the NSW certifying regulations requiring all pools to be recorded on the Pool Register. Regardless of whether the fence sits on the boundary or is a freestanding fence, compliance is mandatory. At a minimum, the Australian Standard AS1926 requires that a fence must be 1.8 metres high from the pool coping or 1.2 metres high around the freestanding pool perimeter, with a non-climbable zone of 90 centimetres outside the pool area.
For a fence that will not only exceed the minimum height requirement imposed by councils, but also has a smooth non-climbable surface with no 'good' and 'bad' side, consider SlimWall. This is an important consideration as, by law, the 'good' non-climbable side of an alternative timber fence must face the neighbouring property, leaving pool owners with an unappealing look around their swimming and entertaining area.
Also, check the property for easements or restrictions that may impact on the child-resistant barriers to secure the pool. Restrictions that apply to some properties may affect the location, height, design, material and of the fence barrier. These may include, but are not limited to, land prone to bushfires, flooding or sea level change; foreshore building zones or additional public places with setback restrictions; heritage sites; land subject to drainage easements with overland flow paths; and rights of carriageway or walkways.
Pool fences can also be susceptible to excessive moisture, which is why the durability and performance of the fencing product you select is another important consideration. The impact of a beautifully landscaped pool can be quickly diminished by rotting timber or buckling metal. Instead, the best option is to choose a composite panel product made from strong fibre cement sheeting that will withstand the test of time and comes with the added benefit of brilliant acoustic qualities.
The poolside noise often generated by young families or visiting friends can impact on neighbours. Good fencing incorporates acoustic panels that have proven noise barrier qualities. SlimWall panels deliver a 20 dB+ or fourfold audible reduction in noise levels, making it a great choice for those conscious of not disturbing surrounding residents. The acoustic benefits extend to both sides of the fence, reducing the impact of neighbour noise on the property owner installing the fence as well.
Other critical design considerations for an aesthetically pleasing space include the location of the pool filter and pumps. By looking at how these elements are placed, the visual appeal and enjoyment of the pool area will be enhanced. The underfoot paving or finishing surfaces are also a high-priority safety and design element. They must be able to stand up to the rigours of high traffic, while being resistant to chemicals often used in pool maintenance, such as salt and chlorine. If space allows, a simple grassed zone can make the area appear all the more luxurious and adds another texture underfoot.
Finishing around the fence is important. Define zones with daybeds for relaxation or feature plants for entertaining aesthetics. And don't forget to choose a paint finish that will set the scene. Choose a product that can be painted in any colour to complement the chosen outdoor style. A premium render effect can provide the look of a rendered masonry wall for a fraction of the price.
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