Whether you're installing a pool as part of a new build or renovation, or have decided to add one to your existing yard, getting the design right will ensure it adds value as well as years of enjoyment.
Brad Hilbert, of Barrier Reef Pools, said homeowners were spending more money on their pools, not only on the pool itself but on making sure the surrounding spaces created a complete outdoor space.
"Pools used to be a place to get wet and cool down on a hot summer's day - now they're as much about looks and creating a lifestyle where they can be enjoyed without even being in the water," he said.
A1 Pools' Glenn Dawkins agreed that more emphasis was being placed on unique pools - often to overcome small or awkwardly-shaped blocks - with custom concrete designs becoming more sought-after in the past 12 months.
According to Colin Richardson, of Add a Splash Pools, more homeowners were thinking ahead and planning their pool as part of the construction.
"We're often building the pool before the home is constructed so the house can be built right up against the pool," he said.
Here, we take a look at the latest in pool design.
Mr Hilbert said square and rectangular were the most popular styles - and we may have seen the end of the classic kidney shape.
"They take up too much space and people don't have room to lose in our shrinking backyards whereas geometric designs use space more efficiently and can be placed closer to boundary lines and houses," he said.
Mr Hilbert said curves were beginning to creep into pool designs. "We have seen some concrete pools with straight sides adding one curved feature that softens the whole look of the pool," he said.
More people now request platforms or wading spaces in their pools, according to Mr Dawkins, providing space for relaxation as well as swimming.
"For example, parents might set up their pool design so it might have a 2x2m shallow space for young kids to wade in while the parents can lay back and supervise in the water," he said.
Mr Richardson agreed that having a place to sit was increasingly important. This was often overcome by using wide platform steps that doubled as an entry point as well as somewhere to sit, or having a bench seat running the length or width of the pool. "We can put padding under the seats in vinyl-lined designs too, which makes relaxing even more comfortable."
Mr Dawkins said a plaster finish was still the most common internal finish for concrete pools.
"Quartz finishes are still very popular, also glass finishes where flecks of glass are mixed in with plaster to reflect the light," he said. "We're also seeing a lot of fully tiled concrete designs. We import a product called the Kaos tile where the whole pool is finished in the tile but it's not a square mosaic finish, it's pieces of misshaped tiles we grout between, which gives a really unique look."
Mr Hilbert said that while there weren't many brave enough to try black, more people were experimenting with dark colours, which created a sense of endless depth.
"People want a bit of interest around the pool and are going for higher-end finishes like stones and aggregates for something different," Mr Hilbert said.
"If people do use plain colours, they're usually in a finish with a bit of texture, like natural granite."
Mr Richardson said decking was still a popular option for poolside areas. Composite decking products had come to overtake timber as they didn't require maintenance.
When it comes to coping, Mr Hilbert said there had been a shift from traditional rounded bullnose edges to more modern flat-face coping.
"Water feature walls are still in fashion because they're a good way to hide pool equipment or to add a tranquil feature but the styles are changing," Mr Hilbert said. "We're seeing more plain rendered water feature walls or feature tiled water feature walls with large format tiles."
Mr Hilbert said day beds and flat features were growing in demand, with bubble jets that pushed the water across the surface.
However, Mr Dawkins said he thought water features were falling in popularity, with more innovative pool designs making the pool a water feature in itself.
Infinity edges are still a popular request, according to Mr Richardson. Mr Dawkins said the latest trend was for reverse infinity edges where the run-off wall was the main feature, designed to face the main living spaces rather than being positioned away from view.
Just Spas WA’s Duncan Hogg said traditional spas were still popular, and while there had been a trend toward smaller models, that had turned around to favour conventional six-seater styles.
There was also growing demand for swim spas. “They have been around for a while but we have found their popularity has really taken a hold in the last few years,” he said.
“Swim spas tick a lot of boxes; they have the cool plunge pool aspect because of their smaller sizes often suited to smaller backyards, the exercise aspect with swim jets and the tether pole for resistance training, a relaxing hydrotherapy aspect with jets on the back and neck, and the heating aspect.”
According to Mr Hogg, while below-ground spas provided a more streamlined look, above-ground models were more popular because they required less work at installation and could be taken if and when the owner moved.
Other pool and spa trends
•Mr Hilbert said there had been a trend towards freshwater technologies like Enviroswim. “Enviroswim uses copper to naturally filter the water so there’s no chlorine smell or red eyes and its nice and soft to swim in,” he said. “It is also easier to maintain — you just add a small amount of salt every now and then and the chlorine is . . . about a third of the amount in normal chlorine pools.”
•“In-ground blanket boxes are huge,” Mr Hilbert said. “They’re not cheap but nobody wants to see a blanket on a roller at the head of a nice pool.”•“Hydrotherapy has also come a long way and the new MicroSilk technology is really beneficial for people with skin allergies like eczema,” Mr Hogg said.