ACT News


Poolscaping and mineral water lead Canberra's pool trends as demand increases

There are few better reasons for building an indoor pool than brown snakes but the Newton family are far from alone in spending big on a modern swimming place at home.

Hundreds of pools get added to homes or backyards in Canberra each year and industry leaders said straight lines, detailed "poolscaping" and magnesium-based water systems were all in style. 

For Andrew Newton at Sutton, across the border from Gungahlin, the addition of a spa and pool room created a year-round feature without access for slithering neighbours. 

"We're out on a farm surrounded by brown snakes in the summer and we didn't want an outside pool where they would surprise us," he said. 

Three-metre wide glass panels allow an attractive view from the family room and designated solar panels and a gas heating alternative ensures a comfortable swim in any season. 

The pool, spa and all related landscaping and tiling cost about $110,000. 


Capital Fibreglass Pools owner Simon Gainey, who installed the Newtons' "billabong" model feature, said the six-figure price tag was not uncommon any more. 

"People seem to be investing more money in property," he said.

"It used to be just drop a pool in, now it's a poolscape.​"

Mr Gainey, whose company was the NSW and ACT fibreglass pool builder of the year the last two years, said preferred designs were now rectangular rather than curved, and better connected or cocooned to the homes with integrated gardens and pavings.

 "We [can] set up LED lights, multi-functioning jets and we'll get the aesthetics in your home so there's a 12-month use of the pool, whether you're in it or not," he said. 

The Ngunnawal-based businessman said magnesium-potassium mineral pools now made up the majority of the market, replacing the traditional salt water pools, with some clients noting benefits for skin conditions. 

"It is the clearest water that is available now, you could put it straight onto your vegetables," he said. 

He said pools were on average smaller, with seven metre by three metre pools now common.

Swimming Pool and Spa Association NSW and ACT president Robert Guthrie said exact annual figures were not yet available but 2015 had seen strong, sustainable growth, with an estimated 5000 in-ground pools sold in NSW and about 350 to 400 in the ACT. 

Mr Guthrie, based on Sydney's north shore, said mineral pools were the biggest shift in the market in the past year, while lower-maintenance and longer-lasting LED lights were popular over recent years. 

"The total spend on a pool is increasing, people are buying more extras with them, certainly buying more heating with them and putting in more automation," he said. 

Mr Newton said his pool was now into its second summer and encouraged more parties, particularly for his teenage daughters, but had been a gain for the entire family.

"We enjoy it quite a lot and so does the dog that dives in," he said. 

An ACT government spokeswoman said there were about 8000 pools in the territory.