The Installation Cost of a Garden Swimming Pool

All you need to know about installing a swimming pool for your home including types of garden pools, costs of materials, labour and time frames.

Garden Swimming Pool

What the job entails

Until recently, swimming pools were not really associated with gardens in the UK, mainly thanks to our poor weather and the high costs. But an outdoor pool is actually pretty cheap, when you compare it to the staggering cost of an indoor swimming pool! An outdoor swimming pool is actually within the financial reach of many in the UK, with simple pools costing under £20,000, this is cheaper than many conservatory projects! However, a conservatory will likely add considerably to the value of your home when it comes to resale, whereas with a swimming pool this is not always the case. So if you have the space and light, building a pool can be a valuable and useful extension to your dream home.

If you’re looking for a simple pool on a limited budget, an above-ground pool is by far the cheapest solution and they are also the easiest to remove when it comes to selling the property. You can purchase a 12ft by 24ft above ground pool kit for under £3,000 and it is well within the scope of the average DIY enthusiast to put this up. Of course, when most people think of a swimming pool they imagine a beautiful tiled pool set in the ground, not an above-ground oversized paddling pool! However, aesthetics aside, above ground pools can provide most of the fun for a fraction of the price.

The traditional swimming pool is the in-ground type seen in luxury villas all around the world that allow you to plunge straight into the inviting waters. Today there are many innovative and modern designs for gorgeous pools of all sizes and you can even specify a hard cover to maximise your outside space when the pool is not in use. In-ground swimming pools are of course much more expensive thanks mainly to the excavation costs. This type of outdoor pool is also not suitable for the average DIY enthusiast either, so, even though kits are available for under £10,000, the installation costs will be high.

The lowest cost to have a pool professionally installed would be around £15,000, but this would be a small pool with a basic in-ground liner rather than attractive tiles. A more attractive mosaic tiled concrete pool would cost a minimum of £25,000, but the average pool cost is somewhere in the region of £40,000. In addition to the installation costs, you also need to consider the running costs. Heating and treating a medium sized pool in the UK, even in the summer, can cost around £5 per day.

It may seem pretty straightforward to simply dig a big hole, install a plastic liner then fill with water. But there are countless horror stories on DIY forums from those who attempt this without the necessary building skills and experience. Attempting to build a swimming pool without the right skills and experience can easily end up costing more in the long run than hiring a professional crew in the first place! So, even though the labour costs will form a substantial part of the overall cost, get a professional contractor in to do the job right first time! For peace of mind choose professionals that are registered members of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association so you’ll get a warranty and be financially protected in case your chosen contractor does not complete the project.

There are four main ways of building a swimming pool. The most common method by far is the traditional block and liner technique, which uses masonry blocks and a waterproof vinyl liner. You can also use a gunite shell made up of a steel mesh frame onto which shotcrete or gunite is sprayed, a polymer or fibre-glass preformed shell, or polyurethane panels. The traditional block and liner technique is the cheapest method but also the one most prone to failure due to cracking and liner failure. The more expensive pool types with insulated polyurethane panels make a huge difference to the running costs of your pool, so are cheaper to run.

Installation Cost of a Garden Swimming Pool

The average material cost of installing a garden pool will vary depending on what type of pool you decide to build. Above the ground pools are cheapest as a standard kit can cost up to £3000. Below ground swimming pool material cost will depend on what type of tiles and the required piping system with material costs normally starting from around £10,000. The more expensive insulated polyurethane panels and mosiac tiles can bring the materials costs up to around £25,000-£30,000 without installation costs.

The average swimming pool specialist will usually charge around £200 per day, although to construct a swimming pool a team of up to 4 tradesmen may be required. A standard above ground swimming pool is expected to take around 1 week to complete. Whereas a below ground swimming pool may take up to 4 or 5 weeks depending on the size and the complexity of the preparation work, i.e. if a tree needs removing.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a specialist to install a garden swimming pool:

Swimming Pool Type Avg. Cost Duration
Above ground pool - 12ft by 24ft £4000 1-2 weeks
Small underground pool with liner £20,000 4-6 weeks
Underground concrete pool with mosaic tiles £30,000 6-8 weeks
Large underground concrete pool with mosaic tiles & insulated polyurethane panels £40,000 6-8 weeks


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs of an mid-range, underground swimming pool - Total Cost: £25,000

40%

Materials
£10000

55%

Tradesmen
£13750

5%

Waste Removal
£1250

FAQ's

Outdoor swimming pools don’t need planning permission, unless the house is in a conservation area or is a listed building. Indoor pools however generally do need permission. In any case, always check with the local authority before commencing any building project.
Swimming pools come in a variety of sizes with the smallest usually around 6m x 3m, but the most common small size pool in the UK is probably 10m x 5m or 12m x 6m. You can of course have a bespoke size pool if you wish, but this will cost a lot more than simply buying "off the shelf". When choosing a size remember to allow extra space around the pool, a minimum of around 2m, plus space for a plant and filtration kit (which can be hidden in a small garden shed).
Swimming pools require a significant amount of heating to keep them warm, even the best UK summer weather will leave the water too cold for most to endure! Pool heaters are essentially just like the boilers in your home and can run off the same fuel (oil, electricity or gas). The problem with pools is the lack of insulation, they need continual heating to maintain a comfortable temperature as the heat is rapidly lost to the atmosphere. Budget for around £3 to £4 per day just for heating when in use. You can reduce th costs somewhat by using a solar and debris blanket to cover the pool and minimise losses, or invest in some form of renewable energy system using a heat exchanger to heat the water (for example ground-source and air-source heat pumps or solar heating).
Most swimming pools use chlorine which breaks down over time so must be continually checked and topped up for safety reasons. In hot weather it should be checked several times per week but there are automatic dosing systems which cut down on maintenance and all tasks are completely routine and do not require a specialist. There are even mobile apps now that will help you monitor the pool pH and temperature levels. If you don't like chlorine pools, then you can install an alternative salt or pool purification system.