Making a Splash
Creating your perfect pool
By Hilary Diack
With a long, hot summer already under way it’s time to look at ways of keeping cool. Having a pool in your garden used to be a dream for many, but now the use of new materials has made it easier, and in many cases, more affordable. So, what are the points to take into consideration? Cairo West Magazine went to leading pundits in design and architecture, Mona Hussein of Mona Hussein Design House and Medhat Abdallah of Magnum Enterprises to get a few top tips.
CWM: What are the latest trends in pool design?
MA: New pools tend to be more simple and minimalistic with a ‘Zen’ style being incorporated even in parts of the general design of different pools. The ‘horizon’ pool is generally a sign of luxury and excellence of design while the ‘overflow’ gives a special touch to any pool as it allows continuity of the hardscape and the pool water as one unit. Water-relax beds are also added when the area allows. They become a part of the pool that is shallow to sleep in, sit on or even allow space for a partially submerged chaise longue in for relaxation. Also, allowing a pool slot for a jaccuzzi facility is another plus. In larger sized pools, we can always walk into the pool through a beach ramp that allows ease of access and a feeling of spaciousness, so you are forced to jump or use the pool stairs when wanting to take a dip.
MH: During the past years, freeform swimming pools have been the most popular, allowing a unique element to the design. Nowadays geometric swimming pools have started to regain popularity. They are simple in shape and style, I personally prefer them.
What colour schemes are popular at present?
MH: The traditional shades of turquoises, blues, and greenish tones always have been and probably always will be the king according to the majority of our consumers’ tastes. However, there has been a trend toward earth tones and shades of grey and, above all, a burned granite that is adorned with motifs, whether floral, geometric or pop art. Whites and other non-traditional colors for liner bottoms are also popping up, though consumers are still a little conservative to apply them.
What are the advantages of skimmers vs overflow systems?
MA: Generally, as mentioned, the overflow is the newer trend and gives, most of the time, a more modern look. When you are building a pool close to the house borders you will definitely need to use the skimmer in these sides. You can have a walking approach (overflow side) when you are adjacent to a wall, green barrier or a non-accessible side of the pool. So generally, skimmers are good for limited areas having surrounded pools and overflow is used to make the water, the greenery and the hardscape look interconnected as one space.
What lining options are available?
MA: Tiles, mosaic, and ceramics are used in different sizes and textures, plus the vinyl lining used in some types of constructed pools. Another new trend is to have the pool cladded with special sheets that allow water-proof printing to give a 3D look to the pool sides and bottom.
What options do we have for pool surrounds?
MA: Hard-scape is the flooring around the water or leading to it. Other features can be used to complement the pool according to its use and style, in keeping with the total surroundings.
MH: A rustic brick feel or wooden pavers are the best option for the pool decks; they allow for maximum drainage and minimize moisture. To accentuate natural serenity around the place, waterfalls and fountains are always a big hit in the swimming pool design. You can add LED lights around the pool decks to add mystery and illusion; also RGB lighting can be added to change pool color at night for great effects.
What types of filtration system are used?
MA: You need a multi-level filtration system to clear color and odor and implement biological filtration using several levels of filters. Now ozone is used to give better hygienic control and quality.
The filtration is around the clock with timer control to save on chemicals and cleaning materials as well as electricity costs.
What is involved in adding heating for a pool?
MA: You have the options of electric heating using main electric supply or solar plate electricity or gas heaters. We generally use dual source heaters as standby to each other, but we tend to mainly use gas due to the lower cost compared to electricity.
MH: A pool heating system is a big investment. Whether you opt for gas heaters, heat pumps, solar heaters, or an electric heat pump, the best system for your pool is determined by your needs and your budget. I always recommend solar energy heaters to save energy and money in the long run.
What about cleaning and maintenance?
MH: Keeping the swimming pool clean can take more work than you imagine, it is not a trifling matter. Use the hand skimmer daily to clean out unwanted items and vacuum it weekly. Pool filters require periodic cleaning, depending on the type of the filter and how often the pool is used; you might need to consult the manufacturer to carry out the regular maintenance and make regular water tests to make sure it’s clean and healthy.
Is there a big price difference in constructing different types of pools?
MA: Given the same size you would expect to pay almost the same unit rate, but the overflow requires more space around the swimming area so it’s a bit higher in cost. Construction using traditional methods is linked to the R.C. cost in general plus the internal and external insulation costs. The big figure that varies from pool to pool is the internal finishing cost. It starts with tiles, then special ceramics used for pools and finally mosaic, which can go to the highest limit according to the type. There are many options ranging from pottery or glass mosaic to gold and platinum decorated mosaic, which would normally be used for smaller indoor pools for spas.
Emak pools provides polypropylene, a relatively new technology for swimming pools. They supply these through their cooperation with Jean Desjoyaux of France. The benefit of these pools is that they are almost unlimited in shape and size, with assembly being fast and easy as well as cost effective. Sizes normally range from 18 m2 up to 120 m2, according to the client’s requirements. The production uses a special recycled polypropylene mixed with carbonate, which is highly effective against UV rays, bacteria and pool chemicals. The pool panels create an ‘active permanent casing’, using welding technology, and have a ten-year guarantee.
If you need to find something really special Palm Gardens Egypt and Mikati Investments have a great range of tiles and paving stones for pools and surrounds that are worth investigating. Both Emak and Foxxx have a wide range of heaters, filters, covers, pool lights and pumps to suit all types of pool. Just give their professional sales teams a call to learn about all available options. Aquatop has a state -of-the-art collection of Jacuzzi and spa pools.
Information available in alphabetical order:
magnument.com (Medhat Abdallah)
monahussein.com (Mona Hussein Design House
Tiles available at: