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How to build a cheap swimming pool

Updated February 21, 2017

Having a swimming pool in the garden is a great way to cool off in the summer and entertain friends, but not everyone is able to afford the expense of a pool bought from and installed by professionals. Going the DIY route can save you a lot of money and leave you with a more original and interesting pool. Also, a pool that you've designed and built yourself will be customised to your exact specifications, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself.

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Conventional swimming pool

  1. Dig a hole in the ground to the size that you want the pool to be. Remember that the larger you make the hole, the more the pool is going to cost in terms of materials and labour. You can save a lot of money by digging the pool by hand, but this will take a lot of time and labour.

  2. Build a framework of steel rebar to set off the dimensions of your pool. Make a criss-cross pattern of rebar spaced at 30 cm (12 inches) and wire the vertical and horizontal pieces of rebar together where they cross each other.

  3. Cover the rebar with gunite, or spray concrete. This is a concrete material that is applied to a framework by a high-pressure hose and hardens after it has been applied. Spray on several coats of gunite to create the profile of pool that you want.

  4. Save a lot of money by leaving out a built-in drain. You can drain your pool for the winter using an exterior pump and pipe.

  5. Use a portable filter installed in a corner of the pool to keep the water aerated and clean.

Natural swimming pool

  1. Dig a hole that mimics the natural contours of a pond. Leave one end of the hole relatively shallow, between 10 to 45 cm (4 to 18 inches) and plant aquatic plants in this end of the pool to serve as a natural filter for impurities and excess nutrients in the water.

  2. Be sure that the edges of the pool don't get too steep. By making them with a gradual slope, you avoid the risk of wall collapse, and remove the need for expensive steel frameworks and concrete to support the edges of the pool.

  3. Cover the bottom and sloping walls of the pool with gravel and sand. This will allow you to swim in it without stirring up mud every time you use the pool.

  4. Warning

    You may want to hire a professional to spray the gunite in your pool if you're unsure of the procedure.

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Things You'll Need

  • Backhoe loader
  • Shovel
  • 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) rebar mesh
  • Wire
  • Gunite
  • Pool filter
  • Hose
  • Pump
  • Aquatic plants
  • Sand
  • Gravel

About the Author

Jagg Xaxx

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.

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