backyard transformation

Dive Into a Massive Backyard DIY Transformation

We have all thought at some stage, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a pool in the backyard', especially on those crazy hot days when you stick to the seat and work up a sweat going to the fridge. But have you ever thought 'Why don't we build our own pool?' Well, interior designer Kate Sparkes and her husband wanted a backyard oasis for their family but the dream seemed too far away. See how they created an amazing outdoor family space designed for pool parties and lazy family days together. Read on as we reveal how they did a backyard DIY transformation and on budget!

By Kate Sparkes 



Make A Plan!

Our pool journey was the final touch to our backyard reno that we started a few years ago and hubby and I were keen to do it ourselves. We love a challenge and that is definitely what we was delivered! Our dream for a family pool seemed near impossible after receiving a quote of $80,000 for a concrete pool.

After discussing it with our family we decided to look at another route and researched “Affordable Pools”. The name seemed perfect but was it any closer to becoming reality for us?  

The day finally came when we took our kids to the Affordable Pools showroom to look into this more closely… after a great chat, discussing sizes, colours & choosing an above ground pool that would be installed sunk into the ground, we left the store as new pool owners, a dream come true on a budget we thought fair.  

The fun was about to begin!


Mapping out the pool area


Breaking Ground

Hubby & I enjoy achieving things ourselves, a little backyard DIY never scared us & we were diving right in to make our dream happen! We mapped out the pool area in spray paint on the grass and broke ground! We borrowed a 1.5T digger from a friend which was fun, overwhelming, harder than we imagined but overall a great experience!

We are so fortunate to have a team of family and friends to help us wheel barrow all the soil out of that deep deep hole! People called us crazy but we were determined.

Once the hole for the pool was at the correct depth and height we dusted off our hands and got ready to hand the rest to the pool installer. Weeks past and a number of phone calls took place, the pool installer was no longer available due to personal family reasons and every other installer was booked out for months.

We felt we had no choice but to continue our backyard DIY - it was definitely overwhelming and scary because installing a pool is not something we had done, or really wanted to do!

Let's Get Digging


Build It and They Will Come...

Once resolved to the fact that we were going to have to build this pool ourselves, it was clear from discussing with Affordable Pools, installers and extensive research that the base foundation was crucial. The pool itself came with a basic set of instructions which helped piece together a step by step process for the frame. The middle uprights are bolted together, sunk into the ground and secured into place helping the pool take on its oval shape. 

It is important to note here that installing an above ground pool can be a fairly straight forward process, but when you are sinking an above ground pool fully into the ground, that creates a whole new world of pain. Considerations such as

  • backfill (dry sand and cement mix) needs to be placed around the outside of the pool to allow for stability
  • drainage for the surrounding if the pool to avoid long term damage and rusting
  • plumbing for an above ground pool works on the principle of gravity, unlike an in ground pool
  • pools require their own electrical connection so an electrician is required
  • having the fencing finished is also a must before any water goes into the pool

We used a private certifier for the pool fence, therefore, a fence compliance inspection is required prior to the final inspection for certification to occur. My hubby did all the plumbing himself, which after a few trips to Bunnings to get all the right connections it was pretty straight forward.

“It is so nice to see Kate and Jono’s hard work paying off and seeing all those happy, smiley faces! It was quite the journey however the results speak for themselves. An amazing backyard transformation, it was a pleasure working with them. We’re thrilled their family loves their new pool, happy swimming!!” -Jeff Mowle, Affordable Above Ground Pools


Fill Her Up

Once the liner is in, the plumbing is done and the sand and cement mix is ready to go, filling the pool is a real sense of accomplishment. Well is was for us anyway!! To maintain equal pressure internally and externally, gradually filling the pool while removing any creases in the liner is important. However backfilling soon after is crucial to maintaining equal pressure. Hubby decided to do this on NYE where 5 cubic metres needed to be wheel barrowed from the bottom of our driveway all the way up to the back of the property where the pool was. 

That first swim however was delightful! But we can vouch pool installers are worth their weight in gold and would not recommend others take on this job!! Leave it to the professionals.




The Finishing Touches 

The finish line was such a beautiful sight for us! It was finally time to tick the certification boxes & we couldn’t be happier with what we accomplished together. All in all, the task was big, bigger than ever expected but we are so proud of what we have created for our family. We have since landscaped the area around the pool and I love the way my garden frames the Pool the Sparkes the Built!




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