How to build a swimming pool STEP BY STEP

To install an inground pool doesn´t have to be hard, if you exactly know what you are doing. See our short picture manual of JAVA pool installation.

Pool installation

Compass ceramic pools can be installed in two ways, depending on the bottom type: flat or sloped.

Pools with a sloped bottom are installed on the gravel bed, placed both under and around the pool. The pool subsoil is made of washed river gravel (round pebbles) of 8-16 mm size.

Pools with flat bottom can be installed on the condrete base plate. Once settled, the sides are filled up by moistened concrete.

You can see the construction process on pictures – it shows how the Smokey Quartz coloured Java pool with sliding roof system is built.

1. Complete manual and construction drawings

If you decide to install Compass ceramic pool, you will receive detailed documentation for constructing company.

2. Excavations

After a careful measurement the excavations begin.

3. Preparation of the pool subsoil

The excavation bottom is filled with a subsoil layer of washed round gravel, poured on a geotextile and rammed. It´s also possible to prepare a concrete base plate, but Compass ceramic pool installation doesn´t require it, gravel bed settles the pool sufficiently.

4. Pool transportation and placing

The next step is to transport the pool and place it on the base plate or gravel bed. See the video of pool transport with crane.

5. Technology installation and backfilling

Once the skimmer, inlet nozzles, lights, hoses and pipes are fitted, the pool is gradually backfilled around by dry concrete mixture or gravel. At the same time pool is filled by water to balance the pressure exerted on the walls.

The space under the stairs is always filled with dry concrete.

FIG. Ceramic pool installation and backfilling by dry concrete mixture


6. Technology installation in the shaft

Once the pool is settled, the pool technology installation begins – either in the pool shaft or in a room designated for this purpose (garage, basement, garden shed).

7. Pool roofing

Roofing rails are settled onto the concrete pool ring (if they are going to be imbedded at the paving level), or are settled after the tiles are layed.

8. Tiling around the pool

9. Roofing installation

10. It´s done…

… let´s go swimming.

See how the pool is moved from the street to the construction site.

How to Decide if a Natural Pool is Right for You

Natural pools have been slowly gaining popularity over the last few decades. Usually chosen as a chemical-free alternative to a traditional, chlorinated pool, they offer the same luxury lifestyle and aesthetic.

If you’ve been planning to invest in a swimming pool for your home or business, you’re probably wondering how to tell if a natural pool is the right choice. How do they work? What are the drawbacks? We’ll cover these questions, and more, in this post.

What is a natural pool?

A natural pool is simply a swimming pool that uses an organic filtration system, rather than chemicals, to stay clean. Taking inspiration from nature, a natural pool features an area that’s filled with carefully-chosen water plants and reeds that filter your water as it gets pumped around the pool.

How does this keep the water clean?

The reeds and plants in this ‘regeneration zone’ feed on the water, acting as a physical filter for debris and producing both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to maintain the cleanliness of your water. You will still need a pump to keep the water in constant motion through the plants, but you won’t need to add man-made chemicals or salts to disinfect or sterilise it.

As a bonus, the constant water movement prevents the pool from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Why do some people prefer a natural pool?

The lack of chlorine or man-made chemicals in the water makes a natural pool very appealing for swimmers with sensitive skin, or those generally concerned about ingesting chlorine from extended use of their pool. Natural pools are also a good choice for those who are conscious about exposing the environment to chemicals, as well as themselves.

Others appreciate the visual aesthetic that a natural pool offers. Available in a wide range of contemporary and rustic styles, the common factor is that every natural pool comes with a beautiful water garden, helping it blend seamlessly with its surroundings and create a focal point for landscaping.

Finally, natural pools are lower maintenance and cheaper to run than a conventional pool. There’s no need to keep buying chemicals and salt, nor do you need to maintain a chemical filter, check the pH balance, or deal with most of the other costs involved in keeping a normal pool clean. You will still need to occasionally skim the surface and run the pump system (although this can usually be run on solar power).

What are the drawbacks of a natural pool?

The biggest drawback of a natural pool is that they generally cost more upfront than a conventional swimming pool. However, the lower ongoing costs mean that you make your money back over time (and can sleep easier, knowing that you’re not putting more chemicals into the environment).

Another factor to consider is that the water in your natural pool won’t be a bright, artificial blue like it would be in a chemically-filtered swimming pool. The water should still be fairly clear, although some natural algae growth may give it a slightly brown tint. By their design, natural pools will include some organic debris and sediment – it’s perfectly safe, even if it isn’t the sparkling blue shade we’ve come to expect.

For a natural pool that is beautiful, low-maintenance and safe to swim in, it’s essential that you choose an experienced installer. At Compass Pools, we have worked on many natural swimming pool projects from concept to completion, so would be more than happy to discuss your ideas, answer your questions, and bring your dream swimming pool to life. Simply contact your nearest Compass Pools office today.

5 ways to love your pool in a heatwave

We all know that the British weather can be unpredictable and hot summers can never be taken for granted. So, if there is a heatwave where you live and have a swimming pool in your garden, you should make the most of the facility! Here are 5 fab and fun ideas of how to get maximum enjoyment from your pool when summer is here.

1 – Keep fit at home

Regular exercise is what we should all be doing but when it’s 30 degrees outside, who has the energy? Your outdoor pool is the perfect solution – you can work out while keeping nice and cool all at the same time! Whether you’re swimming laps or doing water exercise routines in the pool, it’s easy to keep fit in the water where the lack of gravity means less stress on your body.

Why not invest in some aqua fitness equipment to help you get the most out of your water workout? Strengthen muscles, improve tone, burn fat and increase your cardiovascular health with the help of belts, weights and buoyancy aids specifically designed for use in the pool.

Water exercise can be more fun in groups, so grab your partner or a group of friends and get fit this summer.

People doing underwater fitness excercises

2 – Invite your friends and have a pool party

Who says pools are just for swimming? Having a pool in your garden on a sweltering hot weekend is exactly what you need to turn an average garden party into a summer spectacular! Get everyone to bring swimwear, towels and sunscreen and enjoy splashing around in the water.
For added excitement, why not invest in a few inflatables to put in your pool? From novelty pool floats to water slides, aqua runs and bouncy castles, there’s hours of fun to be had in the water.

Swimming always makes everyone hungry, so make sure that someone is in charge of the BBQ and ideally ask your guests to contribute to the food – they can bring burgers, a salad or a pudding – and bring a bottle too.

Finally, no party is complete without music and party lights. Whether you create a party playlist on Spotify or hire a DJ for some proper entertainment is up to you. The important thing is to create the right atmosphere for everyone to have a great time!

3 – Enjoy the peace and tranquillity

On the other hand, a hot sunny afternoon is perfect for enjoying the peace and quiet of your garden in blissful solitude. You don’t even have to get wet – well maybe a teeny bit. Take a favourite book or magazine and sit by the edge of the pool, perhaps with your feet dangling in the cool, refreshing water.

For a more immersive experience, why not invest in a comfy pool float, recliner or island, so you can read while you’re floating around the pool? Reading, of course, is optional. You could just as well use your precious ‘me time’ for meditating, sunbathing or snoozing.

The important thing is to switch off from the constant stimulation that is normally all around us. Leave your mobile devices indoors and focus on the here and now. Just make sure you’ve applied plenty of sun cream lotion, wear a hat and sunglasses!

Woman reading a book while sunbathing next to a pool

4 – Have fun with the family

If it’s summer holiday time but you’re not near a beach, why not have fun in the water with the kids at home? Rather than randomly splashing about in the water, and if your children are old enough, why not try one of these popular pool games?

  • Underwater Treasure Hunt – diving for coins, stones, toys or anything else that takes your fancy as long as the items are heavy enough to fall to the bottom of the pool.
  • Noodle Jousting – line your warriors up on inflatable rafts and give them pool noodles for weapons. Now let the fighting begin.
  • Submarine Races – for competent swimmers who are comfortable underwater, hold your breath and see who can swim the longest before coming up for air.
  • Shark in the Pool – a pool version of ‘It’ that gets better and more hilarious the more variations and rules you add to it.
  • Float Race – find the pool float of your choice – inflatable dolphin, dinosaur or unicorn, the more ridiculous the better, and see who can ride across the pool the fastest.

5 – More swimming lessons

Finally, why not take the opportunity of the excellent weather to start your little ones of with swimming lessons in the comfort of your own pool? It may be less daunting than going to group lessons in unfamiliar surroundings.

If your kids can swim already, now may be a good time to develop their water skills and build technique and endurance in all four swimming strokes – front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly. Snorkelling or diving lessons and basic water safety first aid are also a great idea.

Everything is more fun when the sun is high in the sky, so the next heatwave may be a great time to find a private swimming instructor to come to your home.

Two kids in a swimming pool with googles and snorkels

8 pool safety tips for your family home

Having a swimming pool at home is a wonderful facility for the whole family. Whether you’re enjoying water play with the kids, are teaching them to swim or indulge in your love of swimming, pool time is an easy and fun way for the family to spend quality time together. It’s also a fantastic way to encourage the youngsters to enjoy being physically active from a young age.

That said, we all know that water can be dangerous. Did you know that it is possible for a child to drown in as little as 2 inches of water? A recent survey by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) found that 60 children accidentally drown in the UK every summer. Sadly, most of these deaths could have been prevented by adhering to some basic water safety precautions as well as more education and knowledge of what to do in an emergency.

Clearly, in order to get the most enjoyment out of your pool, it’s important to make water safety top priority. We’ve taken advice from both the RLSS and SPATA (The Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association) and put together 8 top pool safety tips to keep your family safe from the dangers of water.

1 – Boundaries and fencing

When you install a residential swimming pool in your garden, make safety a priority. The pool should be protected by a fence or boundary that is at least 1.2 metres high and not accessible to unaccompanied children. Ideally, the pool area should remain locked until it is safe to use. Installing a pool or gate alarm to monitor access is also an excellent idea. If fencing off is not practical, you can place a secure cover on your pool (and also your hot tub and garden pond) instead.

2 – Proper pool maintenance

For a new swimming pool installation, make sure that your pool is safe to use before you and the kids get in. Once your installation is complete, it’s important to follow your supplier’s advice to maintain and service your pool properly and have all safety checks completed, so as not to invalidate the warranty. At Compass Pools, we offer a 20-year guarantee on the impermeability of your pool and against osmosis, while Silverline pools come with a 10-year guarantee.

3 – Practise constant vigilance

Accidents have a habit of happening when you least expect them and they can be horribly quick and silent – don’t let that happen. As a parent, you will already be used to keeping a close eye on your children at all times, and this is even more important in a poolside environment. It goes without saying that children and weak swimmers should always be closely supervised by an adult while they’re in the water or its vicinity. Give them your full attention, and don’t try to multitask.

4 – Enforce poolside safety

Keep the swimming pool area free from trip hazards – tidy away any toys, garden hoses, pool equipment etc. However excited the kids are about water play and swimming, and regardless of whether they’re toddlers or teenagers (or indeed adults!), make it a Number One Rule to WALK NEVER RUN around the pool, since slipping on wet surfaces by the pool can be just as dangerous as the water itself. If you have guests, make sure they are aware of your poolside safety rules too.

5 – Employ water safety items as necessary

For babies, toddlers and children who cannot swim, use buoyancy aids that give a degree of independence, such as baby swim seats, arm bands, swim vests, float boards etc., but only use them under strict adult supervision. You can also get swimming costumes with pockets containing removable floats, water suits made from UV protective fabric as well as anti-slip swim shoes. It all helps to keep the juniors safe in and around the water.

6 – Learn to swim

For parents, real peace of mind comes from the fact that your child can swim. It’s never too early or too late to learn to swim, and even getting babies and toddlers used to being in the water is a great start. Find out about swimming lessons in your local area or engage a private swimming teacher who will come to your home. Swimming is such a valuable life skill – for children and adults alike – that you really cannot afford to miss out.

7 – Swimming no-no’s

Knowing that those who use the pool in your home can swim can be a huge burden off your shoulders – but that doesn’t mean you can ever relax completely around water. Weak swimmers must make sure they stay within a safe depth – they should be able to touch the bottom with their feet – and ideally should be supervised in the water. Experienced swimmers should never dive into water that is less than 1.5 metres deep, and be careful not to enter the pool after drinking alcohol.

Young couple in a swimming pool with a beach ball

8 – What to do in an emergency

Finally, if something does go wrong in the pool, would you know what to do in an emergency situation? As a first response, make sure you always have easy access to rescue aids such as a lifebuoy ring, float board, safety torpedo, rope or reach pole. Learning First Aid and CPR is highly recommended – it’s a skill that ideally everyone in the family should have. St John’s Ambulance have a range of First Aid courses for the general public that are worth checking out.

When is a bespoke pool not bespoke?

Bespoke is a term that gets banded about a lot in the swimming pool industry luring potential buyers into thinking that it’s in some way better. We explore the pros and cons of a bespoke pool. 

First of let’s explore what a bespoke pool is. It’s normally a design of pool specially designed to the user’s requirements. Sounds perfect doesn’t it. Ask yourself this, why can’t you buy a bespoke car or yacht, not options but size.  Specify you want it 2.1m wide by 4.7m long with 12 seats. 
Essentially because all new cars have millions spent in research and development of the chassis or hull in the case of a boat and most importantly rigorous testing.  Sure you can change the colour, the wheels. The interior and options. But you can’t change the core engineering for good reason. You don’t want to be a guinea.
Let’s compare this to the bespoke swimming pool. Who has done the testing on this, your very expensive, shinny new pool? Well no one. You will be testing it when it’s built. You specified some beautiful new tile type not yet installed by the installer. How do they know it’s compatible with pool water. How do they know the circulation system is going to work effectively in your guitar shaped pool? They don’t but you will find out once it’s built! We oversimplify this statement as there are literally thousands of variables. 
As the largest installer of pools in the UK we know not to test products on our customers first. Are our pools bespoke? Well no more or less than a bespoke Bentley or custom Aston Martin in fact there are over 32000 colour, size, option and finish variations. We have never built 2 pools the same but we have built pools with every single option fitted and rum them through testing.
So while you cant have a guitar shipped pool, you can certainly have one that is going to be reliable and stand the test of time backed by our industry leading warranty that is backed by our global parent company.
Continue Reading

The Best Pools for a Small Home

It was once the case that if you owned a small property, having a pool constructed was simply impractical, if not impossible. Aside from the expense of having a pool built at your home, the limiting nature of construction techniques meant that it simply wasn’t possible to get a swimming pool in a smaller property. But as technology has advanced and swimming pool solutions have improved, it has become both possible and easy to have a pool constructed for properties of almost any size. So even if you are limited on space, you can still have the pool of your dreams.

If you are looking into having a pool built in a smaller home, it’s a great idea to do your research into different design ideas. Undoubtedly, the best pool for a small home is the pool that is most suited to the needs and requirements of its owner. There is such a broad variety of options available from stunning infinity pools to chlorine-free natural pools, you can opt for the pool that best fits your lifestyle and what you are looking to get from it. Here are some top tips for choosing a fantastic pool to suit a smaller home.

A pool in keeping with your home

Some homeowners mistakenly believe that when it comes to swimming pools, bigger means better. But when it comes to a feature as expensive and important as a swimming pool, the truth is that size is not necessarily an important factor. It is worth pointing out that if you have a small home, it makes sense that you would have smaller swimming pool. While a swimming pool is a fantastic feature piece for your property, a huge swimming pool in a small house can completely overwhelm the space and feel out of place.

A smaller pool that is in-keeping with the aesthetic and size of your home is a much better idea – a small, well-designed pool will add more value to your property than one that dominates the exterior space. This is especially true if your pool will actually take over much of the garden space; some buyers will much prefer a decent garden as well as pool over a disproportionately sized pool.

So when you come to look at the different pool options available, don’t assume that the best thing to do is to use up as much space as possible. There are actually much smarter ways for you to utilise your space.

Use your space effectively

If you have a smaller space to work with, you might need to get creative with the room that is available. Some people have misconceptions about what a pool has to be, which can make them believe that a pool wouldn’t suit their property. In reality, your pool can be whatever you need it to be in order for you to get as much out of it as possible.

There is no rule, for instance, to say that a pool needs to be rectangular. Nor one that requires it to be symmetrical. If you have got an awkward garden space, a pool can be created to fit within it. If you garden is long but not especially wide, it is possible to have a pool designed that effectively acts as a swimming lane. A lap pool can fit into surprisingly tight spaces while still being a lovely addition to your home.

You might be interested in a classic pool shape such as a Roman pool or a kidney-shaped design, but if you are working within a limited space it can make more sense to opt for a freeform pool instead. This can allow you to enjoy both a larger pool in a small space, and retain a good look for your property.

What is your pool for?

Remember that there are many different types of pools that you can have constructed at your home from exercise pools to natural pools, which don’t use chlorine. While a large pool can have multiple functions and uses, a small pool typically needs to be specialised.

So to make the right decision on a swimming pool for a small home it is necessary to establish exactly what you are going to use your pool for. There are a number of different reasons that you might want to have a pool on your property. Let’s take a look at why you are interested in having a pool, to help you decide which option is best for you.

A place for a dip

It might be the case that you are just interested in somewhere to take a dip after a long hot summer day. In this case it could be that you simply need a plunge pool to get what you’re looking for.


For many homeowners, it is the joy of swimming that convinces them to invest in a pool. If this is important for you it is best to opt for a lap pool. But what if you don’t quite have the space for a swimming lane? It is still possible! Check below for details on swimming in a small pool.

Entertaining and relaxation

You may want a pool as a feature piece for your property so you can entertain guests or relax in the evening. It could be the case that you will find you don’t actually need a full size pool at all – would a hot tub be a better option?

Add value to your home

A high quality pool can add significant value to your property. If you have got one eye on the property market when it comes to buying your pool, the most important thing is to choose a pool that fits with the aesthetic and style of your home.

Plunge pool

Plunge Pool Banner Image

When you think of compact swimming pools for smaller spaces, the idea of a plunge pool comes instantly to mind. Plunge pools are larger than a spa or Jacuzzi, but not as large as a fully-fledged swimming pool. If you are only planning to use your pool as a place to go for a quick swim after work, this is a perfect option.

Plunge pools can be loaded up with features to ensure a great swimming experience, and this can be customised entirely to your taste. From water features and waterfalls to massage jets, plunge pools can have all the functionality of a normal swimming pool, with the added advantage that they fit in a much smaller space.

Lane swimming in a small pool

One thing that can put homeowners off the idea of buying a smaller pool is that they want to be able to actually swim in their swimming pool. Obviously a smaller space can make it difficult to enjoy a swimming in the same way as a full-size pool. But that doesn’t mean you need to abandon the idea of getting a pool altogether – innovative technology offers a solution that allows you to do as much swimming as you like in the smallest of pools.

Fastlane by Endless Pools pumps a steady flow of water at you. As you swim against the current, the jet will keep you in the same place. It provides the feeling of natural swimming but you aren’t actually moving. With 52 different speed settings, the flow can be made stronger or weaker to suit your swimming pace, allowing you to effectively have lane swimming in a small pool.

The hot tub option

It might be the case that for your needs, you don’t actually need a full size swimming pool at all, and a hot tub would be just as good. A hot tub can be a great option if you have always wanted a pool but lack the space. Far more space efficient than a pool, and requiring a far less arduous building process, a hot tub is ideal for relaxing or even entertaining guests.

Naturally, it is not quite the same as having a pool, but this can be a suitable replacement for those properties that really don’t have the available space for a swimming pool.

Inside or outside?

This leads on to another decision that you will need to make about your pool – will it be indoors or outdoors? The vast majority of home pools are installed outdoors due to factors like cost and complexity. And this is certainly the case when it comes to smaller properties too (unless you have a large supply of interior space and relatively little outdoors).

If you are going to opt for an outdoor pool it could also be worth looking into a covering to make it possible to use the pool in any weather. This will certainly add to the cost of the overall project, but it can provide the pool with more usability.

In ground or above ground?

Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that if space is a factor in your decision, you could look into both in-ground and above ground options. It may be the case that an above ground pool can be constructed in way that makes a better and more creative use of space within your garden. Yes, this can typically be a more expensive option than simply having the pool built in an excavated hole in the ground, but it can make it possible to have a pool that is closer to what you are looking for.

Three key benefits for a smaller pool

Many homeowners looking into getting a swimming pool constructed will be limited by the physical space available to them. Still, you might be tempted to opt for a larger pool over a smaller design when it comes to the actual construction process. But it is vital here to remember that just because it is bigger, it doesn’t make it any better. In fact, many homeowners are finding that there are benefits in choosing a smaller option. Three important benefits of a smaller pool are:

1 – It’s cheaper to build

There’s no doubt that one of the major benefits of smaller pool is that it is much cheaper to build. And it’s not just the cost that you need to think about – there will be a shorter construction time, meaning less disruption to your property over the course of the build.

2 – It’s more environmentally friendly

If you are interested in remaining as ‘green’ as possible and reducing your carbon footprint, there’s no denying that a smaller pool is the better option. Small pools use less water and fewer chemicals than their larger counterparts. This makes it an obvious choice if you are interested in protecting the environment.

3 – It’s easier to maintain

One of the real challenges of owning a pool is the level of maintenance that is required. If you are interested in a pool that is easier to drain, faster to clean and uses fewer expensive chemicals, then it will definitely make sense for you to choose a small pool.

If you would like to learn more about pools for small homes, the team of expert pool builders at Compass Pools would be happy to provide you with details. With our years of expertise, we have worked on pools both big and small for properties of all sizes, and we would be happy to pass on our knowledge to you. Get in contact with us today.

Continue Reading

Compass pools cleans up at the 2017 Pool Awards.

Compass pools the UK’s largest one piece pool installer has pipped the competition to the post with two key prestigious awards. 

Compass has received an award in the two most important categories “residential indoor pool of the year” along with “residential outdoor pool of the year”

The two projects highlight Compasses leading technical and design prowess in the UK market. 

The judging was put through 3 stages with Compass shining through against the stiff competition of over 200 entries. 

Receiving the awards at the glittering ceremony from Michelle Dewbury the enigmatic winner of the hit business TV show The Apprentice.  

Alex Kemsley Technical director at Compass comments. “These two awards only firms our abilities in the UK pool market as we strive to deliver the best to our customers”

Look out for our deep dive into these project case studies in the coming weeks. 

If you would like a quote on your new compass pool give us a call on 01444 400621


Continue Reading

The 11 most common architect errors in indoor pool design

We get handed plans every day of the week of indoor swimming pools designed by architects with some minor and some major omissions and errors. So we have put together a list of the most common ones.  
  1. Is the plant room adjacent to the pool room for air extraction? 
  2. Is the plant room on an external wall for intake and exhaust ventilation, if not is there a route for at least 200mm ducting? 
  3. Is the plant room dimensions at least 15% of the pool water area (domestic pool) or 25% for commercial for the filtration and air handling equipment, with a minimum size of 2.5 x 2.5m ?
  4. Has routes for ducting been considered back to the plant room for air handing,  a cross section area of at least 0.13m2 for domestic will be required for ducts to every piece of glass. 
  5. Has floor coverings, drainage and falls been considered along with drains to waste for the pool room splash out? 
  6. Has a drain to waste been considered for the plant room for filter cleaning? 
  7. Has a suitable LPHW source been considered with sufficient flow and return temperatures for heating of the air and water?
  8. Has cold bridging been eliminated to stop condensation damage?
  9. Has suitable waterproof wall and ceiling covering been considered for example a stretch ceiling and aquaboard. 
  10. Has gyms and entertainment areas been designed out side of the pool area. This area is going to be 30 degrees and humid!
  11. Are there two door separating the pool area and living spaces. You dont want those pool smells getting into the living space! 
For more information on designing and indoor pool please download our architects and builders guide to indoor pools. 
Continue Reading

Free Pool Owners eBook by SPATA

Understand what's involved in pool ownership with this free guide by SPATA (Swimming Pool & Allied Trade Association).

SPATA provides standards on swimming pool construction, which all Compass pools meet.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.