SWIMMING pools now seem more a necessity in Australia than the luxury they were even just 10 years ago with almost every backyard sporting one of some variety.
If you are after a pool and looking for a permanent structure you will have to consider whether you want an in-ground or above-ground pool and whether you want fibreglass or concrete.
Cost is obviously a factor with in-ground pools costing between $25,000-$50,000, often excluding landscaping and fencing, and above-ground pools somewhat cheaper between $5000-$10,000 but once again without decking and landscaping.
Such a large undertaking requires the use of experts and there is a large network of pool franchises, usually with an office in your area.
Word of mouth is also useful so ask around.
Now, if you are looking for something that is up for just the summer there are also choices to be made about size and cost.
If you get a large pool that requires a pump you must check with your local council regarding pool fence regulations.
Clark Rubber has a Circular 16' Ultra Frame Pool ($1299) as well as a metal frame mid-size pool for $299.
Big W has a Driclad 12'x 30' Pool Set for $98 with a pool cover at $19.84 and a Sidewinder Air AC pump for $20.
Target's Summer Escapes Port-a-pool with bonus solar cover and inflatable swim ring and ball is $129 while Crazysales has a Bestway Jumbo inflatable pool with filter and free DVD detailing set-up instructions and maintenance for $249.95.
Clark Rubber also has medium-size inflatable pools, which can fit a few kids and an adult from $79.95 while idealshop.com.au has a Paradise Lagoon Swim centre for $49.95.
Dunk and dip pools for the littlies are probably the most popular type of inflatables even for those people with permanent structures.
They allow babies and toddlers a chance to cool off and have fun with water in a safer way although adult supervision is still a must.
These are cheap, colourful and plentiful and can be found in speciality stores as well as supermarket chains and holiday shops.
Mr Toys Toyworld has a Fill n' Fun Pool ($29.99), oo.com.au has an Aquaspirit Rainbow pool for $29.95, Mr Toys an Intex Sun Shade pool ($39.99) and Clark Rubber a Soft Sided Pool for $49.95.
Big W has an excellent Siege Play Pool which is a fortress that comes with shields, swords, catapult and cannon for $39.
There are a host of pool toys that can also add to the fun.
Inflatable baby and toddler seats can allow the younger members of the family to enjoy the water with you even if they can't swim yet provided there is adult supervision.
Big W has a Zoggs Pool trainer seat for 3-12 months ($15.92) but you can also find a variety at your local pool store.
Wahu is probably the most popular brand of pool toys in this country.
Their range includes games like the Eruptor, which features a hose attachment for a continuous water blast, the Paddle Wheel to race up and down the pool as well as an inflatable pool slide.
They also make toys designed to improve swimming skills like dive sticks and rings.
The Wahu mega pool pack ($39.95) includes a grip ball set, funky lounge, dive rings, dive sticks, water balls and dive streamers.
The range is available from $9.99 at stores like Target, Big W, Kmart, toy shops and pool stores.
Inflatable pool lounges are also very popular with oo.com.au carrying several them from $6.48. Big W has a Spring Float ($20), Mr Toys Toyworld a High Fashion Folding Lounge Chair ($24.99) and Clark Rubber Inflatable Chill Out Tube for ($24.95).
Remember that the pool is no place for glass. If you are going to eat and drink out there opt for plastic.
Target has a colourful range ($10.50 for 4) as does Kmart from $2.
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