Friday, April 5, 2013

The Ripple Effect - swimming pools in Tuscany

A reviving dip in the pool after a long day under the Tuscan sun, a few refreshing laps before heading off to the office or simply time spent splashing around with the kids whilst on holiday in Italy.  Whatever your lifestyle or personal requirements a private pool will undoubtedly bring you a great deal of pleasure and also increase the desirability of your home or holiday property.
Pool design in Tuscany has become so advanced that almost any type of property can accommodate an indoor or outdoor pool of some description.  Many unassuming traditional looking properties contain state of the art fitness suites and contemporary underground pools skilfully designed to make the very best use of the space available.  The options are impressive, whether you have the space to enjoy a large landscaped pool in your grounds or a simple indoor plunge pool, the benefits are endless.

Modern swimming pools are becoming ever more sophisticated and the systems that support them increasingly intelligent.  Italian designed pools have evolved greatly in recent years and can add an artistic dimension to a landscape or garden.  The infinity pool for example is perfect for those homeowners whose Tuscan property enjoys an elevated position and gives the user the ability to enjoy undisturbed views whilst relaxing or socialising in the pool.  This style of pool works particularly well in Tuscany or on hilltop settings and is a perfect choice for holiday home environments and can also be found onboard luxury yachts.

Tuscan based pool designers such as Big Blu are now able to pretty much deal with most kinds of terrain and if you have your heart set on an outdoor pool then taking an organic approach is often the most successful way of introducing a pool into a natural setting.  Interestingly, some of the most striking outdoor pools blend seamlessly with the surroundings, and the natural swimming pool is an idea that is being adopted by luxury hotels and adventurous homeowners worldwide.  Michael Littlewood of EcoDesign Scape explains “The initial concept was conceived in Austria more than 20 years ago, the natural pool is an inspiring and healthier alternative to a conventional swimming pool and a beautiful addition to a garden – even in winter. It stays clean without any chemical treatment, its natural cleaning system mimicking the regeneration process of a healthy lake. The result is a serene swimming environment which is also a working aquatic garden. This seamless blending of environments makes a natural pool unique; being surrounded by plants as you swim creates a very special kind of mood.  A typical private pool is a minimum of 50 square metres and features one body of water separated into two zones, one for swimming and one for cleaning. The regeneration zone, in which all the biological cleaning takes place, contains marsh and water plants in a bed of gravel, minerals and loamy sand. The plants create a habitat for the micro-organisms which keep the water clean and break down potential pollutants, while the gravel bed acts as a natural filter. 

During the summer months the water temperature is usually a few degrees warmer than in a conventional pool. This benefits wildlife as well as people, and amphibians arrive to enjoy the warm water in the shallow regeneration zone. Dragonflies and other pond creatures add to the diversity, and the whole area becomes a very valuable habitat, especially for endangered species.”   

For those preferring a simple setting or a classical period style design there are also many ways in which an outdoor pool can be created to complement existing architecture or features such as exterior walls.  Pools of course bring many health benefits to the homeowner and allow the opportunity for occupants and guests to switch off and take time out whenever they feel the need.  A pool is also an excellent focal point for socialising with friends and family and has the added value of offering the opportunity to indulge in some instant fitness and wellbeing.

Indoor Pools are very popular within city developments and larger apartments and townhouses will increase in value substantially if the home includes a pool.  Technology now allows for pools to be constructed with a moveable floor above thus allowing for the room to be used in a more creative way, either as a pool room or an additional space in which to entertain.  Movable swimming pool floors have made it possible to maximise the use of your swimming pool with variable depth and also use the space taken up by the swimming pool for other purposes.   With the touch of a button, an entire pool floor is fully adjusted to any water depth or becomes level to pool surround thus serving as a dry deck or dance floor. It's no longer an imagination but a reality.  Movable swimming pool floors can have multiple programming capabilities and can offer flexible uses of the same space.

The maintenance of a private pool is now very simple and easily controlled with automatic systems and advanced filtration techniques all of which can be overseen by a designated team of engineers if required. 
Lighting is another key element to successful pool design as most residential pools are used both in the day and in the evening.  There is nothing better than enjoying a swim before dinner or watching the sun go down whilst sitting alongside a glimmering pool.  Mood lighting is key and automatic sensors mean that the lighting can self adjust according the time of day, coloured lights also change the atmosphere depending on your mood or occasion.  Pool lighting can be divided into three main types. General lighting that illuminates the pool deck and paths so you can wander safely after dark. Then there is underwater lighting that is useful for swimming after dark as well as creating cool night time lighting effects. Finally, there is accent lighting that is generally used to add atmosphere to the poolside setting.
At Bella Terra most of our clients own or wish to install a swimming pool of some kind and we can ensure that the overall garden design and landscaping works in harmony with the pool construction.

Contact Sharon Kilby of Bella Terra Garden Design for more information on natural swimming pool design cel: 334 599 5702

For inspiration on natural pools check out… all images courtesy of piscine natura, Grazie