How to build a small splash pool or dip pool

To make any comments on the video, please visit this video the YouTube Channel.

Pool Plumbing

I also have an accompanying video to the build about how the pump, filter, salt system and Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) work with this build. To view this video, click below.


Tips & Information

A small splash pool is much cheaper to build, heat and maintain than a larger swimming pool.

We aren’t ones for swimming lengths in pools, so this size is ideal for us 🙂

The final size of the pool surround is:

Longer Left Side: 4.36m
Edge Side: 3.9m
Shorter Right Side: 3.52m

The pool itself is longer:

Left Side: 2.26m
Edge Side: 3.15m
Shorter Right Side: 1.62m
Water Depth: 1.4m
Pool volume: About 6000 litres of water / 6 Cubic Metres.

The decking system I used was a little more expensive than others, but it is totally impervious to water, not slippery, has a lovely texture to the touch and looks fantastic – I would highly recommend it. It also works out as a great pool edge, so I didn’t need to use coping stones around the top of the pool, which I don’t personally like the look of. This system looks much more contemporary.

Having the pool semi-in-ground meant that due to the waterline being above ground level the pump didn’t need to be self-priming, so I could use off-the-shelf (therefore cheaper cost) Intex Pool Pump and salt water system that are usually used in rigid stand up pools. This saved me hundreds of pounds in pool equipment.

AirSource heat Pump. This is the most efficient way to heat the pool. For every kW of electricity used, the heater generates about 5-6kw of heat.

Insulation – this is the most important thing. Keeping the heat in the pool. This insulation has kept the heat in the pool lovely and warm.

I am lucky enough to have solar panels on the house, so I only run the pump, salt system and heater during the day. On a sunny day the pool is basically free to run and keep heated. On cloudy and raining days, I estimate the equipment draws about 8-9Kw total over 7 hours, so this only costs me about £1.71 per day. I run the pool equipment from 9am – 4pm.

Salt Water System – I love this – it is so easy to maintain. I highly recommend this. When you fill the pool I had to put in 21kg of salt. This is then converted by the machine to produce natural chlorine – makes the water really soft and smells good! No chemicals to keep on top of. I just have to top up about 5kg of salt every week or so when it starts beeping at me. A bag of 25kg salt is about £6, so very cheap to maintain the pool too.

Buying a pool cover can be expensive. Intex again do large round one for around £35 – so I bought one of those and cut it to size.

Using the pool cover overnight, the pool loses about 2.5-3 degrees centigrade overnight – which isn’t too bad. To improve on this, I have recently bought some more of the pool insulation to use as a thick insulated cover at night. It takes a couple of minutes to put on, but now the pool is only losing about 1-1.5 degrees centigrade overnight – a huge saving.

We are currently in September (UK) as I write this, but I have been able to keep the pool, at a toasty 31-32 degrees centigrade this month, which is almost like a spa temperature. I am hoping to keep the pool in use until about October when I will have to shut it down and winterise it. I aim to open the pool again late April / early May.


Here are the main suppliers I used:

Deck System – Millboard

Composite Joists (for deck to screw into) Dino Decking

Pool Insulation System – Panel Systems

Paint Sprayer – Airblast

Pool Paint – TA Industrial Paints

Pool Pipe Fittings – UK Pool Store

Intex Pump & Salt Water System – Splash & Relax

Air-Source Heat Pump – AES

Estimated Cost

The approximate cost for the project, including all pumps, heaters etc was about £6,500. £2000 of this was for the decking solution I used. If you were to build a similar structure fully inground I expect you save approx £1,500 – £1,750 from this cost, although you may need to spend more on a self-priming pump that can pull the water out the pool to filter – or build a pool house in-ground.

£2000 Decking
£799 Air Source Heat Pump
£199 Pump & Filter
£199 Salt Water Chlorinator
£500 Pool Insulation
£500 Blocks
£150 Sand
£100 Cement
£200 Pipework & Fittings
£100 Stainless Steel Bolts
£150 Clay Heave Board
£200 Emergency OSB Boards (Hopefully you won’t need this!)
£250 Rebar £250 Gunite
£80 Adhesive
£50 Glass Fibre Mesh
£100 Deck Fix Composite
£140 PoolPaint
£90 Tiles
£290 Pool Floor Cement
£150 Tool / Machine Hire
£150 Skimmer

Please note: I am not a professional tradesman and I am not an expert in anything you see here, especially brick laying! I just like building DIY stuff in our garden for fun when I’m not busy at work. I researched various methods to building these projects online this is my interpretation of what I learnt.

I hope this helps you with your project – have fun!