Matt Leacy, founder of , has some tips for both existing and future home pool owners to keep them compliant with safety legislation — while still making your outdoor space as beautiful as possible.

Matt’s top tip when planning a new pool is to work out the location of the pool fence first — then design the garden and pool around the fence, so you can make it as unobtrusive as possible. “Your pool fence needs to recede and be well thought-out — not only from a practical safety point of view, but for the aesthetics of your yard,” he says.

Pool fences shouldn’t harshly divide the space. “A lot of customers are surprised that I start by considering the pool fence first,” says Matt, “but to me, there’s nothing worse than a pool fence that creates an obvious barrier. Working around where fences need to go, and figuring out the best way to integrate them into a design, provides the best end result: a space that flows naturally from one area of the yard to the next.”

Note: Legislation stipulates that all pools must be registered with local councils. To ensure compliance with the regulations, a licensed private certifier will need to check the following:

• Basic safety requirements are that pool fences are 1.2m high, with no gaps of more than 100mm (so kids can’t squeeze through).

• All horizontal pales must be at least 900mm apart (to stop kids from climbing).

• Latches must be 1.5m above ground (to keep kids’ hands out of reach).

• Boundary fences must be 1.8m high (so neighbouring kids can’t climb over).

• No climbable objects (pot plants etc.) should be near the fence.

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