Setting up a garden padding pool – essential hints and tips

Paddling pools are the number one summer garden accessory. When you think about how many hours the kids spend jumping in and out of the water they’re fabulous value for money. My advice having had many different types of pool over the years is to go for a simple shape rather than one with all sorts of different inflatable options, because they’re more robust in the long term. Go for a pool which is big enough for the grown ups to enjoy too.

Use matting

First things first choose the space where you’re going to put up the pool. If you only have grass that’s okay, but I prefer to use my patio, so that (after mowing it) the lawn doesn’t get flooded. When we have spells of warm weather I like to leave the pool up so this can create patches on the lawn too. So predicting that Arlo would jump in to the pool immediately I got these mats to act as a soft barrier between him and the floor. It also protects the base of the pool from tears. These mats were £14.99 from Halfords.

Fill her up

We have an outdoor tap which is where we connect the hose. The water is ice cold and so when it’s looking like a spell of warm water is coming and its a pool putting up day this is done first thing in the morning. We have an attachment on the hose that you can clip to leave it running, but getting Arlo involved is just as fun. This pool took about an hour to fill up.

Warming the water

This is a tough one, naturally as the day progresses the water does warm up slightly. At first we tentatively dip our toes in to test the water and the chill takes your breath away and makes you think twice about splashing in. By the time the sun is highest in the sky however, that’s the exact feeling you want and theres no hesitation. I did try the binbag hack. Laying out black bags in the pool in the morning meant that the water did warm up as the sun shone down, only by a few degrees but it was noticeable. Boiling a kettle and mixing it in just doesn’t work for us. I’ve also seen hacks to use the kitchen mixer taps and putting warm water through the hose.

Time to Splash

Then it’s time to splash. I let Arlo invent the play – he was racing end to end and diving in and all sorts. I have some balls and other bits and bobs he can use in the pool and he also went and found some plastic water animals at one point. In the past he’s had a slide propped up over the edge of the pool too. I keep a towel hanging on the washing line for him to grab hold of and always put it back up there to dry out.

At the end of the day

I have used a bed sheet to cover the pool over night to reuse the water the next day. Before I do this we dip the watering can in the water and use it around the garden to water the plant pots and hanging baskets. This is a fab evening job for Arlo to do, and we top up the pool from the hose the next day. Water tends to last a good few days before it gets too grubby, because we reuse the water I don’t like to add any chemicals. I send Arlo out with his bug net to pick out any leaves and bits which are in the water.

Once we are done with the pool I empty it out completely and give it a good wipe over, hang it on the line to dry out and deflate it all before folding and storing inside binliners in the shed, ready for the next spell of warm weather.

Bestway pool available from Very at £34.99 – gifted for the purposes of a previous review.

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