When the temperatures are in the late 20s and it's holiday time, it's not difficult to think of a dozen or so reasons why you should — must — have a swimming pool.
There are, of course, just as many reasons why you should not have a pool, and it pays to consider them before you lash out tens of thousands of dollars on the ultimate backyard luxury.
But let's start with the good stuff.
A pool can provide hours of fun for you, your kids, their kids and your neighbours' kids, from splashing, jumping and playing ball games right through to actual swimming. When you're exhausted, you can opt out and lie on the edge with a book and a glass of something cold.
You can make your pool the focus of your outdoor living area. Factor in sitting space, a dining setting, cooking facilities and a bar and you'll never need to move, as long as someone else is manning the barbecue.
Nobody in their right mind wants to go jogging when it's over 25 degrees, but if you have a pool you can maintain your exercise regime in relative comfort. For those who don't have space for a lap pool, you can buy an 'endless pool' that provides a current for you to swim against.
If you prefer the quiet life, a few laps in your deserted pool in the early morning can set you up for the day, and the same after work will wash away your stress.
To justify the many thousands of dollars you might spend on a hole in the ground filled with water, just say: 'resale value'. It's not always true, but it can be. A well-designed pool with upmarket landscaping can be a very smart addition to your home and while it may not increase the value, it could encourages a potential buyer to say 'yes' so you can move on to a place with a bigger pool.
If you've never had a pool, you'll probably roll your eyes at those who do have one and complain endlessly about how much work it is. They will tell you that aside from tidying up after all those neighbourhood kids (and your own friends), you will be adding numerous tasks and expenses to your household.
You will have to undertake regular pool maintenance including keeping the chemical balance right, cleaning the filter, maintaining the pump, dredging out fallen vegetation, and/or setting up the pool vacuum system. If you don't take care of your pool, you can face health and safety issues.
The costs associated with maintenance could be as low as $10 a week, or $100 or more if you plan to pay someone else to do it. Heating the pool, especially if you are using electricity or gas, will also come at a cost.
There are further costs related to long-term maintenance. Some pools require occasional chemical cleans, and after a few years may need to be drained and refilled.
You will have to make sure your pool is safe for anyone using it, or even just in the general vicinity. It's not only about proper fencing and child-proof gates, but also about adequate supervision at all times.
Once the decision to undertake all that hard work is made, choosing the type of pool is next on the list. It's easy to get caught up in how your pool is going to look, but a more practical consideration is how it's going to stay clean.
Fully chlorinated pools are at the cheaper end of the scale at the outset but they require maintenance and surveillance of the pH levels.
Salt water pools are increasingly popular because although they still need chlorine, the levels are much lower. The prices, however, are higher.
Ozone technology is another option. Ozone breaks down chlorine by-products (chloramines), and kills bacteria and viruses. It also balances the pH level of the water.
And for those who are committed to the most eco-friendly choice, there are natural pools.
They've been popular in Europe for many years and are starting to become more mainstream on this side of the world. Natural pools use plants and pebbles to create a fresh water environment.
Water is filtered as it passes through the plants' root systems and percolates through the stones. An outlet at the bottom of the stones connects to a pump cycles the now clean, hygienic water back into the swimming pool.
Traditional pools generally come in concrete, vinyl and fibreglass, and costs are affected by whether they are in-ground, or above-ground. Kitset vinyl liners can be found for around $7000, or $15,000 installed. Ballpark for inground fibreglass, concrete or vinyl liners is from $35,000 to $70,000-plus, and smaller plunge pools around $20,000.
And in line with the tiny house movement that uses shipping containers, you can have a shipping container pool for around $33,000. These costs are approximate only, and you'll need to factor in your filtration system, add-ons such as a vacuum system, and the surrounding landscaping.