Jimmy Giggle star’s backyard transformation

He’s beloved by children across the country for his bright and cheery performances as Jimmy Giggle, and he’s gathering a legion of older fans thanks to his hilarious skits on Instagram. But at home, James Rees is just “dad” to three young boys, who are all thrilled with their parents’ decision to install a pool with Leisure Pools.

Jimmy Rees backyard before Leisure Pools transformation

James and his wife Tori moved back to the Mornington Peninsula from their Central Coast home base in late 2019, and when they bought their home, one of the key selling points was the fact that it had enough space to add a pool.

“We looked out into our backyard and we thought a pool could go right in the middle of everything. But there was also a side area with rocks, paving and garden beds for days that we didn’t use it at all,” James says.

“We began thinking: could a pool go there to really make the best use of that space?” 

With three young boys – Lenny is six, and twins Mack and Vinny are 2 – James and Tori recognised the value in keeping as much of the grassed yard free as possible, so the boys could run around, kick a ball and enjoy the garden.

So the goal was set: try to find a pool company that can install a pool off to the side, maximising the use and amenities in their backyard. After looking at a few different companies and options, James and Tori were leaning towards a fibreglass pool.

“It seemed like it would be the best, most cost-effective way forward. It meant we could choose from all sorts of different colours and sizes, and we could customise it to fit it into this little area that we had to work with,” James explains.

Jimmy Rees family portrait
Leisure Pools' Reflection Being Delivered

“We quickly found Leisure Pools and we thought: these pools look really great and they have lots of different options. From the outset, it looked like a company that was a quality product and very professional. It was a one-stop-shop, which was handy as well, because we didn’t quite know what we were doing!”

After speaking to the team at Leisure Pools on the phone, it was “really easy to get the ball rolling on our little dream of adding a pool”, James says.

“We could have easily got hamstrung by the things that we didn’t know. But going through Leisure Pools, [any issues] were mitigated really early on with their guidance,” Rees says.

“Because we knew we needed to clear the site, and we knew we needed to get the retaining wall, we had a budget set out for these things from the word go – they were ‘surprise’ costs along the way. We got the advice, got the quote, and Leisure Pools hooked us up with some contractors for tiling and extra things.”

James and Tori were teamed up with a local pool builder, Rob, from Leisure Pools Melbourne South East who sent them some photos of recent pools of different sizes, styles and finishes, which helped them to choose the ideal pool shell.

Original view from the deck

“You could see this side area from the kitchen and from the deck, so by putting the pool there, it becomes a feature of the house rather than just a utility that we use when it’s hot,” he explains.

“But the one thing we weren’t quite sure of was, there were these big boulders creating a retaining wall. We thought: how would a pool fit? We thought it would be a dream to go there if it could, and when the builder Rob turned up, he was fantastic. He basically said: just get your tape measure out and if we can make it work, we will!”

Jimmy Rees children getting ready for their pool

Another aspect that surprised James was the timeline in which the project kicked off. Being based in the Mornington Peninsula, the installation of their pool happened during the first Victorian lockdown.

“Rob was under the pump due to lockdowns; at one point, there was a stretch of six weeks of not being able to install any pools,” James says.

“But by November, the floodgates were open, and after that we expected big delays. I was really surprised that once we got the go-ahead, things moved really fast. The pool shell arrived Friday, and was installed Tuesday – it was that quick. It all happened in four days, it was absolutely nuts!”

Liaising with Rob gave them the confidence to explore different options, materials and finishes before settling on their final choice, James added.

“He was really forthcoming with what looks good, what might suit our home and what the most suitable finishes were. Initially, we were thinking of concrete surrounds, but in the end it didn’t quite go with our house, so we went with the travertine tile style instead. We’d never done anything like this before, so it was great to have Rob’s insights and advice.”

As it turned out, there was an abundance of space and the Rees family got a pool that was a little bigger than they first expected. This is not just great news for the family, James says, but also for their neighbours.

“Over the summer, our kids were in the pool all day, every day, and all of our friends were around here every single afternoon. It’s just been such a great thing to have the enjoyment we’ll get out of it, now and for years and years to come,” James says.

Fibreglass pool in the ground

They’ve become so popular, they’ve even “started up a lost property box,” James adds. “So far we’re up to 11 pairs of goggles!”

Leisure Pools' Reflection Front Shot
Leisure Pools' Reflection Side Shot