Winter here, but almost over. Gray overcast days. Winds are blustering across the plains. The North Texas chill is in the air. It’s the perfect time to dream about summer and the perfect outdoor pool area.
Not only is this an excellent time for dreaming, but it’s the perfect time for planning. That way, when spring hits, you’ll be ready to update your existing pool area or break ground on a new one.
Don’t know where to start? No problem. We’ve got your back. Here are five steps to manifesting your perfect summer pool.
1. Dream big!
Let’s start by dreaming big. We’ll start with a few questions to get your imagination revved up, and you can go from there. Make sure that you have a pen and paper or a device ready for note-taking.
Note everything down quickly. Don’t let your mind censor you in this step. There will be time for whittling down when we get to the budget portion of the process.
The more notes you take or pictures you find to express your ideas, the easier it will be to communicate your desires to the experts who will help you create your new outdoor area.
Some questions to get you started:
- Who will be using the space?
- Adults, kids, older family members, friends, pets, air BnB guests?
- What kind of feel do you want the space to have?
- Do you want to walk out your back door and feel like you are at a luxury resort?
- Want it to feel like an at-home family water park complete with slides and a lazy river?
- Do you want the pool area to feel like it is part of the natural landscape?
- Is your lifestyle high end or more casual?
- Are you a minimalist who just needs a couple of chaise lounges and a place for your towels? Let your mind wander and dream big.
- Is there a theme you have been secretly dreaming of for your outdoor pool area?
Maybe you’re inspired by a sophisticated Moroccan theme. Or a Disney theme for you or the kids. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of having a 70’s-inspired tiki lounge or a sports bar in your backyard.
Or maybe you want to bring the relaxed feel of living by the seaside into your landscape design. If you’ve seen your dream manifested in a magazine or online, make sure to save it for future reference.
How do you want to use the space?
Don’t get stuck on how you want to use the pool alone. Take the big picture into consideration.
- Do you want to be able to cook and eat poolside?
- Have a swim-up bar?
- Lounge under the stars after a night swim?
- Will your pets need somewhere to play or relieve themselves away from the pool?
Is the pool the centerpiece of your yard space?
What shape is the pool? The days of the rectangle-shaped pool are gone. Don’t get us wrong if rectangles are your thing then go for a rectangular pool, but today’s market offers many shapes and constructions. You could go for curving figure-eights, geometric styles, multi-level constructions, or infinity pools.
2. Don’t skip the practical aspects.
Now that you’ve been able to dream on a grand scale, let’s look at the practical aspects of planning your perfect outdoor pool area. You’ve determined who will be using the pool. What will they specifically need to be able to enjoy the pool safely?
If you have kids or live in a neighborhood with kids, you will need to plan for their safety by installing a fence around the pool. You might also need to fence in the pool if you have pets depending on what kind they are and how they do in water (and whether or not you want them swimming in the pool with you).
You might consider a fountain play area for toddlers or other youngsters to play in when you don’t have the time or inclination to get into the pool with them.
If you have older family members or people who will be using the pool who have physical challenges, you need to consider how they will be getting into and out of the pool.
- Do you need to install a lift?
- Would a pool with a gently sloping “beach style” access area be more appropriate than a traditional step or ladder system?
Let’s Talk Specifics
Summer temperatures soar in the 100’s, sometimes for months here in Texas.
- Is there shade over the pool area or nearby?
- Will you need to build a pergola, install a shade sail, or plant trees to provide shade for you and your guests?
- Do you want to be able to swim in your pool during the winter months?
- What kind of privacy do you want to have around your pool?
3. Determine whether you are reclaiming an existing space or starting from scratch.
This decision will affect your budget— and your sanity. Sometimes a full overhaul isn’t necessarily needed.
Maybe you have a space you could touch up with a few new purchases that would satisfy your dream theme. Or you could make some upgrades to existing appliances or structures that will get you excited about your pre-existing pool area!
Not only will you get to use your pool more quickly, but you will save yourself potential stress and headaches and a whole lot of money.
If you are starting from scratch or if your pre-existing pool area is outdated, you have cracks or leaks in the pool or patios, or if other structures are rotting or falling, it’s time for more than a facelift.
You may also need help rehabbing the landscape since tearing out a pool, deck, and any surrounding concrete will require heavy equipment that will destroy some of your existing landscaping.
If you are concerned about your landscaping, work with a company that has experience preserving existing landscaping, and has your yard’s best interests at heart.
4. Now let’s get real with the budget.
For a full build-out or retrofit, you won’t be able to build a budget on your own unless you are an expert in pool building.
But before you take your idea to an expert, ask yourself this…how much money do I have to spend on this investment? And consider it an investment— it will not only increase the value of your home, but it will serve you and your family in ways that can’t be measured financially.
Set an Amount
If the sky’s the limit on how much you can spend, then you could literally skip this step and take your dream notes to a reputable landscape or pool-building company and get going. It’s always good to do your due diligence, though, so you decrease the risk of getting taken by a company that may see dollar signs floating around your head.
If you are like most of us, you have a set amount of money that you can spend. This amount is going to determine what you can actually do. It will force you to prioritize where the money is going to go. Look at your dream notes and make a list of the things that are most important to you.
When you work with the builder, they will help you understand how much things are going to cost and what kind of tradeoffs are involved in terms of getting what you want vs. what you want to spend.
A pool is going to be in your life for years to come, so don’t skimp on what you really want. Make sure that you can live with your compromises. It can be costly to try to retrofit a pool with new features, so include features that you really love in the initial construction, if possible.
Long-term Budget Considerations
We would be remiss if we didn’t include this section in our discussion. Aside from the build-out costs, you will also need to consider the long-term and maintenance costs of owning a pool.
- Will you be acting as “the pool guy” and cleaning your pool and balancing the water’s pH, or will you hire one?
- How much water will it take to keep the pool full?
- How much will accessories like pool covers, filters, and water treatments cost?
- Are there tools that you like enclosures, pool covers, pumps, and lighting timers that you could include from the beginning that would help save money over the long haul?
You will also need to take out an insurance policy that covers the pool.
5. Now it’s time to hire experts.
Now that you have thoroughly thought through your dream, know what you can afford, and have a better understanding of the practicalities, it’s time to find a pool builder or a landscaping company that specializes in pools. Finding a credible professional doesn’t have to be complicated.
Talk to your friends and neighbors who have pools. See who they would recommend– and who they would avoid. Read reviews on the Better Business Bureau website, Yelp, or Angie’s list. Don’t hesitate to interview multiple candidates and ask for samples of their work and business references.
- Check-in with yourself– is it easy to communicate with this person?
- Do you feel comfortable with them?
- Are any red flags popping up?
Ready to Get Started?
We can help! Our Complete Landscupture team loves making big dreams come true! Because we practice the complete approach, our team has everything you need to help you design and install your perfect outdoor pool area!