No matter what you’re planning, from a wedding to a pool installation, you can take control so you may enjoy the process as well as the end result. The more organized you are, the less stressed you’ll be. You can’t control the cost of flowers or the fact that a Bobcat excavator is digging a huge hole in your yard, but you can take deep breaths… and be prepared.
Organize your contact info and contract copies in one place; whether you scan them and use a project app, an Excel spreadsheet, or keep everything in a binder. Maintaining correspondence via email or text will go far as to having a record of conversations in the event of a misunderstanding.
Overall, get everything in writing. Not to say you need to be concerned about getting ripped off, but when the terms of any agreement and plan are documented, you can move more efficiently from phase to phase with everyone (literally) on the same page.
Location, Location, Location
This is considered the number one rule in real estate, but it’s also true of backyard pools. It doesn’t matter the size of the pool or its amenities, you first need to consider the potential size, depth, position, and location of the pool in your yard. You want to figure the sun exposure and how much room is left for future building like perhaps an outdoor shower or changing cabana.
You will want to consult with your pool contractor on this. Before you do, sketch out your space and come up with your wish list of what your yard will look like when it’s completely done. Then you’ll have a decent idea of the ideal spot. Some people like to use graph paper and proportionally sized cutouts so they can move objects around. It’s a nice way to gain perspective by seeing options you may not have considered.
Who and What?
So, you’ve identified the ideal spot. Your contractor has helped determine that no plumbing or septic tanks are in the way and that you’re far enough from towering trees that could have rained leaves on your pool’s otherwise pristine surface. (Or maybe you need to trim some back or relocate them.)
Know too that there are all manner of pool shapes and sizes. Even if you don’t go with custom concrete, there are plenty of templates in the prefab, fiberglass genre that can accommodate unusually shaped yards. They are also a cost-effective solution.
House Beautiful offers what they call, “All the non-negotiable steps you’ll need to take to install a pool. From start to finish, the process can take up to six months — so plan accordingly.”
1) Assemble a team. You can’t install a pool on your own, so a team who can help you get the job done well is essential. Marmol Radziner, founder of the eponymous Los Angeles-based design-build firm, says, “You can either hire a pool contractor that can do the design and construction, or you can hire an architect that can help design and permit the pool and then hire a pool contractor to build the pool.”
2) Ask yourself what you’ll use the pool for. Is it for laps and exercise? Entertaining the kids and family? Increasing resale value? Just aesthetics? All of these things will dictate your pool design, so consider them before you first meet with your team.
3) Make sure you look over regional codes and restrictions. For example, in California, “You have to have your pool minimum 5 feet from your property lines,” says Feldman, while in other states (or even specific counties) the distance is further. So, there are a lot of things to really check before you set the pool’s location; and this is especially true for historic or flipped homes. It’ll all affect the final design: “A handful of inches or a foot makes a big difference.”
Regarding Item 3, this is where some DIY home improvers go astray when they build gazebos on easements. Although you won’t be DIY-ing your pool, knowing your spatial limitations will enable your expectations to be exceeded.
The Shape That Suits
Once you’ve identified the experts you need, your family’s needs as well as your county’s requirements, you’ll want to dive into the array of shapes. Check out this link for more information, but just some silhouettes to consider: circular pools, freeform pools, kidney pools, Roman & Grecian pools, Figure 8 pools, L-shaped pools, lap pools, oval pools, rectangular pools, or cocktail pools that are shallow, typically four feet all the way across, and built for relaxation.
Don’t forget those awe-inspiring infinity pools or even natural pools that blend rather seamlessly into your local ecosystem.
Any one of these profiles can be elevated when you add visually stunning elements like waterfalls, fire bowls, steps, baja (tanning) ledges, slides, and diving boards. Don’t forget the cozy sanctuary found in a bubbly spa! Or the addition of swim jets to facilitate those daily laps when you don’t have a lot of room.
You may find it a little dizzying but explore the internet for design ideas. You’ll know right away what you like and what you don’t. Split the page down the middle with wants on one side and needs on the left. You may see an extraordinary water feature that looks expensive, but there’s always the potential to get a version of that effect right outside your door! You never know until you ask.
Even though you have your wish list assembled but are not yet Bobcat-ready, interview contractors and get solid estimates. Each one will likely offer a fresh take to inspire you or will help you refine or toss out some of your ideas. It’s always great to ask your pool-loving friends who they hired. There’s nothing like a direct referral. Plus, you get to check out the contractor’s work by inviting yourself over to the neighbor’s… with towel and sunscreen in hand!
If you’re looking at financing this improvement, we are happy to provide a no obligation assessment of your spending power. We can help you feel comfortable in the budget space and confident in your decision to take that invigorating plunge.
Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves educating clients on the pool installation process. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.