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Pool Site Design Considerations:




Are you considering the purchase of an in gorund pool? If so, it is time to get excited. To me the planning phase of a pool project is the most exciting. There are a ton of factors to go over at this point and it may seem a bit overwhelming, but, Pool Pros has put toghether this article to help you factor in all the varying considerations that come with designing your new fiberglass pool.


UNIQUENESS

Each and every home, landscape and client is unique in their own distinctive preferences....so, ultimately- a tailored approach with a professional pool design consultant is the ideal option for any final proposal. However, the following review will help parse through some of the most important topics- so that you can

make informed decisions about the general design and planning for your upcoming pool project...


WILL A POOL FIT?

This is the first and most important question to ask. IF you dont have room for a pool theres no sense in moving on to the next step so lets get thsi out of the way. To answer this question will a pool fit in my backyard, Pool Pros recomends you start by calling Diggers Hotline to have all buried utilites in your yard located. Next, make a phone call to your local municipality to see what the "setbacks" or in your town. Once the lines have been marked and you know the setbacks from your town, you can now take a tape meause and measure out the open space you have in the back yard. The smallest pool on average is 10'x20 and our largest is 16 x 40 with an array of pool sizes in between. So if you have an open area in your yard that will allow for a pool in those size ranges your are in business!


WHAT SIZE & STYLE POOL DO I WANT?

After you have concluded you have enough space for a pool the next consideration is what size of pool is best for my family? This is naturally the first question to answer regarding your future pool project. Ultimately, which size & style of pool you choose will directly impact its relative use as well as the surrounding landscape space.


Understanding how your family will use the pool will help guide your final decision in selecting

the pool that is right for you. Before beginning research or contacting a local pool contractor,

consider the following:


What type of activities or programs are most important to you? This could be maximizing open

play space, lap swimming or more passive leisure and lounging poolside. By listing out and

ranking all of the intended programs or uses for your future pool, you can begin to chart a

suitable match. Maybe the best fit is a large pool for swimming laps? A pool with a tanning

ledge to maximize lounging and social interaction? Or a deep end pool for diving?


In order to find the ideal ‘pool match’ - you have to consider how many people will typically be

using the pool. It may be solely for a small family’s backyard retreat... or possibly a group of

extended family and friends for larger parties. Having a general target for the number of users

that will be enjoying the pool will go a long way in finding that perfect ‘pool match’ for your

family. With this information in mind, a pool consultant can help guide your final decision

regarding necessary size.


Everyone has a different preference for style. Be sure to consider the form of the actual pool

within this decision-making process. You may want to choose a more modern look to reflect the

contemporary style of your home’s architecture? Therefore, a rectilinear or classic pool form

may be the best fit for you. Or you may be more drawn to a curvilinear or bio-morphic shape

that draws from elements within your existing landscape. Understanding your personal

style/preferences will help not only in selecting a pool size/form– but also how supporting

landscape features can seamlessly tie everything together.


There are no wrong answers here! But each client will have different preferences and uses

relative to these considerations. For this reason, it is important to take time with your family to

list out all of the features that are most important to you. This information will be integral in

guiding design and budgetary choices moving forward. The final goal is to create a custom

poolscape that is perfect for your family – and with these simple guidelines in mind- you are

already one step closer to making that dream a reality! The more of this information that you

can provide on your initial pool planning/sales consultation – the faster your pool contractor can

tailor a proposal and design that is right for you.


WHERE SHOULD I PLACE MY POOL?

Over recent years, many homeowners have placed an emphasis on creating outdoor living space

as an extension to their homes. Creating a functional landscape space tailored to the user has

many benefits. More space for the family, opportunity for social gatherings and providing a

connection to the outdoors/un-plugging from devices are just a few of these benefits.


Once you have decided the shape and form of a pool that is right for you – you may be asking

yourself, “Where is the best place to actually put the pool?”....How can it fit seamlessly into my

landscape and become an extension of my home?” Below are a few considerations to help guide

the placement of your pool:


LOCAL ORDINANCES & SETBACKS

Let’s start with the least fun parameters and get those out of the way! Rules and regulations!!

Although they aren’t particularly fun- these setback requirements are very important to fully

understand before moving any further with the planning and design phases of the pool project.

Every city or village has different setback regulations (primarily regarding existing/proposed

structures and property boundaries).


Typically, pools must be placed at least ten feet from structures and property limits; however,

this may vary slightly based on your locale. Contact your local zoning department and staff

should be able to tell you the specific conditions required – as they relate to your project. In

certain instances, you may be able to apply for a variance (but this may come with an additional

cost to the client as well as extra time in applying for the correct permitting).

Finally, a site locate for existing utilities is an important early step in picking the best location for

your future pool. Re-locating utilities is a costly endeavor that can cause headaches and crunch

the project budget quickly. So, the sooner you can uncover any possible site constraints, the

faster you can design your ideal poolscape.


CIRCULATION

For this type of circulation we are actually talking about the flow of people throughout the pool area and not literally the pools circulation system.

Understanding how people move through space is a core tenet in creating successful outdoor entertainment areas. Where are people coming from and going to (whether those be indoors or

outdoors)? What are existing circulation patterns on site (primary or secondary)? Can these

routes be improved....or do they need to be completely changed? Are there any obstacles

hindering movement to and from these areas?


Which areas should circulation be controlled

(possibly to improve privacy in specific zones)?

The better you can understand on-site circulation, the more informed you become with respect

to opportunities in site design. For example, two of the most important considerations in

planning a poolscape relate back to the house. Primarily, the kitchen and bathrooms.

More often than not, pool parties and cookouts seem to go hand-in-hand. And for this reason, it

is important to keep the ‘pool-side cook’ happy! Practical circulation between house and the

grill space/outdoor kitchen is a must (especially with a tray full of burgers, brats and kabobs)!

Bathroom connections are just as important. Whether your guests will be using the indoor

facilities of your home or those located in a pool house – it makes no difference. Circulation

from pool to bathroom and back and forth will undoubtedly be a main traffic thoroughfare, so

ultimately – the pool and hardscape layout should reflect these tendencies.

Your pool/landscape designer will be able to fully articulate these details by incorporating

necessary walkways and line of sight within the final plan. However, the more detailed

information you can provide the designer regarding such access points and preferences – the

more refined and practical your final layout will become.



SUPPORTING ELEMENTS

The pool may be the main attraction of your backyard, but supporting components and spaces

can take your poolscape to the next level of enjoyment. Whether that be an outdoor kitchen,

patio space, fire elements, landscape beds, privacy screens, pergola, hot tub or pool house – it is

important to consider how designated areas of use and/or elements can reinforce outdoor

entertainment areas and the poolscape at large.

As previously discussed, this all depends on program – that is, how you intend to use the space?

Each client and homeowner will come with a unique set of preferences and that is what is so

exciting about landscape design! It is all about shaping space to create the perfect outdoor

environment for you, your extended family and guests.


CHECK LIST

So, the first step is to consider what uses or programs are most important to you and generate a

list of priorities. From there, a landscape designer can assist in designating which type of

installations can best fulfill these programmatic site needs. However, in some cases the client is

wish-list may outweigh their current budgetary limitations. Nevertheless, this is still an

important exercise to carry out as it may present opportunities in the future. With a sound

landscape design in place, these components can be seamlessly added to the space as a future

project phase.


EYES ON THE PRIZE

Last but certainly not least is pool safety. For any potential pool owner with children, visual

access to the pool is a very important consideration. Simply stated, the closer any pool is placed

to the household – the easier it is to keep an eye on the kiddos. Maintaining line of sight, adult

supervision is the most effective measure in pool safety for young children. Even with added

safety measures such as automatic pool covers, fences, flotation devices, etc.... adult

supervision is by far and away the most practical means of maintaining a safe pool environment

for kids. Proximity to the pool edge helps to minimize any potential blind spots and keep

everyone safe.


Pool Coping

FINISH MATERIALS

Choosing materials can be one of the most fun facets of design.....it can also be the most

overwhelming. There are a myriad number of possible material choices to consider. Fiberglass,

or concrete or vinyl liner pools? Concrete, stampcrete or paver pool decks....or a combination thereof? Perennials, annuals, shrubs, grasses or trees to round out those planting beds? Firepit, fireplace or firetable? Ramada, gazebo or pergola? The lists go on and on...


Each option includes a relative set of pros and cons. Don’t ever let a designer or salesperson tell

you that they have the ‘silver-sales-bullet. That is purely and simply a sales gimmick. There is

no single product or material that is best for all situations and places. Different materials can

provide valid applications (within a given set of circumstances, if installed properly). The trick is

to make sure that the chosen material fits your needs/budget, is applicable to your local

environmental conditions and is built with integrity.


PINTEREST

My suggestion is to first do your own research on material options. The internet is a great

resource for material specifications, general cost, pictures of past projects and product

reviews....there is clearly NO shortage of opinions on the interweb. Pinterest is a great place for finding inspirational images of completed pool projects. Use that to your advantage! Check out our Pinterest page here: POOL PROS ON PINTEREST


Next, don’t be afraid to ask a local expert (such as a designer, salesperson or installer that has

experience in the field of interest). However, keep in mind that the advice that you receive may

be biased, so seek second or third opinions, if necessary. The more educated that you become

on any given subject matter, the more prepared you will be in future sales or design

consultations. Know your options and take your time.



WHERE SHOULD THE POOL EQUIPMENT PAD GO?

All pool installations will require a space to house the necessary equipment so that your pool

can function properly. Typically, this includes a pool pump, filter and heater that can be set on a

concrete pad – usually measuring approximately 4’ x 8.’ In order to run at maximum efficiency,

this equipment should be placed relatively close to the pool and generally at the same level of

the pool elevation. If the equipment is placed further away from the pool or at a drastically

different elevation it will cause issues with the circulation and lower efficiency with respect to

energy consumption of the pool equipment. In addition, there are often setback regulations for

equipment placed near windows/doors of the residence (per local ordinance).

These parameters can cause some site design constraints, especially relating to aesthetics.

However, there are many different screening options to consider. Generally speaking, most

pool equipment measures within three to four feet in total height. Therefore, plantings such as

decorative grasses can be used to help create a visual buffer. Plantings like decorative grasses

and perennials are effective because they offer an inexpensive yet attractive solution. Other

alternatives may include hardscape seating walls or small fence installations (keeping in mind

that you should provide some access point via gate or pathway through landscape beds for pool

maintenance).


WHAT ABOUT FINAL POOL ELEVATIONS

Naturally occurring bodies of water, like ponds and lakes are low lying depressions in the

landscape that collect water. But this is not the case for pools. Pools are man-made....and for

maintenance purposes, we want to control everything that comes into or goes out of a pool.

For this reason, it is important to set the finished pool elevation slightly above that of the

surrounding landscape. Therefore, it is much easier to control stormwater flow of the

immediate surroundings. If stormwater was allowed to freely flow into a pool, then this could

adversely affect the pool water’s chemistry. By setting the pool elevation slightly above the

surrounding landscape, it is then possible to direct rain water away from the pool. This can be

further improved by means of pitching the pool deck away, installing slot drains/drainage

systems (if necessary) and site grading to ensure proper surficial drainage throughout the

project site.


MORAL OF THE STORY

Creating a true quality poolscape requires someone dedicated to the craft of design and architecture. To get the most out of your pool project we recomend using a pool contractor that has an experienced in

house landscape architect to help you get the most out of pool and hardscape. If your contractor does not offer design service or have an in house pool designer or landscape architect it may be time to start looking for another pool contractor.



SHAMELESS CALL TO ACTION!

Pool Pros in house landscape architect is here and ready to help you develop a comprehensive pool and landscape layout that is perfectly tailored to your needs! For more information and design tips for your upcoming pool project call Pool Pros today @ 920-771-0107. When Quality Counts, Count on Pool Pros.



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  • This website contains an abundance of information that has been created over the last decade or more. Some of the content on this site may reflect prices, perspectives, processes, entities, and names that were relevant at the time but may not be as relevant today. Consumers should consult a Pool Pros associate for the most accurate and updated information based on the unique conditions of their property. Consumers should verify specifications with the installing Pool Pros rather than relying on the information on this website, which is not intended to be a final specification.

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