Dreaming of a Backyard Oasis?
Before you begin the journey of making that dream a reality, there are many elements to consider that will ensure your end result achieves your vision. Ask yourself about functionality. Do you envision entertaining? Will it be a family play area? And remember, it’s not just a pool. It will add value to your house, so it should blend with the current environment of your home.
Interior to Exterior
Pool companies build pools. A designer considers the relation of interior to exterior. You don’t design a kitchen that doesn’t work with the dining room. It’s not good design for the interior. Why then would you do this on the outdoor design and build a pool that doesn’t work with the interior/exterior living space? For example, adding elements to your pool such as a waterfall, Jacuzzi, fire pit or basketball hoop will take up deck space. So if entertaining is a big part of how you will use the space, room for seating may become too limited.
There are several materials to consider before you build. Concrete (or gunite) provides the best longevity and design options, but budget limitations and where you live can also influence this decision. Fiberglass can be more budget friendly and it works well where the ground freezes. These molds are pre-fabricated and delivered to be installed. Vinyl is the most economical option, but runs the risk of slippage and has a much shorter lifespan.
My “go to” shape is rectangular because most homes are linear and it works with the interior to exterior flow. Rectangular pools make styling, placement and usability easier, and they are classic. This style is also more palatable long term if you will be marketing your home in the future. Kidney and oval shapes are not as versatile and offer less styling options. With a more linear design you can include features like a beach entrance, sitting area and/or sun shelves. This creates a more kid and dog friendly pool environment. Lap lanes are another feature that can be easily added in a rectangular pool design. And for a more European feel, you can add a Roman or Grecian shape with a circle at the top or the bottom or both.
There are endless options in decking materials! If you are going for a modern look, a cost conscious option is a concrete deck. I like adding a cantilever coping for a more dramatic touch. Cool decking or thin pavers are popular and trendy, but tend to date out. Marbles and travertines add an elegant touch, but can get too hot in full sun.
When selecting your decking, think about blending into your space, as well as the climate you live in. Italian grey porcelain may be ideal if you live in the mountains, but not so much for Florida sun. Texture is important as well. Will it get too slick? Or is it so gritty that it will snag your swimsuit?
A solid pour concrete is always a good choice, but if your budget allows adding a natural stone on a concrete base it will create more design options and will most likely outlast you.
You can still design a creative outdoor environment even if your space is limited. In smaller yards, consider creating a natural feel, perhaps with a fountain as the focal point, or a smaller pool with a natural deck. Consider the view as more of a feature to look out at. How does the pool line up visually? Can you see and enjoy it from the interior of the home? Beachy and grotto looks are trending now as well, but ask yourself if it works with the interior/exterior flow.
Style Your Pool
When in doubt, stick with neutral tiles and tones. Blues may not be as neutral, but they are classic in pool design. Keep in mind how you intend to use the space. If you plan to entertain, how many people would you comfortably want to host? If you are planning for larger groups, using one side of the pool for seating works better than placing a pool in the center of the deck area. Consider how many tables, chairs or chaise lounges would be necessary.
Kimmy’s Top Three Tips:
- Keep it simple. Think long, classic, beautiful space.
- Talk to a designer first. Choose a pool builder based on quality and choose a designer to create an outdoor living space.
- Don’t build too close to your house. Consider how you will use the space when deciding the placement of your pool.
I design to create a restful and peaceful space for each individual client. My eyes are like a camera that filters their needs and frames up a room like a photograph. In that snapshot I focus on the aspects and balance of a room.