|Personalize Your Pool!
Explore new trends in pools designs to get the backyard experience that you've been waiting for!
Many backyard pools are beginning to emulate the designs and features found at five-star resorts. In searching for your ideal pool, your limitations will not be in the options available to you, but in the price you’re willing to pay. That’s why one of the first things your pool contractor will determine is your budget. This will set the stage for all things related to your backyard makeover.
So just how elaborate are homeowners getting?Jack Manilla, owner of Portofino Pools, who is also a member of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, points out that the big draw is still on water features: whether tumbling waterfalls, vanishing edges or spas overflowing into the pool. “People like both the visual effects and the sound of water,” says Manilla.
For children’s safety and adult convenience, Dan Dougherty, owner of Sandpiper Pools, is a fan of benches and ledges. “Not everybody wants to be swimming or treading water, so I try to incorporate benches or baja shelves into most of our pool designs.” This is particularly important with pools that have deep ends.
Another fun feature that takes the kids into consideration is jumping rocks. “If you have a jumping rock, not only are the kids going to have fun, but the pool is also going to be more attractive,” says Dougherty. To round out the rocky look, Dougherty will usually tie in other rock features such as a waterfall, an artificial rock slide or a grotto.
While grottos add a pretty penny to the pool budget, they also give the pool an entirely new dimension. Akin to a rock cave, grottos are usually tucked into one corner of the pool with a waterfall cascading over the top to separate the grotto from the rest of the world. And if you really want to get creative, you could install a spa or a bar within the grotto.
Of course, a pool design wouldn’t be complete without a touch of ambiance, especially in the evening. Evening effects are being achieved with both firepits and creative lighting. On the increasing use of fire, Manilla says, “The contrast of fire and water has a soothing effect.” Adding to the mood are both pool and architectural lighting. Dougherty points out that lighting options are an inexpensive way to add some flash to the pool design.
Because San Diego residents live in such a temperate climate, it’s only natural that outdoor entertainment areas are also becoming the norm. “Built-in BBQs, cabanas, outdoor kitchen areas and outdoor living rooms have all become very popular over the last several years,” says Dougherty.
Although bringing the kitchen and living room to the outdoors might exceed your price point, Manilla says there are alternatives. One option is to design the pool in phases: you can get the pool done now, but plan on incorporating the kitchen area later on. “Sometimes we build a stucco wall and a tile or granite countertop,” says Manilla, “and then make a place where customers can roll in a gas or charcoal grill.”
Gregory Gray, owner of Pool 1 Pools, says that a real value-add in today’s marketplace is new 3D technology that contractors have recently adopted. “Our computer-aided design technology allows us to bring your backyard to life before the dig even begins.” In other words, for those who aren’t familiar with 3D plans, you can get a clear visual of not only what your pool is going to look like, but how it’s going to mesh with the surrounding elements. Consumers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from such a convenience. Gray says that after drawing the initial pool design, he inevitably makes changes—a somewhat time-consuming process when drawing by hand. “But now I can change a radius, a corner, or a spa in a matter of minutes,” he says.
Changes, in fact, are one aspect of the pool building process that Gray encourages. “As the contractor, we want to make sure you’re getting the end-product you’ve envisioned,” he notes. “So if you see something you want changed, communicate that as soon as possible.” After all, this is your dream pool and you don’t want to leave any water or rock feature unturned.