New Year, New You(r Backyard)!
Happy New Year from Natural Stone Pools! We hope that 2017 is off to a great start for all of you!
You know, a popular phrase every New Year's is "New Year, New You". It's usually meant to invoke feelings of change and motivation to turn over a new leaf, one that quite typically manifests in visions of a slimmer figure and ambitious plans for daily trips to the gym. Well, almost daily. Okay, maybe every few days. Or once per week. Whatever, isn't thinking about going to the gym as good as actually going?
Let's Start Planning Ahead
One resolution that you can keep is to upgrade your backyard for 2017. I mean, really, plain grass and a swing set is so 2016. Doesn't your family deserve more this year? If your thinking along those lines, we need to talk. Pools don't just appear overnight. It's takes months to plan, design, and build a quality pool. That's why getting ahead of the game is so important.
Why? Well, let's examine the various stages of building a pool.
Phase 1- Finding the Right Builder
This may sound a bit tongue-in-cheek coming from a pool builder, but truly there is no more important step in building a pool than finding a quality, reputable builder. Pools are an expensive addition to your home, and there are lots of people willing to take that money...but how do you know that you're getting what you pay for?
Start with doing some research. Does the builder you're looking at have a Better Business Bureau rating? What do their online reviews look like? Don't just look at Yelp- check out Google, Facebook, Angie's List, Houzz, etc. These days, almost every platform offers some sort of review option, so do your homework. Do you know any of their clients? Perhaps they're your neighbors, coworkers, or fellow PTA members...talk to them and hear firsthand what their experiences were like. Again, when you're looking at dropping $50-100K, make sure that the company you're giving that money to deserves it.
Phase 2- Designing the Perfect Pool for You
This is where you decide, with the help of your builder what kind of pool you want. Your builder can help with suggestions, but you want to come in strong and let them know exactly what you need to get out of a residential pool. How can you do this?
Again, do your research. Go to sites like Houzz, Pinterest, even Google, and check out different styles that appeal to you. Do you have your heart set on a play pool, a diving pool, or do you want something simple for swimming lap? Do you want a big, elaborate waterfall for a backdrop, or perhaps you like the Greco/Roman style architecture with straight lines and simple, elegant stonework? What about a waterslide for the kids? There are many options, and if you're building from scratch, there's no limit to your imagination!
Once you know what size, style, and design theme you want, communicate with your builder and show them these examples. They will be able to take your ideas and translate them into a detailed proposal that hopefully captures exactly what you want. Or, if you're unsure of what you want, let their design team wow you with their imagination. Sometimes, certain homes and yards scream out exactly what kind of pool should go there, and more often than not, your builder will have a few ideas of their own.
Phase 3- Getting on the Schedule and Starting the Dig
This is possibly the second the most important part of building a pool, because if you want to be swimming by the summer, you need to be building by the spring. While it's only January, many builders are already full up until June. It can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to build a proper pool, and that's dependent on a lot of factors- availability of contractors and supplies, cooperation of the weather, acquisition of permits, soil quality and utility line placement, etc. Even if everything is going smoothly and you've got all your ducks in a row, a big winter storm can push construction back for weeks, so it's best to get started as early as possible.
Additionally, once your pool is built, you will still have a few chores to perform before you can fill it and dive in (more on that later). The bottom line is, building a pool is a heck of a lot more than just digging a hole and filling it with water, so the earlier we get started, the better. No one wants to build a pool in August so that it's ready in time for Halloween!
Phase 4- You're Living in a Construction Zone
Yes, for the greater majority of this time, your backyard is going to be a construction zone. That means that some fence might have to come down (don't worry, we'll put it back!) to allow access for backhoes, small cranes to lift larger boulders (if you're building a waterfall), dump trucks to haul away all the dirt and debris, and so on. There will likely be debris and construction materials in the yard, so watch your step. And of course there will be a giant hole you'll have to avoid. Basically, your backyard is going to be a bit treacherous, so don't plan on taking your Easter photos out there.
This will, of course, be a temporary inconvenience for a greater, long-lasting pleasure. In the meantime, be patient with your builder as they are cutting stone, mixing concrete, and installing rebar. And again, watch your step!
Phase 5- Final Touches Before the Big Reveal
As we mentioned earlier, once your pool is built, there will still be a few things that we need to do before you can jump in. For a start, you don't want to spend a ton of money on a beautiful, custom pool without adding some gorgeous landscaping to go with it! That's like buying a wedding dress and then forgetting to get jewelry to compliment it. If your builder is anything like us, they will help you pick out the perfect landscape design to compliment your pool. Chlorine resistant plants, ground cover, flowering shrubs- all of these will help make your pool POP! We are huge fans of native plants, because they are low maintenance and they won't require too much watering, which will save you money in the long run.
Secondly, you need to brush your plaster daily (your builder can tell you for how long) so that it cures properly. Ask your builder, but in many cases you will need to hose down your decking as well. You will also need to treat your pool and check that the equipment is working properly. This may or may not be done by your builder, and should definitely be discussed during the final days of construction.
Phase 6- Enjoying Your Brand New Pool
Now that everything is done, all you have to do is enjoy your pool and take good care of it! Remember, you've added a pretty big investment to your property, so let's treat it that way. Hire a good and reputable maintenance service to clean, balance, and care for your pool and its equipment. Just like when you're looking for a builder, do your research to make sure you're hiring the right people to care for your investment. If you're struggling, give us a call and we can try to help.
If you're planning on doing the pool maintenance yourself, you'll want to make sure you follow the correct procedure for caring for either a traditional chlorine pool or a saltwater pool. Swim University is a great resource that offers several free, downloadable guides to help you through the (hopefully not so) muddy waters of pool maintenance. Just be very sure that you are diligent in caring for your pool. Set reminders, mark your calendars, whatever you have to do to remember to check your pool and clean out the debris.
Now you know what you have to do, so stop dragging your feet and let's get going. Give us a call, and we'll get you on the schedule.