Is it just us, or are we experiencing more summer heat than we used to?
Summers in New Hampshire have always had their fair share of hot days and heatwaves, but there seems to be an uptick.
We’ve noticed that it’s influencing what many people want to see in their backyard.
Here at Stone Blossom, our team is experiencing a rise in the number of swimming pools that are a part of our landscape designs. When you consider hotter days and other circumstances that could continue to have us spending more time at home, it makes sense.
However, we have noticed a pitfall for many homeowners within this growing trend.
And it can be a costly mistake.
The mistake we have seen homeowners make is starting with a singular focus on the pool, in other words, a “pool first” approach.
And we get it. Pools are usually the centerpiece of a landscape (and awesome to think about). We also understand how things generally unfold once you’ve got your mind made up on a pool.
Once the desire for a pool grows strong enough, the first step you might take is searching online for a pool contractor. It feels like a logical starting place, and the search can lead to some competent pool construction companies.
But the pitfall can happen if you don’t first consider how an element like a pool best fits your overall property, its existing conditions, and your future plans. Without this consideration, the outcome of a pool installation is in jeopardy of being sub-par or even problematic, especially if a new swimming pool isn’t the only thing being added, which is usually the case.
Hence, any significant addition to a landscape should be part of a landscape design, especially a pool.
Beginning the process of making substantial changes or additions to the landscape without a comprehensive plan can be costly and inefficient on several levels.
Firstly, starting with a focus on one element independently (like a pool) often results in an improper sequence due to a lack of broader planning. Another unintended consequence of taking a “pool first” approach is that it can force the homeowner to act as an intermediary or general contractor of sorts between trades for all that happens after the pool installation. Unfortunately, this has not always lead to the best results. But here is what may not be apparent to anyone who hasn’t tackled a significant residential landscape project; a plan developed by a qualified landscape design professional is the organizing element for everything under consideration in the landscape. It guides choices and sequence of construction, which is the purpose of a landscape design process.
Landscape design considers how everything existing or proposed will optimally connect and harmonize as part of a more extensive landscape system. And there are usually multiple options. The options can be aesthetic, functional, or arrived at based on stormwater management or other required engineering solutions.
Decisions like this speak to the quality and sustainability of every landscape project of any significance. And adding a pool is significant.
Here are some of the considerations when you are thinking about adding a pool:
- Where will the pool receive the best sun exposure?
- What are the opportunities to connect the pool to the house and adjacent entertaining areas like a patio, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen?
- How big should the surrounding deck be based on how we intend to use it?
- What are options for storage and optimal accessibility for family members or users of the pool of various ages?
- What opportunities for trees, shrubs, and perennials will exist based on the pool shape and deck layout?
- How can a fence required by code be aesthetically blended into the landscape so it is not so prominent?
- What does adding a shade structure or changing room mean to the property’s permeable and impermeable surfaces?
- How can the pool be located or combined with other elements to maximize privacy?
- What opportunities or limitations do existing structures and the current terrain of the property present?
- How would building a pool now impact construction on future planned projects?
As you can see, the size of a pool, its shape, and location are decisions that should not be considered independently. Yet this often happens.
Regrettably, we occasionally run into circumstances where we are called into a project late. By that, we mean some crucial decisions have happened out of sequence. A pool may have already been installed, some valuable trees may have been needlessly cut down, and maybe even an additional structure like a pool house or home addition is underway. In these circumstances where more landscape elements are desired or needed, the landscape design process is often restricted to considering limited, less ideal solutions.
If you are thinking about installing a pool or know anyone who is, the best advice we can give is not to create a situation that generates limited and less ideal solutions.
In doing so, you will be making decisions that encompass the larger picture and not just one element. That results in a better return on your swimming pool investment. You’ll not only end up with an outdoor space that will function better and be more sustainable, but you will ultimately own a pool that you will actually enjoy more.
We’ve built our reputation on excellent communication, high-level design, efficient project management, exceptional horticultural knowledge, and exquisite craftsmanship.
Contact us first to get the best return for every dollar you invest in your landscape.