—How executing your entire backyard makeover as a single endeavor delivers greater value
If you are planning a new swimming pool along with other outdoor-living amenities, consider a strategy that optimizes style unity, smoother construction with better costs, and overall project cohesion—as well as some additional benefits.
That tactic is to plan and execute the entire design and construction in one fell swoop. Depending on the scope and complexity of your plan and your budget, this one-shot approach can be a very smart way to go.
Here’s why: Along with a new aquatic retreat, your dream backyard may contain additions such as decking and landscaping, a BBQ, a fire pit, fireplace, or outdoor kitchen.
Plans may include a shade structure like a gazebo, pergola, arbor, cabana, or pavilion. Larger, more elaborate projects could even encompass a pool house, mini putting green, free-standing fountain, or other outdoor feature.
And when it comes to creating a beautiful, highly functional outdoor living area, savvy homeowners understand that a major backyard upgrade is best treated as a single project.
Granted, this approach makes sense when you have the entire budget to invest at the time. Some homeowners are limited and may find it’s more financially feasible to build a pool and deck initially, and later, phase in the other features.
Financing the Dream: For some homeowners, re-making their entire outdoor space when the new pool goes in poses challenges with upfront costs. A home-improvement loan may provide a solution for paying for both a new pool and the other additions.
If you have a multifaceted backyard project and are prepared to fund your entire wish list all at once, here are some great reasons why doing so can reap long-lasting rewards.
1. More design harmony
Hands down, a master plan for a total outdoor makeover will achieve a more cohesive design aesthetic throughout your property.
From your swimming pool to the hardscape and any other features—the style theme will carry over. Various features will complement one another, and the final outcome will be greater than the mere sum of all the parts.
Many pool contractors employ seasoned designers who can develop an integrated, all-encompassing plan for your outdoor space and each of the new amenities.
For example, your pool designer can help you select one particular kind of stone—from the same quarry batch—to go on your pool’s perimeter coping, the façade on your island grill, and the step-stone path from your deck to the side yard.
Ditto for the tile. Your choice of tile for the pool can also be used for the countertop on an island grill or outdoor kitchen.
Consistent Materials: Because features in this backyard were built simultaneously, it was simple to use the same stone on the patio steps as what covers the exterior walls of the spa.
The outcome is a smarter, more coordinated appearance than if each feature was designed and built independently of one another.
In some cases, your pool contractor will also collaborate with other specialty contractors. Landscape artists, stone masons, and screenroom enclosure companies are among the kinds of professionals often brought in on a backyard improvement project.
2. Increased options for features and functionality
With a comprehensive pool and backyard plan, you can include certain features that would be extremely difficult—or next to impossible—to execute as a separate undertaking.
Opportunities cross the spectrum. Say that your pool plan includes a swim-up bar. A double-sided swim-up bar delivers extra functionality—serving guests in the pool with a bar, as well as allowing for food prep.
Expanded Use: With its countertop and small outdoor kitchen, this swim-up bar serves those in and out of the water.
However, this kind of configuration requires that your contractor build out the “dry side” of the bar (the portion outside the pool) to include a kitchen. It’s complicated—and more expensive—to try to attempt this configuration as two separate projects.
The key point here: By executing a full outdoor build out with your new pool, you gain design versatility.
3. Better ways to integrate landscaping
Most homeowners plan to add greenery adjacent or nearby their new pool. For added visual appeal, the configuration of your pool can fully integrate plants and even trees.
Creative pool designers can incorporate planter pockets and boxes directly into the structural perimeter. These features can take a variety of sizes, shapes, and elevations, and they accent the overall poolscape in pleasantly surprising ways.
Upscale pools can even be shaped to virtually wrap around an existing tree; the interiors of some large, high-end creations can even contain a tree on a virtual miniature island.
Pretty Pockets: A curvy, free-form pool shape provides a particularly good opportunity to seamlessly incorporate landscape pockets into the poolscape.
However, these approaches are possible only when landscape elements are integrated into the pool concept from the very beginning.
And as part of an overall backyard concept, the plan should be for these pool-integrated-landscape features to coordinate with other landscape choices in the rest of your outdoor space.
4. Greater technology unification
Planning and executing an entire outdoor build can also help make the most out of technology. This is particularly true if you plan to include an automation system with your new pool.
With a master backyard plan, you and your contractor will understand the overall scope of features that will need to tie into the system.
Knowing this information is critical when it comes to picking out an automation system. That’s because it will help you choose a model that supports all of the various features in your pool, spa, and other outdoor options and accessories.
After all, wouldn’t it be nice to have single remote control that fires up your spa jets, as well as controls your landscape lighting, outdoor music system, and electronic-ignition fire pit?
Another aspect of technology is lighting. These systems are also best installed when the plan for illumination is prepared with the whole backyard picture in mind.
For example, if a large rock grotto in the pool will be lit up with LED lighting, it may influence how much lighting should be included or how that lighting is positioned on a section of deck that’s just a few feet away.
Bright Vision: When a total pool and patio concept is developed and built, it’s easier to create and install a lighting scheme that ideally complements the various features.
5. Smoother construction
With a one master plan for your new pool, deck, and other backyard features, the odds increase for a better construction process and result.
To begin with, your pool builder may find it easier to schedule various job phases and coordinate among the respective specialty contractors.
For example, your builder can schedule the decking crews so they won’t run into technical conflicts with another crew that’s installing a feature like a custom cabana or a screen-room enclosure.
Some aspects of construction will be streamlined as well. One way might be with utility lines.
Your yard will contain open trenches that were already dug to lay pool gas, electric, and plumbing lines. Now, those same trenches can be used for additional hook ups for a gas fire pit or outdoor kitchen sink.
All the Pieces: When each of the various backyard components go in as an ensemble, it becomes more efficient to install the supporting infrastructure—such as gas lines to serve both a pool heater and a grill.
6. Fewer hassles and visual blight
No two ways about it: Building an inground pool is a major construction project that will rip up your backyard for at least several months.
Heavy machinery will be coming in and out of your property, and for their access, you may have to take down a fence or destroy a lawn or other landscaping.
Various workmen will be at your home. You will hear noise. See big piles of dirt. Various tools may be strewn about. Materials and building supplies may be lying around or in stacks.
Bottom line, the property will be an eyesore. Unfortunately, you can often expect a host of other inconveniences during this time period. So why go through some of this kind of aggravation a second time?
It’s far more practical to get everything done at once! Plus, along with your newly finished pool and deck, your other backyard amenities will be ready to begin enjoying too.
Harsh Reality: Even at its best, an open construction site can look unpleasant and disrupt daily life. Do all your work together to avoid repeating the ordeal.
7. Lower project costs
Indeed, a new pool and total backyard facelift is a big ticket to handle within a constrained time period. It can can be challenging.
However, if you can afford the upfront investment or obtain a home improvement loan, you will win with savings.
After all, a piecemeal approach is almost always going to cost more than does building all of the features simultaneously.
One reason why: The various tradesman can perform several tasks in a single job-site visit for a better price.
Case in point: Workmen and heavy machinery will come out to grade the soil for your pool and surrounding deck.
While they are at it, they can prepare the site for an expanded patio area with multilevel decking with a raised dining plateau and an outdoor fireplace. Plus they can leave behind fresh soil that will be needed for landscape features.
Double Duty: An electrician on a job site can install electric lines and equipment for the pool lighting, an outlet for the electric rotisserie grill, and power to the ceiling fan in the cabana—all on the same day without an extra trip charge.
Another important factor impacting pool and outdoor feature construction costs is that your backyard is already an active job site.
Project budgets come in lower when certain construction phases that are already underway can serve multiple purposes. One illustration of this approach is the trenching for utility lines described above in the Smoother construction section.
Now, in some backyards, attempting to put features like a gas fire pit or outdoor kitchen sink a year or two later would be an expensive mess. Even worse, can you imagine having to rip up and then replace part of your deck in order to install the utility lines?
The takeaway for planning backyard improvements
In many cases, a piecemeal approach to a pool and backyard additions will yield a choppier, less unified overall outdoor living area. Such projects often don’t turn out as envisioned. If they do, they end up costing more than if they were all done at once.
Above all, the best value lies in being able to use your outdoor space as you imagined—and as soon as you can!
The way to achieve the dream is putting the pool and other elements in together as a whole project. You will win with a more enjoyable, more functional, more cost-effective, and more attractive backyard transformation.