Dreaming About a Pool? Things to Consider

A pool will truly transform your property and elevate your outdoor living. There are so many ways to design, build, and embellish a modern pool. So, read on for some ideas! 

Does the warming weather have you daydreaming about a backyard pool? Before you jump in and make your dream a reality, let us share some of the basics, both practical and aesthetic. To help you make some important decisions about the place where your family will cool off and entertain, we go through a straight forward process to extract the details we need from you in order to make that dream become reality.  

Everything You Need To Know About Backyard Pools

The “S’s” that get us started

Site: Things to consider include soil composition, water table, drainage, elevation changes and accessibility. We will ensure that your backyard is suitable for your future outdoor oasis.

Shape: Your pool’s shape should complement your home and accommodate your lifestyle. For lap swimming, make sure the pool is long enough. If you see yourself floating with a drink in hand, choose a wider pool with room to drift.

Rectangular pools have a classic, formal feel. The softer shape of oval or round pools is more casual, and round pools can fit in a compact space. Kidney shapes are softer in appearance like ovals but have a retro vibe. L-shaped pools are versatile, with a deeper end for diving and a shallower end for laps, floating, and games. Infinity pools look wonderful if your property is sloped, and edge-free perimeter overflow pools have an impressive, mirror-like appearance.

If you choose a freeform, organic shape, there are no limits! That is where our virtual reality software shines. You can see different pool shapes exactly as they would look in your space. We can design a custom shape that works perfectly for you.

Style: Do you want your pool to be traditional, natural, sleek, or modern, or there could be another possibility? We help our clients with expert selection and placement of landscaping and hardscaping materials, not to mention the design of the pool itself from tropical lagoon to urban plunge pool.

The “L’s” that refine the process:

Lifestyle: Who’s going to use the space? Do you want the pool for exercise, leisure sports, kids, cooling off, entertaining, or ambiance? Your pool design should work hard to afford you the lifestyle you have worked hard to achieve as well as carrying you into the next phase as your lifestyle changes.

Location: We’ll take all elements into account including sun/shade, wind, natural debris (leaves/pollen/flower petals), privacy, and drainage. This will be done in conjunction with the county requirements concerning location such as proximity to septic features and property lines.

Lighting: Consider lighting both in and around the pool. For the pool itself, we exclusively use LED lights in small niches in the pool wall with or without color changing bulbs. Gone are the days of (1) giant light at the end of the pool; we design the pool lighting using multiple fixtures to enhance the features and provide a more custom appearance at night. Around the pool – for both aesthetic and safety – low-voltage lighting is used to provide a warm glow to the other outdoor elements we employ.

The “A’s provide us amenities we can use to enhance our pool environment

Amenities: Amenities that are typical in our projects include spas, pavilions and pool houses, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and fire pits, cabanas, pergolas, outdoor showers, lounge pools, other sun and shade options, and more.

Access: Too often traffic patterns to and from the house, the driveway, the nearest bathroom, the shady spot, etc. are overlooked in pool design. We focus on the overall experience to maximize access to and from our pools so that the centerpiece isn’t just beautiful, but practical as well.

The “M’s” are Materials

Pool Interior: The pool interior does a great deal more than just determine the color of the water. We use plasters on our gunite pools that range from solid colors to diverse pebble surfaces. A darker color will allow the sun to be more efficient in providing a natural heat source, deep blues can make the water features look more natural, pebble interiors provide interesting patterns and textures, and tile resembling stone can create a style in the pool more reflective of a residential environment vs a commercial pool.

Coping and Decking: By far the largest consideration we have in selecting the flat surfaces for areas around a pool is heat. Everyone loves flagstone/bluestone, but it’s way hot on bare feet!!! We tend to work mostly with travertines and light-colored pavers to avoid this. We continue to use thermal bluestone as our standard on coping due to its refined appearance, but overall, a lighter scheme is usually what we’ll recommend.

Keeping these key elements foremost in our mind, we will help you design a pool that will meet your needs and fulfill your dreams! If you are considering a new pool, landscape design, or fire feature for the upcoming hot summer, contact State of the Art Landscape to schedule an appointment.


Decking provides useful space and accents the pool. Different materials vary in their heat-retention, slip-resistance, durability, and maintenance requirements. Since water reflects what’s around it, the color and finish of everything near the pool should be complementary.

Natural stone can be hot, so lighter colors are preferable. Stone can be randomly shaped for a natural look or square-cut to suit traditional or contemporary homes. It requires little maintenance and is less slippery than smooth surfaces.

Pavers can be natural stone, brick, interlocking, or concrete pieces. They’re durable and slip-resistant when left unsealed but may shift over time and require weed control.

It’s more typical to see tiles used as a decorative accent rather than as the main decking material.

Wood decking stays cool, and its smooth finish is comfortable. However, moisture and heat lead to decay, and wood requires more maintenance than other materials.

Concrete decking is less expensive, but cracking is a concern. It can be colored or stamped to increase its visual appeal as well.

Pool Materials

The pool’s interior finish determines its overall look and the appearance of the water. Choose a finish that suits the style of the home and pool and blends with the landscaping.


Plaster is the most common and least expensive finish. It can be classic white or shades of grey, black, green, or blue. With proper maintenance, it can last a long time but does require careful calibration of pool chemicals.

Aggregate Finishes

This modern pool finish is made of plaster embedded with smooth river stones, pebbles, or glass beads (exposed aggregate) or finely crushed pieces of quartz, marble, or granite (polished aggregate). There is a very wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures, and they’re durable and more tolerant of pool chemicals than plain plaster. Polished aggregate finishes are perfect for modern pools, while pebbles look wonderful in rustic or natural settings.


Tiles are smooth, long-lasting, and can be used for the entire pool or as decorative accents. Tiles may be porcelain, ceramic, stone, or glass with an immense variety of styles, sizes, shapes, and colors. They can be applied in endless combinations and patterns. Glossy, glass tile enhances water’s reflectiveness and looks luxurious, while stone tiles are perfect for natural landscaping.


Your backyard and pool area can be true outdoor living spaces, with extra features such as spas, fire features, and water features.


Spas are used year-round for soaking, relaxation, and hydrotherapy. In-ground spas can be integrated with swimming pools to share heat and filtration systems. They are fully customizable with many options for size, shape, and finish.

Fire Features

Custom-built fire pits add warmth and ambiance to the pool area in the evenings or later in the season. They can integrate with your pool design and be built in different sizes from metal, natural stone, interlocking stone, or concrete. An outdoor fireplace is a statement piece that can be built on the edge of the pool deck or patio. It provides light, warmth, and a focal point for entertaining.

Water Features

Water features are upscale additions to pool areas. They can serve as focal points and should always complement the other elements. Consider the scale as well as shape and materials. Natural-looking, freeform pools pair well with stone water features, while formal and modern pools demand sleeker designs. Some popular types of water features include fountains, waterfalls, water walls, rain curtains, and bubblers.

Designing Your Backyard Oasis

Installing a pool adds so much to your home and lifestyle, and there are endless options for the shape, materials, and extra amenities. Contact State of the Art Landscaping when you’re ready for an in-ground pool company to design your oasis. We would love to help you create the backyard paradise of your dreams!

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