Creating your outdoor living space design begins with a few decisions on color, pattern and materials. But with so many possibilities, how do you choose? The answer is asking more questions. How much space do you have to work with? How do you intend to use it? What’s the exterior color of your home? Answers to questions like these will create strong and productive outdoor living designs for you and your contractor to build from.
The best way to begin any design is to collect inspiration. It could be colors from a magazine, furniture from a friend’s home or the overall ambiance from your walk around town. Whatever it is, if it catches your eye, capture it any way you can. That means taking pictures, gathering swatches, bookmarking URLS, and/or Pinterest Board. Remember, creating a mood board will help you organize your outdoor space design ideas and make you ready for the next step.
How will you use your space?
The best way to start your outdoor project is to understand how you intend to use your space. Are you putting in a pool? Will you be hosting large parties? Or maybe the space is meant for cooking outside on a warm summer evening? While the sky's the limit, it's important to narrow your outdoor living plans to one or two key areas and focus your design on those.
Walk around your ideas
Once you determine the intended use of your space, you can begin to consider its layout. Go outside, walk around and see how you move through it. If it’s a private reading nook, how will you walk there from your nearest entry? What about a path to your garage? If you’re planning on eating under the stars but not building an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to make sure the path from your home to the seating area isn’t cumbersome. Above all, you don’t want to put in pavers and then find out it’s not the right walking path. These decisions will influence the type of pavers you choose and this outdoor space design guide is here to help you navigate these choices.
The Mad Designer is the lead designer for Doyle Pools. In his extensive, world and outer space travels, while touring a pool chemical manufacture facility, he fell into a tank of experimental pool chemical, and it changed his life forever. From his observations in life, he create designs in his head and with his computer he is able to bring them into a 3D perspective. When he isn’t creating his art, he can be found fishing where he lives in a van down by the river.
What the heck is a spool?
A Spool is fun, quirky name for a big spa/small pool. If you’re not looking for a big diving pool and a hot tub is just too limiting for your lifestyle, a spool may be perfect fit for you. They are extremely versatile. Because of their small foot print they are even perfect for enclosing in a building or even a gazebo. A spool will have a relatively low water volume which makes them very easy to maintain and even heat to hot tub temps. They can have therapy seating for relaxing and also space for lounging or floating.
Cathy and Tom are professionals and empty nesters on a horse farm located in Northern Lower Michigan. They travel often and can be gone for extended periods of time. They both have great taste in design from the homes they live in, cars they drive, and clothes they wear.
In my first consultation I learned that Cathy wanted a small pool to cool off in on a hot summer day and that Tom didn’t want a pool and he is more of a hot tub kinda guy
Clients check list of features
The list of features by the client was pretty short and pretty simple.
What did I learn about the family?
My thoughts as the designer and the design process
I, as the designer my goal is to create the perfect design as defined by the client. To accomplish this I will take any specifications by the client then after that it comes down to observation and conversation without any preconceived ideas. A successful custom design has to be as unique as the individuals themselves.
For Cathy and Tom I had two completely different perspectives on the need for a pool and immediately knew that a swimming pool of any size was going to meet resistance from Tom. Some might blindly believe “what mama wants, Daddy gets” That’s not me and his needs are just as important as hers. Do you remember Tom didn’t want a pool? At this point I’m not trying to find a compromise so that Tom will give in and let Cathy have what she wants. I need to find something that Tom would enjoy and benefit from also. As the conversation moved on I learned that Tom didn’t want a pool because he didn’t want to take care of it, and where the live there isn’t a weekly pool service available. However I already know that he enjoys a soak in a hot tub after working on the farm or riding his motorcycle all day. I knew that it would be crazy to design a pool with an attached spa. It became clear that spool design would be perfect for Cathy and Tom.
As soon as the spool idea came to mind the rest of the pool design immediately fell into place. Because we were in the county the shape should be a freeform. Anything geometric or symmetrical would be way out of place. Efficiency in build is probably the most complicated part of this design. Finding the balance between small enough so that it can be heated as a hot tub if needed and big enough to use it as a pool for cooling off.
Keys features to hot tub portion are bench seating and pressure adjustable therapy jets, so this design gave them both of those at one end. The bench has room for 4-5 people and there is 10 therapy jets.
Features of the pool were a little more complicated. The sun shelf needed to be big enough for 2 ledge loungers chairs, and is also deep enough to float on an inflatable mattress without bottoming out and get stuck on the sun shelf.
The deck is 201 square ft. of random looking brick pavers. The deck is only intended to give access to the pool and have enough space for a few chairs. I felt that because of the country setting that landscaping with plants would be a better more attractive use of the space and save money by not continuing the brick pavers all the way around the spool.
The interior surface is pebble, intended to look like sand, while the water line tile is a brick row pattern of glass tile that also are earth tones.
This is a timeless design. It won’t take long for these plants to mature, afterwards you won’t know if the project was done a year ago or 20 years ago.
Custom Pool Design
Custom design isn’t always about irregular shapes, rare materials or expensive features. To me, custom design is just understanding the clients wants, needs and intended use. There are so many exciting things that can be done, just by combining common shapes, materials and features without spending excessive amounts of money. Give me a call at 989-996-0037 today. I’m excited to help you create your dream outdoor space. Let me know that you like this design share it with your friend and like Doyle Pools Facebook or follow us on twitter. Follow us for anything outdoor living related.
Typical pool construction is generally completed in 7 phases. In this article we will cover each of these phases and also some special considerations.
Early planning can save a lot of headaches. It’s a good idea to call your municipal and also your H.O.A. (Home Owners Association) and get their complete list of rules for new pool construction. Assuming that you will have your licensed contractor pulling the permit for your pool, it would still be a good idea for you to understand the permitting process for your municipal. This education could end up saving you a lot of time and avoiding aggravating delays. For instance, my first experience working in a township in the metro Detroit area I learned that they consider anything 9” above grade is an “outbuilding” and requires board approval. This board meet once a month and only takes a limited number of applications each month. Remember anything above 9” requires it. This particular proposed project was going to have a diving board and the top of it would be more than 9” above grade. We were trying to do this project in September but the board was not taking any more applications until December. The pool application and permit would be quick and easy to get but, out building (Diving Board) was going to take months. This delayed the project for an entire year. If you have an H.O.A they may have an application and approval process as well as a list of approved colors and materials. This is all good information for you to gather during your project planning phase.
In this phase not only will you chose a size and shape of the pool, but you should also understand what pool equipment, such as what pump and filter will you be using. Your pool designer can help you understand the size required for your pool design. In this phase you will decided your pool will be a deep end hopper design for diving or a sport floor for water basketball or volleyball. You will chose how many ladders or steps and their locations and also features such as sheer descents, deck jets or bubblers just to name a few. Remember this is your pool and you will have it for a long time. You should understand everything about your project design, so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Planning and layout
In this phase someone needs to call Miss Dig at 811 before a shovel goes in the ground. This is a free service that is required by law. All your utilities will be flagged with their respective color flags. With your list of setback and all the little colored flags in the yard, you know exactly what kind of space to work with, and it’s time to lay out the final position of your pool.
Say goodbye to your beautiful green grass and probably your irrigation system, because there is now saving them now. Just remember you have to break and egg to make an omelet. It’s time to dig a big hole. This hole could be hundreds of cubic yards of dirt, sod, and rocks, yet it’s not just a hole. This is a hole that will be the shape or your pool with incredible accuracy.
Now that the excavation is complete it’s time to put it all together. The pool will made of wall panels and will need to be bolted together in a particular order. The panels are supported with “A” frames to prevent the wall from tilting inward or outward. After all the wall panels are in their places and supported as needed, concrete will be poured as a footing at the bottom of the wall to lock it all together and make sure that the pool will never move. Coping or liner receiver will be bolted to the top of the wall panels also skimmer and returns attached to the wall panels. Finally, the floor can be shaped with pool base.
Vinyl Liner Installation
The liner locks into the coping or liner receiver without any special tools or hardware. We vacuums to suck the air out from between the liner and the wall. Now you can see how good the liner fits the shape of the pool before the water goes in. Special consideration will be taken to seal the liner to things such as main drains or steps.
The timing deck installation will be decided on by a couple factors. Depending on the pool wall structure and decking materials used, the deck may be completed before the liner and water goes in and in other cases we may complete the deck after the liner and water goes in. It’s preferable to complete the deck before the liner and water, but isn’t always possible.
Pat founded Doyle Pools in 2001. His background in the pool industry has over 30 years of history and has put him into Business Management, Pool and Spa service and also Pool Construction positions. He is in charge of business management, project management and also project design. He is especially thankful to all his mentors and is proud to now be a mentor and advisor to others. Pat is a C.P.O (certified pool operator) and has won awards for the Most Beautiful Residential Pool and Best New Dealer by Fibre Tech Inc. Pat’s project won a Beautification Award by the City of Midland Mi. Pat’s has a passion for art and design and often jokingly quotes Oscar Levant “There Is a Fine Line between Genius and Insanity”. His three children are the center of his life. He love traveling and performance boating
The client is a Landscape Company in Mid-Michigan known for doing some of the area’s best and most creative hardscape work including City Street Scape, Brick Paver Patio Outdoor Living Areas and Outdoor Kitchens
Home owners check list of features
The list of features by the homeowner was pretty short and pretty simple.
What did we learn about the family?
Design features for fill the family’s lifestyle and needs
This custom inground swimming pool design is a 16’x41’ True L and the shallow end is 24’ wide with plenty of room for the three kids and all their friend. It is 781 square feet of surface area and holds approximately 21,000 gallons of water. The deep end is a safety design approved for an 8’ diving board. In the shallow end of the pool we gave this design some space that the adults could lounge in the water on the sun ledge or sit and relax on the two bench seats located on either side of the steps. The vinyl liner for this pool is custom made with heavy duty vinyl material with a non-skid surface on the tops of the sun shelf, benches and steps.
The deck has 1539 square feet of brick patio pavers and a matching brick coping at the pool edge. In order to minimize cost we gave the deck, space where it was needed and didn’t waste the money on deck space where it wasn’t needed. It has three separate sitting areas and enough deck space to safely walk along the pools sides. The fire pit is a wood burning pit, however could have been easily made as a gas burning pit. Surrounding the fire pit is a short wall that nicely breaks up and identifies the space and can also be used as a seat wall. In the large area closest to the house there is enough room to later add a planned outdoor kitchen.
Custom pool design
Custom design isn’t always about irregular shapes, rare materials or expensive features. To us at Doyle Pools, custom design is just understanding the clients wants, needs and intended use. There are so many exciting things that can be done, just be combining common shapes, materials and features without spending excessive amounts of money. Give Doyle Pools a call at 989-996-0037 today and our experienced staff and designers can help you create your dream outdoor space. Share this with your friends, so they can also create paradise.