All too often, important decisions about the design of a swimming pool environment are left for “later.” That’s not just wrong; it’s also a crying shame.
As I see it, a huge proportion of my clients’ long-term satisfaction with their pools comes not from time they actually spend in the water, but instead has to do with how easy and comfortable it is for them to enjoy their lives around the water. That’s why I’ve always made discussions about decking and patios a key component of the design process from the very start – and why my clients are so happy with the results.
As the video linked below indicates, there are lots of choices and appearance issues and price points to weigh in these discussions. And there are possibilities I don’t even mention in the video, including wood decking and the range of artificial/composite wood substitutes that can be parts of extraordinary backyard designs. There are few limits (beyond budget) to what can be accomplished, and I see it as my responsibility to apprise my clients of possibilities that will lead us to results that integrate their settings on both visual and functional levels.
I suppose some contractors shy away from these conversations because they want pool jobs and are concerned that broadening the focus to include the surroundings might scare off budget-conscious homeowners. The way I see it, my role is to help prospective owners see a bigger picture and understand the benefits of integrating their backyard designs. Some may elect to slow down and might end up pursuing the project in phases, but more often they see the importance of working toward a complete vision and figure out ways to make things work right away.
Long story short, a quality project embraces the entire backyard environment. By working with my clients and showing them how their backyards will come together, I know I have a fair shot at making their time around their pools as much fun as the time they’ll spend splashing in the water.
To see a brief introduction to decking choices, click here.
Lew Akins operates Ocean Quest Pools out of three offices in central Texas. He started in the pool business in California in the late 1970s, opening his own design/build/retail firm in Texas in 1984. Widely acknowledged as a pioneer of the vanishing-edge concept, he added “design consultant” to his list of services in 1998. He may be reached at [email protected].