Look Before You Leap: Swimming Pool Design and Construction
Surrounds is a great design build firm to work with. We partner very well. I love working with them. Alan Nobling, NVblu Pools
When designing landscapes for our Potomac Maryland clients, we are frequently asked to include a swimming pool in the landscape design. When that happens, we contract the pool building portion of the project to a trusted specialist—one that embraces our high standards. The choice of pool builder is important because daily communication and coordinated scheduling between pool builder and landscape designer is key to the success of the project.
Our friend Alan Nobling at NVblu Pools, speaking from forty years of experience in the business, says the projects with lax project management are the ones that end up with problems. Expert project management is a critical component of any successful pool design and construction project because, no matter how well designed it is, a stressful construction process will leave you with a sour feeling afterward—and we wouldn’t want that.
Project management is where all projects fall apart. Some companies do so much volume spread over a large geographic area that it is impossible to do competent project management. Surrounds has a project manager on site every day. Alan Nobling
The Timeline for Pool Construction
Most people are going for a whole back yard environment with pavilions, fire pits, BBQ islands—all of these things in connection with the swimming pool. So a job could take seven weeks or it could take seven months depending on what they are building in the back yard. Alan Nobling
Waiting for the county to review and approve our project plans can take six to eight weeks depending on the county. We spend that time finalizing construction documents and ordering materials. We are ready to go within ten days of the permit being approved.
It generally takes about three weeks to construct the pool shell and install plumbing and electric. However, the total time required to bring a swimming pool design and installation project to completion depends on the scope of the landscape design plan. That plan may call for retaining walls and patios on multiple elevations, an outdoor fireplace or a pool house as part of that back yard pool environment.
Here again, project management is important because we can’t begin our hardscaping work until the pool builders finish that first phase of pool construction. Our stone work produces a lot of dust, and the hardscaping process may involve moving truckloads of dirt around the yard. We schedule the interior finish and filling of the pool when all of that messy work is complete. The pool interior finishing process takes two days.
What to Expect: The 8 Stages of Pool Building Process
Stage 1 – Excavation
We mark out the shape of the pool on the site to ensure accurate dimensions and elevations. Then excavation begins. There will be bulldozers, concrete trucks, and dump trucks in your yard. We may have to have to move service lines, irrigation or relocate plants.
Stage 2 – Rough Plumbing & Electrical
We set all the pipes, drains and electrical conduits that will be servicing the swimming pool
Stage 3 – Form work and steel reinforcements
We use forms to create the shape of the pool walls and bottom. Reinforcing steel (rebar) rods are set in place to provide strength when the concrete is poured.
Stage 4 – Shooting Gunite
A type of concrete called “gunite” is sprayed through a hose into the forms, then is left to cure for four weeks
Stage 5 – Coping & Tile Installed
Coping (runs around the perimeter of the pool) and water line tiling is applied.
Stage 6 – Pool Deck Installed
Our hardscaping crew lays the pool deck.
Stage 7 – Mechanical Equipment Installed
We install the water management and filtration devices.
Stage 8 – Interior Finish & Pool Start Up
We clean out the pool, apply plaster finish and immediately fill with water because the interior finish cures under water. Depending on the pool size, it can take up to two days to fill. Once the pool is full, we start the filtration system and you can jump in for your first swim..
Planning: Give Yourself Eight Months Lead Time
If you plan to build a swimming pool in your yard, start designing it before the first of the year. Depending on the overall size of your intended landscaping project, you could be doing cannonballs off the deep end of your new pool by July 4th. So, don’t wait until March to contact one of our landscape architects!