And by early, I mean early....we haven't even chosen a pool builder yet, much less signed a contract or watched any dirt move.
We've never had a pool before, so we've learned a lot after meeting with 5 pool builders here. And, naturally, since we've learned from each pool builder, our desired pool continually changed. We've learned, for example:
** There's no clear-cut favorite type of pool filter. One builder listed a cartridge filter in his proposal, 3 listed sand filters, and one listed a DE filter.
** We went from, at first, wanting a straight rectangular pool, approx. 15' x 32', to a Roman-style pool 15' x 30', and have now decided on a freeform pool, approx. 15' x 30' (12,100 gallons). We don't want a deep end, so the depth will range from 3.5' to 4.5'.
** We learned that our neighborhood has a ridiculous 17.5' easement across the back of our property. I guess someday they may want to put a road back there!
** Three builders proposed SWG chlorine systems, and two recommended "normal" chlorine systems.
** Our lot is sloped in the back, with a 3.5 to 4' drop from the house to the easement line, and about a 5' drop to the rear property line. One pool builder said we didn't need any kind of retaining wall, as enough dirt would be removed to smooth out the grade....the other 4 builders all recommended some sort of retaining wall.
** We now know we want a tanning ledge with 2 bubblers, slightly offset from the rest of the pool. We don't want "lit" bubblers, but are asking each builder to give us a price on LED lighting for the pool, along with the optional costs for a SWG and heat pump/chiller unit. (We've had over 20 straight days now of 100+ degree weather here in the Tulsa area!).
** We've decided on a sand filter system, along with a "normal" chlorine feed unit. (The SWG adds approx. $1700 to the pool's cost).
** 4 builders all included a Polaris 280 automatic cleaner, the other a Dolphin cleaner.
** The last builder we met with (and the one whose plan we liked the best) said he'd build a boulder retaining wall, and that the retaining wall could be on the easement as the city doesn't consider them a "permanent structure". (Obviously, we liked knowing that, as it allows a bit more room for decking!).
** To be fair to first 4 builders we met with, we are having each of them requote their proposal based on the plans we got from the last builder. (We're not providing the 3D rendered images we got from the last builder, as I'd suspect that wouldn't be fair to him). I emailed each of the other 4 builders with our new specs on Friday, July 22, and as of Monday morning, July 25, I've received replies from 2 of them...one of whom said he'd get to work on a new proposal...the other simply stating he got the email.
So, as you can see, we're making progress, albeit slowly!