My husband grew up with a pool and as a competitive swimmer I grew up practically underwater. We always knew we wanted a pool in our backyard "when we grew up." Two years ago his mom downsized, selling the house with the pool (aka eliminating our easy pool access) and we threw our savings into high gear.
This year, we decided to take the plunge. The first step was agreeing on design. He wanted freeform with tons of play space (like the pool at his childhood home). I wanted somewhere I could swim laps. Needing a compromise, I scoured the web for a pool design that we could agree on. After approximately six thousand vetos (five thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine of those were his vetos, but to be fair, I was the one finding the pictures) we both fell in love with a design I found on houzz (pictures below). We both loved the clean modern look of the pool below. It seemed to go well with the updates that were done to our home before we moved in. The pool house in the picture was never considered -- it wouldn't fit in our yard (or savings account), but the raised bond beam and raised deck, slate facade with exposed scupper water features, in-pool spa and baja step were all elements we LOVED and more importantly AGREED ON . We also agreed that we wanted it to be a true rectangle instead of an L because we wanted to maximize swim space but also because we wanted to install an automatic safety cover. We don't have kids (yet) but we have lots of friends with kids and an aquatically minded dog so we wanted to make sure we could close off swim access when we weren't outside to supervise.
With these elements agreed upon I found some backyard design software and tinkered around. We have a long rectangular backyard and we decided we wanted the pool towards the back of the lot parallel with the back fence. We have a big orange tree that we sadly were going to have to take down as we couldn't figure out a way to make a path back to the pool that didn't leave the orange tree as a small island in a sea of deck. This is what I came up with (and spoiler alert it's changed a bit but I don't want to get ahead of myself):
Almost from the beginning we knew we wanted to do this on our own (sans PB). My dad was in construction and I have DIY in my blood. We have a family friend who is retired from the pool excavation industry and was excited to help us with our project. So armed with the above plan we visited an architect that our family friend found (I suppose I'll refer to him as FF from here on out, this fourm seems big on abbreviations and I want to want to fit in!) who sold standard pool plans. We paid for the added customization of the cover vault and baja step and BOOM. We had plans. Three days later I headed to the city, with crossed fingers and we were issued a permit. FF had a friend still in the excavation business so we set the dig for Feb 18th. Mind you we still hadn't lined up any of the subs after that. We had put in some calls and would be meeting some subs over the next few weeks. But we had bought a ticket (and an expensive permit) -- the train was leaving the station!! We climbed on sure that this would be our greatest adventure yet!
Next post -- before pics and the dig where (spoiler alert) though we are in a historic drought here in So Cal, we lost 3 days to rain!