I've been checking out a lot of your posts lately, to try to get ideas and advice, and now I thought I'd post our dilemma.
The last house we lived in FL had a pool already built in, with spa. My husband used the pool the most. He loved being able to lounge around in the pool with a beer, watching the ball games on the weekend, as we had a large covered area where the dining area, ceiling fan, grill and outdoor tv were. We really did not use the spa at all, but then again it was not heated. Yes, you heard that right. The buyer who flipped the house to us cut corners as much as possible, and decided not to heat the pool. Not such a big deal since we had a jacuzzi tub in our bath.
The house we bought in Orange County, CA has an existing faux rock waterfall spa. The planters near the spa have small faux rock walls, and the grill area is also faux rock. My husband misses the ability to watch his tv outside and lounge in the pool. So far we have used the spa to dip our feet in, and not much more. There is only a small Lowes type cabana the sellers left us, and the wind/snowstorm Dec 30th ruined the cover, which is fine because we can't really put a tv under it and were planning on getting rid of the cabana.
We want to put in a pool with covered patio area (with ceiling fan, heaters, speakers) and I've always wanted a fire pit, although with the drought here I'm a little nervous about that. So far we are still allowed to put pools in, but who knows when our water district will put restrictions on pool filling.
We had a few PBs come in for some quotes, and we told them we were open to suggestions to whether to incorporate the existing spa and rock work, or scrap it and start with a clean slate. Some companies quoted us with a whole new design, some incorporated the existing spa. Most of me would love to start anew, as I tend to like a look with travertine and ledger stone/stacked stone, and I don't know how well it would look with the faux rock we have. However, the cost-saving side of me wants to not go crazy with this, and keep the spa, just redoing the pebble to match the rest of the pool (I hate the color that it is now) and redo the rock (paint or whatever to make it look less like the Flintstones.) I have been told it would be a huge undertaking to excavate the spa and the rock walls. We are not looking for a deep pool, either a play pool or at most 6' deep. It's just the two of us, no kids.
I thought I would post some pics of what our backyard looks like now, and see if I could get some opinions. (My husband does not seem to care either way, and although this would be mostly for him, he wants as little to do with this as possible, since he has no patience. I on the other hand do not want to throw away $100k-$150k on something I"m going to look at and regret. All he cares about is the final cost.)
Oh, the garden hose is me trying to map out where one of the pools was proposed, coming off the spa. Some of these photos were from the original for sale listing over 2 years ago. We got rid of the green awnings, and the cabana fabric is torn into pieces.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!