New Construction Home - Orange County CA

pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
Hi All,

Moving into a new construction home next Spring, with an 8000 sqft corner lot with a view. Wife wants a pool, so here I am learning 7 months before we even move in :)

Had a buddy who did an OB in Riverside a few years back and recommended, but the more I read here the more I don't think I could stomach it. So have started reaching out to some landscapers/PB's who have done some yards/pools around the neighborhood to start to get a feel for ballpark of what the project will cost.

Would love to do a pool/spa (relatively small, maybe 15 x 25' or 30', with a spa in the corner of this dimension), BBQ, and even a standalone "casita" (full non-attached extension of the house with plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.). See attached lot diagram with 5' x 5' grid added, and mockup of pool/spa (upper drawn boxes, but probably rotated to be in line with the fence line) and potential casita (lower drawn boxes). Highlighted corners are residence boundaries... sorry it's not a great picture.

Main question for now is, with a completely blank slate, is it best to go with 1 company to do the whole shebang (pool, hardscape, softscape, casita, etc.)? Or, should I find independent PB, GC, and landscaper? For my sanity and cohesiveness, would probably prefer 1 company, but don't want to work with a general landscaper who doesn't speak true PB language as I'll want to do (once I spend another 3-4 months here and can speak it myself!)..

Also, any recommendations on how to use the lot space? Was thinking of putting the pool on the outer fence near the view, but there is a downslope that could require a retaining wall to be built ($$$?). Additionally, have read some notes here saying pool closer to the house is better for sightline to kids from inside, etc. One big requirement is to retain a significant amount of open/grass space for "general play" for 2 young boys.

Any thoughts to help me on my journey much appreciated!
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
9,789
Northern NJ
Main question for now is, with a completely blank slate, is it best to go with 1 company to do the whole shebang (pool, hardscape, softscape, casita, etc.)? Or, should I find independent PB, GC, and landscaper? For my sanity and cohesiveness, would probably prefer 1 company, but don't want to work with a general landscaper who doesn't speak true PB language as I'll want to do (once I spend another 3-4 months here and can speak it myself!)..
There is no one answer. I think you have to talk with lots of different contractors and see what their specialties are and which ones you like. If you can find one you like and trust to do it all then go with it.

Otherwise you need to weigh the best integrated pool builder you find versus managing best of breed contractors for various pieces of the project.

What are the two different structures in your plot plan? What are the setback requirements for your property?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,019
Tallahassee, FL
Can you "clean up" the pictures some by redrawing it with ONLY the house, fence line, pool/spa, and casita showing? I am having a hard time knowing where the yard is.

Kim:kim:
 

pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
Hi All,

Sorry here's a cleaned up picture. Casita might be put on hold ($$), but would probably like to build one eventually on the side yard. Took the pool off and left just one reference dimension, as I'm actually considering it might go best at the top of the lot (as oriented on this diagram).

Setback for structures per HOA is 5', not sure what the details are for pools. I indicated the pre-landscaped slope on the diagram (that part is within the fence). The left side (outside the fence) is also a downward slope. The builder keeps reminding us that we may have to do a retaining wall behind the in-ground pool if it's close to the slope -- not sure the expenses of that :eek:

Thanks for all the help!
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,019
Tallahassee, FL
Now I can work with this! I need to ask for some more details to dial in my ideas. Where are the windows and doors on the yard side of the house.

See if you can find out the details on the 5' set back as that is really going to come in to play with one of my ideas.

Kim:kim:
 

pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
I'm in Rancho Mission Viejo, which is an unincorporated part of OC kind of wedged between Ladera Ranch, San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente.

Did some searching online and couldn't figure out the setback requirements for sure. Might not be any.

Here's an updated diagram. Red is a 12' sliding door. Ranch room is a covered patio area (open air with pillars). Green are windows (dining room next to sliding door and great room). Blue is a fence. Let's assume for now that there's a 5' setback requirement from the blue fence. Shouldn't be any setback required from the mow curb as that's all within the fence, there's a slope there so may need an in-ground reinforcing wall if the pool is there?
 

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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
4,956
San Clemente, CA
No setback😂😂😂

You have a landscape buffer to the rear so it'll be a 5' setback from your property line.

The side yard near the street is a 15' setback from the property line. Corner lots get a lot of scrutiny from the HOAs.

I got that from the Esencia Specific Plan. The specific plans the HOAs use are more often than not more restrictive than the county/ city requirements.
 

pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
Wow! Thanks for the insight. Not good news though :( Guess that nix's the casita plan on the side yard if that's a 15' setback there :(

Ok... so updated diagram has a yellow line which is our property line (pre-landscaped slope is an easement, so presumably 5' from the yellow?).
 

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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
4,956
San Clemente, CA
Is the house not built yet? You need to figure out where your property line actually is. It's not necessarily the fence line.

Unfortunately these master planned communities seem to like to avoid customization🙄
 

pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
House is not built yet but pretty confident the property line is the blue/yellow (note the rear fence is actually on the other side of the pre-landscaped slope, but the slope is definitely not our property).

Looked through the HOA regs and all it said was 5’ for structures. Didn’t have a setback listed under the pool section. Talked to my realtor who focuses here and said there are some pools that go right up to the property line...

Best guess at this point until I talk to the HOA is 5’ from the blue/yellow.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,019
Tallahassee, FL
See infinity as BLING!!! The more BLING the better!!! You want to have to wear shades to look at your pool!!!

Hey B. wonder how much BLING I can talk him into???? hehe
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
721
OV, CA
Piano-man... this looks like a cool project.. and with the house not even build yet .. that's reeeeally getting an early start on the planning. Here are my insights for your consideration.

If you find someone that will do the whole shebang.. you will pay a premium for the service of a Contractor with enough experience in all the different aspects, in my opinion. It looks like you are taking the time to figure out the initial planning and layout constraints on your own. And you're here! That tells me you you might be able to manage the whole project on your own or at least break it up. If for no other reason that to help budget out the cost. When I helped my mom do her back yard we were kind of considering a similar path.. and it was overwhelming. We decided to break it up into individual projects and it was easier to make adjustments as we went, besides making the monetary bites a bit more palatable. So for her we went something like this:
-Figured out the grand plan in general terms.. look and feel. Specifics of some of the design feature she wanted. like the patios, types of plants, features of the pool, materials etc.
-Pool was a biggie so we got that done with just a pool builder first. The pool builders we found were happy to be given specific instructions.. it was less ambiguous for them. The KISS principle definitely applied here, in terms of picking pool features and things that were well within the builders repertoire.
-Landscaping layout changed several times as the pool process progressed. Since position of the pool kind of dictated much of that.
-Once the pool was in it was much easier to see the specifics of the patio layout.. so that was a separate project even though it was in concert with the pool design. In our case we already started the patio and the pool was positioned accordingly, they were kind of started concurrently, but the pool was completed first. The patio extended from the house to the pool but was separate from the decking that surrounded the pool.
-Landscaping was the last thing as it also filled in the where the pool and patio left off

I was new out of college and had the time to fuss with it so I kind of acted as the overseer for the projects (Not really a GC) and did a lot of the work myself, because it gave me an excuse to visit my mom... I did the masonry and brickwork, but hired or instructed my mom to hire the fencing and grass installers.. that sort of stuff. It was spread out over a few years so there were only permits pulled for the individual projects that required them (like the pool, I don't think we needed one for the fencing).
Hope that makes sense..
 
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pianogineer

Member
Sep 11, 2019
13
Southern California
Piano-man... this looks like a cool project.. and with the house not even build yet .. that's reeeeally getting an early start on the planning. Here are my insights for your consideration.
:) I started down this path as I wanted to get a ballpark feel for what we needed to budget for the entire backyard, so that we would know how many of the insanely priced builder upgrades that we wouldn't be able to afford. :p And... knowing me, here I am now scouring the depths of the interwebs looking for Orange County building codes/setbacks. o_O

That tells me you you might be able to manage the whole project on your own or at least break it up. If for no other reason that to help budget out the cost.
Definitely could -- question is whether I have the stomach and time for it. My buddy in Riverside who OB'd has some GC experience, and has a flexible schedule (owns his own business). I've got neither and am pretty high strung about stuff like this to boot. :laughblue:

We decided to break it up into individual projects and it was easier to make adjustments as we went, besides making the monetary bites a bit more palatable.
Overall great advice and makes tons of sense. Glad I have folks like kimkats and bdavis466 who have been around the block a time or two and can help advise on the big picture aspects so we'll have some notion of what we want as we start talking to all the PB's/landscapers.
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
721
OV, CA
:) I started down this path as I wanted to get a ballpark feel for what we needed to budget for the entire backyard, so that we would know how many of the insanely priced builder upgrades that we wouldn't be able to afford. :p And... knowing me, here I am now scouring the depths of the interwebs looking for Orange County building codes/setbacks. o_O

Definitely could -- question is whether I have the stomach and time for it. My buddy in Riverside who OB'd has some GC experience, and has a flexible schedule (owns his own business). I've got neither and am pretty high strung about stuff like this to boot. :laughblue:

Overall great advice and makes tons of sense. Glad I have folks like kimkats and bdavis466 who have been around the block a time or two and can help advise on the big picture aspects so we'll have some notion of what we want as we start talking to all the PB's/landscapers.
I really wasn't suggesting that you make yourself the GC. I think that would make my head burst. o_OJust space out hiring the separate specialists for each project.

I am reminded by one pool build I saw where the project included landscaping and the landscapers contractors didn't coordinate with the pool builders. Since there were inspectors crawling around for one phase of the project they were also noting issues with other parts of the project. It turned into a mess with GC, PB, LS and county inspectors all pointing fingers at each other.... such comedy only happens on late night TV I though.;)