Pool / Backyard Design - How to go from high-level design down to details


Active member
May 13, 2009
Orange County, CA
Starting a new thread as the one I'd posted last year was more focused on the pool build, and this is a more theoretical question.

We're very happy w/ the landscape designer and what he came up with (it's a side hustle of his), and our contractor did a great job on our remodel a few years ago, but I'm worried about all the little details that IMO will bring the project together. Outdoor kitchen details...lighting...audio...accents...etc. Zoomed out in the pictures below it's easy for me not to think about it...but when it comes down to building it all clearly matters.

The obvious answer is we should hire someone who can design it all - but we didn't do that. We can ask our contractor to jump in from this point forward (he has done some design/build in the past), but I'd like to nail down as much as possible on our own (wife and I). So, when others have had similarly generic drawings where they wanted (or needed) to think about all the details and design elements, how did you address it? At this point I'm thinking about browsing threads here, spending time on Houzz/pinterest...and that's about it.

TLDR - I'm happy w/ the design but it's low on details. What have/would the TFP members do?



Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I think you need to tackle the project in zones and phases. You need to identify the zone for your outdoor kitchen, pool, lounging, equipment, etc. You an build each zone at a different time and phase. But you need to plan the infrastructure - electrical, water, drains, audio/video cabling, etc. - and get that into the zones during the initial construction. In some cases like low voltage wiring you can put conduit in the ground with pull cables and figure out later your audio, video, network, and lighting details.

Note that you never mix low voltage cabling and high voltage cabling in the same conduit. Separate conduits are needed.

Separate what needs "construction" from what is "interior decorating". I say that I handle the construction and my wife handles the interior decorating. I get the walls up in place. I don't care what she wants to put on the walls or what color she wants it painted.

You can never do everything at once but when you break the planning up it becomes manageable.
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