How To Design A Yard With An Existing Pool or Hot Tub

Why you should plan for a pool (and not the other way around).

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Isn’t that how it goes? What about “measure twice; cut once?” When it comes to installing a pool or hot tub without a larger backyard design plan, it can often feel like you’re setting yourself up for failure. While designing around existing water features can be hard, don’t worry! We’ve got the tips and tricks to help you make the most out of a backyard redesign project with existing pools and hot tubs. 

In our last blog, we talked about the importance of designing and building a yard to incorporate a new pool. From concerns about yard traffic flow, decks and fencing, shade, and more, a properly designed backyard is necessary for installing a pool that will make sense in your yard. Designing and building a yard specifically with your pool in mind ensures that all the landscaping elements work together, saving you on expensive and complicated renovations in the long term. How? We’re glad you asked. 

We wrote the last blog so that we didn’t have to write this one, but here we are anyway! If you’ve already had a pool or hot tub installed in your backyard, redesigning and rebuilding a backyard does become more complicated (and in some cases, more expensive). It’s not impossible, but it does present some challenges you should know about. That’s why it’s always important to enlist professional landscape architects whenever you take on a big yard renovation project, like those that include a pool or hot tub. A landscape designer or architect can help you create a holistic design plan, making sure all the puzzle pieces fit together to create a yard you’ll love.    

So you’ve already got a pool or hot tub in your yard

The reality is that if you’ve already installed a pool or hot tub in your yard, you’re going to be somewhat limited in what you can do design-wise. But hey, look on the bright side; you’re going to be limited in what you can do design-wise!

No, seriously. While existing features like pools and hot tubs may mean that you’ll have to sacrifice some of your grandest design dreams, this also offers a unique opportunity. Unless you want to pay all the money to remove the pool (not recommended) or hot tub (possibly recommended), you’ll have to make your yard’s water feature a focal point of the design of your yard. That means you’ll have to work hard to ensure that traffic flow, new structural additions, gardens and hardscapes work with your pool. 

How to design a yard around your pool or hot tub

The first step in designing a yard around a water feature is determining how much area you have to work with. For a yard without a pool, this is pretty simple; measure the length and width of your yard and account for any existing structural features and voila. For a yard with an existing pool or hot tub, well, it’s pretty much the same. Except now you’ve got to subtract the area of the pool or hot tub from your total available area. 

Once you know how much room you have, you’ll want to make a list of goals. While we always want to encourage people to shoot for the stars at this stage, with an existing pool, you’ll have to settle for shooting for the clouds (still, an excellent place to aim for). For a step-by-step guide to how to design the backyard of your dreams, you can read our super helpful blog post

If you’re looking for the abridged version, the 5 steps to creating the yard of your dreams are as follows:

  1. Draw a plan of your yard
  2. Make a list of goals
  3. Start bringing your goals to life
  4. Make a style wishlist
  5. Book a design consultation

While designing a yard around an existing water feature is complicated, you can still do some great things to create a fantastic yard with a pool.

  • Add a deck or patio to your existing water feature – building a deck or patio can help give your yard some structure and be an excellent addition to a pool or hot tub

  • Build or convert an existing shed into a pool-side bar – always a favourite, adding a bar (or outdoor kitchenette) to the yard can quickly give you that resort feeling in the comfort of your own yard

  • Add some creative lighting – turn your yard into an enchanting late-night retreat by adding some lighting, allowing you to swim safely into the wee hours of the night
    Backyard with pool at night
  • Create some extra privacy – building a permanent planter with large bushes or small trees can add some depth and much-needed privacy to a yard pool.  A pergola or shade-structure can also help to keep things cozy and give you a shady spot to rest in outside the pool

When it comes to designing a backyard, we always (always!) suggest creating a yard with a pool in the initial plans. We understand that it’s not always that simple, though. If you’ve got an existing water feature in your yard, a redesign will be more complicated, there’s no doubt about it. However, you can still create a fantastic yard with an existing pool or hot tub as the main design feature.

If you’re looking to design a yard around a pool or design a yard with a pool in mind, our team of experts can help. Working with a design & build team, and a landscape architect is the best way to ensure you’ll make the most of a new or existing water feature.

We offer free design consultations to help you make the right decision and get you living in a yard you’ll love. If you’re still in the planning stage, you can download our backyard design checklist for free to help you get started. 

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