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J Designs Pool Design Process: Getting The Look Of Your Dream Pool In Two Phases

Designed residential pool

You’ve finally convinced yourself to get a pool. There’s enough room in your backyard, and in your mind, you see that one magical space where your oasis will be. 

But that’s just what it is. A space. A formless, shapeless blur that you know will eventually hold gallons of crystal clear water. What does it look like? Is it square or rectangular? Circular or oval? Surrounded by natural features such as rocks or bushes? Is it a simple concrete hardscape? What color tile will you use? Will there be a water slide for the kids or a spa for the grown-ups? 

These, along with countless other questions are flooding your brain and you don’t know where to start. 

Breathe. Relax. Don’t stress yourself out of a pool! 

While there are many steps to building a pool, none is as exciting as the design process. It involves no tools, grout, or excavation. All that you have to do is rely on your imagination and think about what your dream pool will look like. 

Of course, there are important conversations that need to be had as well. That way you are not left with any unwanted surprises and your pool design can be tailored perfectly to your home. 

That is what we are here for. 

At J Designs we have 14 years of helping our customers design their pools in a wide range of styles and a variety of materials. We do it in a two-phase process. 

By the end of this article, you will have a full understanding of our two-phase design process and the steps each phase consists of. That way, if you decide to sign on with us to design your pool, you’ll know what to expect.

But first, we have to talk about The Triangle. 


The Triangle

As pool designers, our job is to help organize the ideas that you have in mind and shape them into a cohesive plan. This shape would be a triangle. 

Our Pool Design Process_ Getting The Look Of Your Dream Pool In 3 Phases - Final Revision

The three sides composing the triangle consist of:

  • What the customer wants: what is the initial idea that the customer has for their pool
  • The design of the pool: what is the overall look of the pool and what materials will be used
  • The functionality of the pool: what will the pool be used for (family recreation, exercise, parties, etc.)

As we said before, building a pool, while exciting, is a layered process with many moving parts. The designing of a pool is no different. The overall look and appearance of a pool can take on different faces and involve elements that may be unfamiliar to you. 

By utilizing this triangle formula, we can get a better initial idea of where to start and now have a framework that will guide you through the whole design process. 


Phase One


The Intake Form

Phase 1 begins as soon as you click on our website and book an appointment

You will be required to fill out an intake form upon requesting a consultation. In this form, you will be asked a series of questions that you may not immediately know just yet, such as…

  • “What is the scope of your project?”
  • “What style are you looking for?”
  • “What are the elements that you would like to incorporate?”

If you don’t know all of these elements just yet, don’t worry. Fill out as much information as you are able. This form is not a set-in-stone plan. It’s just a loose blueprint to give our designer an idea of what you might be looking for in your pool design. 

Worried about privacy? You don’t have to be. We will not be sharing any of your personal information or sending you any unwanted spam or ads. 

Now that you have booked an appointment and filled out your intake form, now you’re ready for our next step. 


At Home Visit

Did you know that a designer can tell a lot about what kind of pool a customer is going to design based on what kind of car they drive? Chances are if you have a two-seater Mustang, you’re not going to want a pool with a kiddie slide. 

It doesn’t have to be just the car. It could be the wood paneling. The marble. The color of your kitchen.

There are a lot of things about a client’s home that can clue the pool designer into what exactly they could be looking for in terms of what kind of pool they want. 

That is why the initial home visit is so important. 

Not only do you and the designer get to meet face to face for the first time, but just by looking around your home, we can see what kind of pool person you are. 

“There’s a lot of observation that we do at that point. A lot of the clients are not aware that I am noticing, I am looking, and taking notes.” - JC Escudero

The Early Sketch

What is also known as “napkin sketches” are hand drawings made by your designer based on the information they have received directly from you, combined with their observations. 

Again, this is not set in stone. So if you don’t want that attached spa that looks like a rock formation, it can be erased. 

This initial sketch is mostly to gain a reaction from you, letting our designer know if the direction he wants to take your pool aligns with what you had in mind. 

Old freeform shape vs new rectangle pool

Also, we have a large library of sample photos available of all different types of pools in varying sizes and shapes. Our designer can provide this to you to give you more visuals on which to base your own decision. 

If you want to have any additional features for your pool, the early sketch is a perfect outlet to discuss it with your designer. That way, they can show you the features incorporated into your sketch. 

“A well-made design can be made by having that initial conversation with a client” - JC Escudero


Phase Two


The Design Agreement

You’ve met with our designer and he has come up with a great sketch that perfectly matches what you’ve had in your head. You’re now even more excited and ready for the next phase. 

That is our Design Agreement, which is a document that contains the concept design drawings for your pool, along with a 3-D model of your design and printed plans. These are the concepts that you have agreed to and signed off on to create and build with our company. Now the designer knows to press on with the remainder of the process. 

The Design Agreement also includes a mechanical design of your pool, which details the piping line sizes and layouts, and the electrical requirements for filtration and lighting. 

Wall and floor details, as well as finish material recommendations and installation methods, are at your disposal as well. 

Your Pool In 3-D

As we mentioned before, there is a part of your design agreement where the basic hand-drawn sketch of your pool is officially transformed into a 3-D digital model. 


We can share this with you in several ways, but one of our most popular methods for sharing digital sketches of our client’s pool with them is via our YouTube channel

Through this channel, you can have your digital sketch shared with you privately or publicly. Also, by uploading a video of your pool design, you are then able to share it with your friends and family. 

“It’s a little movie of their backyard. It will give them perception and they will get to understand the more finalized concept” - JC Escudero


The Printed Plans

Have you ever watched a movie and seen the stereotypical architect in a hard hat take out a roll of large printed paper and lay it out on the table? The camera gets a closeup and you see large diagrams and arrows and numbers that don’t quite make sense to the untrained eye. 

Yeah, printed pool plans aren’t that much different. The language on the page doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely important. 

These are the detailed mechanical designs for your pool which include the schematics, cross sections, hydraulic design (plumbing), and measurements. 

These plans mark the completion of the design process, and with these in hand, along with your engineering plans and permit, you are ready for construction

Also, with this plan, we can finally put a dollar sign on your project. Knowing the exact measurements of your pool, the designer can discuss with you things such as materials. 

How can you know the quantity of tile to buy (which is usually sold by square footage) if you don’t know a pool’s measurement?

If the first sketch was the bones of your pool design, the printed plans would be the nervous system. 

Now you are ready to start the next step and begin building your dream pool!


Time To Get Your Pool Design

You now have insight into our two-phase design process at J Designs, along with what steps are incorporated into each one. With this knowledge, you can feel confident in working with us to bring the image of the pool you had in your head onto paper. 

At J Designs, we have a 14-year history of working with clients on the design of their pool. By the end of the process, each one knows exactly what they’re going to get and they’re happy to move forward into the next pool building stages. 

Whether it’s an intimate spa for you and your spouse or a party spot for 50+ guests, remember that designing a pool is a collaborative process where there will be crucial conversations. 

That way, there are no unwanted surprises for you. 

If you are ready to start the design of your pool, please reach out to our team for a consultation. 

If you are not ready to speak to our consultant but want to know more, please click on these related articles:

5 Common Mistakes First-Time Pool Buyers Make (And How To Avoid Them)

Glass Tile vs. Ceramic Tile: Which Is Best For Your Pool


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