5 Things Every Bay Area Pool Installation Has In Common

After 35 years of landscape design and Bay Area pool installation, we’re certain that San Francisco, Los Altos and the surrounding areas are some of the most unique parts of California.

The rolling hills, the diverse culture, and the many events, restaurants and activities make it an exciting and attractive place to visit and live. But there are considerations and challenges for homeowners who want to experience a successful redesign of their landscape with a custom pool.

We’ve observed 5 things every successful Bay Area pool installation has in common. Here’s our advice on how to approach any landscaping or pool design project in this region.

Permitting Takes Time and Patience

The most satisfied Bay Area homeowners understand that permitting for landscaping and pool design is a long process whether they do it or the contractor handles it. It is an exercise in patience while your design navigates the labyrinthine maze of regulations.

City governments work to preserve the regional environment while also providing homeowners with the opportunity to develop and improve their land and home. City and county agencies are still working through the effects of the response to COVID-19.

This means that permitting could take six months or more, depending on location.

We help our clients plan ahead and consider all the options they want in their pool and landscape design before submitting for permits.

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Landscape and Pool Design Must Integrate

Experienced homeowners know that they want a designer who will design the entire backyard including landscaping, water features, hardscaping, outdoor elements and pools.

Our clients really appreciate our design approach which fully embraces and enhances the pool, other water features and existing vegetation. Many of our clients learn the hard way that landscape architects who only focus on landscaping will design around the space for the pool, not with it.

In addition, Bay Area homeowners want to incorporate creative and livable elements such as:

  • outdoor kitchens
  • conversational seating areas
  • fire and water features
  • pools
  • spas
  • sports courts

Our “San Jose Hangout” project included a pool, waterslide, an island with a bridge, a sunken fire pit, a sundeck, an outdoor kitchen, a half-court basketball court and multiple fire features while still preserving the large, old trees and beautiful creek crossing their property.

The result is a seamless blend between hardscape, new landscaping, the pool, water features and the existing natural landscape.

Greystone Lane - a San Jose Pool & Waterfall Entertainment Complex

Hills, Sloped Lots and Small Yards Need Specific Expertise

Our most spectacular Bay Area pool installations always start with a design that not only accounts for the hills and sloped lots, but takes full advantage of them to create spectacular effects such as the negative edge pool in this Los Gatos estate home.

From the top pool, it looks like you could sail off into the clouds over the valley below. Instead, there is a sunken spa fed by cascading waterfalls from the vanishing edge pool.

Building a pool on a hillside requires knowledge of the extensive engineering required to correctly design and install footings, piers and grade beams as well as additional pumps and pool equipment.

Lots in Los Altos Hills and Saratoga can be quite hilly, as can Los Gatos. There are luxurious and well-located properties in San Jose and other areas that have limited space simply due to the nature of living in the Bay Area.

That’s when a designer must be creative and look for opportunities to make everything in the landscape and pool installation serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.

For example, our “Grecian Splendor” project cleverly used retaining walls as well as the sides of the raised spa for seating. Curves in the hardscape and strategically placed long, straight lines create the illusion of distance and separation.

Spectacular small backyard pool build with a Grecian classic style.

Designing for Kids and Adults Requires Balance

Kids love splashing and jumping while adults love relaxing and exercising in their swimming pool. The challenge then is to create something that the kids will enjoy while still retaining the high-level style that Bay Area pool installations and designs require.

The “San Jose Hangout” mentioned earlier definitely accommodates the teenagers, but also the playfulness of the “big kids” with the sports court and outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens like this are also ideal for families or professionals who entertain guests, co-workers, or clients.

The “Via de Marcos” design included a landscape and pool remodel with a new guesthouse, sports court, putting green and a play structure for younger children. The outdoor kitchen and the shade structure offer adults a place to relax while also keeping an eye on the rest of the family.

Professionals without children have a strong preference for tasteful hardscaping, spaces that provide distinct seating areas and outdoor kitchens that allow them to host casual gatherings or more formal events.

The owner of the "Classic Winery Estate" had the land and specifically requested a design with spaces for large-scale entertaining in his landscape design.

Classic Winery Estate includes pool, multiple water features, and hidden grotto with a man cave.

Financing Is Not Necessary

Our clients have worked extremely hard in building their assets, so we find that they do not need financing for their projects.

This doesn’t mean they’re giving us a blank check. Our goal is to design and build a pool and landscape that fulfills their desires and is a spectacular addition to their home while respecting their investment.

These clients are taking what they have earned, worked and carefully planned for, and are putting it into a new type of investment that provides a positive return on increasing their home value.

The immediate return is the great joy, family time, and relaxation the pool and landscape design will provide for many, many years.

It's our pleasure and joy to create Bay Area pool installation and designs that will bring entertainment and happiness to your home.


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