How the Pool and Landscape Design Process Works

What should you, as a homeowner, expect from Artisan Home Resorts during the custom pool and landscape design process? It's a very different experience from hiring a gardener / landscaper, choosing a pool design out of a catalog or looking at pool installation company websites. Custom swimming pool and landscape design should start (and continue throughout) with a great deal of communication about the many design and construction options, the potential obstacles and your desired outcome.

  • Initial Consultation
    • The process starts with a phone call from Mason Monson, our Lead Client Relationship Manager. Mason will schedule time for an initial phone consultation with you to get an overview of your vision, your space and your planned investment.
  • First Site Visit
    • If we meet your expectations and we’re a good fit for your project, then Mason will schedule an on-site visit to see your property. During the site visit, you’ll have a deeper conversation about what you want, walk your property, start writing down your wish list and take pictures.
  • Design Services Agreement (DSA)
    • Based on this initial assessment, a Design Services Agreement is written and once you, the homeowner, signs that agreement, the photos and wish list goes to one of our designers.
  • Designer Site Visit
    • Your designer then makes a site visit to your home, this time to take very specific measurements, more photographs and to begin rough or hand-sketching ideas for the design layout. The most important part of this process is for the designer to understand you, your lifestyle and your design aesthetic in great detail. We’re able to take your likes and dislikes and make recommendations and share our ideas based on 35 years of design and build experience.

The Discovery Process

The designer is also responsible for a crucial step in designing your pool and landscape: the discovery process. This phase may seem detailed and tedious to you as the homeowner, but it is a vital step that is guaranteed to save a great deal of time, avoid wasted effort and spare unnecessary expense. This may take place before the designer’s site visit.

The discovery process is where we gather documentation that will inform us of details about your property, the environment, and building and development regulations that will affect your landscape and pool design and installation.

These documents can include a topographic map (i.e. a site survey with elevation, grading and drainage details), a site plan (the layout of the existing property with detailed measurements) and title documents from the purchase of your home. They usually can be found in your closing documents but if you don’t have them, we can get them from your city or county entity.

The reason we do this so early on in the process is that it’s extremely important to find out if there are any unusual or restrictive easements in place. We do not want to draw a design that doesn’t meet the guidelines of your municipality. This helps us avoid finding things out in the middle of the permit process, which loses time, so we do a great deal of upfront work to make sure that the whole process goes very smoothly.

Another element we also must consider is the existing vegetation. Several cities in the Bay Area have ordinances in place to protect trees based on their size, location or species. These trees may not be removed nor may construction take place under their canopy where the roots could be damaged. We also take into consideration any existing plants or bushes you may want to include in your new design. For example, for this project, we built to keep and even incorporate the existing trees as an integral part of the landscape design process.


The Conceptual Design

Once this is done, the next step is to create a conceptual design.

A conceptual design shows you the complete picture of all the elements you want, such as the pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, water and fire features, ADU, etc., and how these elements relate to each other in your space. This is the first actual design document that you will receive. It is a visual map of your entire property. It is not a construction plan with precise measurements and material callouts that can be used for building.

A “photo deck” is included with the delivery of the first conceptual design. This is a pdf with suggestions for materials and finishes such as tile, decking, coping, plaster, fire pits, lights, fountains and whatever design elements you might want.

Once in the design process, we often find that homeowners start getting an even clearer vision of what they want. We’ll discuss and note any changes to the concept during delivery of the design. We can do up to two revision cycles of the conceptual designs before deciding to proceed in the custom landscape and pool design process.


Construction Documents

Once you have approved the conceptual design, you now have the opportunity to engage Artisan Home Resorts to develop construction documents.

These are the detailed architectural plans for the building of your pool including specific measurements, design details and material callouts of your landscaping, swimming pool and additional elements such as fire pits, fountains or pavilions.

Once these construction documents are completed, you once again have the opportunity to select Artisan Home Resorts to bid on and build your pool and landscape, or you can obtain bids from other construction companies of your choice.

The construction documents will be vital for obtaining accurate contractor bids for the pool building and installation. It will also inform the construction contractors about any permits that may be necessary for your project.

You can see that this custom landscape and pool design process is detailed and involved. It’s in part due to the nature of building anything in California but it is also our way of making certain that the process through construction is as smooth as possible. Our goal is to create a design for you, your family, and your lifestyle so that you have a resort-style home environment for enjoyment and entertainment.


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California Silicon Valley
14435 Big Basin Way
Suite 252
Saratoga, CA 95070

California Bay Area
The Embarcadero
Floor 8
San Francisco, CA 94111

Middle Tennessee
1229 Lakeview Dr
Franklin, TN 37067

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