Inground Pools
installation Tips

Inground Pools Rochester NY

Are you Thinking about
installing an inground pool ?

Not sure where to Begin ?

No worries! Your not alone. Most homeowners are not really sure where to start. It can be hard to get useful, yet unbiased information on pool installation without getting too far into the process.


All the information on this site is based on my formal education in Landscape Architecture combined with over 25 years of professional experience, designing inground pools & backyard living areas in Rochester, NY & Hilton Head, SC.


Hi, my name is Bill Carr, owner of Woodstream Landscape Inc. I design pool projects for homeowners in Rochester NY. I hope that you will consider hiring me to work on your project. However, even if you don’t, you will hopefully find the information on these pages helpful.

Landscape plan for inground pool project
Inground Pool and Patio in Rochester NY
Landscape designer presenting a Landscape design to a customer
Boulder retaining wall

Starting Your Inground pool project

When thinking about an inground pool installation many Rochester homeowners are not sure where to begin.

Swimming pools are a big investment which takes up a large portion of your backyard. An overall design is a key first step which will help you visualize and prioritize important elements of the project.

The number one thing I can tell you is that you need to think about and plan how you want your backyard to look and function once the pool is in.

Even a simple plan you do yourself will help you to solidify and understand your own objectives.

A pool company is not there to design your overall backyard space.They are there to give you a pool. They’re skill set is to install a high-quality swimming pool, but that’s probably the extent of what you get.

With the right plan, you can create the “feel” of a multi functional outdoor living area, that includes the pool.

The overall space, including the pool becomes viewed as an asset… instead of a liability.

Flagstone Pool patio with paver coping
pool waterfalls
Patio-inground pool and landscaping

Turn the largest space in your home... into a daily vacation.

Before the trend toward outdoor living, people did not use their backyard as part of their everyday lives. The backyard was simply functional space.

So most swimming pool installations looked pretty much the same. A bland space, disconnected from the rest of the yard, functioning for a single purpose . A pool was often seen as a liability when considering a homes resale value.

Today’s homeowners & home buyers value outdoor living space, especially when it’s well designed. In fact, studies done by national association of Realtors show a high rate of return ( around 100% ) on outdoor living areas.

When your pool is carefully designed to be integrated into your overall backyard living space, it becomes a valuable asset. Visually, it will “read” as a captivating water feature which is part of a multi functional backyard environment.

Then it is No longer Perceived as “just a pool” and when you go to sell your house, that whole “Outdoor Experience” is seen as an Asset, not a Liability.

Backyard with a pool, patio and landscaping designed by a professional landscape designer

Landscape Designer

Plan your entire backyard, including your pool

Use a Landscape Designer to design your overall backyard including the pool. A cohesive plan will enhance the look and “feel” of your entire backyard.

Below are: Professionally designed
Backyard pool project Examples

Landscape design drawn by a landscape designer in Rochester NY

"If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design."

Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover

See More Pool
Project photos here

Pool installation companies

Pool installation in Rochester NY

Here are a few tips on choosing a pool company to install your inground pool project. I also included a few Rochester NY area pool companies I have worked with that I would recommend.

Pool being installed located in Rochester NY
Worked with Pettis Pool & Spa to create flat usable space for an Inground Pool located in Pittsford NY. A very sloped backyard.

Inground Pool installation in Rochester NY


Other than the usual advice such as references and number of years in the business, there is one thing I have noticed over the years.

If the pool contractor is doing at least 20-30 pools per year, the communication and execution are much smoother.

In order to install that number of pools, a pool builder will definitely have to be organized, efficient, and have a process to handle the scheduling the work.

I find that pool builders doing less than 10-15 pools typically cost less, but the projects always seem to drag on, driving my customers nuts.

Boulder retaining wall used on a cut and fill pool project
We worked with Northeastern Pool and Spa to install this pool in a sloped yard in Greece, NY. A 3' cut was made and retained with limestone boulders. The 'Fill' was used on the far side of the pool to create flat usable space.
inground pool built on a slope using a retaining wall
Worked with Fountain Pools. We changed the grade to create flat usable space on a yard that was sloped. The fill from this cut created 1000's of square feet of flat yard ( on far side of pool )

Recommended Pool Builders
for your Inground Pool installation

I often get asked who I would recommend to install an inground pool project here in Rochester. I will always work with whoever you choose, but some are definitely better than others.

I’ve worked with some pool contractors that just want to make things easy on themselves. However, that is not always in the customers best interest.

The companies listed below have worked consistently well with my customers over the years. Even on projects that are a little more custom than normal.

Based on 20 years of 1st hand experience, I think you would be very happy working with any one of the Pool Builders listed below.

Fountain Pools

Fountain Pools

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Fountain Pools

Pool and Spa

Northeastern Pool & Spa

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Northeastern Pool

Pettis Pool & Patio

Pettis Pools & Patio

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Pettis Pools

to avoid

avoid these very common planning mistakes when building your inground pool Project

Not building enough
patio space

The #1 regret from homeowners who have an inground pool installed is that they underestimated the importance of the pool patio. Studies show that when the average homeowner uses their pool, approximately 85% of their time is spent on the patio and not in the pool.

That makes the pool patio an essential part of your pool project. A feature that you must get right….AND hopefully the first time!

A very common mistake is thinking “I’m going to have a lot of people over so I’m going to need a big pool.” That’s a misconception because when you have a lot of people over you don’t need a big pool so much as you need a big space around the pool to accommodate the people.

Inground Pool Renovation Rochester NY Before
This is patio was undersized and not proportioned correctly. We worked with Fountain Pools to install a new outdoor living area to go with the pool that Fountain installed.
Breakdown of total pool costs on an example project
An example of a pool fence that is put in without much thought. This space will never be 'Perceived' as an outdoor living area... it's just a pool....Your not saving much by 'cutting back at this stage of the project....Most of the cost is already there.

location of the pool fence

Your Fence Layout directly impacts the overall "feel" of your outdoor living space

The fence creates the walls of your “outdoor room”. Everything ‘inside the fence’ is your poolside living area.

A common regret from homeowners who have installed a pool, is that they minimized the amount of pool fence. The result is an environment that “feels” very tight and unbalanced.

It’s hard to ‘Balance’ and soften the visual weight of your pool & paving when the scale of the space inside your fence is too small.

It’s comparable to having a small bedroom with large furniture (mass)… it just doesn’t feel cozy.

Remember… that everything inside the pool fence doesn’t need to be planted or paved.  That approach usually results in too much “mass”. 

It’s preferable to have generous proportions for your poolside environment.

The area is then balanced with skillful planting design using the principle of mass and void to create a pleasing, balanced environment.

Don't Leave the
Pool Grade to Chance

Pool grade makes a huge difference in usability of backyard

The most common cause of wasted space in your backyard pool project is grading. On a surprisingly high percentage of pool installs, the grade is never really addressed until the day the pool is actually dug. And it’s the excavation crew that determines it.

Often you will see maybe 4′-5′ of flat area beyond the 3′ concrete apron and then the grade falls off quickly. The pool fence gets installed along the top of that transition, leaving you with a proportionately constricted “inside the fence” space.

By planning your overall layout, including grading, ahead of time, you can avoid these quick drop offs and non functional left over spaces. The result will be larger, flatter areas that provide you with a much higher percentage of usable space.

Plan ahead. Don’t leave the grade to chance because you end up having to either “live with it” or spend a surprising amount of money afterwards bringing in soil to fix it. 

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Final word...

Hopefully this page has provided you with some helpful information on starting an inground pool project, either here in Rochester, or elsewhere.

Check out the rest of this website or jump here to learn more about our Pool design service and see our pictures/portfolio of pool projects in the Rochester, NY area.

Landscape-Designers working at a construction site

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Vision | artistry | 25 Years of experience

Woodstream landscape

A design oriented landscape company in Rochester NY

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