Inground Pool Design & Installation

Inground Pool Design Rochester NY

Pool design example Rochester NY

Inground Pool design and installation project example in Rochester NY

Inground Pool Design Rochester NY

Thinking about installing a Pool ?

Not sure where to Begin?

Hi, my name is Bill Carr, owner of Woodstream Landscape Inc. I am a NYSNLA landscape Designer in Rochester NY. It can be hard to get useful, yet unbiased information on pool installation without getting too far into the process.

Hopefully, this site can provide you with some helpful information on installing an inground pool that helps to maximize the use of your overall backyard.

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.

What to Know Before you install an inground Pool

The pages on this site cover most of the information you’ll need to begin planning your project. On this page is some information on inground pool design, Including:

Page Index:

If you are looking for a quality Pool design….

Jump ahead and Learn about our Pool Design service for Rochester, NY homeowners, including pricing for 2D and 3D landscape plans……

Almost every picture used on this site is from our own Design/Build projects, but you might find it more convenient to see pictures grouped by categories including:

More information on Inground Pool installation

On this website is information on pool building, including options & costs specific to Rochester NY :

Some pages found on this website include information on:

Inground Pool Design 3D Example Rochester NY

“We work for you………….personally coordinating every aspect of even the most challenging pool construction projects.”

Inground Pool Design example in Buffalo NY

Why you need a design

Invest time in planning your overall backyard

Swimming pools are big, not only in terms of the size of investment you’re making. Their size will take up a major portion of space in your backyard.

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.

A well designed space must have enough room to deliver on its potential….. As an outdoor living area.

It’s helpful to think of landscape design as a recipe. If the recipe is substandard, then it won’t matter how much money or time you spend……it will never taste right and possibly it could be downright awful.

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

Plan before you start

Why Leave your Backyard Design to Chance

A pool company is not there to design your overall backyard space. They are there to give you a pool.

Let’s say you do decide to leave the design up to your inground pool and backyard up to your pool builder. You might get a drawing for the pool & patio, but they can’t spend a lot of time working out how the pool and surrounding features will blend together into a cohesive living space.

Especially when they don’t even know if they will be doing your project. At the initial planning stage they are there to bid on the pool, and that usually includes extra concrete for a patio and a fence to meet NYS code.

That’s understandable. However, that is not how space is designed for any type of residential architecture.Your pool project will affect a large portion of your overall living space and it should not be left to chance.

Inground Pool Design Rochester NY

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

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover


Backyard Pool patio Design Rochester NY

#1 Pool Design Tip

create year round function

“…..When your pool is perceived as part of a valued living area, it is seen as an Asset, Not a Liability…..”

Value by Design

Create a different perception of your pool area.

I touched on this before, but it is one of the best things you can do to create genuine “Value” when you are planning your pool project.

Many, if not most, of the swimming pool installations done today still look pretty much the same as they did 25 years ago. Mainly it’s because they are installed without being integrated into your overall backyard look and function.

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.

Design your pool to “Read” as one part……of an overall living environment

You can create year round beauty & function by carefully designing your pool to be integrated into your overall backyard living space.

It becomes a valuable asset when it Visually “reads” as a captivating water feature instead of a traditional pool. This can happen when the pool is designed as 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.

pool design mistakes. Grading and fence layout. No pre planning was done.

Studies done by the National Association of Realtors show a high rate of return ……..around 100% on outdoor living areas.

inground pool integrated into backyard living space

“When your pool is perceived as part of a valued living area, it is seen as an asset, NOT a liability.

pool design pool installation Rochester NY

New inground pool installation. designed properly and integrated into backyard living space. Adding to home value

Quality of landscaping impacts home value

“Beautiful Space…..Pays for itself”

Award winning research by the Journal of Real Estate Research shows a substantial market premium & increased property value for nicely landscaped homes. A couple of takeaways Are:

  • Privacy commanded a substantial premium adding around 3.5% to home value in their studies.
  • Patios / living areas were even higher, reaching 12.4%

Several University studies have also done research on the relationship of landscape quality to perceived home value. They also looked at a landscape projects factors/qualities that had the biggest impact on perceived Home Value and selling price.

The links to the studies are below if you want to dig into specifics…….If you Boiled down the findings into a quick summary, it says that:

  • The quality of a Landscape Design had the biggest impact on overall Landscape Quality.
  • The quality of the overall landscaping had a very high impact on a Home’s Curb Appeal.
  • Outdoor living space & outdoor improvements continue to Rank as the #1 home design trend.
  • Outdoor living areas will boost the perceived “living space” of a home, which in turn increases its value.
  • And finally….Curb appeal and outdoor living space has a big impact on perceived home value & selling price.
  1. Clemson University Study
  2. Virginia Tech study on Landscaping impact on Home Value
  3. Read the Michigan State University Study on Factors influencing ROI for landscape improvements.
  4. University of Vermont Study Findings
  5. American Institute of Architects Home Designs Trends Survey.

4 Tips for planning outdoor space

To maximize overall function

“…….Many of the good things in life simply happen outdoors. We often forget just how good it makes us feel, and then when we do go out, we can’t figure out why we don’t do it more often…….”

Pool Patio Design Rochester NY

1) plan the entire project at one time

The biggest mistake that homeowners make is not having a plan.

Unless you have some sort of plan or idea, it is highly likely that you’ll be encouraged to place your pool in a spot that is easiest for your pool builder to install it. 

The key to designing your backyard so that you get the most out of your space, is to remember that a pool is just one part of your overall outdoor living environment.

For the best outcome you should plan the entire project at one time so there is an integration of your outdoor spaces. This integrated design process for your overall outdoor living space is much like designing the inside of your home.

Inground pool Design planning patio space Rochester NY Project

Landscape Design. Fire Feature Example

2) Create activity Zones

It’s helpful to imagine your backyard space as activity zones. Your activity zones might include: an outdoor kitchen, small children play areas, Open lawn for sports & play, poolside leisure, entertainment, conversation areas & functional storage area.

Each of these activity zones must work in harmony with each other and with where you place the pool. Think about the flow and functionality of your whole backyard and how to create the maximum amount of usable space.

Here is some further reading explaining the basic principles of Landscape Design Department of Landscape Architecture, NC State University.

3) Pool Patio Design Tips

I often see extra concrete added around the pool on all sides beyond the standard 3′ pool deck.

In most cases this extra space is not sized properly, so it adds to your overall cost without adding function. Here are a couple things to remember when designing space for the pool patio.

  • 5′ or 6′ from waters edge (pretty common) is almost useless
  • 10′ ( from waters edge) is ok for Chaise lounges or Adirondack chairs, but it’s too tight for a table & chairs once you figure in the space that is needed for circulation & disengagement space.
  • People generally congregate in one area (often near the steps of the pool), so keep most of your patio space on one side of the pool if you are trying to minimize total square footage. 
  • You don’t have to get your full-size patio right away. When working with
    a budget, it sometimes means less concrete to start with.

You can read more about designing space for patios here.

inground pool built on a slope using a retaining wall

Boulders and natural stone landscape installation Rochester NY

4) weighing options when working with a budget.

Keep the following in mind when weighing options and cutbacks. It’s better to phase in important elements as opposed to eliminating them.

  •  Don’t cutback on the amount of fence, which is really saying “Don’t minimize the space inside the fence”. I see this done all the time. It is a terrible trade off. You are not saving enough money to justify how severely you are compromising the overall look and “feel” of your space.
  • Don’t eliminate important landscape planting beds. They soften and define space. Without enough “softscape” space quickly becomes stark and unbalanced.
  • It’s important to think about views from inside looking out. If your pool is part of a overall nicely balanced environment, it will “read” more like a water feature than a pool. When you go to sell, the pool is perceived as an asset, not a liability.
  • You can skip or postpone some of the pool features and use the savings toward your overall backyard space. You get better bang for the buck on things that affect the overall look and “feel” of your outdoor space.

Inground Pools Rochester NY-16

“……….After working with countless of clients over the years,  #1 regret is that they underestimated the importance of the pool patio…….”

Pool costs & Options Stone Coping upgrade example

Aluminum Pool Fence for an inground pool.

Is it worth it to hire a designer

The short answer is YES………….The benefits far outweigh the cost……… which is less than a single pool light !

The Benefit to working with a designer

The Benefit of working with a highly regarded designer, is that your designer will have the whole job in mind.

Avoid a piecemeal approach

The pool company you ultimately hire to install your inground pool will give you what you want…which is a pool. They are not there to design your overall backyard.

Decisions that are made during the pool build, later become the overriding criteria for the rest of the project. These include:

  • Finish grade ( which is the height of the pool deck)
  • pool placement
  • Fence placement (it is possible to adjust or move)
  • Concrete Patios

If these important decisions are made without considering the rest of your backyard space, then everything else becomes an afterthought.

This is a very piecemeal approach………And it often will look that way too.

Stop here to learn more about our pool design service……..

Benefit of working with a highly regarded designer, is that your designer will have the whole job in mind….Not just the pool portion.

Custom Pool Project Rochester NY

This is a very piecemeal approach………And it often will look that way too.

Pool installation & Design Fairport NY
Landscape Design

working with a designer

everything considered before you start

Design the pool and backyard at same time so that everything is visually and functionally integrated. By having a plan, you can construct any part of the project without conflicting with future parts.

That way no one is making a decision arbitrarily without taking into consideration the overall backyard layout because the answers are all there on your plan.

Investing in outdoor space is absolutely worth every penny. You will be surprised with how a beautiful outdoor space transforms how you live your everyday life. I have yet to meet a homeowner that invested in quality outdoor space express regrets.

pool design pool installation example in Rochester NY

How to find a Good Designer

The Design Matters…..Make sure you are getting a quality plan

To learn more about hiring a designer, what are the options. Visit out Landscape design cost page. it includes

  • How to sort the ” Wheat from the Chaff” to ensure you are not wasting time or money on a poor plan.
  • What I recommend as the “safest bet”.
  •  Average cost of a Landscape Design / Designer
  • The Real cost of a poor plan
  • The #1 Design misconception

Stop here to learn more about our pool design service……..

Final word…

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

Even if you don’t consider us for the project, you hopefully will avoid the costly mistakes that too many other homeowners end up making.

Best of luck ! Designing your new pool and Backyard Living Area !

If you are interested in hiring us to design your project, we make it easy to get started here, or you can fill out the contact form down below.

To learn more about our design service check out the rest of this website. You can jump to this page To see our pictures/portfolio of pool projects in the Rochester, NY area.

Inground Pool Design 3D Example Rochester NY

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

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover


2D & 3D Landscape Design Example

Our Landscape Design Cost

Add Value…..By Design

Front Yard Landscape Design example 2d Drawing Rochester NY

This is the classic architectural “plan view” layout. A 2D plan is needed for accurately laying out site features during the construction phase of your project. It also allows for “take offs” which insure accuracy in bidding. 

I always provide linear measurements for fencing and square foot measurements for Hardscapes. Those details usually more than cover the cost of a plan by eliminating uncertainty, which can cause bids to be “padded”.

  • Backyards that include inground Pool Design are usually $395 (Total) for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard Landscape Design is around $250 for an average Rochester, NY home site.

Inground pool Design planning patio space Rochester NY Project

New inground pool installation. designed properly and integrated into backyard living space. Adding to home value

Design your pool to “Read” as one part of an overall living environment

Front Yard Landscape Design example in Rochestert NY

Front Yard Landscape Design 3D Example Rochester, NY

Landscape Design example in Greece NY

3D Renderings

3D renderings can be used in the design stage of a project to help visualize the overall layout. They are not used for the actual project layout, so you can consider them as optional.

The benefits of a 3d Design

One of biggest challenges when looking at a traditional landscape design is to get a real “feel” for what a complex design would look like in the actual space where the project would be installed.

A 3-D design can give an “in the landscape viewpoint” that shows you the actual height of plants, walls or pergolas as well as how the different sizes of each element interact in the design.

How much does it cost for a 3D Landscape design
  • Backyards that include inground Pool Design are usually $295 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard 3D is $200-$300 depending on amount of detail in the house. For an average Rochester, NY home.

A 2D plan is still needed in order to create an accurate 3D Rendering. So you would have the cost of the 2D plan ( $395 Pool/Backyard ) + the cost of the 3D Rendering ( $295 )

we can help you design your space

Why are our projects always so different? Partially it’s the quality of the materials we use and the care we take in our installations, but mostly it is about creative and thoughtful design.

The right design will maximize the overall function and appeal of your entire property. It helps clarify your expectations, establish your budget and helps you to visualize and prioritize multi-phase enhancements.

Extensive time and detail is put into these plans so that your landscape will continue to add curb appeal, function & increased Home Value, Not maintenance and frustration.

It is for this reason we charge a fee for design work, which is around $200-$400 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most front or backyard landscape Projects.

Backyards that include a Pool run about $395 Total due to the extra time involved, such as measuring and laying out grades, drainage, setbacks etc.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out.

Landscape Design Rochester NY

Pool Design: Questions and Answers

Design for a Backyard with a Pool

$395 for a traditional 2D architectural plan which is what is used for planning and layout of the pool and surrounding spaces for your project.

Who does the Pool Installation

You choose the pool builder. They will install the pool, including backfill, rough grading and fence.

On projects where we are doing some of the installation work (like landscaping)….. we lay out fencing and concrete so it gets done according to plan.

Which Pool Company do you work with

We actually will be working for you. We manage a project with your best interests in mind. With that said, we work with whoever you choose as your pool builder.

Do you install any part of the project ?

We do Planting, Landscaping & Hardscapes installs, (other than concrete).  We will provide estimates for any of that work. We don’t accept every install, usually depends on our backlog.

What if we want concrete instead of pavers ?

No problem! As long as we are doing some of the other work (like Landscaping) I will layout the design for the mason to ensure it gets put in according to the plan.

How much is a Backyard design ?

Around $295 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most backyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $200 – $300 extra, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout of the project.

Do you refund the cost of design if you do the install

Not at this time. We don’t always ‘take on’ every installation, even if we do the drawing. We’ve instead opted to keep the design fee reasonable in order to keep it “Fair”.

Frontyard Design

Around $250 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most Frontyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $200 – $300 extra, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout of the project.

Do you do designs for people outside of Rochester ?

Sometimes, yes. But it depends. More so in winter. Just shoot me an email. The fees will usually be a little higher because there is no installation aspect. I’m pretty familiar with plants in the East down to about zone 8. I worked in Hilton Head, SC. for 7 years.

Landscape Design and installation Project Rochester NY

Woodstream Design & Landscape

Over 25 Years Designing and Building Unique outdoor spaces

Woodstream Landscape

(585) 202-0623

Let’s Talk…….We can get you started on your ideal landscape Project
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