Pool Patios

Patio Design for pools Rochester, NY

Pool Patio Design Rochester NY

More information for starting a pool project

Visit these other pages on this website for Information you on starting a pool installation including specific costs & options for the Rochester, NY area. A couple of recommended Topics covered are:

The information is based on my formal education in Landscape Architecture combined with over 25 years of professional experience, designing inground pools and backyard living environments in Rochester, NY and Hilton Head, SC.

Pool Patio Design

Patio & Outdoor space design basics

Are you thinking about installing an in ground pool in Rochester NY. On this page you’ll find some information on designing the space around your swimming pool. Including recommended space requirements, easements, setbacks and a few tips on designing space.

Page Index:

Why plan the patio ?

“Studies show that when using their pool, the average homeowner spends 85% of their time on the patio and not in the actual pool.”

50 %
Time spent on patio when swimming
600 sq
average patio size for a pool
$ 9
Average cost per square foot

Patio usage Fact

Did you know that when the average homeowner uses their pool, studies show that approximately 85% of their time is spent on the patio and not in the pool.

It pays to plan

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

Plan Your Entire space before you start

It still amazes me that such a large project, in terms of cost and impact on your property, is typically implemented with very little pre-planning.

On a majority of the pool installations, core elements that will impact spatial perception ( “feel” ) of your backyard & pool space are usually an afterthought.

Avoid the piece-mealing it approach

The problem with that approach is that it can create a very “piece – meal” feel to your backyard….. Space design Core Elements include:

  • Pool height & grading
  • Layout of pool fence
  • Hardscape layout
  • Softscape layout
  • Pool Placement

Typically, the pool goes in without considering the rest of your yard, everything afterwards, becomes an afterthought.

It Pays to Plan

It can be tempting to rush to get your new pool in the ground, to be using it as soon as possible. However, the possibilities for the whole backyard become much more restricted once the pool is already in place, especially if the finish grade was not given much forethought. It will be well worth the extra time it takes to plan your backyard, in fact it can help determine your Return on investment.

Further reading

Key First steps to designing a backyard

Step 1 ) Check setbacks & Easments

First check if there are easements on your property ( that’s the biggest challenge, typically).

Look at your lot survey and see if there are any utility or municipal services easements which could prevent you from encroaching on that area.

Also, look into your local bylaws, to see setbacks.

*NOTE: A few setback & Easment notes for Rochester, NY Homeowners.

In Rochester, they vary by Town…..You will need to know:

  • Setback from the side property lines,( usually 10′ )…. If you live in Webster it is 15′.
  • Rear setback is usually 15′ for most towns, but that is almost never an issue.
  • The pool needs to be 10′ from a structure (NYS Law)…….I see pools get installed or laid out closer than 10′ once in a while……but more often then you would think.
  • The easements are the biggest problem that you’ll run into. Especially in some areas of Hilton & Greece.
  • Sometimes the rear easements bisect the yard almost in half instead of being along the back line. It can be a gamechanger, so make sure to look at your survey before you get too far into a project.

Michigan State studies found that….”…....Overall, participants valued the landscape design sophistication most.”……

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

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover


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Backyard & Patio Design

Identify your activity zones

Step 2 ) Function & Flow

Think about the flow and functionality of your backyard. Most pool builders want to just plop the pool down in the middle of the backyard.

If you are having trouble, It’s helpful to imagine your backyard space as activity zones. Your activity zones might include places for:

  • eating and cooking outside
  • someplace to sit while our kids play nearby
  • comfortable seating areas to connect with friends and family
  • quiet areas to soak in the sun
  • areas to enjoy fire features
  • areas to play yard games like cornhole or horseshoes
  • larger areas for playing or teaching team sports like Soccer or Football

Step 3 ) Practicality

Next, consider practicalities. It can put a damper on the way a space functions if your guests can’t move around the outdoor and indoor areas in a logical way because it just doesn’t flow.

Consider issues that will have an impact on the function of your space, such as:

  • Flow and access between your house and the pool area
  • Where will people change?
  • Where will the pool equipment and chemicals be stored?
  • Is there a convenient place to store pool toys & accessories?
  • Distance from the cooking area to the eating area.
  • Also, consider Lighting your entertaining areas with Landscape Lighting.

By considering practical issues early, you can make sure they are addressed in your overall pool design.

On my 2D plans, You can see the dotted lines around features showing dimension required for functional human space.

Patio Space Guidelines

Did you know that when the average homeowner uses their pool, studies show that approximately 85% of their time is spent on the patio and not in the pool.

That makes the pool and surrounding living areas an essential part of your pool project. A feature that you must get right….AND (hopefully the first time!)

Below are some outdoor space guidelines using data which is based on Anthropometric research. The research data is used by architects and designers to plan residential and commercial spaces properly. 

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

Visit this page if you want more information on Learn more about landscaping impact on home Value

Outdoor space Dimensions

Dining Space Dimensions

 A 1′ or 2′ difference is all it takes for a space to feel ‘off’ or less than functional. Usually because there just wasn’t any pre-planning.

Dining Space Guideline:  Measure the table and add 3’ of space per side. This accounts for a dining chair (2’) and 1’ of disengagement space ( space needed to get up & pull chair out )

  •  A 48” round table needs a 10’ x 10’ space
  • A 8’ x 44” table would need a 14’ x 10’ space
  • Dining guest guideline: 30” wide (36” if seated at table edge) by 18” depth
  • A grill and small prep table need a minimum of 6’x6′
Data for dining space requirements for a pool patio


Not accounting for circulation is a mistake.

Space needed to move inside & between areas without bottlenecks. Add at least 1′ when spacing circulation near the waters edge. The 12″-18″ near the edge won’t be perceived as safe or functional.

  • Corridor space needed for a single human to move comfortably is usually 3’
  • Corridor space needed for two persons to pass each other is usually 5’-6’

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

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover


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” …….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.

Social Space

Space needed to sit comfortably & converse at a normal decibel.

  • Sofa configuration no more than 6’ apart
  • A conversation area for 3 to 6 people requires about a 10’x10′ space.

Chaise lounge needs about 4’ x 8’ (assuming a 7’ x 24”-28” lounge) which is enough space for the lounge and the 1’ disengagement space around 3 sides of the lounge.

Firepit Space

For a wood burning firepit the suggested space requirement is 5′-6′ from the containment liner (steel ring) to the circulation zone. It breaks down like this:

  • 20″-30″ safety zone
  • 24″ seating depth
  • 18″ disengagement zone
Anthropometric Data Fire Pit Dimension

A Few common Mistakes to avoid

1) Not providing adequate dining space

You want minimum 6’ from the edge of a table to the waters edge to handle dining space and circulation.

  • Most pool patio areas that are intended for table space are not big enough to be really comfortable.

2) Not providing adequate room for chaise lounge & circulation space

The space intended for chaise lounges is another spot that is typically undersized.  Allow 4’ from the front edge of a chaise lounge to the waters edge, this allows for safer circulation.

3) Big Money wasted on useless space

I often see 3′-4′ of extra concrete installed all the way around the pool (giving at total of 6′-7′ from waters edge). The square footage adds up pretty quickly, often 400-500 sq. extra.

Sounds like a lot of extra space. The problem is that it’s only 6′-7′ wide from the waters edge. It’s entirely useless, other than for circulation ( which only required 3′-4′ of space).

3) Don't skimp on the fence

Don’t minimize the space inside the fence. I see this done all the time. It is a terrible trade off.

Instead, skip the $4-$5,000 worth of extra concrete from above (#3 ), and do this instead (below):

  • Use some of the money on more fence to create ample room inside the pool area.
  • Use the rest to create 1 or 2 larger concrete area that are sized properly.
example of Poor grading for inground pool
Pool design Rochester
Breakdown of total pool costs on an example project
Choosing your material

Patio Options for pools

Basically, you will have 3 options when it comes to the material you use for your pool patio. Each has advantages and disadvantages. On a separate page, I will cover all 3 types of materials used in our area, including what it will cost on average.

Learn about the common patio options for your pool, including costs that are specific to Rochester, NY.

Pavers used for pool patio
Stamped Concrete Patio
Concrete Pool Patio Example Pittsford, NY

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.
  • (585) 202-0623
  • wdstrmpool@gmail.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Around $295 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most backyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $250 extra.

$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. 3D Renderings are usually $300.

Around $250 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most Frontyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $250, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout 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 inquiry. It mostly depends on our backlog, distance, type of work.

Not at this time. Since we don’t accept every installation project we’re offered, ( even though we might have done the drawing ) we instead opt to keep the design fee reasonable across the board, in order to keep it “Fair”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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