There’s a chill in the air, and summer is but a distant memory. So, of course, it’s the perfect time to plan a luxury pool project for your home.
“The swimming season is coming to an end, but the pool season is not,” says Chris Nejame, owner of Nejame Pools in Verbank. “Year round we’re thinking of the pool, designing it, redesigning it and then changing it a few more times before finally building it.”
Lee Kind, senior pool designer at Neave Landscaping in Wappingers Falls, says pool projects can take three to four months just for the planning and design process.
“We also create 3-D renderings, and the more involved the project gets, the more engineering and town oversight it needs,” Kind says. “The time to start a luxury pool project that will be ready for next spring really is now.”
According to the American Institute of Architects, creating an outdoor living space, including a pool and an outdoor room, continues to be the property enhancement growing the most in popularity, with almost 63 percent of architects reporting increasing consumer interest.
While the pool is the focal point of the backyard, the design process of a luxury pool includes its surroundings, too.
“The Hudson Valley gets an influx of Manhattanites who are looking for a weekend home — like the Hamptons — but are accustomed to a certain style of living. They don’t just come to us wanting a pool, they want an environment. It goes beyond anything you can imagine,” Nejame says.
Kind has designed luxury pool areas that included outdoor showers and kitchens, fire pits, pergolas, retaining walls and more upward of a half million dollars. Spending more time outside not only means swimming, but taking the kitchen outdoors, too. The Food Channel said that one of the top 2012 outdoor trends was outdoor kitchens.
“Shows like HGTV’s ‘Cool Pools’ and the Animal Planet’s ‘Pool Master’ and online sites such as Pinterest have inspired fresh ideas when it comes to designing pools and backyards for the luxury market,” he says. “Customers want glass tiles and other high-end finishes, even if it’s just on the edge of the pool,” he says. Glass tile is harder than ceramic tile and harder to break. It is also used to highlight the edging of the pool.
“Homeowners also request glow-in-the-dark tiles, LED lighting and computer controls. Waterfalls, spas and negative edge pools are also added. There’s no limit. People are making their homes that enjoyable,” Kind says.
Dominic DiCesare, general manager of Blue Haven Pools, says that he’s built pools that were completely done in glass or travertine.
“It gets crazy what homeowners do,” he says. “They add fireplaces, televisions, grottoes, caves and more. It’s whatever you can imagine.”
When it comes to an outdoor oasis, there’s nothing better than going for a swim in a luxurious pool and then enjoying the cookout and roasting marshmallows over an open fire pit. And, believe it or not, fire and water really do go together when combining beautiful water features that are fountains by day and fire pits by night.
DiCesare has built an entire lazy river around a home pool, as well as built pools with elevation changes.
“We have also built saltwater pools and pools that have mobile light shows,” he says.
Thanks to the advances in technology, computer controls now allow customers to flip a virtual switch while on the train or commuting, turning on lights and heating the pool while they are away.
“They also get text alerts when the pool is opened,” Kind says.
Homeowners are also bringing their luxury inside, too.
“More homeowners are adding saunas to their home, but a sauna is a sauna,” Nejame says. “There’s the heat and cedar siding, and a room that can withstand the punishment of the humidity, but the size of the room is what makes one sauna more luxurious over another.”
You can also create an outdoor oasis around the pool with walking paths, fountains, statues, rock gardens, patios, terraces and wall elements, otherwise known as “hardscaping.”
When designing your luxury pool and backyard oasis, Kind says that the most important part is the design process.
“Meet with a designer and go through your lifestyle,” he says. “Who is going to use it? How much entertaining will you do? Put together a comprehensive plan first.”
An accomplished designer caters to your backyard and your personal needs.
“Know what you want, so someone isn’t deciding it for you,” Nejame says. “Pick someone to help you go through (the) process. The area can be beautiful and even TV-worthy, but you want to make it fit to the clientele’s lifestyle — do they have two or 12 kids, parties every week or every six months. Why are they investing in their backyard?”
And forget the typical round, oval or rectangular shapes.
“The shape depends on the backyard and is dictated by the design concept,” says DiCesare. But don’t think that you can go big or go home. “Contrary to some of the shows that you see, building codes dictate what you can do and what you can’t do. Just because you have an acre of ground, you may not be able to do what you want to do.”
Don’t worry if Jack Frost suddenly comes nipping around, either, while you’re putting this all together.
“We are accustomed to building pools in that weather,” says Nejame. “Under 30 degrees, you pretty much can’t do anything, but over that you can still build.”
So break out those winter jackets and boots, take a long walk in your backyard and imagine how different it can be in just a few short months.
Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer. Reach her at email@example.com
Blue Haven Pools
NeJame Pool Specialists Inc.
80 Airport Drive,