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Design and Consultation: The Island Way

You have gone through all the work vetting pool builders and are finally ready to start the consultation and design process. For the most part, you should experience a fairly similar process with most builders: an on-site consultation, a 3D rendering, revisions, and then a contract once all is ready to go. You may see companies requiring a design fee if you are wanting to receive a rendering from them, this is not uncommon but be sure you are aware of what you get with this fee. While these processes will be similar, what you get out of the experiences is what will differ drastically.

Not all builders are designers and not having an eye for design does not discredit their building abilities at all. If you are in the market for a complete outdoor living space to be constructed, then it is essential to work with someone that understands the design elements.. Understanding the elements of design and how to apply them effectively lets a builder create an outdoor space that is as beautiful as it is functional. This is especially important when designing luxury outdoor living spaces, no stone can go unturned in creating your dream backyard oasis.

The key word in that last sentence is: “YOUR”. It is not uncommon to run into a designer that is unwilling to compromise on their creative vision for what you want in your pool space. We, like every builder, want to do: vanishing edges, grottos, sunken lounge areas, and swim-up bars. What any great designer will know though is, not everyone wants or needs these features. This pool and outdoor living area is being designed for you, so it should be you-centric. Any great design will be visually pleasing, match you and your home’s style, have a flow and balance to it, and ultimately is a space that meets your needs and that you want to use.

I sat down with our Director of Sales Zach to provide you with a better understanding of how we keep designs customer-centric, what to expect during our design & consultation process, and some insight he may have to help you design a better outdoor space.

Our Design & Consultation process…

All begins when you first reach out to our office or through our website. Besides collecting all of your necessary information, before visiting your home for our initial consultation we like to have a copy of your home’s property survey. Zach says it is very beneficial to have a copy of the property survey during the initial consultation to take notes on, collect any additional measurements he may need to complete your design, and to note any potential difficulties that may arise during the build phase. This initial consultation is all about gathering information and our most valuable source of information is you. Give us the whole laundry list of your dreams and wishes you have for your outdoor space, tell us about the resort pool you absolutely loved on your most recent vacation, share all your Pinterest boards with us, and tell us all about your family’s interests. In a recent consultation, a client was wanting to create an outdoor space for them to relax and entertain. They mentioned that their daughter was a competitive swimmer during the initial meeting and taking note of this small tidbit of information is what got us awarded the project. Our design team included a lap lane, something no other company did. This small addition fulfilled a need the family had not considered. This is why we put so much emphasis on conducting these initial consultations before jumping into a design; we want to design a pool and outdoor space catered to your wants and needs.

After the initial consultation, our design team will take all the information that was collected to begin working on your initial design and proposal. Once they have this all prepared, we will schedule a time to meet with you to get your input and discuss material selection. We prefer to have this meeting in our showroom: allowing you to see the material selections in person, allowing you to meet some of our staff, and allowing your designer to make revisions to your design with you there. Working on design updates with you ensures changes are always working towards your ultimate vision and our showroom has a wide range of materials & vendors for you to choose from. This second consultation (and sometimes it takes a couple of additional meetings before we get everything squared away) is important in keeping the design you-centric.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, it is important for a contractor you are working with to have an office or showroom for you to be able to visit. Not having one of them (ideally they would have both), is a very big red flag. With no physical address, it would be easy for them to just jump town with your money. Another major issue that may come up if they do not have a showroom is… you may not get to see samples of the materials you are selecting. While you may see photos of the materials planned to be used, we all know that things often look different in person compared to pictures. While in the moment of the design process this may not seem like a big deal, once materials start getting delivered you could be in for an unfortunate surprise. With our process, we want to eliminate leaving anything up in the air for interpretation. Leaving you with a luxury outdoor space, where every detail was done with intention.

What do people often look back and wish they had initially included in their project?

Assuming you are like everyone else, you probably know the feeling of wishing you had decided to go with that upgrade. That feeling comes up with building outdoor spaces as well. From Zach’s experience, “The most common features people look back wishing they included in their project are LED bubblers, water features, and more decking”. These are all common to eliminate when trying to cut back the cost of the project. While not including these features in your project may not knock the whole project for you, we do recommend trying to create your outdoor space as close to your vision as you can from the start. It can get very costly, difficult, and create unnecessary stress to add: water features, lighting, decking, and many other additions. While the upfront cost may be more, you will be saving yourself time, money, and that feeling of buyer's remorse by building your project right the first time around.

What do you believe makes a design great?

“An outdoor living design that accomplishes everything the client wants and wows them is a great design.” was the initial response Zach gave when asked this question and ultimately this is the correct answer for anyone working in design of any kind. While talking to him about some of his favorite projects some common themes became visible: elevation changes, unique curves, unique materials, and combining different materials are all elements Zach loves to include in designs. This recent design he has completed, shows him utilizing these elements to create a stunning outdoor space for one of our clients.

Now that you have a better understanding of our design process, let's start designing your dream outdoor living space!

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