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Survey Maps

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

To start designing your back yard we first need a base map, a copy of your plot (or property survey) prepared by surveyors, which most homeowners receive when they purchase their house. You can also request one from your tax assessor's office. Copies are usually available at no cost of for a nominal fee. A surveyor's map will save you time taking measurements. In addition to showing property lines, a footprint on the house, and other significant structures, the plan should show easement and location of overhead and underground utility lines. Make enlarged copies of the plan so we can draw on them, or use one copy as a base and add tissue layers to draw in the other components.

Items to include in a plan

Several features will work together to give you a clear picture of your site and help you to determine the best location for your pool or spa. It's important to include all of them in your plan.

Existing Structures

In addition to the house and garage, indicate tool sheds, decks, patios, and any existing fences. Make note of all paved surfaces, such as driveways and walkways.

Trees And Shrubs

Draw in all of the shrubs and trees on your property. It is important to keep the location of trees and shrubs in mind when placing your pool. They can provide shade or act as a windbreak if it's needed. We avoid placing pools and spas under trees so that you are not continually skimmering and scooping out leaves from the water. Even the needles from pine trees can become a maintenance problem. Some pool companies charge extra for lagoon pools or surrounded by trees. Existing trees and shrubs can be relocated or removed, but that will increase the cost of your project.

Buried Utilities

Mark underground gas, sewer, water and electric lines. Call your local One-Call center for this information. Dial 811, or go to to find your local service. Don't forget to indicate septic tanks and leech fields on your plan as well. Also, make note of any overhead power lines that cross your property. It is illegal to build a pool under power lines.

Soil Conditions

Soil type is factor to consider before selecting a site for a pool. Soil that is too sandy will be difficult to excavate because it won't hold a shape; too much clay tends to expand when it gets wet. Don't worry if you can't tell whether the soil is sandy or contains a lot of clay we can make that judgment. It will help if you can at least tell us if water tends to pond after rain shower.

We know how to compensate for these soil conditions. We can sink piers down to firm bedrock to support a pool in unstable soil. Faced with clay, we can surround the pool with soft fill material to absorb any expansion.

Slope Of The Land

The slope of the landscape must also be taken into consideration. In general, surface water should drain away from the pool. We avoid situations where surface runoff flows into the pool. If you have a flat yard or even one where small amounts of water puddle, we recommend bringing topsoil to create a gentle slope away from the pool. Or we can suggest a drainage system for the area around the pool. A subsurface drainage system for the area around the pool. A subsurface drainage system may also be necessary if naturally occurring groundwater keeps the soil wet. The system, which is usually perforated drainage pipe buried in gravel, may be able to divert water away from the pool area.

Sun And Wind Patterns

You can get a lot more enjoyment from your pool if you pay attention to how the sun and wind affect your site. Keep in mind that in the northern hemisphere, the sun's arc during the day follows a southerly course. In summer, the sun seems to be high overhead. In winter, the sun tracks lower in the sky. The sun is usually at its hottest in the late afternoon when it is sinking in the west. If your pool or spa is open to these directions, it will receive the maximum warmth from the sun.

Whether or not that is good thing depends on where you live. In hot climates, the afternoon sun can be unbearable. By the same logic, a pool or spa always in the shade in the north could be just as unpleasant much of the time.

The goal is to consider the prevailing local conditions when choosing a site for your pool.

A strong wind of even a stiff breeze blowing across the surface of the pool can make swimming uncomfortable. The same is true for the location of the spa. Fortunately, you can divert the wind clumps of plantings, fences or even the placement of a small, enclosed structure, such as an equipment shed or changing cabana or pergola.

There's so much more we take into consideration when planning your pool, but I will continue in my next post. We will add the pool to your plan and think about practical realities, privacy, pool shapes, access to electricity and water, access to building...

I hope I gave you ideas to consider when daydreaming of how will pool look like in your backyard. I can of course give you endless design resources.

As always I thank you for being here


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