Whether you have just begun thinking about a pool installation or you are nearly ready to sign on the dotted line, make sure you check out the following secrets about pool construction before you go any further in the process. These tips will help you make a more informed buying decision and could save you time and money in the long run.

1. Not All Swimming Pools Are Built the Same

And some are better than others.

Bottom line, when it comes to in-ground pools, concrete construction is strongest and lasts longest. There are some pool companies out there doing quality construction on vinyl-lined and fiberglass pools, but those materials still cannot compare to the durability of concrete especially in the Arizona heat.

Concrete pools start with a cage-like structure made from steel rebar (thick reinforcing steel) over which pneumatically pumped concrete (called “shotcrete”) is sprayed, which then hardens into the pool shell. This is typically covered in plaster or some other durable surface layer like a pebble aggregate or tiling. It’s a decades-old process, and the product installed correctly can last a lifetime.

That’s not to say that all concrete pools are equal. Even pools of this type can be constructed from low-quality materials by pool builders trying to cut corners. Some might use low-quality concrete or rebar. Other might rush excavation.

The lesson here is that settling for a budget pool build by the lowest bidder is not likely to result in a long-lasting, high-quality pool. You could save some time and money, but ultimately it’s a recipe for problems down the road.

2. The Deck Is Just As Important as the Pool

Any pool company worth its salt knows this, but consumers may not.

When planning your pool build, be sure to consider the deck — the usually paved area immediately adjacent to and surrounding the pool — as high of a priority as the pool itself and budget accordingly. It is counter-productive to build a quality swimming pool but a subpar deck. The deck meets the coping of the pool and should be carefully constructed by a pool company that is invested in a comprehensive pool and deck build.

Aesthetically, the deck is what’s going to make your pool “pop.” We’re not saying you have to install a complicated, budget-busting deck; just take care considering how you want to properly complement your pool. It’s actually easier and cheaper in the long run to install a quality deck at the same time as the pool than waiting and trying to change it or upgrade later on.

Just like with a pool, you tend to get what you pay for. It’s worth it to invest in quality design and construction on your deck.

3. You Don’t Have to Compromise on Style

Some pool builders will try to steer you toward certain designs or packages they say are the most popular and lead you away from other types of designs for which you might have expressed a preference. What they are actually revealing is their limitations as designers and builders.

An experienced, creative designer can make almost any style of pool look good. They can make traditional designs look fresh as well as incorporate custom or modern designs with existing structures for a seamless appearance. If you have a preference for a certain type of pool, you’ll want to hire a pool company that has experience building a range of styles. Look for a builder who emphasizes the custom aspect of their designs. Not only is it an indication of extensive work experience, but it is also evidence of a company that is involved in the whole process from design to prep to construction. Custom pools are not necessarily more expensive than package pools, they just take more talent and knowhow!

One other advantage of concrete construction besides its strength and durability is its versatility and therefore customizability. If you can dream it, you can pour and mold it with concrete.

4. Plan for Complications

Not every pool company wants to potentially discourage customers by revealing what sort of problems can arise when installing a swimming pool. But let’s be honest: Building a pool is a big job and there is always a chance complications can crop up. Excavation can uncover large hidden rocks or objects that require special equipment — at greater expense — to remove. Harsh weather can delay construction or make extra work and cleanup necessary. The permitting process can eat up more time. The size and orientation of the space where your pool will go can present surprise difficulties depending on the layout and surroundings.

Those are just a few challenges that can arise during a pool build. Don’t let these things discourage you though. An experienced pool builder will have the know-how to work through issues and deliver the pool of your dreams.

If you’re in the process of looking for a pool company to build your in-ground swimming pool, no doubt you’ve carefully researched and thought about different construction options for your pool. But, did you know that the pool deck is just as important to consider as the pool itself?

The pool deck surrounds, complements, and protects the swimming pool. It is also the area where you will ultimately spend most of your time when outside enjoying your pool. Don’t make material selection for your new or remodeled pool deck an afterthought: Learn about the five best materials used today for deck surfacing — and which is right for your project.

1. Artistic Pavers

Unlike plain poured concrete, artistic pavers add a distinct touch of elegance to the overall look of a pool space. Artistic pavers can be manufactured with a variety of looks and finishes such as stone, coral, seashell, and tumbled finishes to mimic the look of many types of natural rock for a fraction of the cost.

Besides their pleasing appearance and overall aesthetic versatility, artistic pavers have a huge durability advantage over concrete as they rarely develop cracks. Artistic pavers are generally more expensive than basic concrete up front, but their durability spreads that extra investment across a longer time period.

Artistic pavers also have the advantage over concrete of being slip-resistant when wet. They also tend to stay cooler than concrete.

2. Travertine Pavers

Travertine, which is a kind of limestone, has been used as a building material since ancient times. Not every pool company offers travertine as an option, but it happens to be a superior choice for a pool deck.

Travertine pavers come in many different sizes, patterns, and hues. They are often distinguished by their pitted holes and wavy patterns that resemble those of marble. The different-size pavers available allow pool companies to create unique decorative tiling patterns. Many pool owners prefer travertine for its classic look of sophistication just as much as its durability and resistance to many different types of weather.


Travertine nicely complements custom “natural” yard features like waterfalls and boulders. The material is also slip resistant and stays cooler to the touch than many other options.

3. Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made to look like stone or brick. These types of pavers are made to interlock without grout in the joints, so they are water-permeable and thus a great choice for pool decks. The sheer variety of sizes, colors, and textures means that concrete pavers look good with nearly any type or shape of pool.

Concrete pavers are a smart choice for buyers who want something with a classier look than poured concrete but whose budget may not allow for the higher cost of natural stone pavers.

4. Acrylic-topped Concrete

Concrete is probably the most common material used to create pool decks, but its two main drawbacks are its tendency to crack over time and the fact that it absorbs and radiates heat so readily. Acrylic topping offers a solution to both of those problems. It’s applied as a liquid to the hardened concrete, and when it dries it forms a protective coating that makes the underlying concrete more resistant to cracking and heat.

Acrylic coating also offers better wet traction than basic concrete, so it makes concrete pool decks safer for walking.

Acrylic can be applied by a pool company to your existing concrete, requiring no demolition, so it’s a great choice for remodeling an older pool deck on a budget and in a much shorter time.

5. Flagstone

Flagstone is a soft, porous rock that is another excellent choice for pool decking. It absorbs water and dries faster than most other deck materials in use today. Because of those characteristics, as well as its semi-rough texture, it is also one of the most slip-resistant options. Flagstone is very low maintenance and extremely durable.

Flagstone can be cut into tiles to complement a formal or traditional deck design. It can also be set in natural slabs to complete the quintessential look of an oasis-style pool area.

Any of the materials discussed in this article would make a great choice for your pool deck. It really comes down to your budget and the look you’re after.

If you’d like to see and experience these deck options in person, check out one of California Pools & Landscape’s two Arizona showrooms. We’ll be happy to help you choose the perfect material for your dream pool deck.  

People have different reasons for wanting a pool, and your reason is crucial to ensuring you choose the right options. A savvy pool builder will ask the right questions about their clients’ lifestyles as a way to propose the ideal pool design for each client. Here are the top 10 lifestyle questions when it comes to swimming pool design.

1. What Type of Swimmer Are You?

Are you strictly a recreational swimmer, meaning you mostly sit or float in the pool? Or, do you swim mainly for exercise?

Most people who primarily swim for exercise are going to want a long, straight pool in which to swim laps. They tend to prefer utilitarian designs like traditional, geometric pool shapes.

Most recreational swimmers spend less time swimming than they do lounging in or floating on the water. Recreational swimmers usually lean more toward designs that feature benches and sometimes decorative options. Though new buyers may not realize it, the pool deck often ends up being more important than the pool itself.

Establishing what types of swimmer(s) will be using your pool the most is one of the basic questions a pool builder should ask.

2. Do You Have Children?

Pool owners with kids typically like their pools to have more area in the shallow end and less in the deep end or no deep end at all. They also want a pool design that is conducive to activities children enjoy, such as games and water sports.

Obviously, safety is a major concern for buyers with children, so they will want to team with a pool builder who can offer options and materials chosen with safety in mind. That could be anything from the design of the pool to the type of paving used on the deck to the latest in security features.

3. Do You Entertain Often?

Maybe you’d like a large pool if you plan on doing a lot of entertaining. The deck also becomes more important since it will be the setting of your outdoor gatherings. Perhaps a large grill and built-in audio features are desirable for a pool owner who plans to entertain a lot.

An experienced pool builder can offer a range of options for pool and deck to suit many entertaining requirements.

4. What Are Your Aesthetic Preferences?

Some people want a rustic backyard oasis. Others prefer classic lines and a more sanitary look. Still others want the most modern design with the latest technology.

Whatever your preferred aesthetic, the pool builder you choose should not only ask you about it but also be able to make those wishes a reality. If your preferences don’t fall into one category, ask potential contractors about their custom work and choose one who can demonstrate their experience with unique projects.

5. Do You Like to Cook?

An outdoor grilling area and even outdoor kitchen can be chief considerations in the design process for a pool owner who enjoys cooking and easy entertaining.

6. Do You Prefer to Create Things Yourself or Rely on Others?

A customer who likes to have a lot of control in the design process would do well to partner with a company that can help make unique ideas a reality.

On the other hand, some people prefer a pool builder who can offer them many ideas and options to choose from.

Expert pool contractors should be able to easily work with both types of clients.

7. What Are Your Favorite Outdoor Activities?

Perhaps there are outdoor activities and sports that should be considered in the design process. To name just a few, pools can be set up for water volleyball or basketball and pool decks with sand play areas or putting greens. There are dozens of recreational options out there that are easiest to plan for during the design phase.

8. Do You Often Seek Change, or Do You Prefer Permanence?

Some designs and materials are easier to update or remove and remodel than others. For example, grout-free interlocking pavers are relatively easy to remove and replace, so someone who is constantly updating the look of their yard might consider that a good option.

There are plenty of options available for customers seeking timeless designs as well.

9. Do You Know About the Latest Innovations in Pool and Deck Design?

Some folks with certain lifestyles may not even be aware that the perfect fit is out there waiting for them. Smart pool contractors not only want to learn about their clients’ lifestyles, they should also come to the table prepared to educate and inform their clients on new innovations and ideas that could provide just the perfect match for discerning clients.

10. Is There Anything Unique About Your Lifestyle That Would Affect Your Pool and Deck Space?

Do you have any family members with disabilities who would require certain accommodations in the landscaping or pool design? Do you have pets and do any design considerations need to be made because of that? Perhaps eco-friendly pool options are a must.

Whatever your unique lifestyle circumstances, you’ll want to work with a builder who understands your desires and your vision and makes it their first priority to meet all your requirements.

While you may impulsively purchase a new bathing suit or a pair of sunglasses, you likely aren’t going to build a new swimming pool on a whim. It’s a major investment and that means doing your homework before diving into the deep end. Follow these six tips for decisions you want to be clear on before you hire a pool company.

1. Your Motivation

Why, exactly, do you want this pool? Is it to swim laps in? To host pool parties and entertain guests? To take a quick dip in when you’re done lounging the sun? For the kids to splash around in? Any or all of the above answers are good ones — you just want to be clear on the purpose this pool will serve so you can pick the proper type to correspond with your intended lifestyle. This could mean the difference between a plunge pool, a play pool, diver, and a lap pool, which are far different projects.

2. Amenities and Atmosphere

Once you’re clear on how your pool will be used, it’s time to think through its design and features. Perhaps your vision of a swimming pool won’t be complete without a slide or a diving board. Or maybe you’re looking for something more romantic, like a grotto hidden behind a waterfall. A spa with fountains and fire features is a great idea for evening entertaining. But it’s also easy to get carried away with your wish list of custom features before you’ve established a budget. Be clear on your must-haves and nice-to-haves before you meet with a pool company.

3. Budget and Funding

It’s important to have a good sense of what budget you have to work with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have that amount available in cash. There are many ways to pay for a pool, including a home equity line, second mortgage, unsecured loan, or credit card.  Ask your pool company about their financing options to see what the best option is for your situation. A quality pool builder will have lending sources available for you.

4. The Right Timing

Building a pool takes time, so it’s important to have realistic expectations about when you can expect to take your first deep in that sparkling blue water. If you want a pool ready for early summer, you’ll need to plan ahead. And while some pool companies offer promotions at various times a year, most of the time you’ll find pricing pretty consistent. Costs such as labor, materials and overhead remain level throughout the course of any year, meaning there’s no “ideal” time to buy a pool. The best time is whenever you are ready.

5. The Number of Quotes

It’s easy to get analysis paralysis when comparing quotes from multiple pool companies. They may each present you with a different option and explain why their way is the best. They may use different terminology to talk about the same things, making it tricky to do an apples-to-apples comparison. And they may structure their pricing differently, further complicating your evaluation. It’s best to get three to four quotes from reputable pool companies and then make your decision.


6. Insurance

Call your home insurance company and inquire about how a swimming pool installation might affect your policy rate. Because pools can be a safety risk, you may be required to do certain things for coverage, such as installing a fence or door alarms to protect children from drowning. It’s better to know this cost prior to moving forward with your pool-building project.


Once your firm on your decisions for the above items, it’s time to ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations of pool companies and formally begin the pool-buying process. Also online resources like BBB, Yelp, and the local contractor licensing board are great resources when considering a pool builder.

A backyard swimming pool can transform any house into an enjoyable home if chosen correctly.

A backyard swimming pool can transform any house into an enjoyable home if chosen correctly. However, many homeowners have never explored the possibility, believing that they cannot afford this luxurious amenity. Instead of falling into this group, explore your financing options and make your pool ownership dreams a reality.


If you have selected a well-reputed and experienced pool building company to construct your new pool, they will likely have financing options available. Their relationship with the financial institutions in your community will assist you in obtaining a loan for your new pool.


Homeowners in the process of purchasing a piece of property might be able to have the pool incorporated into the mortgage. In this case, you will not require separate financing. Likewise, cash and credit card customers will not need funding through the pool company.


However, utilizing the financing services through the pool company is frequently the best option. The interest rates and length of repayment will depend on multiple factors, including your current credit score.


A secure second mortgage loan will allow you to use the equity in your home for your new swimming pool. These are generally available for 10, 15 and 20 years. In addition to meeting credit score minimums and having an acceptable debt to income ratio, the lender might have other requirements related to property ownership.


If you have significant equity in your home, this option will allow you to create the backyard oasis you desire. Design the perfect outdoor living environment with a pool, outdoor kitchen and perfectly landscaped yard. The investment will pay off with increased home value and fun.


On the other hand, an unsecured loan is ideal for those with insufficient equity in the home to obtain a second mortgage. You will need a solid credit score and the ability to pay the loan more quickly. These are essentially personal loans that are generally offered for a seven-year period to twelve-year period.


Speak with a representative of your chosen pool installation company about your financing options. Before you begin the design process, you should know the maximum loan value you can obtain. While you might not use it all, this will help you when choosing materials and amenities.


When you work with a trusted and reputable pool installation company for your backyard transformation, you are making the best choice for obtaining affordable financing. Whether you pay it off in less than a decade through an unsecured loan or take advantage of the equity in your home to finance it for 20 years, you and your household are sure to appreciate it!

When it comes to installing a swimming pool, one of the most important stages happens before construction even begins: excavation.

What many people sometimes don’t initially think about is that construction of an in-ground pool requires excavating the ground beforehand to make space for the pool, and that process has its own unique set of considerations.

If you’re currently interviewing pool builders, make sure you ask them these five questions not only to see if they can give you satisfactory answers but also to establish expectations and create a productive working relationship.

1. What Can I Do to Prepare My Yard for Excavation?

Start by removing or relocating outdoor furniture and grills, potted plants, play structures or trampolines, gardening tools, debris, and anything else moveable that could interfere with excavation and construction. You want your yard to be as clear as possible to accommodate workers and the heavy equipment that is required for the job.

If you have immoveable backyard features such as planters or an outdoor kitchen, a competent pool builder will take precautions to ensure these areas or objects are protected from damage. Also, in order to access your yard and remove dirt, it may be necessary to temporarily remove gates or fencing. They should also take precautions to avoid damaging underground utilities such as gas or water mains, irrigation systems, and septic tanks or sewer lines, but it’s a good idea to ask about these concerns.

2. How Long Will the Excavation Process Take?

Excavations can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Time is affected by the size of the hole that you are digging — the bigger the pool, the bigger the hole. With any outdoor building project, keep in mind that the weather and soil conditions can delay the process.

Depending on your yard’s current layout, demolition may also be necessary. For example, if cement or other masonry exists in the space you plan on installing your pool, it will have to be broken up and removed, which can be slightly more time-consuming than digging alone.

In a small percentage of excavations, particularly in rocky areas, excavation crews encounter large rocks and standard digging equipment is not enough to remove them. In these cases, the rocks will need to be hammered or blasted, and this can add extra time and expense to the process. Keep in mind, however, that while the vast majority of excavations do not require this additional work, it is something you should be prepared for.

3. What Do You Do With All of the Excess Dirt?

To create the hole in which your pool will sit, a pool builder uses a machine called an excavator. Some excavators are quite large, but compact excavators such as a Bobcat are especially useful for maneuvering through side yards and in the oftentimes tight confines of a backyard.

Once the excavator removes the dirt, sod, soil, rocks, or gravel from the space in which your pool will be built, some of that dirt could be replaced around the finished pool in a process called backfilling. Since not all dirt can be used for backfilling, excess dirt is removed from your yard by dump trucks and hauled away for disposal or uses at other locations.

Either way, you won’t have to worry about getting rid of the dirt. A reputable pool builder will take care of removal as a standard part of the excavation process.

4. How Will the Excavation Process Affect My Neighbors?

There’s no sugar-coating it: Pool excavation is a messy and noisy job. By moving tons of dirt with large machinery, a fair amount of dust and racket will be generated. Luckily, as discussed above, excavation does not take long, so the impact to your neighbors is not drawn out.

It’s a good idea to speak with your neighbors ahead of time and inform them when the excavation and construction of your pool will be happening.

5. Can I Save Money by Digging the Hole Myself?

With a lot of research and know-how, it might be possible to save some money by excavating yourself, but the cost of excavation relative to the other parts of the process is fairly minor. Also, keep in mind that a pool excavation is a big job and usually involves obtaining permits from local agencies.

We generally recommend to our customers leaving the excavation process up to the builder. An experienced pool builder will know the safest and most time- and cost-effective ways to complete an excavation.

Family Fun Poolside

Do you have that “Arizona dream” that includes enjoying sunsets and starlight from your own back yard paradise?  Can you picture yourself barbecuing in a complete outdoor kitchen while the family plays a game of water volleyball in a beautiful back yard pool?  Does your idea of a great night start with dinner and continue with quiet conversation with your spouse next to a fire pit in the winter or a waterfall in the summer; surrounded by plants that you have grown to love?  Does the perfect night end with the kids asleep while you soothe away the day in a bubbling spa?

Jeremy Smith, owner of California Pools and Landscape says, “My family started building award winning back yards almost 25 years ago and we have not lost the joy that comes from helping our clients make their dreams come true.”

Jeremy works in the business next to his wife, Stephanie, surrounded by employees who are their friends and who they have knows since they were in high school.  It is not a normal business success story.

It is as unique a story as the American dream that created it.

“My Dad and Mom worked their tales off and created this company just from a dream and a hope,” Smith reports. “ I grew up hearing about how important it was to make every customer happy, about how important it was to put your heart and soul into every project.  I knew early on that we were honored to be chosen to work in someone’s back yard and to make their dreams come true.”

Along the way a lot of other dreams came true as well.  “We got to witness the lives of our employees change, we got to see the company grow and become recognized as the most awarded pool  company in the nation.  Personally, I got to watch my parents retire and I was honored with taking over the responsibility of maintaining a perfect record with the Registrar of Contractors and of continuing the legacy of a company that believes that there is no excuse for failure.”

California Pools defines success or failure, not in monetary terms, but in the story that their customers tell their neighbors about their pool, their back yard, and the experience they have in getting their dream built.

“I learned that from my Dad,” says the younger Smith. “He always said that the only story that matters is the one that our customers tell when we are not around.  Our job is to make their perspective one that we are proud of, no excuses.”

California Pools built a foundation of customer trust and a reputation that has served them well through the recent financial downturn and construction collapse of the Phoenix market.  Swimming Pool construction has plummeted from over 25000 pools being built in 2006 to less than 3500 in 2009.

“I am convinced that we survived and are thriving in this atmosphere for only one reason,” says Smith.  “It is only due to our reputation with our customers and their loyalty which resulted from years of hard work and dedication that all of my family and our employees put into countless back yards.”

“It’s a formula that is key to who we are and what we are.  I laugh when people ask me now about why we continue to back our warranties and honor our customers when so many others in the industry are avoiding those costs. It is laughable to think that we would quit doing what has made us who we are and what we are,” Smith says.

“We are using this time to recreate our processes and our products.  We have always been the leader in creativity and design, we are now also a leader in the new technologies that save energy and reduce maintenance,” Smith says.  “But we will NEVER lose our biggest commitment, to our customer.  We will offer new and better products and construction techniques.  But what has that made us the #1 Rated pool company according to Best magazine and the most referred pool builder in Phoenix is one thing—our commitment to doing whatever it takes to make our customers happy with us.

Recently the younger Smith talked his father Mike out of retirement.  “I am really proud of what has been accomplished over the last few years,” says the elder Smith. “My wife Joan and I set out to make customers happy one at a time and we did a heck of a job.  But the pools we build today are more intricate, they include more diverse products, they include complete back yard landscapes, shade structures, outdoor kitchens, and incredible amounts of inter-related products.  Joan and I could never have dreamed where this has gone.”

“Its great having Dad back in the day to day operations,” says Jeremy. “ He is old school some, we laugh at his difficulties with some of the computer technologies that are common place today. But when he speaks his passion for the customer we all listen.  It is the single minded conviction to do whatever it takes to make a customer happy that drives us all.  We know it is why we exist, why we thrive in tough times, and we know it is where our future is.”

Why have this?

When you can have this!

This is the perfect time of year to think about renovating your pool and backyard. California Pools currently has a brand new REFRESH YOUR POOL package starting at $4995+tax. This includes a new pool interior, waterline tile, and deck recoating. Did you know that California Pools can remodel your entire backyard? From ramadas to spas to masonry and synthetic turf; we can build it all! Call 480-498-2205 to schedule a free in home estimate today!

We are very excited to announce a new and exclusive pool finance program. The lender will increase the value of your home by 50% of the pool/landscape contract amount. This increases the value of your home making it easier to qualify for a secured loan at a longer 15 year term.  Longer term means lower payments! This is a great option for those who have a little equity in their home.  Apply at https://www.calpool.com/deals/financing.shtml or call 480-756-7085 for more information on how to qualify.  It has never been more affordable to build your dream pool today!

In Ground Acrylic Spa

California Pools and our partners have developed a patented and amazing acrylic inground performance spa.
Our performance spas have an interior as smooth as tile at much less cost.  They have 20 jets with options for up to 35.
The equipment is located in our patented custom masonry box located right at the spa so these spas rock!
California Pools Performance Spas come with colored lights, ozone purification, and spa side controls.  They are
insulated and hold their heat with a thermal cover so that they are always hot and ready to soothe away stress.
We are offering these Performance Spas at amazing pricing.  Our clients report that they are beautiful, have therapy
action like no inground spa ever.  The shell has a twenty year warranty and all the equipment is fully warranted as well.We offer complete outdoor living packages as well. This includes built in bbq’s, deck areas, and shade structures to create your perfect outdoor! Please contact 480-498-2205 or www.calpool.com if you would like an estimate today!


Get your backyard staycation ready! We are offering in person and video consultations—from design and financing to selecting colors and materials, you can design your new backyard from the comfort of your couch or at one of our three beautiful design centers. With innovative 3-D modeling, we can bring your backyard to life virtually. There is no better time than now to invest in your home and lifestyle! Call today for special summer pricing.