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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
Outdoor Living
Article: Bob Skolnick
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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Our climate in the borderland area is ideal for outdoor living and having a pool and spa is the norm, not the exception. Many homes on the westside of El Paso, and far east and west in Las Cruces are backed along the mountains. The topography undulates and the soil is often laden with rock or has a lot of clay when you get closer to the Rio Grande river basin. When buying the house, do consider where the sun will be in the afternoon. A west facing house will have the pool and decking in the shade in the afternoon, while an east facing house will have the back of the house facing west, taking advantage of the afternoon and early evening sun.


Paradise - Dolphin Pools

Pools by Design

Silver Springs Pools
& Spas

Building a pool is defined by the lot size, many of which are irregular and hillside. The placement of the pool and spa can be challenging. It is important you select an experienced pool builder who is accustomed to working with an engineer who can design a stable pool site and correctly analyze the soil content. If possible, consult with neighbors who have built pools and learn from their experiences.

Hillside sites also pose special construction problems for pools and spas. Often a retaining wall and deep concrete footing and special soil compaction are necessary to create the flat and stable area to place the pool and spa. One key consideration is the elevation of the pool location so that you can take advantage of vistas while in the pool or sunning on the patio deck. Another key consideration is drainage away from the house that is directed away from the pool and decking. Provisions also need to be made to fully drain the pool when occasionally needed.

You, working with your professional pool builder, need to examine your city's requirements for building on hilltops, filled areas and set backs from your home and property lines. Once you have made site, view and building requirement considerations, you are ready to make a plot plan working with your custom pool builder.

Site lines of the pool and spa from the house are important for aesthetics, but even more relevant if children are to use the pool or play adjacent to the pool area.

Landscaping design is often both scenic and an important consideration in ensuring privacy from adjacent residences. If you are working with filled soils or a retaining wall, you need to ensure that your landscape design does not create a high-water demand situation which could cause destabilization. Plan for trees where there is a large lateral route system. We are in a high wind zone and you need to plan for blocking the wind cutting up from the canyons and over your pool and decking. Other landscaping considerations are trees, plants and yard surfaces that will add to pool cleaning and maintenance.

Access for the custom pool builder is essential. You can dream it; you can create a plan with your pool builder; the engineer can design it, but then comes the construction. The custom pool builder will need to access the backyard with earth digging equipment, bring in rock and pour concrete. The more intensive the handwork, the more expensive the cost of installation.

The benefits of placing your spa and pool on high ground commanding a scenic view far out weigh the additional considerations for placement and construction. ///
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