How to Select Pool, Spa and Water Features

Pool, spa, water features & outdoor living area

We all want a pool and spa and pleasant outdoor entertainment area when we buy our dream home. Before you decide on the final design of your backyard, BBQ, pool, spa and water features click on our Pool Gallery to browse some of the pool, spa and water features available. If researched possible pool and outdoor living options and you are ready to start your project, call us for a free no obligation design consultation. We designed and built many exciting pools, spas and backyards. We always use the latest technology and we can help you decide what options best suit your family outdoor living.

AA Designs is a leader in the design, planning and construction of custom pools, saunas, spas, water features and outdoor living areas. Our goal is to integrate water and its many forms with your home style so our design complements all natural elements of your home. Water is a very exciting element to work with: it can create a calm, reflective mirror surfaces that reflect space and lights, amplify natural beauty of the design and transcends architectural elements. Water can enhance elevations, fill open spaces and lift human spirit. Our water projects represent the individuality and creativity of our clients in the most elegant ways. We can make a scale down model of your pool design and work with you to create the best overall experience.

Lighting makes a dramatic and exciting atmosphere and turns an otherwise dark night into a symphony of lights, water features and bright colors.

We create water as an art while incorporating the highest functionality in all our designs. We provide detailed plans and specifications for all areas of our projects, and we aim to be extremely eco-friendly by using variable speed energy saving pumps, best hydraulic efficiency designs, alternative heating and sanitizing, and much more.

We specialize in visually exciting, unusual, innovative and functional designs that provide the highest satisfaction to our clients because they are designed right from the start. Our passion for working with water in beautiful living environments drives all of our designs and enhances our clients’ and our enjoyment of the most outstanding projects.

Outdoor living rooms

Swimming pool technology continues to change and today’s fully automatic pools can be controlled via iPhone, iPad, Android phone or PC from anywhere in the world.  Beautiful pool became a centerpiece of your outdoor living space and we design every pool to  complement your lifestyle. Whether you are planning a total backyard makeover or a simple basic improvement project, detailed space planning ensures total enjoyment of your outdoor living space for years to come.  Every swimming pool is a custom creation that is carefully designed to capture your desires and transform your outdoor living space from the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Small family pool or absolutely ultimate outdoor entertainment complex, we can help with an outdoor living design that is uniquely yours.

Your outdoor living space should compliment both your home and your unique lifestyle.  From a simple barbeque island to a completely custom outdoor kitchen, a quiet area for relaxation or a dramatic focal point, our professional design team will help  you  determine what will best suit the needs of your entire family.

Imagine transforming your backyard into a romantic lifestyle you can enjoy every day. A private oasis where your family and friends get together to experience both excitement and tranquility. From backyard barbecues and theme pool parties to a comforting and  invigorating morning swim, or simply a quiet evening alone, your new backyard paradise is the perfect setting for entertaining, relaxing and creating unforgettable memories.

Let us make your dreams come true as we capture your vision and create a private refuge for you, your family and the ones you love with a unique outdoor living space.

We offer many outdoor living services:

  • Custom water features
  • Gazebos, trellises, palapas & pergolas
  • Sunken rooms and relaxing seating areas
  • Outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas
  • Raised decks, patios and balconies
  • Outdoor fireplaces, pizza and bread ovens
  • Chinese woks, rotisseries and BBQs

Functional design is essential to ensuring a lifetime of happiness. Our experienced designers will create a design uniquely crafted to fit your needs. From simple to simply sensational – your new poolscape will enhance your family’s lifestyle for years to come. Once we understand your vision of the pool design, you will want have your new outdoor living space finished as soon as possible, and this is our goal as well! And like any investment as important as your new pool, you will want us to take all steps necessary to insure top quality craftsmanship.

Quality built to last

We combine leading edge technology with pool building experience to provide our clients a project that will bring them a lifetime of happiness. We use time-tested construction methods and the best available materials to deliver the highest possible quality. Pool  construction phases and some of the additional steps are outlined below.

Award winning layouts

Layout is one of the most important aspects of any project, since this is where the shape and elevations of your outdoor area, pool, spa and landscaping are designed. Elevations determine the height of your pool in relation to the existing yard and finished floor of your home. We help you select the best pool, spa and outdoor living area layout as well as the most optimal elevation.


Perfect excavation will accurately sculpt the pool shell exterior, as well as the lowest point (“bowl”) at the deepest place in the pool for proper pool drainage and correct return water circulation. Precise excavation also assures fewer potential problems after the project is finished. Once the soil is excavated we again verify all elevations to be perfectly level as designed. The excavation has to be as perfect as possible to minimize any backfill requirements that can cause collapsing decks. We also cut openings for the skimmers and underwater lights and the pool, spa and water features. Deep ditches are also cut to accommodate gas pipes, electrical conduits, water and drain plumbing pipes.

Structural steel frame

Steel reinforcement rebar is cut, bent, installed and connected per approved frame design standards. Engineered to exceed the UBC a 10″ or larger continuous bond beam may be formed around the entire pool shell, either at ground level or raised to keep sand and soil out of the finished pool. This oversized bond beam is specifically designed to provide additional reinforcement around the surface perimeter of the pool, and we recommend it to all our clients. The surface skimmer is set back from the pool structure to allow create an oversized suction throat for superior water surface skimming. The skimmer is placed inside additional rebar cage, forming an integral part of the pool beam when the gunite is placed.

Plumbing and gas

Plumbing is usually designed for PVC pipes that are sized to perfectly match the desired water velocity and pressure for each pump and water feature. Gas pipes must be sized to meet manufacturer specifications for efficient pool and spa heating. Most pools use valves to direct hot water to the pool or to the spa as selected. We prefer to locate the water heater(s) away from the view, either around the corner or inside a dedicated pool equipment box or shack, and close to the gas meter to minimize gas pipe length.


Electrical wiring must be placed in conduits and grounded per local building code. Pool safety design rules ensure that all electrical elements in and around the pool are properly grounded and protected by GFCIs and correctly sized circuit breakers. All pumps are wired through relays that control the power on and off, and all lights must be installed through water tight J-boxes for guaranteed electrical safety. In addition, a separate main power breaker is installed for all pool, spa and water feature related electrical circuits.


Gunite is used to create the pool shell inside the excavated cavity. Gunite is usually mixed on site and shot from a specialized nozzle that mixes a precise mix of water, sand, cement and other additives to form a hard concrete pool shell. Gunite, a semi-liquid concrete mix contains approximately 3 parts sand, one part concrete and exact amount of water. The compressor propels all parts through a reinforced rubber hose and the “gunite” flies from the nozzle to surround the steel rebar frame. After the gunite is shot, specialized experienced crew must quickly “cut and shape” all areas to create clean and continuous pool shell surfaces. The same process is used to from the spa and other parts of the outdoor water features design.

Coping and precast

Pool coping can be always be hand formed on site, but we recommend custom color precast copings, steps and decorative precast elements for superior quality finish.

Plaster and pebbletec

Too guarantee long life and best surface quality the plaster must be installed by experienced professional crews using the best available materials. Pebbletec and other suppliers offer many colors and materials depending on the desired water color.

Plaster curing and water chemistry

Water chemistry after plaster must be precisely managed to allow plaster to cure properly. During the first 30 days properly curing plaster will grow pozzolans that fill the gaps in porous plaster. We use only Universal white cement developed specifically for swimming pool industry. Universal’s patented pozzolan-blended cement creates a pool plaster with much greater durability, workability and increased cement strength. We add MetaMax® high reactivity metakaolin concrete additive which improves the performance and appearance of portland cement concrete. When added to a concrete mixture it reacts with calcium hydroxide, a byproduct of cement hydration, to form additional cementitious material, which increases the concrete strength and durability. Unlike most supplementary cementitious materials MetaMax is a white powder that brightens concrete and improves its appearance by creating a richer, creamier plaster paste with a superior workability, which allows us to create higher quality finishes and reduce surface imperfections including mottling, cracking and efflorescence. MetaMax is an ultrafine natural pozzolan that complies with ASTM C 618 standard specification, similar in performance to silica fume and can be considered as an alternative to materials specified under ASTM C1240.

Deck and outdoor living room

Deck and walking path around the pool should be made of either concrete, stone or non-slippery tile to minimize the sand, dirt and dust that gets dragged into the water. Stamped concrete, pebble tech coating, tiles or natural stone can help keep sand, soil and dirt from entering your pool. Properly sloped and drained deck can be easily hosed off to keep your feet clean anytime you use your pool or spa. Raised bond beam provides additional barrier that keeps the wind from blowing the ground dirt into your pool and spa, while also providing convenient elevated sitting all around your pool and spa. We recommend only the highest quality precast coping and trims around your pool and spa. Additional decorative precast elements can create that special custom design look and feel. You can see precast products including pool coping, wall caps, step treads, keystones, corbels, columns and capitals, moldings, fireplace mantels, vainscotting, balustrade railing, veneer and cladding, quoins, wall sills and cornices, niches, bases and gazebos at these sites:


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