Small Backyard Hardscaping Ideas

Backyards range in size and shape and some have smaller areas to work with but here are some ideas to maximize your backyard footprint while adding functionality.

OUTDOOR KITCHEN
Having a kitchen outside makes entertaining company a breeze. This added luxury has quickly become a desired feature for people wanting an extension of the indoors. An outdoor kitchen patio creates an inviting ambiance that enhances your open-air experience.
This can include a range with oven, countertop with bench seating, a custom BBQ, or even a wood-fire pizza oven.

SEATING AREA
When an outdoor kitchen does not fit the budget, another option would be a seating area. This could be a designated area next to a water feature or garden area. Gatherings around a firepit are perfect for bench style seating with oversized pillows. Make sure that you don’t make the mistake to forget to include a place to sit. Whether it’s for a family gathering or hosting a birthday party, having adequate seating that it is comfortable and functional.

WATER FEATURES
There is a soothing ambiance to the sound of water. That is why water is often used in backyard projects. This is a versatile element that can be used in many ways. Raised spas by means of their dam walls, return filtered water back to the pool from the raised spillways. This gives the added feature of moving water and sound. Decorative pots with overflowing water are another popular design element.

FIREPITS & FIREPLACES
A firepit or outdoor fireplace can add another element to the backyard. These structures not only create an area to entertain or relax but also providing warmth, beauty and functionality to the backyard.

PATIO COVER
Adding a patio cover to the backyard creates the perfect area for a table and some comfortable chairs. Patio covers can be attached to the home or can be constructed as separate structures.

Checklist – the eight things you must know to select your best swimming pool contractor.

If you are seriously considering a new, or significant remodel to your, swimming pool and exterior living area, you’ve probably discovered that there are a lot of decisions to make. At the top of this list stands one preeminent question: How do I select the best swimming pool contractor for my project?

This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your pool builder will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your project and your satisfaction.

The checklist worksheet of questions below is based on our experience of working hundreds of pool, outdoor living area and landscaping customers throughout Orange County California over the last 20+ years. We advise our prospective clients to complete a worksheet for each pool builder they are considering, before making a final choice.

The perfect pool and landscape for you and your family begins with the right pool and landscape contractor.

Checklist - best pool builders boxes, Dreamscape by MGR leading pool contractor in Orange County

Swimming Pool Builder Selection Checklist Worksheet

Contractor Name: _________________________________________________

Business Information and Experience

The company is licensed and insured  – Yes  No – License # ______________

Note: ask if the name on the license is the same as the company name. If not, find out why.

The company has workmen’s comp insurance and General Liability insurance – Yes  No

Years in business building pools: __________

Customer References

How many pools have you built since you entered the business? __________
How many were designed and built last year? _________
Of those installations, how many references can you provide? ________

Call at least 10 references

When Calling References Be Sure To Ask The Following:

  • If you could do it over, would you use the pool builder again?
  • What did you enjoy about the experience?
  • What was least enjoyable?
  • What pool, options, and accessories did you choose?
  • What would you do differently?
  • How did the pool builder handle challenges and problems when they arose?

Reviews and Ratings

Overall the swimming pool builder has at least a 5:1 (4+ stars) good review to bad review ratio from a reputable review site. – Yes  No

They responded reasonably to negative reviews when possible. – Yes  No

Products Used By Pool Builder

Do the products the pool builder uses have good reviews in the marketplace. – Yes  No

The customer references you called gave the products used by the builder positive ratings. – Yes  No

The products are backed by competitive warranties. – Yes  No

Installation Practices

Does the swimming pool builder have any installation or construction practices that distinguish them from the competition?  Yes  No

Are these practices relevant? Yes   No

List the relevant practices which you perceive as beneficial to your project and peace of mind.

Design and Project Planning

Make sure the Swimming Pool Builder would give you a complete construction plan before the project begins showing the following:

  • exact pool location
  • location of pump and filter system
  • the elevation (or height) of the pool in relation to your existing yard
  • decking layout
  • access lane for construction
  • fence layout if applicable
  • retaining walls if applicable
  • deck and yard drainage if applicable

Pricing and Contract

Whenever possible, you should always ask for a complete itemized proposal showing a complete cost breakdown for all items on your project. This should include s.f. and l.f dimensions of such items as pool or decking as well as allowances for hardscape material such as pool tile. Did you receive a detailed proposal and contract?  – Yes  No

Note: try to avoid going into an agreement with the understanding that patio, retaining wall, fence work, etc., will be priced separately after the project has began. This is a tactic some pool contractors use to make the initial price of the project seem lower than what it will actually be.

Estimated completion date is listed on the contract. – Yes  No

Rancho Mission Viejo dream pool and outdoor living areas

Beautiful design with all the features you could want, ideally planned, managed and built in the space available.

Please review what we recently created in Rancho Santa Margarita community. Combining a pool/spa with a beautiful  new fully surrounding deck the design and construction of this backyard is beautiful and fun during the day and dramatic at night.

The waterfall makes it all feel and sound refreshing and rich. The unique firepit and sitting area provides light, warmth and makes a romantic pleasant place.

Add to that an equipped barbecue structure with trellis. Plus there is even a bocce court! Life is good, outdoors.

Great design and planning maximized the all the possibilities of big enjoyments in this smaller space. The homeowners got everything they wanted in the amount of space that they had, with minimum disruptions during construction.

Take a look at the photos and call us or use the form linked below to tell us what you might like in your project.

Four Reasons Why You Should Choose a Custom Pool, Backyard and Landscape

Whether you want to build your family’s dream pool and backyard or just want to improve the value of your property, custom swimming pool and yard design is the way to go. Pools are a great addition to any backyard, especially if you frequently host gatherings for family or friends.   Aside from their potential entertainment value, pools can also significantly improve your landscaping and overall visual appeal. While stock options can be good enough for some neighborhoods, increasingly in Orange County with our unique home sites, topography and residential design it requires a custom pool to get the most out of the space available. Something only a true total custom design and build can provide. Custom pools are often considered a much better investment than stock designs. This is primarily because they are better able to suit the homeowner’s particular needs by considering all the relevant factors, such as the amount of free space available, estimated number of regular users, and, of course, the homeowner’s design preference.

Here are four strong reasons to choose a custom pool:

  1. Custom pools let you take full control of your project. You’ll be able to choose whatever shape, size, and design you want for your backyard. Just imagine the possibilities. You can have your pool shaped as a dolphin, palm tree, guitar or whatnot. You could even install various water features like a slide, diving board, and waterfall.
  2. You can overcome landscaping issues and lot shapes. Don’t let the terrain beat you into submission. By opting for a custom pool, you’ll be able to design a feature that can easily adapt to the particular terrain you live in. You can build on flat or sloped ground, take twists and turns, or fit the entire pool in a very tight area.
  3. You’ll be able to supervise the pool and backyard construction and landscape process. Your ability to customize doesn’t stop with the pool itself.As you see the construction process take place you can be involved in the many details that will make it, when finished, just what you want.
  4. You’ll also be able to choose the contractor that you want to work with. Do note that your choice of contractor can make or break your project. So, it’s highly recommended that you choose carefully. Though you may need to consider several factors, the contractor’s level of skill and length of experience should be prioritized. Experienced, highly skilled contractors, like Dreamscapes by M.G.R. of Orange County may cost a bit more, but you’ll definitely get more than your money’s worth with a high quality custom pool designed for your family and home.

Call us or send us an idea of your project today!

Custom Waterfalls Make Your Pool Special

What could be better than relaxing pool side with the soothing sounds of custom waterfalls and features?

 

Couple in pool by large rock waterfall, Dreamscape by MGR leading pool contractor in Orange County

Being surrounded by running water can put a mind at ease and make it easier to forget a rough day at work or crazy commute. In addition to the relaxation quality, custom waterfalls also can add an unmatched sense of beauty to the landscaping of a backyard. Why just put in a pool when an entire backyard oasis can be added?

Just think of all of the gatherings with friends, family, co workers, or out of town guests spent in this backyard paradise. Choose a theme anywhere from Mediterranean to modern to rustic to complete the look of the custom waterfalls. Real stone or faux rock can be used to create any look you can imagine. Modern technology also allows homeowners to do things like add custom LED lighting and control the flow of the water.

The possibilities are truly endless. Think of custom-built grottos behind the running water where guests can swim up to a bar, staircase, or hidden room for hanging out.

Incorporate slides, landscaping, even pieces of furniture (imagine lounging in chaise that is sculpted into a waterfall) into the design to truly make it a place the family can enjoy for years and years to come.

Dreamscapes by MGR Wins “Best Customer Satisfaction” from Houzz

The Dreamscapes team strives to give the best customer satisfaction possible to every one of our customers.  Whether it’s a landscaping project, a swimming pool design, or a big house remodel, we want to our customers to be happy with our work.  So, it’s with great pride and happiness that we announce that the home improvement website Houzz has chosen us as a recipient of their “Best Customer Satisfaction” award.  We couldn’t have won this award without our wonderful customers.  We love working with people to bring their “dreamscapes” into reality.

Several criteria must be met for the award.  This includes the number and quality of customer reviews.  We are happy so many of our customers rated us so highly.  Click here to read more about how Houzz determines the awards.  Read our profile and reviews by clicking here.

Houzz is a dynamic website, with user-generated idea books and reviews.  It’s a great place to start looking for ideas for your next big home improvement project.  Are you dreaming of a beautiful pool or a new landscaping concept?  Check out the Houzz Best of Idea Books, then call us to get the best customer satisfaction in Southern California.

Experience Counts, 25 Years Building Pools and Landscapes in Orange County

When you are seeking the best workmanship, superlative design and want to avoid unforeseen problems, you know depth of experience in the business and in navigating all the requirements possible in Orange County communities makes the difference between a nightmare and a dream. With 25+ years in the business, here in Orange County, Dreamscapes’ staff knows how to get the job designed, planned, approved and done, creating a pool and landscape that you will enjoy for years. Contact us today!

Dreamscape 25 year with text, Dreamscape by MGR leading pool contractor in Orange County

Rustic and Romantic Pool, Spa, Outdoor Living and Landscaping in Covenant Hills, Ladera Ranch

We love designing and building pools and beautiful landscaping in Ladera Ranch! Below are photos of a recent project we completed in the Covenant Hills community of Ladera Ranch. The project was all new and included the complete design and construction of the pool, spa, outdoor kitchen and living pavilion, a stone large fireplace, patios and complete landscaping and related hardscapes.