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How do I design a deck and landscaping? And how do I choose a shape and size?

First, be careful. This is actually your most important decision in terms of your property value. You can always improve your landscaping before you sell your house, but you can’t change the shape, size, and position of your pool.

Don’t build a plain old rectangular pool centered on your house and parallel to it. That’s what everyone does, and it’s boring. If you don’t have it in you to build a kidney or free form, try round or octagonal. At a minimum, jazz up a rectangle with Roman or curved ends. The goal is to make your house look more expensive.

Consider putting your pool at an angle to the house, or at least not centered. Give yourself one or two large deck areas – which will probably give you two or three small areas. That’s okay—asymmetric usually looks better.

Involve the deck and landscape designers before you commit to the pool’s shape and position. People with an eye for design may be able to guide you. All three designs should work together, which is much easier if they are created simultaneously. If your landscaper has not worked with a lot of pools, make sure he or she considers how their fertilizers are going to completely screw up your water chemistry; causing algae to grow. Shedding leaves will block up your skimmer and automatic pool cleaner.