I’m Building a Pool! Here’s What I’ve Learned…

Y’all, the Scruggs family is building a pool! This week, I want to take you along this journey with us, mainly because it’s brand new for me, too. I may have decades of experience in construction, but I have exactly ZERO experience in pools. Well, a bit more since we started, but I still wouldn’t call myself an expert. 

In this case, I became the client and it’s been a fun role reversal… I feel like I’m walking in our clients’ shoes a bit! Considering a pool? Just here to be entertained? Great. Below, I’m sharing…

  • Why we decided to build a pool now
  • What the process has been like, plus a couple of unexpected surprises
  • Renderings of the new Scruggs pool design!
  • Some great outdoor selections you can shop, inspired by my goals for our space

Let’s splash right in…

Why did we decide to build a pool now?

For as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted a pool. When we were looking to buy a home many years ago, I searched high and low for a house that already had one so we wouldn’t have to build it. There were none to be found. 

Fortunately, the house we finally did end up purchasing had the perfect backyard for it…but we hit pause again. At the time, our kiddos were little, and I didn’t want to add a pool until they knew how to swim well. Plus, a pool is a large investment (and there was other work to be done on our home), so we were happy to wait.

Fast forward to 2022. We decided to build an addition to move my mama in, and naturally, my pool dreams resurfaced. Along with a new fear… If we built the addition first, what if we started building the pool after and hit rock? Then, we’d have to blast the rock or something with a fresh foundation only feet away. That could be a disaster. 

I knew that wasn’t the right order of operations, so I decided… pool first, Mama’s addition second. Considering she’ll also be enjoying many sunny poolside days in the future, I think she’s okay with it. 😉

Here’s the patio area. The pool will be just beyond it (left in this photo).

What has the pool building process been like?

Just like any construction or interior design project, I knew that the best strategy is to have a smart plan first. As a GC, I was pretty confident that I could manage the project, but I couldn’t do it alone. Without hands-on experience, I simply “don’t know what I don’t know.” 

I called in an expert.

I have a friend whose husband is in the pool business. Since his pool schedule is super backed up (as you can imagine), I’ve hired him in a consulting capacity, and I’m learning along the way. He has helped with the plans, the direction, and some guidance on the permits our city and county require. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been able to pull together some 3D renderings and organize the right trades to get the work done. Of course, once you begin, no project is without its surprises…

The First Surprise: A Retaining Wall

My first surprise showed up when measuring the grade of the backyard. It appears flat, but it’s not. Many people don’t realize how much of a grade is really on their lot until they begin to dig, and I have to count myself among them. I knew there was a grade, but as it turns out, it’s a whole 2-FOOT drop from the back yard toward the back porch of my house. 

It’s hard to see, but there’s a 2ft grade here, from left to right!

What does that mean? Well, to keep dirt, debris, and rainwater from flowing down the grade and into the pool, I will have to build a small retaining wall, and I hadn’t really planned on it to start. Luckily, I found this out early and was able to replan before any work started.

P.S. This is why it’s important to know where your pool will fit on the lot and make sure your pool builder has plenty of experience to help you plan and budget accordingly. If he/she doesn’t mention a retaining wall, ask about it.

The Second Surprise: A Big ‘Ol Rock

Guess what? That rock I was afraid was down there? Yep, it was down there. And it was HUGE — it ran the entire length of the pool! (Check out my Instagram stories for some videos of this experience…)

Hitting rock in Wilson County isn’t all that surprising, but it was a surprise that it was so long. Safe to say, I’m SO glad we went on and dug for the pool before the addition. In my experience, proper planning is always rewarded.

This is also why it’s important to seek professional advice early. I was lucky that my own experience told me not to build the addition first, but most people wouldn’t know this kind of thing — and probably wouldn’t know to ask. 

Investing in good advice (and sharing ALL of your goals with your chosen expert) could save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. In fact, you can “pick my brain” for 45 minutes for only $100. That is worth every penny and more.

The Scruggs Backyard & Pool Design

The construction is still underway, so let’s look at the design plans instead. I pulled together some 3D renderings to mock up the space and make sure it comes out just how I want it. When you step outside the house and onto the backyard patio, you’ll have this view:

We’re planning to have a nice outdoor seating area here that’s separate from the pool and (hopefully) out of the splash zone. Walk through that keyhole doorway and you’ll see this:

A beautiful pool with seating and a water feature. I love the hardscaping here, and these classic pavers and turf.

The retaining wall is on the left here. I actually like the feeling of privacy it adds. I’m already imagining my kiddos (and the adults) having a ton of fun out here, especially in the summers.

Meanwhile, my mama’s addition will be just ahead, close to the pool. This render shows it in white vinyl, (since it is about the pool and not the houses) but it is actually a combination of brick match the main house and vinyl that is the same as the main house.

Decorating Our Outdoor Living Space

Y’all know I’ve already picked out the furnishings for our outdoor space! And ordered them to make sure they get here on time. Here are some of my favorite picks for outdoor essentials inspired by our pool design:

1/ Gillian Rope Cushion Sun Lounger | Every good pool needs great lounge chairs. These look cozy, durable, and offer multiple positions for great tanning. 😉

2/ Vintage Filigree Textured Weave Rug | I love the style of this indoor-outdoor rug. It’s curly and fun, traditional yet fresh, and is resistant to fading in the sun.

3/ Outdoor Khara Bench in Beach House Blue | There’s something so charming about a bench, both in look and in function. This model in the Safavieh Outdoor Collection has great color, curves, and a sense of refined playfulness. Yes, please.

4/ Indoor-Outdoor Throw Pillows in Pebble Blue | Outdoor spaces can be decorated just like indoor spaces, which means pillows and accessories are always welcome. Of course, y’all know I have to have some blue and white out there. 

5/ Square Lattice Decorative Planter Box | Having plants around is a must, and I love to mix up the planter boxes for some fun variety. This is a great option in white with some updated traditional style. 

6/ Woven Planter Boxes in Mocha | Here’s another planter in a darker tone with some great natural texture. 

7/ My Favorite Boxwood Topiaries | Y’all know I love topiaries! I’m pretty sure this one makes it onto every list I create. Yes, I do love them that much and get tons of questions about them because they are already on my own front porch. I’m pretty confident you will love them, too.

8/ Black Glass Top Propane Fire Pit | Last but not least, our family is all about the fire pit! It’s a great place to bring people together in any season, and luckily my kids are old enough to enjoy it safely. Bring on the s’mores! We already own this very fire pit and absolutely love it!   

I’ll be sharing more as we finish up this pool project, so stay tuned…



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