Let’s face it – summers in Dallas (and the rest of Texas) are HOT. And we all know that the best way to beat the heat is to cool off in a beautiful pool. Pool designs range in size and complexity, and must be tailored to each home’s particular landscape and layout. In fact, you should put as much effort into your pool’s design as you do for the interior of your custom home, because you are designing your backyard to be a retreat- a place that encourages relaxation and serves as an escape from the outside world.

If you’re in the process of designing your in-ground pool, read on for our favorite unique pool design ideas. With these additions, you’ll enjoy your backyard oasis through all the seasons of the year here in Dallas.

Beach Entry or Tanning Ledge

Any pool can have a ladder or step entrance. But a truly custom pool earns major appreciation with a built-in beach entry. Also known as a tanning ledge, this space is either an elongated first step for lounging or a slowly-sloping entrance that mimics a beach. The result is a sunbathing spot that automatically keeps you cool, no matter how hot or humid it may be. To upgrade your beach entry even further, you can add built-in lounge chairs and an umbrella. All you need to top it all off is a nice cold cocktail and your new summer read.

Dual Pool & Hot Tub

Even in the dead of summer, a hot tub is relaxing and rejuvenating. But why keep it in a separate space, away from the activity of the pool? Why not join the two together? A dual pool and hot tub setup is ideal not only for aesthetic purposes, but also for functionality. Tired of the cool water? One quick step over the ledge will get you right into your hot tub station. Or, perhaps you desire a pool that’s not too cool. A hot tub that is slightly raised can offer an infusion of warmth for the pool via a waterfall effect. No matter the set up, if you’re building a custom pool, you’ll definitely want a hot tub to finalize your retreat.

Swim-Up Bar

Summer entertainment isn’t complete without a bar, so why not center your bar around all of the pool action? For in-ground pools, the bar design potential is limitless. A swim-up bar, for instance, offers a cool space to relax with a drink. While the seating is built into the pool, the bar is outside the pool. Thus, it remains dry and can be fully stocked for easy access. With a gazebo top, you can even mount a TV inside to watch the game outdoors. Or, why not try a dual swim-up bar and fire pit? Instead of a stocked bar, you can swim right up to a cozy fire with dry-land seating on the other side. It might not be ideal in the middle of summer, but it will let you enjoy the cool pool through the fall. And, if you integrate a built-in hot tub, you’ll be able to enjoy it even through the winter here in Texas.

Kid-Friendly Solutions

If you have kids, a slide may be at the top of your pool list. But while you can always install a standalone slide, you also have the option to make it more adult-friendly and visually appealing. With a custom pool, you have the ability to create any vision you like. A raised waterfall, for instance, can be custom built to include a slide. The result is a tranquil oasis that still allows for plenty of fun.

Beyond this, a great kid-friendly pool solution is to invest in a mesh safety cover. Not only does it provide peace of mind for children playing in the backyard, but it also keeps your pool debris-free. It’s also strong enough to walk on for both adults and children, so it effectively doubles as a play space when the pool is not in use.

Lazy River

Who says your pool has to be square or stationary? One of the most impressive pool designs is undoubtedly a lazy river. But this design isn’t only for resorts or waterparks. You can actually design a lazy river right in your own backyard. Some designs include a stationary pool in the center with a winding lazy river around it. Others use the center section as an extra lounge area, complete with seating and lush tropical plants. Whatever the design you opt for, a lazy river is a solution that is enjoyable for the entire family.

Pools and hot tubs aren’t merely entertaining, in Texas we would assert they are essential for your custom home. To truly enjoy the summer, a custom home needs a luxurious pool to keep things cool, and a custom hot tub can be enjoyed all year round. No matter what your style – be it a relaxing beach entry or a fun-filled slide design – an in-ground pool and hot tub combination will guarantee endless hours of fun for everyone.

Unlike renovating an existing home, when you are building a custom home there’s no need to worry about maintaining the previous light fixture placement, or springing for expensive electrical rewiring to get the placement you actually want. A custom home allows you to design your lighting your way, from the start. 

Choosing the right fixtures, though, can be challenging. Even the most beautiful fixture can look out of place in a room if it is not correct in its size, scale, finish, or style. To help ease the selection process, and to avoid the hassle of a return or fixture swap in the future, we have a step-by-step guide that will simplify your experience and let you focus on enjoying the end result.

Step 1: Narrow Your Search by Knowing Your Style

Before you begin to source your light fixtures, it will save you a substantial amount of time to first solidify your style.  This is an absolute necessity because there are an endless number of light fixtures available on the market. The goal when selecting your fixtures is to make the process as straightforward as possible, and that starts with narrowing down your search.

Are you drawn to traditional silhouettes? Do you prefer streamlined and clean, modern lines? What style is your custom home built around? Whatever direction you’ve gone with the rest of your home’s aesthetic is the direction you’ll want to follow when choosing your lighting. It’s easy to get distracted by a gorgeous wedding cake chandelier that would look luxurious in your foyer. But if you have an ultra-contemporary approach to your home design in every other space, it will undoubtedly feel jarring style-wise. Stick to your existing aesthetic and keep your design style top of mind, and we guarantee the selection process will be far easier for you.

Step 2: Take Note of Placement & Type

The beauty of choosing light fixtures in a custom home is that you know exactly where your fixtures need to be placed. Based on your home’s design, you should have a clear list of exactly how many lights you need, and which types of fixtures you need. Your builder can work with you to lay out a checklist of vanity light type, kitchen island pendants, flush mounts, semi-flush mounts, can lighting, or chandeliers, depending on each space’s needs. Armed with a detailed amount of information will help you to know precisely what you should be looking for during your search.

Step 3: Measure Your Space for Scale

To narrow down your selections further, you need to know the size and scale of each space. This is where measurements come into play – once you have the right sizes narrowed down, you can customize your search from there. A basic rule of thumb is to choose a light fixture that fits the size of each room (and when in doubt, go larger than you think is necessary). For example, a miniscule flush-mount light in a wide-open living room with cathedral ceilings will look far too tiny, and functionally, it won’t provide enough light for the entire space. In this case, you’d want to opt for either an oversized chandelier that adequately fits the scale of the room, or multiple smaller lights throughout the ceiling space to provide scale and enough light. Conversely, a smaller mudroom or laundry room needs a smaller-scale fixture to match its size. Options appropriate for such a smaller space could include simple flush mount or semi-flush mount fixtures, or even wall sconces, for a simple and fit-to-size look.

Step 4: Stick to Your Finishes

Just as you want to stay consistent with your light fixture style throughout your custom home, you also want to pay attention to your fixture finishes. And while a mix-and-match approach can look quite beautiful, and there certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule about mixing fixture finishes, you want to ensure that you’re being intentional about your finish selections. Overall, you want to stick to similar finishes in each room, and opt for no more than two different metals in any given space. Brushed brass and matte black, for instance, go quite well together and make for a stunning contemporary aesthetic. Likewise, a brushed nickel or an antique bronze finish will add a warm and traditional vibe to a room. Chrome tends to brighten things up, and matte black will make the best pairing with fixtures in this finish.

Light fixtures don’t have to be complicated, and with our quick checklist the process should be quite approachable. So, if you’ve been scrolling through endless pages of fixtures, feeling like the selection process will never end, don’t stress. With key search criteria firmly in place, narrowing down your choices will be much more manageable, and you’ll have a beautiful light-filled home in no time.