Before you forget, start making a list of things you need next summer.

The list might be modest and include a hammock and a new iced tea pitcher, or it might be grand and include a new patio and a swimming pool.

If your list includes a glorious pool with a combination of lush landscaping, a patio to entertain and a built-in barbecue, start doing your research now for construction to start next spring. There are two specific things you should keep in mind that usually don’t get enough attention when you plan your hardscape: drains and concrete scoring.

Down the Drain

If you install a bar area, with or without a barbecue, the ground behind it needs to be of a material that drains or it needs to have a drain. A permeable material like gravel or decomposed granite will work great. If you want to pave it with concrete, make sure you ask your contractor to install a drain.

The reason is that while entertaining, you are bound to spill something. The easiest thing to do is hose it down and let it drain.


If you opt for concrete, your contractor will have to score it and install control joints to minimize cracking. For a four-inch thick patio, reinforced with rebar, scoring will be an inch deep. Talk to your contractor about where you will be placing a dining table and chairs. Having a big score line where you will be scooting a chair is less than convenient.

If you thought putting in a pool was just about choosing the coving and the trim, guess again. Be deliberate in every choice you make so your hardscape makes your lounge time an escape.