Realizing your dream pool takes imagination, clear communication and experience. Any design- whether a sleek, urban lap pool or an organic, free form creation must be carefully integrated into the site. The location, proportion, shape, materials used, decking, and landscaping need to be carefully considered.

It will also be those 'finishing touches' at the waterline, and on any steps, as well as any water-features like waterfalls, that will really enhance the character of your pool.

After all, once a pool is built, it is difficult to turn this large, unyielding vessel back into a lawn or garden.

Determining the design of the pools should be part of an overall strategy for the property. The pool's relationship to the house and the landscape will affect its placement and shape.

Finding the right spot for your pool involves a number of factors. Topography, for instance, exerts a strong influence on a pool's size, shape, and location. A level lot can embrace almost any shape or style, but hilly terrain demands that construction take the slope of the land into consideration; the latter scenario can also complicate access between the pool and the house, usually requiring the addition of terraces and steps to link the two. While this may make the process of creating your pool environment more involved, it can also result in a breathtaking design. While certain sites may be challenging, they also offer the opportunity to treat the pool as a special destination.

As for determining the exact form of the pool, forget about rigid rules. Discard all preconceived notions in design and focus on your lifestyle and the site.