Establishing Your Budget

How to establish your project budget

If you are ready to begin your pool and backyard project but find yourself a bit lost in how to establish a realistic working budget, let us help guide you through the steps necessary to complete this critical process.

Important Factors To Consider

Basic Cost Guideline for Backyard Features
Spa $12,000 – $20,000
LED Pool Light $1,000
Pool Cleaning System (vacuum)
Pool Cleaning System (in floor)
$4,000 – $6,000
Outdoor Island (32” gas grille) $6,000
Outdoor Kitchen (32” grille, sink, 1-burner stove, outdoor frig.) $8,000
Fire Pit (wood) $1,000
Fire Pit  (gas) $2,000
Fire Bowl $2,000
Fireplaces $5,000 – $6,000
Water Features (small)
Deck jets, bubblers, etc
$1,000 – $5,000
Water Features (large)
Sheer descent/scupper columns, walls, grotto, slide
$15,000 – $30,000
Aluminum Shade Structure $5,000
Tiled Roof Structure $20,000
Landscaping $5,000


Current condition of your backyard as a construction site
If there are work-related items that need to be completed before new construction can begin, do you need to factor this into your project budget.
Available access to your backyard
Limited access can add to your project budget if a wall needs to be removed or special excavation equipment is necessary because there is no RV gate access with which to get typical construction equipment to the project site.
Available utilities
Must have utilities to accommodate pool equipment and outdoor feature needs such as electrical and gas lines.  In the event electrical and gas lines need to be trenched and run to the desired location of placement, this will impact your project budget.  These factors need to be considered in the design phase of your project when considering placement and desired features in order to maximize the current location of your utilities and your budget dollars.
Existing property elevation and drainage
If dirt or materials need to be brought in or off site to level out your elevation or grading is required to create proper draining and run-off, this will add both time and costs to your outdoor project.
Demolition of existing backyard materials
Such as grass, trees, plants, pavers, concrete or structures.  Demolition work is a critical aspect and can add both time and costs to your project budget.
Jurisdiction of your project location
Every City has its unique rules and regulations regarding permitting and what you can or cannot do with your project.   It is important to know your local jurisdiction limitations, if any.  Taxes for your project are dictated by your jurisdiction.   The City sales tax percentages for your jurisdiction are available online and should be appropriately reflected on your project quote/contract.    These taxes are calculated on the subtotal of your project’s cost and therefore can add thousands of dollars to the contracted total price.   This is an important aspect of your overall budget.
Size and scope of your project
Obviously the bigger the pool size (perimeter and depth) and number of outdoor features, the more expensive the project becomes. The type of materials you select can also increase the cost and your budget.   When obtaining a quote for the cost of your project from your Contractor, it should reflect the size and type of materials included in that price.  Upgrades to those materials will not only increase your overall costs but may have an associated change order fee attached.  For example, if your contract provides one foot of concrete pool coping and you later decide to install travertine coping, the cost difference between concrete and travertine, in addition to any change order fees, will be added to your budget total.    For purposes of creating your initial budget, the following considerations will be helpful:

  • A basic 75 linear foot in-ground shotcrete play pool with 1’ perimeter concrete coping, sea glass pebble finish and automatic cleaning vacuum start at approximately $30,000 (before fees and taxes).
  • A basic 90 linear foot in-ground shotcrete pool with 1’ perimeter concrete coping, sea glass pebble finish, tanning ledge with 2 led light bubblers and automatic cleaning vacuum starts at approximately $40,000 (before fees and taxes).
  • When adding a spa, it’s not just the cost of the structure that must be considered as it includes jets, blower, heater, gas line and lights.
  • Outdoor barbeques are made out of masonry and include the actual grill, access doors, concrete, tile or granite countertop, stucco and paint. Increasing the island size, upgrading material and installing additional outdoor appliances such as a countertop burner, sink, dry sink, refrigerator, ice machine or wine chiller will increase your costs.
  • Fire features include fire pits, fire bowls and fireplaces. Typically, a fire pit would finish above ground and be a conversational area. Fire bowls can add an architectural element to your pool and fire places are usually larger masonry structures that require more construction.  Fire features must consider accessibility to and the cost of running gas lines.  Both may increase your budget numbers significantly.
  • Water features are an incredible option that add aesthetic and acoustical value to your outdoor environment and lifestyle. Water features include bubblers, deck jets, scuppers, water pillars, sheer descent walls and water descent bowls.  Larger water features include infinity/negative/zero edge pool accents and slides.
  • Outdoor structures include wood or aluminum shade structures with slatted or solid roofs and can provide partial or full protection from the Sun and preserve your outdoor equipment and appliances. A tiled roof structure is an option that requires more materials and construction, which can match the look and style of your home, and although this adds significant cost to your overall budget, it likewise adds significant value to your property.
  • Backyard landscaping is determined by your yard square footage and features may include drip lines, valves, timers, rock, plants, trees and lighting. When creating a landscape plan, keep in mind when placing trees that shed leaves or flowers and small rocks too close to your pool perimeter, which can affect your pool cleaning equipment and maintenance.
Selected outdoor features
Common outdoor features include spas, water features, fire features, outdoor kitchens, Pergolas and Ramada’s.    As you add more of these common features, you will need to expand your budget figure as well.    Listed on this page is a basic cost guideline for backyard feature costs.
Pool filtration, circulation, sanitation and automation
There are a variety of decisions to be made with respect to your pool and spa equipment, including chlorine or salt water systems.  Be sure you understand the equipment included in your project quote and contract.


Now that you have established a preliminary budget, you need to evaluate the current value of your home and determine the level of payment you can afford if financing your project.  There are a couple rules of thumb to consider:

If you’re planning on being in your home for five years or less, a good investment guideline is to spend 10% – 15% of your home’s value on the project. However, if you’re planning on being in the home for five years or more, you can consider using 15% – 20% of your home’s value on your backyard project.

If you’re planning on financing your project, sometimes it’s easiest to work backwards. This means figuring out what you can afford for a monthly payment and then determining your backyard budget from there.

As you can see, establishing a budget is the most difficult aspect of your whole project. There are a multitude of factors to consider; from elements in your backyard, design options, financing, the amount of time you’re going to spend in the house and all of the overall options you want in your outdoor living environment. We know that budgets change as you go through the process, but establishing a realistic preliminary budget before you meet us will make it a much more enjoyable experience for you and your family.

The professionals at CELESTIAL are here to help you throughout the entire process.  If you are ready to begin your dream pool and backyard living project, click here to schedule an appointment with one of our talented designers.

Funding Your Project

A quality in-ground pool is a significant investment and often the largest purchase a person will make aside from their home itself. That’s why many homeowners choose to pay for it over a period of time rather than committing the cash up front. This is possible through a variety of pool financing options.   There are two types of pool loans.

The Differences In Pool Financing

Secured Pool Loans

Secured pool loans are the most common choice for financing a new pool, as they tend to offer longer terms, lower interest rates, and higher loan amounts. They are a good option for those that have equity in their homes (though not always a requirement) and are willing to use it as collateral for their new pool, or for those that have other assets (such as savings accounts, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds) that they are willing to use as collateral. The most common form of pool financing in Arizona is a Home Improvement Loan, that allows you to take out a second mortgage based on the improved value of the home (the projected value of your home once the pool is completed). This option often allows borrowers to roll in the full cost of their pool with minimum upfront costs.

When you receive a project quote from CELESTIAL, there are no hidden costs or fees.   Our promise to you as the customer is that our price is all inclusive of a turn-key project, which we call JUST ADD WATER!

Unsecured Pool Loans

Though not as common, some lenders do offer unsecured pool loans. This means that you do not have to put anything up for collateral. Because these loans are riskier for the lender, they typically carry a higher interest rate and smaller loan amounts. They may be a good option for homeowners with little to no equity in their home, those that only want to finance a portion of the expense, or homeowners who do not want to use their home as collateral.
Should you require more information about financing your project, we will be happy to provide you with a referral to one of our preferred lenders. With online applications and electronic processing, the pool loan process can be quick and easy!

Lenders will want to see a credit score of 650 or higher with a history of on time payments. Foreclosures and bankruptcies must be at two years from being discharged.

Debt-to-income ratio will need to be 35% to 45% depending on the loan program. A good way to figure your debt-to-income ratio is to add up any monthly payment that is to a creditor (mortgage, car loan, credit card bill, etc..) plus an estimated pool payment amount then divide by your monthly gross income.

Proof of income will be required for most loan programs. Variable income, such as commissions and bonuses, will need to have a two-year history to be counted towards your yearly salary amount.

22302 E Russet Rd.
Queen Creek, AZ 85142

ROC #330030