Bring the Inside Out: Enjoy a Luxurious Outdoor Kitchen

As a homeowner, you’re always looking for ways to improve your home and make it more enjoyable for you and your family. One way to do this is by adding an outdoor kitchen and transform your backyard. Not only does an outdoor kitchen make your backyard more functional, but it also provides a great space for entertaining and enjoying the beautiful weather.

One of the biggest benefits of having an outdoor kitchen is that it allows you to spend more time outside. Instead of having to go back and forth between the kitchen and the patio or backyard, an outdoor kitchen gives you the ability to cook, eat, and entertain all in one place. This means more time to spend with your family and friends, and less time spent running back and forth.

Another great benefit of an outdoor kitchen is that it can increase the value of your home. An outdoor kitchen is a popular feature among homebuyers, and it can make your home more attractive to potential buyers. It’s also a great way to add unique character to your home and stand out in a crowded housing market.

An outdoor kitchen also allows you to take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy the outdoors. Imagine having a BBQ with friends and family on a warm summer evening, or cooking a delicious meal while watching the sunset. An outdoor kitchen can make these moments even more special and enjoyable.

When it comes to designing an outdoor kitchen, the options are endless. You can choose from a variety of materials, including concrete, stone, and brick, to create a custom look that matches the style of your home. You can also add a variety of features, such as a grill, a sink, a refrigerator, and even a pizza oven. And don’t forget about the seating area, you can add comfortable seating, tables, and even a fire pit to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

In conclusion, an outdoor kitchen is a great way to improve your home and make it more enjoyable for you and your family. It provides a functional and beautiful space for entertaining, increases the value of your home, and allows you to take advantage of the beautiful weather. So don’t wait any longer, start planning your outdoor kitchen today and make your backyard the ultimate gathering spot for you and your loved ones!

Transform Your Backyard with a Custom Swimming Pool

Custom swimming pools are a luxury addition to any home. They provide a beautiful and functional outdoor living space that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Whether you’re looking for a simple pool to cool off in during the summer, or a complex and elegant design, Custom Creations West (CCW) will help you create the perfect pool for your needs.

One of the biggest advantages of a custom pool is that it can be tailored to fit your unique needs and preferences. From the shape and size of the pool, to the type of material used, the options are endless. Concrete, and gunite, are our preferred choices for custom pools. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to work with us to determine the best option for your specific needs.

Concrete pools, also known as gunite or shotcrete pools, are the most customizable of all pool materials. They can be formed into any shape or size and can include a wide variety of custom features such as built-in benches, spa areas, and waterfalls. They are also very durable and can last for decades with proper maintenance.

Another important aspect of custom swimming pools is the landscaping and surrounding areas. CCW can help you design a beautiful and functional pool area that incorporates the surrounding landscape and incorporates features such as walkways, patios, and gardens to create an outdoor living space that is both beautiful and functional.

In conclusion, a custom swimming pool is a wonderful addition to any home, providing a beautiful and functional outdoor living space for the whole family to enjoy. With the endless options available, you can tailor your pool to fit your unique needs and preferences. And with the help of a reputable custom pool builder, you can create the perfect pool for your home that will last for decades.

2022 Outdoor Living Space Trends

2022 Outdoor Living Trends

2022 Outdoor Living Trends

Studies have shown that being outside elevates your mood and reduces stress.  In San Diego, we consistently have good weather and as a result, people take advantage of this with custom outdoor living spaces.

This blog post covers the 2022 outdoor living trends we see most amongst our customers.

Outdoor Kitchen Bars + Dining Rooms

The concept of outdoor kitchens and dining rooms is not a new thing, but the creative design going into them lately keeps evolving over time.  We thought we'd share some impressive outdoor living spaces with you.

Note the outdoor dining table, TV, fireplace, chandelier, and ceiling fans for outside cooking and dining comfort.


California Rooms: Outdoor Living Rooms + Hangout Spaces

Outdoor Living Room

Note this California room is a seating area complete with a TV, fireplace, recessed lighting, ceiling heaters, and an eating bar for comfortable outside lounging. Speakers were hardwired into the overhead structure to provide outside music and surround sound for the television.


Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor Kitchen Bar

Note the outdoor hacienda-style wood-burning fireplace.  The grill and food prep area are all included under the overhead structure.  Proper venting and open walls allow for this type of setup.


Grilling Tables

Outdoor Grilling Table

In addition to the traditional BBQ grill, we are also seeing a lot of grilling tables being installed.  Just as good as Benihana, at a fraction of the cost.  The table pays for itself and is a great entertaining piece.



Outdoor Kitchen 1

The pergola is still a San Diego favorite that allows you to create living spaces anywhere in your yard.  Hardwired electricity can be run to the pergola creating an opportunity for lighting, electronics, and cooking.


Sunken Firepit Lounge Area

Sunken Firepit

The sunken conversation pits of the 70s are back, but showing up outside instead of inside.  A fun way to gather with friends, sit close, and remain cozy while enjoying a beautiful San Diego night.


See something you like?  Reach out to us and our designers can help you custom create your dream backyard.


How Much Will My Pool Cost?

Avila Residence_Escondido CA_Custom Creations West_Pool Builder

The Devil is in the Details

How much does a pool cost?  We get asked this a lot.  Unfortunately, it’s not a straightforward answer. There are a lot of details to consider that drive the total cost of your pool. This blog addresses the many variables that impact the cost of your pool in your backyard.



Demolition – It takes labor, employees, and machines to break down a wall or remove a cement slab.  Then we have to dispose of the materials we demolished. If we’re breaking red brick, it gets disposed of by itself because it cannot be re-used. It has no value. If you have grass or weeds, they get disposed of at a different location. You cannot mix grass and/or weeds with fill dirt. Once the grass decomposes, you’re left with a number of voids in the dirt which could lead to a much bigger problem down the road if you’ve put a foundation on top and the voids cause it to crack.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Access Width – If you have 80” or more with a gate that opens and closes and allows us to get into and out of your backyard, we can use our largest machines which means quicker excavation time, fewer trips from the backyard to the front yard where the dump truck is waiting for all the dirt.  If you have 44” of access, we need our smallest machines which means more days on the job, additional employees, more trips back and forth, more gas, more wear and tear on the machine, and makes for a more expensive project.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Septic or Sewage – Do you know where the septic lines are? Do you have a leech line plan/map?

Easements – water lines, roads, different districts have different requirements, electrical, gas, etc… sometimes require special permissions from municipalities. Sometimes you can get them changed.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Setbacks – Some municipalities are 5’ from house, fence, property lines. Others are 3. Some allow for 2’ but require additional engineering. That additional engineering is known as a “Sur-Charge.”

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Rocks or Hard Dirt – We can’t see underground and won’t know until we start digging.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Irrigation Lines – we can’t see them and we’re here to dig you a pool.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Drain Lines – if they are in the way of the pool, they’re coming out and new ones should be used to ensure proper drainage.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Fence Height – in most municipalities, the fence must be at least 60” high measured from the outer side of the fence.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Gate – Must be at least 60” and must open towards the street and away from the pool area.  Also, must auto close every time.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Barriers – Must be at least 2. Can be a fence and an alarm or a fence and an automatic pool cover. Every access door that leads to the pool area must have an alarm on it.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.



Electrical Panel – need at least 50 open amps on your panel. Electrical lines and conduit. Needs at least two spots/slots open. Each breaker is typically 25 amps 120 volts per. Need 220 volts.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the electrical available. 

Saw Cut – Gas & Electrical lines typically go underground. How are we going to get the Electrical and/or Gas from the meter to the pool equipment?

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the electrical available.

Fillback the Saw Cut – now that we have the gas line and electrical lines underground, we need to cover the dirt with something like cement or bricks or a paver.



Size and Depth of Pool Steps – Length & width & depth. Focus on the first step. Is it big enough? Small enough. Is the Baja Shelf your first step? Will you have elderly parents or grandparents trying to step into and/or out of your pool?

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Depth of Steps – Focus on the Baja Shelf and how deep it is and how long it is.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Lights - color vs. white

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Automation vs Timer – With automation, everything is controlled via an app. With a timer and a switch, you have to set the time and then flip the switch to turn on lights, change colors of the lights, turn on the jacuzzi, turn on the heater and then turn everything off when you finish.

Saltwater vs Chlorine – Salt converts into chlorine when combined with water. But saltwater systems are easier on your eyes, skin, hair, and clothes.  Saltwater is not as salty as the ocean.  The salt passes through a cylinder that helps with the conversion. Freshly converted saltwater is purer.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Interior Finish – white plaster, grey plaster, mini pebble, hydrazo. Difference between brands like PebbleTech, Stone Scapes &/or Wedge.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Spillover Width – 1’6” vs 2’ or 3’ A 1'6" spill-over width forces the water out, away from the dam wall.  2' or 3' spill-over width will produce more of a dribble vs a waterfall.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.


Next, we get "Why is the pool so expensive?" Or, "why is the pool so CRAZY expensive? Or why is the pool so $#%^&n expensive? Are you kidding me? I paid less for my first house!

We understand, but a pool is an intricate project consisting of all the variables mentioned above and sometimes more.  So when we are asked how much is a pool, we need more information, have to measure your yard, and inspect your yard conditions before we can answer that question.

Another thing to note is that timing is essential in determining price as material prices change often and sometimes materials become unavailable...again affecting the price.

I just finished talking with one of my subcontractors. He specializes in shotcrete, which is basically the most essential part of your pool.

The shotcrete hardens to 3,800 psi which means when the shotcrete is finished curing, it should be super, super solid.

Guess what??? Cost of the hoses he uses just went up 100%. That’s right. Double what he paid for the last year.

He uses a decent amount of wire as guides and that wire is super thin and made of steel.  Guess what??? It went up significantly from 2021 to 2022.

Cost of Labor??? That’s right. It went up too or labor is limited. And this is just one part of your pool.

Materials are in short supply but in high demand.  Guess what?? That’s right, they went up too. And the shortages have made it difficult to get some of the items you want.

I’ve had customers tell me that their brother is getting a similar pool with the same dimensions for thousands less than what I’m charging. My first question is always, where does your brother live? Maybe the cost of labor is lower where he lives. Or maybe he’s choosing different materials.

Our cost is what we charge to be a profitable business and build a quality long-lasting pool. Our work stands for itself. We have overhead, offices, computers, trucks, cars, and heavy machinery to account for. Our price reflects our experience, our management, and our quality.

There will always be someone who charges less. But you get what you pay for.  We prefer to do it right and not cut corners.

Zapata Pool

2021 Pool Trends (San Diego Edition)

As the rest of the nation endures harsh seasons, we San Diegans are incredibly fortunate to have year-round epic weather – which means we use our backyards a lot! They are literally an extension of our everyday lives.

The 2020 pandemic brought outdoor living to a new level. San Diegans have taken their home and life to the outdoors and done so with style. We’re now seeing living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and outdoor movie theaters on the rise. “Staycations” are our new lifestyle while we ride this pandemic out.  Let’s take a look at some 2021 pool trends happening in San Diego backyards.

Broken slab

The Modern Geometric Shape – Clean Lines

Clean symmetrical lines, rectangular or square-shaped pools with white surfaces, and top cast concrete are the look of San Diego luxury right now. Another big trend in place is breaking up large slabs of concrete with some texture in between. Common textures include pebble rock, grass, succulents, and other assorted rocks.

The Freeform Shape – A SoCal Classic

Freeform is and will always be a San Diego favorite for its tropical look and feel that compliments our exotic weather and lush landscape options. Sky is the limit with this shape and people have a lot of fun with it.

Lounge Ledges

Relax on a new level. These days, in-ground pools incorporate personality and innovation. One of the slickest trends to hit swimming pools in a long time is the arrival of the lounge ledge. These shallow ledges are perfectly designed to accommodate relaxing, sunning, and staying cool. You can soak up the SoCal sun or have your ledge built with an umbrella. Explore options: LedgeLoungers

Pergolas for Shade

Outdoor Living Spaces

Increased time at home can cause some a little cabin fever. Because of this, one of the biggest trends to come this year is extending living space to the outside. Homeowners are seeking ways to extend their current green spaces for recreation, entertainment, and functionality. For protection from the elements, homeowners may implement pergolas, gazebos, or overhead structures around or to accompany their swimming pool. With this comes sheltered lounge areas, outdoor kitchens, and lighting features. Custom Creations West builds all our gazebos, patios, and pergolas from scratch.

Low Maintenance Landscape

Low Maintenance Landscaping

Another swimming pool trend to watch in 2021 is the landscaping that surrounds the pool and pool deck. Borders, beds, and drought-tolerant plants are all viable options to create a natural and aesthetically pleasing space, with very little upkeep. Lovely and low maintenance seems to be the landscaping choice this year. Explore this low-water plant guide for Southern California.

Smart Lighting

Smart Lighting

Never underestimate the importance of lighting in your pool and outdoor projects. Today, smart lighting features and systems are the hot trends. These are easy to monitor, efficient to use, and aesthetically gorgeous compared to conventional lights and fixtures. Technology allows homeowners to manage their lighting- and their home security to some extent- from their phone or computer. There is are also a range of color schemes and brightness options available. Smart lighting can be synched with other entertainment or security systems to keep things elegant and streamlined, too. Check out ColorLogic or Pentair’s Smart Lighting Systems.

Lagoon hues with all the upticks

Lagoon Hues

When it comes to pool surfacing and finishes, lighter hues seem to have been the popular pick. This year’s pool trend leans away from lighter tones and shifts to dark swimming pool finishes giving the water a ‘lagoon’ type of feel. This is achieved with finishes that are dark blue, green, or even black. Plus, these darker colored tiles absorb heat, so your water will feel warmer, longer. Darker tiled pools also camouflage things like algae or mildew, so remember to be vigilant with your pool maintenance service.

Saltwater Systems

Another 2021 pool trend is the use of saltwater systems. There is something entirely different about swimming in saltwater, it’s incredibly smooth and requires fewer chemicals. Discover Pentair’s IntelliChlor Salt Chlorine Generator

Experience Backyard Bliss

With an unpredictable year behind us and ahead, many homeowners have hired a professional contractor for outdoor renovations and in-ground pool construction. Custom Creations West services San Diego, Fallbrook, Escondido, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, San Marcos, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Olivenhain, Solana Beach, Cardiff By The Sea, Leucadia, La Costa, Del Mar, and Carmel Mountain Ranch. Schedule your free consultation today!

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