Aug 24, 2017 11:04:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV

Let’s face it, no one can do it all. Building a house is your priority, but what’s outside is critical for boosting property value and providing the lifestyle homeowners seek in South Florida. By outsourcing pool and landscape design and installation—including pool and spa construction, landscape design and installation— you can save time and resources.

Reef Tropical has partnered with general contractors in South Florida for 20 years, and there is virtually no pool, spa or landscape issue we haven’t dealt with in our market. That’s why sophisticated general contractors including Coastal Construction, Suffolk Construction and Brodson Construction, among others, rely on our team to manage specific tasks related to the pool or landscape, or to take those components of their property developments from conception to completion. (Most turn the keys over to us because they know we are the pros in this space.) We specialize in creating and maintaining an outdoor entertainment area.

How Do We Work With General Contractors?

The Reef Tropical team is always available to review drawings and provide consultation to advise how the plan can be properly executed in the field. We also work directly with clients to advance their design ideas, provide insight on the latest pools, spa and landscape trends, and make their dreams a reality.

There are multiple levels at which Reef Tropical consult with general contractors during the pool/landscape design and installation process--and we can maintain what we install.

Pool ConstructionBeyond providing expertise, we deliver honesty and integrity. That means looking out for your best interests and providing sound advice even if it doesn’t benefit our bottom line. We’re more focused on your end results and long term sustainability. This honesty creates a high level of trust and is the reason why we have built many long-time relationships with general contractors in Florida. We are focused on building a brand and a reputation.

What’s more, our project managers are supplemented by a customer service team of dedicated professionals, and our finance department includes full-time professionals in accounts receivable and accounts payable. Essentially, customer service and finance, along with ownership, support our project managers and field workers—and that’s a huge difference. We can all focus on what we do best to make the strongest team possible.

A project manager also has multiple different team members in other departments of the company who specialize in specific trades. For instance, we have a full time mechanic and facilities manager who helps with equipment repairs and inventory tracking. We also have experts in permit expediting, landscape architecture, operational strategy and pool & landscape maintenance.

The Risk of Pool and Landscape Construction Without An Expert

The bottom line is, when you partner with a reputable professional, you can rest assured that the quality of work will complement the home you’re building.  When general contractors take on pool construction alone, we tend to find problems with the pools infrastructure or the specification of equipment. Pool and spa construction is a specialty, and professionals like Reef Tropical are licensed and certified to do the work. Let us warranty the vessel.

The structural foundation of a pool is critical. Do you have the experience and connections with reputable subcontractors to complete this work?

Reef Tropical has partnered with general contractors in the past where they build and warranty the structure—then Reef Tropical will waterproof the vessel, run the plumbing, apply pool finishes and set the equipment. This arrangement can work when we know and trust the general contractor, and when they allow us to supervise the concrete pour. The general contractor also must understand the structural requirements to sustain the shell for years. (We do not provide a warranty  if the general contractor builds the shell) Ultimately, these projects are only successful if general contractors can work with a set of pool plans and align with our pool experts.

What about the landscape?

You could end up removing valuable specimen trees or interesting palms that can be relocated. Also, there are landscape restrictions to keep in mind, particularly in the hammock. By partnering with Reef Tropical early in the process, general contractors have greater success with the overall job.

Landscape install

We can engage clients early on, before demolition, to “flag” plant specimens that are worth saving or relocating. Also, we can help with the permit process, and we can easily mobilize to remove plant material. We have recommendations for subcontractors and local relationships that can be shared. We always work within the general contractor’s schedule.

Understanding Logistics: Executing on a Pool Plan

IMG_7864.jpgBringing the concept to reality is how an experienced pool and landscape professional adds value to a general contractor’s project. At Reef Tropical, we know what is actually possible to achieve with landscape and pool construction. We are continuously sharpening our skills and keep up on the latest industry trends. We also understand what constraints exist and how those might interfere with executing a plan, so we can work with general contractors and clients to problem-solve and create a workable plan with integrity that fulfills clients’ goals.

Identify Issues Before They Break The Budget

Our team can navigate restrictions anywhere in Florida, and we specialize in complex environments that are highly regulated. Whether your project is a new-build or renovation, we can consult with you to discuss landscaping and pool  opportunities. As for renovations, our team evaluates what parts of a landscape or pool are salvageable. We’ll assess the existing infrastructure, offer solutions and create a plan that aligns with the budget and vision. We do not shy away from the hard advise of completely demolishing and starting over as that is simply the best approach, especially with concrete vessels that are more than 15 to 20  years old. We all know, budgets grow when unexpected issues are discovered that require extra time and attention. By carefully assessing the property in advance and mapping out a plan, we help you manage your clients’ expectations for the budget, timeline and final results.

Take A Load Off Renovations


Maybe you need a clean slate before you can even begin imagining the landscape and pool design. Reef Tropical removes plants, and we’ll also examine plants and palm trees to see if they can be saved and relocated. This is especially valuable for rare and specimen trees or interesting palms that might be a focal point of the landscape design. Looking for a new “wow factor” palm? Our head designer served as president of the South Florida Palm Society, and he can specify palm trees for your properties.

We can advise on the best type of grass to grow on the property given its soil conditions and exposure to salt water.

As for pools, our team has the pool infrastructure expertise and aligns with engineers to address the need for pool pilings. Our team can evaluate existing pool structures, determine the cost of renovation vs. building new, and assess other structures on the property like pool houses, pergolas.

Sometimes, a pool or spa can be renovated with new tiles and facades to maintain its integrity. Or, a spa can be added to the pool to make it larger, rather than altering the existing concrete shell. There are lots of options to increase the value of the outdoor space with smart renovations.

Add Value To Your General Contracting Services

When you add a professional outdoor provider that offers landscape and pool/spa design installation and pool to your team, you are giving clients a valuable resource and partner. You can reallocate your time to interior projects or other tasks on the site that require your attention. Beyond pool, spa and landscape design, installation and maintenance, we want to partner with you in all capacities--from sharing of intellectual capital to personnel and resources, referrals, temporary office space and storage.  

Outdoor living spaces are a significant draw for South Florida homeowners, whether they are building a new home with you or renovating an existing property. Reef Tropical’s team can add value to your property and the services you provide.

Let’s talk more about how we can take the load off your next construction project. Call us at 305.367.2005, or submit an RFP, and we can provide a detailed and competitive bid.


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Topics: Pool & Spa Construction, Landscape Design

Claude Kershner IV

Written by Claude Kershner IV

President Reef Tropical • Pool & Landscape

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