Website Sponsor:

Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge

The clients and their long list of requirements are fictitious but the site, and the contest, are real. Designers are invited to enter the contest and design the ultimate outdoor oasis with a million-dollar budget. Five finalists, including one student, will be selected to receive a trip to the 2021 PSP/DeckExpo, where their renderings will be presented to their peers. Voting is to be held live during the presentation, and the top four winning designers will receive a cash prize.

The Scenario

A client and his fiancé have recently started construction on their dream lot & home just Northeast of Phoenix, Arizona on one of the premier golf courses in the area. This particular client can be found very regularly on the PGA Tour Leaderboards on Sunday afternoons and now wants to use some of his career earnings to build a personal staycation for himself and his new bride-to-be. They do not have any kids but do have plenty of friends and family in the area.

Health, wellness, and exercise are his number one priority and every way that water therapy and exercise can be incorporated into the design, he would like to consider. Water helps create a place of tranquility and peace for him. All views from inside the home are of high importance.  Her number one priority is to create an environment for entertainment with lots of places to gather, hang out and have a great time.

Wish List

Pool & Spa

  • Combo pool with part recreation (volleyball & basketball) and a diving element and area
  • A spa that fits 8-10 adults comfortably with privacy
  • Ledge Lounger Furniture 
  • Mosaicist Tile Mural, minimum of 100 square feet (Can be inside the pool, outside pool, or as an art piece.)

Patio, Entertainment & Recreation

  • Putting green
  • Entertainment will never be over 20 people. Do not want it overbuilt.
  • Awesome Dolphin Water Slide 
  • Unique fire & water elements
  • Courtyard design off the dining room of the home
  • A full outdoor kitchen and bathroom as well as a dining area in a new structure (preferably) or under existing. 
  • A small structure (preferably) or use of existing structure with a swim-up bar.
Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge

Student Sponsor

Equipment Sponsor

Publication Sponsor

Aesthetics & View

  • Design around easements & setbacks on property.
  • Views from inside
  • Unique driveway & entry into the property
  • Water features for the sound and visual element
  • He likes the modern look & feel and she likes midcentury finish out
  • Plants incorporated into the design
  • Home construction is 75% completed so no manipulation to the existing home, minus furnishing & interior finish out.

Client Details

  • Big into health, wellness 
  • Fiancé: Loves friends, family, and entertaining

How it Works

Reid Schindler, one of the industry's up and coming award-winning designers, and Mike Farley, with 30+ years designing award winning pools, are teaming up with the PSP/Deck Expo to discover the industry's top designers.

Join in on the fun with us to see! A panel will be picking 5 finalists (1 student finalist) to send to this year's event.  All finalists' presentations, as well as Mike and Reid's solutions will be demonstrated on-site at the Expo. 

Contest Rules

Three Categories - Individual - Student - Team/Company*​​

What we need from you​:

  • Scaled 2d plan, rendered with media of choice.  
  • At least 1 form of a perspective rendering. **    
  • At maximum, 5 supporting graphics rendered with media of choice.  *** 
  • A short paragraph detailing your design process and/or explanations of solution details.​

Optional items for consideration: 

  • A two minute maximum video (.mp4 or .mov format) flythrough. 
  • 3d physical model or other unique presentation support.

*Limited to 4 Individuals or Teammates
**Entries will not be judged on amount of renderings, but quality of workmanship​   and effective/unique design usage for the clients wishes.​ 
***The Designer & Company will remain anonymous to the judges until the initial judging process is completed.  Please do not have names your plans or perspective renderings.  Design & videos will be co-property of “The Million Dollar Pool Challenge” once submitted and can be distributed to electronic and print outlets.  Owner of design can also distribute design materials.​

Each category's top project automatically earns a spot in the Top 5: Individual - Student - Team. The other two spots are open and will go go next highest-rated projects, regardless of category.​

The judges panel will consist of 6 industry experts using a point based system using the following criteria:​           

1. Aesthetic Quality - Is the concept’s form pleasant to look at?           
2. Differentiation - Is the concept "fresh" & unique?  How does the individual integrate the Dolphin Waterslide & Ledge Lounger Product Line?  ​           
3. Functionality -Does the concept meet the criteria of the families needs?  Does it consider all elements site analysis? 
4. Realization Possibility - Is the concept buildable if the client decided to move forward with construction? ie. topographically, features, function​


The Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge finalists receives:​

  • Airfare (up to $350)
  • $150 stipend
  • 2 hotel room nights (booked by show management)
  • Complimentary Super Pass 
  • Cash Prize: $1,250 for second place, $750 for third place, $500 for fourth place

The Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge winner receives:​

  • Airfare (up to $350)
  • $150 stipend
  • 2 hotel room nights (booked by show management)
  • Complimentary Super Pass 
  • Customized Trophy
  • Invitation to sit on judges panel in the following year​
  • Cash prize: $2,500 for first place

The winner can be voted on by the attendees of a design class at the 2021 PSP/Deck Expo. After video presentations of final designs, the class will vote via ballot on the top designer. This vote will serve as a strong influence used by the judges panel to ultimately select the winner. The top four scores from judging to determine the finalists; they can be individuals or team entries.

Students & Young Professionals

The Million Dollar Design Challenge has partnered with the PHTA WAVE Network to sponsor a student only design award. Students will be entered within the general competition and will be eligible to win multiple spots in the design competition, however one will be named as the award winning finalist. 

The selected finalist's design work will be presented at this year's  PSP/Deck Expo, along with the other finalists.

Students may work as an individual or do it as a group project. If you choose to enter it as a group project, you must submit it under one student name and he/she will list the others in the group.  The named student will be the presenter at the class & will receive any awards and/or airfare & tickets to the show. The whole group may be in the video presentation.

See the Contest Entry Rules for submitting files and to receive contest scenario.   

The student design will be included in the class vote for the "Top Designer" award along with the other finalists. 

PHTA WAVE Young Professionals Category Winner will receive:

  • Up to $400 credit for airfare
  • Free Conference Super Pass for PSP/Deck Expo
  • 2 night hotel stay
  • $150 per diem
  • Design presented in "Million Dollar Pool Challenge" for class
  • Exposure in leading industry print & digital forms

Special Thanks

The PSP/Deck Expo extends its thanks to design challenge creators, Mike Farley and Reid Schindler.

Reid Schindler, SchindlerDesignCo.

Mike Farley, Farley Designs