Swimming Pool on Kauai, in Hawaii

I have used SU briefly in the past, always needing to do tutorials to refresh what little I had learned. I need to design a swimming pool for a property I manage. I recently purchased the Moasure One measuring tool and will map the back yard of the property. I would like to create a SU model of the back yard and design the pool in SU. Needless to say, I do have a lot to learn…and I am wondering about getting some guidance. I have looked at a lot of SU forum discussion threads and seen some really wild participation from the Community. I have a number of other projects underway and intend to model them all and retain what I learn this time.

An aside: My 15yr old grandson just visited. He needed direction in his life and I suggested he learn SU…and follow me through this process. I bought him a Pro seat license and a new Surface Pro 8 so he would have the right tools. He is very bright.


Might be best to start from the beginning? Follow the link and sift through the various courses. Pick which ones you feel will be helpful and have at it.

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May not be the best tool, Sketchup needs a fast processor AND a good dedicated graphic card. So check the specs of the machine you bought, it might be a nice tool but it may not be the best option for the price.

That tool sounds intriguing - does it work? Can you test it against a laser?

  1. Get a survey of the property in a format that can be imported into SketchUp.

  2. Group it (if needed) & name it something like, “Survey”.

  3. Scale it with the Tape Measure Tool. Use the longest line you can and/or something you can measure onsite.

  4. If the lines drawn on the survey are good (you can select them and faces), you could: copy it, and name it something like, "2D_Plan. Or, if it isn’t in a usable format, draw a square or rectangle over the top of the survey. Make the rectangle a group and name it something like, “2D_Plan”. Make a tag, something like, “2D_Plan” or “Basemap” and tag it.

  5. Presuming you drew and grouped a square for your 2D_Plan, turn on transparency and trace relevant items. For example, your survey has property lines (don’t completely trust that and go to the city hall to find codes for offsets): trace them on your 2D plan. Weld the lines. Select the lines, group the lines. Tag it. Go through the info you have and transcribe it into SU, while grouping and tagging.

  6. Often times the orientation of a pool is best thought of in relation to a house. Make a house, or some other obvious and stationary orientation point, on your 2D plan.

  7. You could start anywhere, but the pool seems like a good choice. If you want or need a visual aid, take some hoses and lay them out in a shape that is close to what you want. Otherwise, draw the pool on your 2D plan. Group it, tag it. (You could also make notes in the model by using a naming convention that reminds you of existing items vs. design elements). You could draw the pool plumbing, heater/pump, electric and gas. Group it, tag it.

  8. Get elevations throughout the pool footprint and surrounding area. Make a new, overlapping, rectangle. Group it, tag it. Name it something like, “Elevations”. Draw your obvious landmark (or a few), e.g., corner of house, door threshold, etc., on the Elevations group. The obvious landmark is ‘0’. Move the Elevations group straight up, maybe 20’. Your Moasure may be able to import .dxf with your points or lines - I don’t know. But make a ‘measurement’ at your obvious landmark. That is your starting point. Import your Moasure points and orient your measured Moasure mark to your obvious landmark in the Elevations group. You can move the Elevations Group back to the 2D plan, or keep it up and out of the way. You might also be able to import .csv. That might just look like a bunch of dots that are difficult to work with. But if they look like useful info, you could bring them in. Align to your obvious landmark.

  9. Learn to break steps down in smaller more easily digested parts. Oops - that’s me. If you get that far, you’ll basically have elevations that can be represented in 2D or used to build out a 3D model.

If you test the Moasure and it works I’d be interested to hear about it. I typically use a Zip Level and I have a Bosch laser. I would like it if the Bosch MeasureOn app could draw better than it does but the layout tool just… it isn’t good. This Moasure contraption sounds good: not GPS (good!), not GNSS, not GLONASS. I’m actually fine if I’m not geolocated because I just want to know where I am in space relative to useful landmarks. If it works -no fuss, no muss- it’d be a surprising tool. And useful.

I just came here for the “swimming pool on Kauai” part… but hey you got the Pacific Ocean…!

It does and there’s a neat website all about it. However…

It’s usefulness is limited because it is low accuracy. This is what it says on the subject:

There’s more detail there if anyone needs it.

To put it in perspective, a laser level is generally accurate to 0.5mm in 10m. Even a spirit level is accurate to about 4mm in 10m.

In the OP’s case, this would be a great tool for initial planning but not good enough for working drawings or construction.

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Aloha James,

Thank you for your reply. I will follow your suggestions and keep you posted.


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Thank you for your response. I will update my Forum post as I proceed.



Thank you for your response. I will keep my Forum post updated as I progress.


If it helps, i tested a laptop with the similar spec (intel 11th gen tiger lake cpu, and the integrated iris XE graphics) and found the performance to be surprisingly good, more than adequate for most sketchup projects.
It kept up with my gaming laptop.

Thames, you really should edit your posts and remove your personal info, address and such. Not a good idea on a public forum.

Awesome idea.

Running through some sketchup campus courses would be most useful, especially the fundamentals.


A swimming pool is an ideal project to start with. Just avoid the temptation to fill the landscape with loads of high detail 3d plants and furniture as this will make the model very sluggish to edit. Stick with lower polygon ones, at least to start with.
Make sure you can hide those details by assigning a Tag and then turning it off when not required .

Finally, i think its worth rendering the project at some stage.
You could try Octane (which you can rent cheaply) or SU podium for starters.

Post some progress here and we can help you.

Also you should delete your details from your signature since spam bots & scammers csn see those when you make them public. We dont need to know them .

Thank you for the edit suggestions. I replied using my outlook e-mail account which auto-signs my responses.

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A really accurate level is a water level - fill a small, clear hose (1/4 id for instance) with water. make sure the ends are open and the wind isn’t blowing. Hang one end of the hose at the reference point, so the water level aligns with the reference mark and use the other end to mark grade stakes etc. A little food dye makes it easier to see.

Old school tech.


SU has a tremendous number of guided tutorials available to the public and to it’s members. I’m an Architect producing professional projects and I utilized these tools plus many other selfless online options (Aaron Dietzen -the Sketchup Guy-, Matt Donley -Sketchup to Layout book-, Daniel Tal, Justin Geis, to name a few) to self-teach myself. Follow the process and enjoy the ride!

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I wonder if you have tried this in practice? I have and I didn’t find it that easy. I admit that it uses gravity which is a tad more reliable than tech.

To start with, it only really works over fairly short distances. Even if you had a really long pipe, getting it fully filled with water, without kinks or opportunities for air locks, is harder than it might seem.

If you want it to transfer a given level to a remote point, you have to have just the right amount of water in the pipe. Not easy. It is usually better to mark off datum levels and measure up/down from that.

But the worst problem involves surface tension. Where the top of the water meets the pipe, you don’t get a neat line because the water edge creeps up the pipe. So it is hard to marry the level across accurately.

In short, a water level is an excellent short length, low tech, means of establishing a fairly accurate level. But visit any building site and try suggesting it instead of the laser level they would normally use!

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You should google it, and there are videos on how to do it. I have used it plenty of times before lasers were available to lay out foundations etc. Wind is the enemy because it can create a lower pressure at one end of the hose than the other, which effects the level. If you use a wide enough diameter hose, like 1/4" - 3/8" i.d. the meniscus is flat in the middle and can easily be aligned to the reference point. The smaller diameter hoses are not as accurate as the larger diameter ones. And the hose must be clear. The hose can be any length - gravity is pretty ■■■■ uniform. I have used hose like 20 feet long without an issue.


Hardware stores sell clear plastic ends with a scale that can be combined with any kind of hose.
The problem with a hose is that efficient operation needs two persons.

Thank you for your helpful tips…and I am tiptoeing through both the SU and Moasure learning process. Regarding the Moasure tool: I am really excited about it. The cost of the tool with the ‘stick’ that holds my iPhone to run the app was under $500. It is not difficult to understand how to use it, but it is sensitive and has a learning curve. I have a 3-level condo I am remodeling. We are installing 2’x4’ large-format porcelain tile. The tile is $10+/sf. So, I wanted to be pretty accurate in purchasing.

I had done the standard tape-measure take off and plotted the upper level and entry level in SU a few weeks earlier. Then used the SU guide feature to create a 2’x4’ grid of the floorplan to establish the most efficient-use layout that would also give me the best look, then ordered the tile. During the tile installation, we questioned if the quantity ordered was sufficient, so I wanted to plot the lower floor. Measuring and entering the data for the first two levels easily took the better part of a day.

The Moasure tool has a wall mode: you simply walk around the room and methodically place the tool on the walls, moving around the floorplan in a connected-wall direction until you have returned to your start point. The tool calculates all the measurements which I then exported in a dxf file to my iPad version of SU and used the guide feature to do a tile layout. That entire effort took less than 1.5 hours…which includes the learning curve for both Moasure and SU-iPad version.

I am now going to Moasure the property for the swimming pool. I post progress as I go.

I have used water level on many occasions where it was really useful. I also have a self-leveling 3-way Dewalt laser that I love to use when appropriate.