There used to be an old marketing trick whereby pool builders would place a transparent piece of film with a picture of a swimming pool over a window. That way, every time the homeowner would look out, he’d see a kidney-shaped oasis in his backyard.

Augmented reality (AR) is kind of like that except less tacky and far more sophisticated.

Structure Studios, maker of Pool Studio 3-D design software, is set to unveil an AR program that will enable contractors and homeowners to accurately envision a poolscape as though it were installed right there in the yard, in real life.

Unlike virtual reality -- another cutting-edge design tool -- AR doesn’t require an expensive headset. All that is needed is a tablet.

Here’s how it works: Designers create a backyard environment using Pool Studio. That creation is then transferred to a tablet. Take it to a client’s home so they can then see the digital rendering superimposed over their physical property using the tablet’s camera lens.

The program will have access to Pool Studio’s robust library of pool products. This will allow the designer to select different fiberglass and vinyl pool templates, plus a variety of accessories. For example, if the customer doesn’t like the wok pot, you could swap it out with, say, a Grand Effects fire bowl, and plop a Big Green Egg in the outdoor kitchen, and see those changes reflected against a real-world backdrop.

Beats window film.