| Today, some high-end
pool builders, such as Questar, are taking landscaping design in-house
to create fully integrated environments. Others work closely with
architects or landscape designers. Similarly, some landscape professionals
have embraced pool design in a quest to integrate pools with their
"A lot of the innovation that comes
in integration of vessels and architecture comes from firms that retain
high-end pool professionals to handle a portion of the execution,"
says Phillips, whose firm has been retained to design pools for John
Lautner and Associates. Lautner, who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright,
pioneered vanishing edge pools in the 1950s. "The left and right
sides of the brain must work at the same time," says Phillips.
"You have to understand the creative bent and also understand
how to make it work mechanically. Internationally, that's what's happening."
Total environments incorporating a pool
are no longer limited to the stereotypical tropical motif. "The
tranquility the Oriental designs give us is being used much more frequently
in residential designs," reports Phillips. "Instead of contriving
elevations and pitching huge amounts of water off fake terrain, we
are finding that both clients and designers familiar with the benefits
of water are doing exactly the opposite. They have very low elevation
changes and very low flow rates. Your streams don't have huge flows
its more tranquil o hear a brook than a river. This is a very old
concept-very Zen or Feng Shui."
At a recent project in Alvarado Estates,
Phillips combined an Asian meditation garden and Koi ponds with a
pool featuring multiple zero-depth access and slightly elevated spa.
"When you're sitting in the spa, it sounds like you're in a stream,"
Bob Cunningham, President of Mission
Valley Pools, agrees that among high-end homeowners, the trend is
to incorporate pools as part of a total environmental design. "People
are spending a lot more for their houses now, so they feel it's important
to protect their investment by integrating the pool into their overall
theme...They want an environment-and they want all the bells and whistles."
At a builder's home in Fairbanks Ranch,
for example, Mission Valley Pools created a pool and spa complete
with "Tropical Forest" planted to disguise the nearby roadway.
To mask traffic noise, the pool company created two large, natural-rock
waterfalls and a slide for the kids integrated into the tropical landscaping.
"Behind that is a totally topically paradise that is totally
enclosed and private," Cunningham adds. The pools is lined with
an updated version of PebbleTech. "They've got a new rock that
can be placed closer together, so it has a smooth feeling," says
The state-of-the-art installation features
fiberoptic lighting, including a color wheel. "We backlit the
falls, so at night we can turn it into Niagra Falls," sas Cunningham,
adding that pool and spa features can be controlled via phone modem
and intergrated into smart house technology.
"In most backyards today, people
are looking for pools to generate more than just the swimming pleasure
that they get in summer," says Cunningham. Today's homeowners
are apt to want a pool that makes a statement, is aesthetically pleasing,
doubles as a fountain or water features, and servers as a backyard
oasis. "That really is the trend," he notes.
Some clients retrun from vacations in
resorts overseas with requests for the pool builder to replicate unusual
water features. "One has a shallow end with a volcanic eruption,
which is really holes in the bottom of the pool with air cooming up
through it," Cunningham says.
Another client say a dolphin fountain
in Europe. "We created a platform lounging area in their pool,
plus a fountain so they can sit underneath this dolphin and get splashed
by it," Cunningham says.