Custom Water Features for Pools: Fountains, Scuppers, Fire Features & More

Homeowners looking for pool design ideas will quickly realize there’s much more than the shape and style of the pool to decide—there’s also those extra features that make your pool unique and exciting. Water features come in many different forms—from waterfalls to fountain bubblers to deck jets—and with customized features, the possibilities are endless.

We interviewed Dan Essig, president of Essig Pools in North Miami, Florida, to learn more about custom water features and view some spectacular unique designs.

Above: This pool has a raised water feature that includes six frothy bubblers with clear glass blocks and six spillways into the pool. Two lion head water spouts adorn either side with six conch safety handholds. What types of pools are good candidates for sconces, rosettes, and lion head water features?

Dan Essig, Essig Pools: Sconces, rosettes, and lion head water features are typically used in pools that are geometric pools (straight lines pools) and are very well suited for Roman shaped pools with raised walls as primary or secondary focal points.


Above: This raised water feature has a 6-foot sheer-descent waterfall with two overflowing sconces. The decorative tile on the wall adds strong bursts of color while two raised planters add greenery.



LP: Are fountain bubblers a common request?

DE: Fountain bubblers are getting used in more and more pool designs. They are becoming more popular because tanning shelves and extended steps have gained popularity in the last five years, and the bubblers look great in those areas. The bubblers look pretty, kids love playing with the water, and now they can even come with LED lights so they illuminate at night.


LP: Can the pool owner adjust the height of the water in fountain bubblers?

DE: Yes they can adjust the height, by opening or partially closing the water flow to the bubbler(s).


Above: This spectacular pool features five LED fountain bubblers on the tanning ledge and eight LED deck laminar water fountains. Each corner has a raised water bowl that spills over into the pool. The long benches on each side of the pool provide comfortable seating, great for entertaining. The deck is finished with 24-by-24-inch spaced coral pavers.


LP: Many of your projects feature tile or stacked rock along the raised wall of the pool and/or around the spa. How does adding these materials help to enhance a water feature?


DE: By installing coordinating tile, the same tile as the waterline of the pool, rock, or stacked rock around a water feature or along the raised wall, it enhances the focal points and often helps make it easier to maintain that part of the pool.


Above: This raised water feature has a 5-foot sheer-descent waterfall with glass tiled pedestal planters.


LP: Since most fire features are only lit at night, they take on a different look during the day. What types of design elements/ effects do you have to keep in mind when designing a fire feature?
DE: The designer should take into account that the homeowner is often looking at that feature without fire. The fire bowls often are attractive as they are functional, and many bowls can feed a sheer of water into the pool with or without fire. The flames and waterfall can operate independently.

Other features of this particular project include three LED color pool lights, a 12-inch raised spa with an acrylic spillway and LED colored light, tiled racing lanes, and a polished SGM Durrazzo finish.


Editor’s Tip: These customized high-end features are just some of the many possibilies you can have in your luxury pool design. Check out the our photo gallery of pools with water features to see a wide variety of options and start creating your idea folder.



Above: This residential project features four Grand Effects fire bowls, a water feature with LED-lit bubblers and three marble spillways, and Fiberstar’s perimeter fiber optic lighting.


LP: How were the two water bowls selected for this project?

DE: These water bowls have a coated material that gives that look of copper (patina), but it doesn’t put copper in the pool which could stain the pool. The look and textures of different materials can enhance a project and coordinate with the existing style and design of the house.


Above: The sides and front of this custom water feature are finished in stack rock. The 4-foot illuminated Sheer Rain Descent waterfall on center wall sits between two 3.5-foot-high pedestals which support the large decorative water bowls.


Photos courtesy of Essig Pools, Inc.

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