Let’s face it: Everyone wants resort–style luxury recreated in their pool at home. But achieving a luxurious pool experience doesn’t necessarily require complication or ornamentation. Sometimes simple is best.
There are properties and lifestyles that lend themselves to waterfalls, fountains, fire bowls, pergolas, lazy rivers, and other striking features. But the nation’s top pool experts are also adept at taking a more minimalistic approach to creating the ultimate backyard oasis. When a client wants clean lines and a sleek silhouette, these designers know how to keep things quiet without sacrificing sophistication.
POINT OF VIEW
“A lot of our projects are on the coast—properties with extravagant ocean views,” says Andy Kaner, president of Aquatic Consultants, Inc., in Miami, Florida. “When you design a pool for a gorgeous setting, you don’t want to interrupt or conflict with those views. Our goal is always to enhance the site with a design that reflects and embraces the landscape,” he continues, “versus one that fights against it with lots of complex features.
“Sometimes restraint is more difficult,” admits Kaner. “The question is how to create an amazing pool but still keep it simple.”
For an oceanfront property in Key Largo, Florida, Kaner answered this question via a 67-foot-long, entertaining-centric pool design. The tiled interior blends whites, browns, and grays— “We went for earthy tones to emulate the look of sand,” says the designer.
Within its generous envelope, the pool boasts a shallow lounging area, complete with anchored Tuuci umbrellas and Jandy LED bubblers, and a swim-up bar. “The perimeter overflow spa is designed to look like part of the pool, like the two bodies of water are all on one plane, but the spa is actually slightly elevated to isolate it for heating,” explains Kaner.
The pool expert kept the overall silhouette tidy and uncluttered by limiting the number of incorporated materials and employing both a circular vanishing edge on the deep end and a Lautner knife edge against the deck. Generous in both size and features, this pool still honors and emulates the beauty of the ocean beyond.
Ocean horizons are not the only views worth celebrating. For a vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina, Kaner designed a stunning mountaintop pool with a vanishing edge on three sides. The award-winning project was built by Clearwater Construction Group and tiled by Mosaicist, Inc.
“The idea was to make it highly reflective, so we used all black tile on the interior and black granite for the top of the vanishing edge wall and spa,” he continues. “You can’t fight with that
view of the Appalachian Mountains—our job was to do everything we could to enhance it.”
Punctuating the pool and piercing the deck is an elevated perimeter overflow spa. A Lautner knife edge finish on the pool’s deck side creates a seamless transition between stone and water. Lastly, Kaner recessed a fire feature into the deck, achieving a supremely minimalistic hangout space that’s ideal for cooler Carolina nights.
Based in South Florida, Ike’s Carter Pools Company knows what it takes to let a coastal horizon shine. When one client approached the firm desiring a family-friendly, view-embracing pool for his Intracoastal property in Fort Lauderdale, co-owners Erik “Ike” Eikevik and Gary Kaplan kept the design straightforward but with a twist.
“The client wanted a simple look but also something different than the average rectangle,” explains Eikevik, who opted for a curved approach that echoes the radius of a rounded living space on the back of the house. The design’s vanishing edge and Pebble Tec interior serve to blur the line between where the pool water ends and the canal water begins.
“We kept everything super clean. There’s no coping; the marble paver decking runs right to the water’s edge,” he continues. “Most pavers are arranged at 90 degrees straight up and down; we ran these at a 45-degree angle for a more intriguing look off the pool’s radiuses.”
With a sun shelf oriented towards the view and a submerged bench stretching along its back wall, this pool invites relaxation and view appreciation.
Accentuating a different type of water view—this time of a lake in Davie, Florida—Eikevik employed a linear design set into a neat rectangular deck of silver travertine. The pool starts with steps stretching its entire width and ends with a vanishing edge overflowing over two 90-degree corners. Tucked off to one side is an infinity spa with perimeter overflow on four sides.
“The owners wanted super clean and modern,” he says of his design directive. “The real focal point of this project is that vanishing edge and the lake views beyond.”
“I’ve noticed a lot of clients going in the modern direction,” says Matt Lusk of Aquavisions Inc., a pool design and construction company based in central Pennsylvania. “For the past five years, we’ve been doing more straight-lined, classic pools. But these are not just rectangles,” he adds. “Everyone wants theirs to be unique somehow—it’s key to listen to what homeowners actually want versus telling them what they need.”
For clients in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, Aquavisions Inc. designer Chadd Jovanelly tackled an extremely sloping site to create an elegant backyard retreat anchored by a 13-foot retaining wall. “Their design tastes were very clean and they preferred contrasting white and gray tones,” explains Jovanelly, who went with black granite coping to contrast the white porcelain tile decking.
A darker interior finish—“Ocean Blue” by Pebble Tec—gives the pool a more reflective quality and also serves to further contrast the light porcelain patio. Black ledgestone lining the raised spa repeats on the cabana’s fireplace.
The open-air cabana, pool, lounge chairs—everything in this poolscape is aligned and symmetrical. But for extra interest, Jovanelly bumped out two benches on the pool’s deep end. “The bump-outs protect the usable swimming space,” he notes. “It’s not an earth-shattering change, but it makes the pool feel unique and is still in keeping with our minimalistic goals.”
SENSE OF PLACE
For a client in Hill Country—specifically Spicewell, Texas—Dave Rothwell of Austin-based Anthony & Sylvan Pools delivered a neat, geometric design tucked into a rocky hill on the expansive property.
Flagstone coping and a stamped concrete deck echo the hues and textures of the rustic setting. “The pool culminates in a water feature: a ribbon of water cascading from a raised beam that we veneered in stacked flagstone,” describes the veteran designer.
“It’s a straight-lined pool but very organic. It’s minimalistic but very indigenous,” he summarizes. “This is a great depiction of a geometric pool that’s clean but with a distinct Texas twang.”