At their very best, poolscapes represent the perfect fusion of art, architecture, and engineering.
Their beauty may look effortless, but often it’s what is below the water that really makes the greatest impact.
Mason Cosgrove, the CEO of Cosgrove Custom Pools in Loomis, California, got a chance to prove this principle when he was commissioned to build a poolscape for a couple who live in the Sacramento area.
The owners, who had been in their house for about year, presented Cosgrove with plans designed by their architect.
“They wanted a resort-style pool for entertaining large groups of people,” he says. “The plans included a perimeter overflow-edge pool, and when they sent over the design, I felt it really didn’t give them what they were looking for. It had some raised walls that broke up the perimeter, which was the whole point of the plan, and the entire design felt disconnected.”
Cosgrove took a deep breath and a deep dive, devoting what he recalls as two very, very late nights to re-designing the architect’s design for the one-acre backyard space, creating a plan that includes a variety of Pentair products that add drama and durability.
It paid off – not only did the clients switch to his plan, but the project also received a 2019 PHTA Gold Award of Excellence in the category of vanishing-edge pool of over 600 square feet.
The centerpiece of the project is the 165-foot perimeter cruciform overflow-edge pool, which required Cosgrove to create a perfectly level waterline.
“Everything had to be perfect to make it look exactly like a static sheet of mirrored glass.” – Mason Cosgrove, CEO of Cosgrove Custom Pools
“In most cases, the vanishing edge is only a small part of the pool, say 30 to 50 feet,” he says, adding that having the concrete and water at the same elevation was the defining element of his design. “In this case, it was the whole pool. And it was 165 feet. Everything had to be perfect to make it look exactly like a static sheet of mirrored glass. This required setting up a plumbing system with the proper fall and vents to eliminate noise.”
To assure the water flow was exactly calibrated to create a smooth surface, Cosgrove installed Pentair’s IntelliProXF VSF pump, which is the world’s first variable speed and flow pump to adjust to a changing pool environment in order to maintain a preprogrammed flow rate.
The pump, which is like a car’s cruise control, “is versatile,” he says. “You can set the number of gallons per minute or the RPMs.”
Creating a Seamless Design
Although the decade-old stucco and red-tiled-roof house is in a Mediterranean style, the interior is contemporary.
To create indoor and outdoor spaces that flow seamlessly, Cosgrove designed a contemporary poolscape, centered on the home’s 16-foot-long sliding glass door in the living room/kitchen area.
He placed the spa right outside the door and added two Pentair MagicFalls Water Effects to create audible drama.
“They spill into the pool on two sides of the spa,” he says, adding that the sound of the cascading curtains creates additional interest.
He flanked the spa by a pair of Cabo ledges, each of which seats four lounge chairs, and positioned the fire pit opposite the spa, defining it with a patch of artificial turf.
“It’s a conversation area,” he says. “In the pool on that end, the depth slopes from 3.5 feet to 7.5 feet, and there’s a shallow ledge with a wrap-around bench where people can sit and talk.”
The poolhouse, which was designed by the architect, makes the poolscape a complete party center.
In addition to a bathroom and pool-props storage room, it has large commercial gas heaters, a barbecue, an icemaker, a refrigerator, a warming drawer, a panoramic flat-screen TV, and an area for dining and socializing. There’s also an outdoor shower on the property.
“It brings outdoor living to another level,” he says.
Cosgrove tied all the elements together by using silver travertine on the flat surfaces, including the edging around the pool.
The poolscape is as versatile as it is beautiful: At the push of a button, Pentair’s IntelliCenter Control System for Pool and Spa allows them operate all its features.
“They can take the pool from sleeping to party mode with one button,” Cosgrove says.
“And they don’t have to be there – they can program it on their way home from Tahoe or anywhere else in the world.”
Pentair’s IntelliBrite 5G Color LED Pool Light system turns the pool into an extravagant showplace.
“The light show comes on with the push of one button,” Cosgrove says. “I combined it with Pentair’s GloBrite lights, which make the pool’s perimeter overflow pop at night.”
Cosgrove and 100 other people got to see the pool in action when the owners invited family, friends and neighbors over for an official opening.
“Everyone kept saying that they had never seen anything like it,” Cosgrove says.