It’s one thing to install a functional swimming pool to help get you through the long, hot summer. It’s another thing entirely to build a true backyard oasis — one where you can experience tranquility, refreshment and luxury to replenish your mind, body and soul. That’s why it’s important to look beyond the basics when planning the design of your new pool and inquire about the bells and whistles that can transform your space into a resort-style retreat.
A scupper — an opening in the pool wall through which water drains — can be made from a variety of stone or metal materials, depending on the aesthetic you want, and incorporated in many different ways. Try this versatile option in stone for a classic look and feel or copper for a modern expression that incorporates the colors of the desert environment.
Also referred to as a disappearing edge or an infinity edge, this feature is where the edge merges into the next body of water and creates a visual effect of “vanishing.” This common element found at many luxury resorts can create a dramatic atmosphere right in your own backyard. This feature is excellent for yards that have elevation changes.
Water Spout and Column
Similar to a faucet, water spouts offer an adjustable flow depending on the amount of water you want running into your pool. Whether you would like a quiet trickle to add ambiance to an intimate evening or a roaring gush of water for the kids to play in, the choice is yours. Ask your pool builder about adding accompanying columns to provide an elegant Roman feel.
Another way to add visual and auditory interest to your pool area is with flowing water. Just listening to or watching water trickle from a fountain provides a calming effect reminiscent of your favorite spa. Fountains are fully customizable, from stone fish or copper dolphins that send a sparkling arc of water into the pool to less whimsical options, such as tiered designs.
Natural Rock Waterfall
Natural rock waterfalls are popular water features because they can fit into almost any landscape and pool size and are a seamless way to incorporate the natural rocks of the desert landscape into your pool environment. This feature can be placed as a focal point for your swimming pool or created more modestly to simply blend into the background, and its soothing sounds will make your hectic day seem far away.
Looking to create a little romance and intrigue in your backyard? Consider building a grotto hidden behind a sheet of refreshing water. It’s the perfect choice for adding a shady reprieve from the sun, or a nook of privacy and solitude reminiscent of being on your own little island in the Caribbean.
Long chutes that provide a controlled release of water from a larger body of water, spillways are typically found on a levee or dam. However, placed in your pool area, a spillway makes for a stunning surprise. For instance, your spa could double as a water feature, with the stacked side of the spa forming a dazzling spillway. Be sure to ask your pool builder about creative ways to design spillways between your spa and swimming pool.
When water falls vertically or almost vertically down a straight wall, that feature is called a sheer descent. The resulting effect can be created to happen in a subtle fashion, or in an incredibly dramatic way. The walls can be made from a variety of stone or other materials, and can be designed straight or curved to fit geometric or custom pool shapes — the options are endless.
As you enter the planning and design phase of creating your dream backyard, make sure to discuss your wish list with your pool builder or ask for their suggestions. Choosing a few of these special design elements will elevate your environment and create the true backyard paradise you desire.