Swim Up Bars and Sunken Structures

Swim Up Bars and Sunken Structures


If your family is craving a reprieve from the relentless Arizona sun, consider a shade structure over a swim-up bar.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that was certainly the case when California Pools & Landscape came up with the idea of designing sunken shade structures over swim up bars.

“Our development of these features began when a client’s Homeowner’s Association requirements placed a limit on how high a Ramada, or shade structure, could be in their backyard,” says Mike Smith, Founder of California Pools & Landscape. “Well, what do you do if you want a shade structure that covers an outdoor kitchen and TV or man cave area, but you aren’t allowed to have the structure higher than your fence? You lower the floor!”

The Sky’s (Almost) the Limit

When it comes to designing your ultimate backyard, there’s plenty of options to consider: a pool and spa, an outdoor kitchen for hosting cookouts and parties, a grassy area for games and sports, a baja shelf for shallow-water lounging, a swim-up bar for grabbing a drink and chilling out, a sitting area with a TV and fireplace, and more. After all, why travel to a crowded resort when you can have a private oasis right in your own backyard?

There is, however, one non-negotiable backyard feature every Arizonan can agree on: Shade. So California Pools started building sunken shade structures, where homeowners simply step down into their outdoor living area.

“It was natural to slide the lowered structure up next to the pool,” says Smith. “A tiled or stone-covered wall between the outdoor living area and the pool provides the perfect place for a sport or movie enthusiast to sit in the water and enjoy the entertainment while sipping a cold beverage.”

Full-Service, Licensed Builders

As you might expect, the more special features you include in your backyard design, the more complicated the project. After all, making it look seamless means a lot of specialized work behind the scenes and underground.

“We have 35 years of experience handling the engineering, special permits, unique construction processes, and designs required for these larger projects,” says Smith. “In fact, we are likely a client’s only choice if they want a fully licensed engineering firm, general contractor, pool builder, and landscape architect for their job. And we offer all of those services at no extra cost.”

Smith explains that the pool-related pieces of this project are typically very affordable, such as underwater tiled stools and a tiled bar top. “But the primary cost is in the structure, which can vary considerably,” he says. “Do you want a full kitchen? Electronics? Lights? Tile roof? Stone and tile finishes? Our designers are construction and budget experts and can guide and assist any client through this process.”

Would you like to learn more about ultimate backyards or maybe explore more design options? We can help! Our customer concierge is available to help answer all your questions about building your dream yard.

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