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Grass-edge? Peekaboo? Refresh your backyard with the latest pool trends

Angelenos know how to make a splash – especially when it comes to luxury pools. 

As those summer temps heat up, an ultra-cool pool is a hot commodity. Still paddling away in your basic backyard pool? Here are some trends making waves:


Peekaboo pools

This peekaboo pool was designed by architect Ronald Wilson and Skip Phillips of Questar Pools and built by La Jolla Pools. The window is on the bottom of the pool, looking into the living room.
This peekaboo pool was designed by architect Ronald Wilson and Skip Phillips of Questar Pools and built by La Jolla Pools. The window is on the bottom of the pool, looking into the living room. (Studio Carre)

“We are getting requests to incorporate underwater windows or have whole sides of the pool done in what people would call plexiglass or acrylic,” said Greg Boruff, associate designer at Escondido-based Questar Pools. “It’s like what you see in the movies.”

Questar’s latest project included an acrylic window on the bottom of a pool, situated above a living room. “It was a big project,” said Boruff, “and I think they went through at least two separate builders to get the pool built.”


Infinity pool or zero edge?

Designed by architect Ronald Wilson and Skip Phillips of Questar Pools, this pool features a perimeter overflow style and was built by La Jolla Pools.
Designed by architect Ronald Wilson and Skip Phillips of Questar Pools, this pool features a perimeter overflow style and was built by La Jolla Pools. (Studio Carre)

What’s the difference? 

“In pool design-speak there is very little difference between the types of details,” Boruff said. “The main difference between an infinity-style or zero-edge pool is whether the water is going down into a gutter that is open, or if it’s a slot overflow out near a deck.”


Au natural

Locally quarried boulders, cattails, water lilies and American lotus enhance a natural swimming pool by BioNova Natural Pools.
Locally quarried boulders, cattails, water lilies and American lotus enhance a natural swimming pool by BioNova Natural Pools. (Rin Robyn Pools / BioNova Natural Pools)

Chemical-free pools engineered to function like spring-fed ponds “are the next frontier,” Boruff said.

Often incorporating gravel, plants, living organisms and healthy bacteria, natural pools work by oxygenating water through constant movement.

“It’s maintaining a healthy ecosystem,” said Boruff, not a sterile environment. “A stagnant pond is one where there is no water coming in and no water exiting.… We artificially introduce [motion] by having water drawn out and then filtering it back through.”


Remote controls

This infinity-edge pool by Poseidon Pools features lighted laminar deck jets, a swim jet system, color-changing lights, underwater speakers, an automatic pool cover and remote-control technology by OmniLogic.
This infinity-edge pool by Poseidon Pools features lighted laminar deck jets, a swim jet system, color-changing lights, underwater speakers, an automatic pool cover and remote-control technology by OmniLogic. (Rob Blake / SCP Distributors)

Mood lighting, music preferences, spa temperature, pool maintenance and filtration, even waterfall speed can be remotely adjusted with the touch of a button. Backyard automation means never having to say, “Let me go outside to turn on the spa.”

OmniLogic, technology from New Jersey-based Hayward Industries, integrates exterior controls into a single hand-held device or mobile app and allows users to create up to 25 themed profiles and 50 “favorite” settings. Think: romantic evening, kids’ pool party, family dinner.


Grass-edge pool

This pool Incorporates a grass-edge look created by Bobe Water & Fire. It was built by Paragon Pools.
This pool Incorporates a grass-edge look created by Bobe Water & Fire. It was built by Paragon Pools. (Paragon Pools )

Ditch the deck. A steel-plate edge allows designers to extend the landscape to the water’s edge for a softer, seamless look. “It’s really about integrating the design into the entire outdoor living space,” said Gillespie.


Automated pool covers

A cantilevered pool built by Alka Pool Construction over a hillside in Whistler, Canada, features an automated Hydralux cover from Aquamatic Cover Systems.
A cantilevered pool built by Alka Pool Construction over a hillside in Whistler, Canada, features an automated Hydralux cover from Aquamatic Cover Systems. (Aquamatic Cover Systems)

Pool covers save energy and reduce evaporation, but they have long been an eyesore. New, floating slat designs feature remote-controlled, customized air-filled slats that emerge a la James Bond from hidden hatches on the bottom or sides of the pool. No more brown vinyl covers with tracks.


California dreaming

Baja ledges and water features define a sparkling pool surrounded by a resort-style cabana with gym, bar, steam shower, sauna and entertaining area developed by American Coastal Properties.
Baja ledges and water features define a sparkling pool surrounded by a resort-style cabana with gym, bar, steam shower, sauna and entertaining area developed by American Coastal Properties. (Luke Gibson Photography)

Think overarching vision: A master plan for your exterior space is one of the most important pool trends of all.

“It’s not just about having an architect build a beautiful multimillion-dollar home,” said Melissa Gillespie, editor of Luxury Pools Magazine in San Diego. “It’s about blending the indoors and outdoors and working with a pool builder, a landscape architect and the [primary] architect to create a master plan. The pool is no longer an afterthought.”

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