Grass-edge? Peekaboo? Refresh your backyard with the latest pool trends
By Bonnie McCarthy
Aug 12, 2016 | 8:00 AM
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:
“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?
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.”