Pool and Spa Ideas

Bask in the comfort and tranquility of a pool or spa.

By Kelly Roberson

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City Escape

    A multifaceted deck dresses up an off-the-shelf spa.

    -- In narrow urban landscapes, a side yard makes a good spot for a slender deck or spa.

    -- Placed with its top level aligned with the deck's floor, an in-deck hot tub becomes less obtrusive.

    -- Located right next to the hot tub, an outdoor-resistant rug offers a spot to dry off.

    -- Because the spa is sunk into the deck, the railings serve as a privacy screen.

    -- Above the nearby couch, a few hooks offer a convenient spot to hang towels.

A World Away

    A slender wall divides public from private.

    -- While a spa may require privacy from the neighbors, it can also call for screening from the rest of the house. Here, a stucco wall protects the space from the home's back windows.

    -- A wide deck around the hot tub does double duty as an informal bench.

    -- An extension of the spa's concrete base provides a transition between spa and grass.

    -- The geometry of the spa repeats in the pattern of pavers inset into the grass.

    -- If appropriate, choose materials that help to tie the spa area with the rest of the house -- here, the same color and style of brick repeats in the walls around the pool area.

Wooded Refuge

    A pool maximizes the view in its secluded site.

    -- Good lighting is essential. This pool features a few fixtures sunk into the surrounding concrete pad.

    -- A neutral light brown stain for the concrete pad offers a color choice in-step with the natural surroundings.

    -- Curves cut out of the pool's concrete pad offer spots for a few shrubs and decorative boulders.

    -- An infinity edge orients the view to the forest and lake.

    -- When the area around a pool is mostly paved, containers planted with annuals can provide a way to add color and texture.

Say Ahhhh

    Beautifully landscaped grounds are the backdrop to an expansive pool.

    -- If space allows, a nearby building can be useful to store cleaning tools and other pool-care necessities.

    -- The geometry of the pool stands in stark contrast to the lushly planted surroundings.

    -- The patterning of the pool's deck is repeated in other hardscape elements, such as the series of mostly rectangular pavers (spaced at regular intervals) that lead from house to pool.

    -- Instead of a basic long rectangle shape, this pool subtly widens at the shallow end.

    -- Columnar evergreens and towering ornamental grasses shield one end of the pool from view.

Contemporary Cool-Off

    A home's sleek style extends to its minimalist pool.

    -- Grasses and river rock fill a slim area between pool and house.

    -- Instead of a traditional wide deck surrounding the pool, here, nearby paved patio spaces offer spots to sit down and towel off.

    -- The home's contemporary style and geometry supply inspiration for the pool's design.

    -- In a sleight of pool-design hand, a very shallow section provides a spot for a few people to cool off without getting submerged.

    -- Deep blue tile offers a restful accent for the wall and edging surrounding the pool.

Clever Curves

    A small-scale spa enlarges outdoor living space.

    -- A brick patio naturally extends into a design element in this spa. Mortared pavers forming the pool?s edge.

    -- Casual seating -- such as the bordering wall here -- provide a spot to perch if they're not using the spa.

    -- Rigid borders go by the wayside in this spa, which is cleverly cut into a curved niche in the retaining wall.

    -- Stonework in the adjacent fireplace repeats in the spa's backdrop to create continuity in the yard.

    -- A few blooms crest over the retaining wall, supplying a pretty spot for spa users to rest their eyes.

Jump In

    A pool/spa combo creates a backyard refuge.

    -- Sometimes pools and spas are completely different spaces, but integrating them can be a natural fit.

    -- In place of an ordinary fence, a distinctive stone wall offers a back border for the pool.

    -- Two fountains -- one in the spa, one in the pool -- create dramatic vertical interest.

    -- If budget allows, try using stone pavers to provide an attractive and texturally interesting deck around a pool.

    -- Small niches of plants fill a spot in the corner of the pool, softening the stone's edges.

Swim with a View

    A relaxing view serves as backdrop for this sleek pool.

    -- With one length an "infinity" edge, a pool relies on slim stone paving for the three other sides to minimize visual disruption.

    -- Grass offers a soft landing pad around the deck.

    -- Both chairs and the placement of the pool orient the view to the wide-open countryside.

    -- A short metal railing defines the yard's (and the pool's) back border.

    -- Bountiful blooms disguise the fence and offer a welcome bit of color.

Time for a Swim

    Spots to escape the sun while enjoying the pool are key in this landscape.

    -- A stone border offers a low-key separation between spa and pool.

    -- A portable outdoor umbrella provides protection from the sun.

    -- Comfy benches and a covered patio furnish spots for poolside rest and relaxation.

    -- Two subtly different materials -- one as edging, another as surrounding deck -- add a slight but welcome point of visual interest.

    -- A sculpture of large boulders serves as focal point and natural spot for inclusion of a waterfall.

Pool Repose

    Sophisticated details dress up this combo pool/spa.

    -- A series of concrete "pads" jut out in the pool space, offering just variation to the mostly neutral deck.

    -- A short retaining wall, which features the same creamy white color of the surrounding stone, separates the pool area from the rest of the yard.

    -- Speckled stone provides this spa with its own distinct border.

    -- Lighting around a pool and spa is for both safety and ambiance; here, a few fixtures unobtrusively dot the landscape.

    -- Here, both the fence and the deep green foliage serve a visual counterpoint to the white stone.

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