Pool Tour: Backyard-Turned-Paradise

Discover a basic backyard turned tropical getaway -- complete with a pool, outdoor kitchen, and guesthouse -- and get great ideas for designing and outfitting your pool.

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    Backyard Destination

    When the homeowners first bought this property in San Antonio, the long, narrow backyard offered little for a growing, young family. To fix that, they designed a space that the whole family could enjoy -- one that resembled a tropical destination. The tricky part: It all had to fit in an 80x50-foot backyard. The renovated backyard is now the perfect space to escape and a favorite spot for family gatherings.

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    Poolside Cabana

    The improved backyard boasts a cabana with a small guesthouse on one side and an outdoor kitchen-dining area on the other. The guesthouse provides a place for the family and guests to change clothes easily. A covered outdoor kitchen allows for outdoor dining even on rainy days. The cabana was built on the west side of the property to shade the pool from the afternoon sun.

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    Built-In Spa

    The spa integrates well with the pool and outdoor living space. The vine-covered rock walls with waterfalls create the illusion of a secluded swimming hole in a tropical rain forest. The palm trees and lush vegetation that surround the backyard add to the illusion while screening the neighbor's house.

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    Outdoor Kitchen

    An outdoor kitchen with a grill, sink, and refrigerator makes poolside living even easier. A ceiling fan circulates air, keeping the kitchen cool, and lighting allows dining to go late into the night.

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    Waterfalls on each end of the pool add soothing sound to the backyard retreat. They also protect the illusion of a tropical destination by hiding the pool equipment. Anchors on the side of the pool allow for a volleyball net and basketball hoop.

    As seen in this pool tour, half the fun of owning a pool is accessorizing it to fit your family's needs. In the following slides, discover fun and unique ways to accessorize your pool.

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    Pamper yourself with a poolside spa, which can be a cost-effective addition. The pool and spa often share operational equipment, and building costs are distributed between the two.

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    Spa Spillway

    Add another layer of enjoyment by designing a spa with a spillway effect next to the pool. Water from the spa will cascade into the pool like a natural waterfall.

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    Negative Edge

    Install a negative edge that allows pool water to spill over its boundary; the water is captured and circulated back into the pool. This is an especially appealing feature for a pool with a great view.

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    Beach Entry

    Instead of a traditional pool edge, create a gradual sloping entry like you'd see at a beach. You'll find it easier to get in and out of the pool and have a ready-made sunbathing and play area.

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    Make it as simple or elaborate as you like. A waterfall can be an almost-silent, grasslike sheet of water; a rushing mountain spring; or something in between.

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    Choose from floating and permanent built-in varieties. The force provided by the pool's circulation pump or an auxiliary pump can create the desired effect.

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    Direct an arching stream of water into the pool from a raised area on a deck or pool wall. Scuppers come in an array of sizes, shapes, and finishes.

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    Diving Board and Slide

    Add a diving board or a wet-and-wild ride with a waterslide. Today's diving boards offer more spring and come in many colors, but they require minimum pool depths and widths.

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    Illuminate your pool for nighttime use, as a safety precaution and to spotlight water features and create a mood. Choose from incandescent, perimeter, floating solar, and fiber-optic lights.

  • Next Slideshow Pools and Spas That Make a Splash

    Pools and Spas That Make a Splash

    In-ground pools surrounded by handsome patios, sun-drenched decks, and lush landscapes invite swimmers and sunbathers to gather. Check out these fabulous swimming holes designed with entertaining and relaxation in mind.
    Begin Slideshow »

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