With an emphasis on modern design coupled with an East coast vibe, this resort-style backyard has confidently decided home is where the pool is.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photos by Matt Kocourek
If home is where the pool is, then we invite you to discover a new address! When this backyard dreamscape in southern Overland Park was designed, it was centered around unparalleled aesthetics and a cornucopia of unique and spectacular elements. Offering a touch of just about anything you can desire in an outdoor setting, this modern oasis embraces elements of water, fire, and nature in a surprisingly sophisticated yet equally comfortable manner.
When this home was built, the construction emphasis was on providing an expansive view of the backyard. Built on a pie-shaped lot at the end of a cul-de-sac, the backyard widens as it expands from front to back. The pool house, complete with a full bathroom and bedroom/office space, sits near the rear of the property while the home sits near the front. Express intention and purpose was put into the entire design of this space, throughout the home, and into the backyard area.
Originally from the East coast, the homeowners desired more of a resort-style design as opposed to a rugged, Rocky Mountain retreat vibe. They wanted their home and its backyard landscape to be fashioned around how they live their lives, especially on the weekends.
“The life we lead on the weekends is more like being in Martha’s Vineyard as opposed to the mountains,” expressed the homeowner. “We had our home built in a U-shape around the pool. When you come in our front door, you can look directly down the long hallway out to the pool. Our backyard reflects our lifestyle and that is why we built our home around it. We actually have four doors in our home leading to the back porch. We put features in the backyard we wanted to see from the inside of the home, and we had the pool built as big as we could for the size of the yard.”
An engineer by trade, the homeowner took pen to paper when first considering the aesthetics and purpose of the backyard design, opting for cleaner, simpler lines with a modern edge to reflect that East Coast ambiance he and his family appreciate. Once he had a vision in mind, he collaborated with Hoyt Banks and his team at Banks Pool & Spa Design Co. to bring this vision to life.
“They took my initial sketch and made it reality and they did a fabulous job,” smiled the homeowner. “I presented them with my design ideas to fit the clean, crisp lines of our house and together we tweaked it. Then, they just took it from there and made it a fantastic reality.”
For Banks, this project is truly a feather in his cap, as it represents his express ability to marry form and function in such a way that is not only breath-takingly beautiful but the epitome of perfection in its overall purpose.
“This was a feat of engineering,” noted Banks. “In fact, the entire pool was actually built out of ground. The very deep end is not dug in and is sitting on compacted gravel fill. This then gave us opportunities for design. We started with the pool and worked our way out from there.”
As a family that enjoys entertaining on occasion, the space had to include a pool bar, expansive deck, and pool house, all of which cater to adults. However, in an effort to ensure his teenage kids would equally appreciate the space, an unexpected layer of fun can be found at the bottom of the pool in the center: a volcano!
“There was no room for a diving board, so we decided to incorporate this feature instead,” explained the homeowner.
“This was completely experimental for us, as we had never done something like this before,” indicated Banks, who explained the volcano consists of high-powered pumps and air blowers hooked into an intricate nozzle system, allowing the water to bubble up to 18 inches or so to make a large column of water spray above the surface of the water. Connected LED lights can be synchronized with the pool lights to add a variety of color to the display or they can stay locked in with red lights, all of which can be controlled via a Smart phone, just as are many of the features controlled in and around the pool and spa area.
After the theatrics of the volcano are enjoyed, it is time to swim up to the granite bar top for a round of cocktails. Four bar stools are built in the pool, while four additional bar stools are positioned on the outer edge of the pool.
The artificial grass nestled between the travertine pavers surrounding the pool area was inspired by the homeowners’ East coast vacations.
“Many driveways back East use this design, with grass interspersed among the tiles for the tires of the car to drive on,” noted the homeowner. (On a side note, that inspiration required 3,600 square feet of travertine to complete the space, all of which was brought to the site via two semi-trucks.)
With a bounty of layers comprising this veritable garden spot, the homeowners enjoy a contemporary fire pit on the back porch accented with glass railings and contemporary wood retaining walls; waterfalls; water fountains and fire bowls with accompanying water feature that has an elevated overflow basin which fills up and elegantly spills over the glass tile; and a large fireplace situated in the back corner. Additionally, a koi pond sits off to the side of the pool, designed to appear as if it is tucked away in a secluded area of nature. This natural environment with flowing streams rests at a slightly different elevation than the pool. Thoughtfully-placed accent lighting brings another layer of elegance and warmth to the environment.
Banks definitely stepped outside the box with this project and appreciated every moment of the work it took to pull it all together.
“We enjoy branching out with neat, fun and new ideas, and when everything comes together, it is so rewarding,” reflected Banks.
Pool Cabana and Carpentry: Banks Pool and Spa Designs
Home Builder & Pool House Builder: Koehler Building Company
Patio/Deck: Banks Pool and Spa Designs
Lighting: Banks Pool and Spa Designs
Lighting: ADKI Group
Landscaping: ADKI Group
Koi Pond: Swan’s Water Gardens
Glass Railing: Fountain Glass