An Enchanting Paradise

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This gorgeous backyard pool and outdoor kitchen space combines both beauty and functionality.

Story by Ann Butenas       |       Photography by Matt Kocourek

Imagine stepping into a breathtaking sanctuary right in your own backyard — a place where elegance and comfort merge to create a haven of relaxation and entertainment. A stunning backyard pool paired with a meticulously designed outdoor kitchen is the epitome of luxury and style. This captivating combination in Overland Park, Kansas, transforms this outdoor space into a paradise that not only captivates the eye but also invites its owners to unwind and indulge in the pleasures of outdoor living.

Aesthetic Harmony and Impeccable Design

The design of this gorgeous backyard heated pool with an automatic pool cover and outdoor kitchen is a testament to meticulous attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to aesthetic harmony. Every element, from the choice of materials to the arrangement of seating areas, is thoughtfully considered. Luxury and functionality go hand in hand, with premium-quality surfaces, stylish lighting fixtures, and well-crafted furniture that enhance the overall ambiance. The design seamlessly blends the natural beauty of the surroundings with the elegant architecture, creating a space that feels like an extension of the home.

Adjacent to the pool, a masterfully crafted outdoor kitchen beckons, where culinary dreams come to life amidst the beauty of nature. This outdoor culinary haven combines functionality and style, inviting the owners and their guests to indulge in a seamless dining experience in the open air. 

A Pool of Unrivaled Beauty 

At the heart of this enchanting landscape lies a resplendent pool, a shimmering oasis that embodies tranquility and sophistication. The shimmering water, artfully arranged landscaping, and inviting poolside loungers create an atmosphere of pure bliss. However, it did not come without its challenges.

“We were dealing with an awkwardly shaped lot,” explained Kurt Kraisinger, PLA, LEEDAP and Founder/President of Lorax Design Group. “The house sits on a corner lot, so it is juxta-positioned differently. The owners wanted a pool, a grill station, and a pergola. With the flat yard, we needed to add some vertical drama.”

In addition to the requested elements, the owners also desired a swim-up bar. It was Kraisinger’s idea to lower the outdoor space to the same elevation as where someone would be if they swam up to the bar.

“Why have a swim-up bar with people looking up to those on the dry side?” questioned Kraisinger. As such, he designed the space with the entire outdoor living area sunken down a bit. This way, both the dry side and the wet side can be face-to-face and on the same level.

After presenting this idea to the owners in a 3-D computerized version initially, they were inspired by the creativity and gave Kraisinger the green light to move forward with this vision.

“This is definitely a different perspective and offers a different vantage point as you look across the water to the outdoor living space,” expressed Kraisinger, who refers to outdoor pools now as not just a body of water but a part of someone’s overall lifestyle and way of living.

“Just like islands became popular in the kitchen, pools are now a popular lifestyle choice for many homeowners,” he said. “It makes all parts of the home and living spaces inter-related, much like the Swiss Army knife design.”

As landscape architects, Kraisinger and his team at Lorax Design Group oversaw all the design work with this project. From the custom outdoor kitchen to the serene pool, everything has its place.

“This project has a nice story to tell about the sunken area,” reflected Kraisinger. “When people see it, they tend to like it.”

Kraisinger further emphasized the client was incredible to work with and appreciated how they trusted the entire process.

“We wanted to implement their ideas and thoughts, and then our job was to put that on paper. We make designs to fit the lifestyles of our clients. This homeowner provided us with their initial inspirations, and we came back with something that really worked for them,” stated Kraisinger.

As owner of a metal fabrication shop, the homeowner wanted to incorporate something unique he could build at his shop into this backyard setting. Due to the corner lot location, no roof was allowed on a poolside structure, per the city. As such, the idea for the sunken area was born.  

“The area feels smaller and more intimate this way,” reflected the owner, whose creative pergola design features many functional elements. For example, he ran the electrical lines into the metal part of the structure so there are no conduits on the outside.

“This pergola weighs around 10,000 pounds and had to be installed with an overhead crane in separate pieces,” explained the owner, who managed the whole project.

Creating a Year-Round Outdoor Retreat

While the allure of a backyard pool and outdoor kitchen is often associated with summer, this particular space was designed to be enjoyed year-round. By incorporating elements such as an outdoor fireplace and heaters, including radiant heat under the concrete, the homeowners can extend the usability of their retreat well beyond the warm months. From basking in the sun on a lazy summer afternoon to cozying up by the fire on a chilly autumn evening, this space caters to every season, allowing the homeowners to savor the beauty of their backyard oasis throughout the year.

“Kurt is really good at coming up with great ideas,” smiled the owner. “We appreciate that we can see the pool from our kitchen and are really pleased with the unique sunken area.”

The homeowner collaborated with the landscaping company Land Art, which handled the backyard’s landscaping and lighting projects.

“We couldn’t be happier with the end result,” expressed the owner.

The allure of this captivating pairing lies in its ability to harmonize the elegance of design with the pleasures of outdoor relaxation and entertainment. Mission accomplished.


  • Backyard Design: Lorax Design Group
  • Pool: Midwest Custom Pools
  • Landscape Design/Install: Land Art, Inc.
  • Appliances/Grill: Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center
  • Furniture: Kingsley Bate
  • Pergola: Genco Manufacturing, Inc.

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