Blue Heaven on Earth

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An effortless combination of fire and water breathe a charming and relaxing resort-like ambiance into this backyard oasis.

Story by Ann E. Butenas   |   Photos by Matt Kocourek




Located in Lenexa, Kansas, this tropical oasis gives the feeling of being far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Its captivating charm invites you to set aside your worries and troubles and just relax and embrace the moment. The outdoor-loving homeowners have frequently enjoyed family vacations in Mexico and wanted to duplicate that feeling right in their own backyard.

Situated on 30+ acres of land next to a three-acre man-made lake, complete with a jogging trail around its perimeter, this slice of Heaven on Earth pulls together elements of water and fire effortlessly and seamlessly. From the bold and confident structure of the flagstone deck wrapped around the perimeter of the pool to the built-in hot tub and calming fire bowls that also work double-time as elegant waterfalls, this outdoor escape from the everyday offers a heaping helping of calm and tranquility.

Working in tandem to create this one-of-a-kind backyard setting, the experts at Stonebridge Outdoor and Blue Haven Pools left no stone unturned when it came to creating a superior landscape experience. This project successfully pulled together multiple elements to create a visually stunning masterpiece while simultaneously capturing a resort-like ambiance.




Lauren Mackin, Creative Director and Lead Designer at Stonebridge Outdoor, worked with her team to design the pool and the property. Blue Haven installed the pool while Stonebridge designed and installed the accenting features on the property. The pool and surrounding areas were created to readily accommodate large groups of people.

“This took about a year and a half to complete, as it was done in conjunction with the construction of the home,” noted Manny Mendoza, owner of Blue Haven Pools. Marrying a cornucopia of incredible features, the overall design keeps pace with the homeowners’ passion for the outdoor life.

In addition to the artfully-designed pool, the property enjoys an outdoor kitchen complete with wood-fired oven, pull-out beverage station, sink and grill; two fire pits made of Black Hills flagstone, one of which is sunken and contiguous to the pool; and built-in stools in the pool by the sunken fire pit so everyone can be a part of the conversation. When it’s time for a little siesta, the custom-made hammock pergola houses four hammocks, perfect for a mid-afternoon snooze or a late evening rest under the stars. The pergola offers an open-air appeal while still affording protection under its roof.




“This entire project was completely custom-designed,” emphasized Mike Crist, owner of Stonebridge Outdoor, also referencing the custom irrigation system for all of the surrounding plant material. “We created this as low maintenance as possible for a seven-acre area.”

Even the swimming pool enjoys low-maintenance appeal, as it is easy to clean and just as easy to operate and maintain, and the incorporated hydraulics make this pool far more energy efficient. Additionally, the features of the pool are fully-automated. All of the lights, waterfalls and fire bowls can be operated directly from a cell phone, tablet or computer, no matter where you are in the world. For added effect, the color of the lighting can be changed to honor a special occasion, event, or even one’s favorite team colors!




Among the eye-catching features of the pool include the quartz plaster finish for the shell that is accented with blue flakes of quartz, contributing to the rich blue color of the water. A peaceful Infiniti edge allows the water to flow down into a catch basin below and a sun ledge on the opposite side is a great place to position a lounge chair and catch some rays while not fully immersing yourself in the water. The spa tub by the sun ledge spills over directly into the pool.

“This was a great project on which to work,” noted Crist. “It is very gratifying to know that the homeowners are highly appreciative of what we have done.”

This Midwestern resort is still a work-in-progress and stands at the ready to add more features (putting green, anyone?) that will make going away on vacation for this family literally a hop, skip and a jump straight out into their exciting backyard that has so much to offer.



Pool: Blue Haven Pools   |   Decking/Landscape: Stonebridge Outdoor

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