Life is definitely laid back at this unique outdoor retreat.
Story by Andrea Darr | Photos by Matt Kocourek
Nature doesn’t make perfect rectangles, so when it comes to pool design, neither does Banks Pools and Spas. The third-generation, family-owned pool company is known around town to mimic nature’s curves with their custom freeform pools.
But beyond the crystal clear blue waters of this Overland Park project is a complete outdoor living environment.
The large family who lives in the home desired a comprehensive makeover to their backyard for their personal daily use as well as to host parties. “They’ve done their fair share of traveling and were inspired by upscale resorts,” says owner Hoyt Banks. “They wanted to create a similar oasis in their own backyard.”
Because the property shares a boundary with the Links of Lionsgate golf course, setbacks were considerably larger than usual, dictating the size and shape of the pool.
Dirt left over from the dig was left onsite in order to build up a hillside on which to place a slide. “From this elevated perspective, you get a really nice viewpoint of the whole project,” Banks says.
A flagstone path on the side of the house, backdoor patio and pool coping tie nature into the design, while the main pool deck is an advanced product called Delta Deck that wears better, isn’t slick, and best of all, won’t burn the bottom of your feet on a sweltering August afternoon. Banks says there can be as much as a 25-degree difference in temperature, and visually, clients like it because it has texture and color that can enhance the aesthetics.
A three-foot-tall wall encircles the area, creating the feeling of a room and offering privacy from passing golfers. One part of the wall has a lower bench built in around a fire pit.
A larger fire feature – the visual focal point of the seating area – is a stone mason fireplace. Whether real flames are dancing or not, lighting plays a key role in how this element looks.
“We discovered that if there’s no fire going, the fireplace looks like a big, dark mass of indistinguishable details, so we add uplighting to both sides, which makes it look alive even if it’s not lit,” Banks explains.
With the addition of heat on land and heat in the water, the family can use the outdoor space for nearly three full seasons. A pool heater extends the usable timeframe by a month or more on either side of the usual swimming season, while the spa can be used year-round. In fact, hot tubbing under a softly falling snow is quite magical.
Even in the dead of winter, the environment is alluring, with lighting on both the hardscaping and landscaping. Underwater lights cycle through colors for a mesmerizing effect.
Banks’ favorite feature of this pool is the “wet wall” that circles the spa and slide area. Beneath the top level of a stack of small-sized boulders is a subtle cascade that falls gently into the pool. It’s a proper example of a detail that defines the company’s quality of work.
“I enjoy creating a functional piece of art,” Banks says. “Everything we do is custom and our namesake is built on quality.”
Contractor: Banks Pools and Spas | Landscaping: New Leaf Landscape | Fence: Extreme Fence | Outdoor Sound System: Applause Custom Sight & Sound