Lost Paradise

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It simply found a new address in this Leawood backyard oasis.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

The ultimate staycation destination can be found in old Leawood at the intersection of beauty, charm, elegance, and relaxation.

When Hoyt Banks of Banks Pool and Spa Designs was tasked with a rather large backyard pool project, he essentially hit the ground running. His creative wheels in motion, he quickly went to work and delivered an incredible backyard oasis. However, this backyard did present with some initial challenges that required Banks to pivot a bit in terms of how he formulated the road map to deliver the end product.

“This was a difficult backyard,” Hoyt noted, indicating the previous homeowner had worked with his dad Roger Banks on this project and basically concluded that perhaps this particular yard could just not accommodate a pool. First of all, the backyard had a steep hill and varying elevations. Further, drainage issues were a huge concern. As a result, the previous owners opted not to move forward with a backyard swimming pool installation.

Hoyt, however, remained undeterred. He not only accepted the challenge, but he also saw a unique opportunity to create something unique and different without compromising style and quality. His creativity and innovation definitely elevated the backyard area on all three levels: the lounge chair level, the pool level, and the spa/patio/kitchen level. Creating three different terraces to accommodate the challenging elevations in the backyard allowed Hoyt to give the owners the backyard sanctuary of which they had been dreaming.

“I knew this would be an expansive project, but the homeowners were willing to go through with it,” Hoyt explained. “When I designed it, I reviewed the backyard again with my dad and presented him my initial renderings.”

At first, Hoyt designed an infinity edge plan and a large slide for the pool. The owners nixed both ideas, especially since an automatic pool cover cannot be placed on top of an infinity edge pool.

Going back to the drawing board, Hoyt created a few more designs and landed on this one. He did have to conduct an extensive drainage study on the lot, however, and the City of Leawood indicated the patio had to remain where it was. As such, Hoyt designed a 10-foot extension to the lanai. As a result, the owners now enjoy an expansive 20’ patio. To the side of the lanai Hoyt designed, which includes an outdoor kitchen space, Hoyt also incorporated a mudroom and locker room area, ideal for parties for the kids. Just beyond the locker room is a guest bathroom, its relaxing colors and thoughtfully integrated appointments playing in concert with the outdoor living spaces.

“This area was designed specifically with the homeowners’ kids in mind,” said Hoyt, who hired subcontractor Brian Kuhn to redo the entire bathroom which also reflects the aesthetics of the lanai. Additionally, Hoyt constructed an outdoor shower on the backside of the mudroom, perfect for cleaning up after a fun day in the pool.

Taking center stage, of course, is the swimming pool. Made of gunite, this saltwater chlorinated, and gas heated pool is a luxurious highlight of the backyard. The pool and accompanying spa are plumbed separately so the owners can enjoy use of the spa on a year-round basis.

The pool has a definitely style all its own, too, as evidenced by all the eye-catching elements. The glass tiles change color with the sun, creating an ever-changing visual effect. The pool decking is comprised of AstroTurf with diamond shaped travertine. Silver travertine coping around the pool elevates its overall presence. The travertine coping on the steps are accented with soft lighting to set a soft and luxurious tone. Sheer descent waterfalls offer a soothing sound effect of flowing water while the sun ledge is the perfect place to relax, read a book, and soak up the sun.

The nearby fire pit is accented with light-catching glass beads. Hoyt created the pit to look as sleek and as modern as possible.

“We miter-cut the travertine and pieced them together as seamlessly as possible, creating a travertine box,” expressed Hoyt.

This particular pool installation is one of which Hoyt is understandably proud.

“It was fun designing this myself and executing it with my team,” he reflected. “It’s nice to see this particular design come to fruition.”

And for the record, the owners decided to incorporate a pool slide after all. With a backyard as captivating and thoughtfully planned as this one, adding this waterpark feature only adds to its overall charm and appeal.


  • Pool Designer and Contrator: Banks Blue Valley Pool and Spa
  • Pool House: BK Builds
  • Landscaping: New Leaf Landscape

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