Summer Blues

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Dive right into this tranquil midnight oasis.

Story by Rachael Hedgcoth   |   Photos courtesy of Markline Photography




Few things can evoke that idyllic image of sun-kissed bliss like a shimmering pool of aqua in a verdant backyard. And cooling off in refreshing ripples of water when the Heartland sun blazes down during the summer months?

Even better.

But when one couple purchased a Leawood home a few years ago, they decided to forego the splashy amenity.

The couple, whose kids were nearly grown, were downsizing from a larger home with a spacious pool to a smaller home with a nice grassy backyard.

However, it wasn’t long before the homeowner, a former Kansas City professional baseball player, and his wife were rethinking their decision.

After seeing a neighbor’s pool and realizing they missed having a pool for relaxing and exercising, the couple decided to upgrade their backyard space.

They wanted to enhance their outdoor living amenities and add on to the outdoor kitchen and covered patio they had already implemented after purchasing the house.

Their three children were older and two were out of the house, but the homeowners still enjoyed entertaining friends and family.

So they enlisted the bi-state assistance of Backyard by Design in Overland Park, Kan., and Blue Springs, Mo.’s SwimThings.




Linear Look

The home’s backyard presented a compact, rectangular space to work with, so the couple sought a pool that would complement the yard design.

“They liked the clean lines of a rectangular pool,” says Vince Davenport, president of family-owned SwimThings. “They basically wanted something that would fit well in the space, including a hot tub they could use year-round. They also liked the sound of water and the idea of a serene garden setting.”

SwimThings designed and installed a heated 18-by-36-foot gunite pool with a marbled midnight blue finish. While the pool’s deepest point is five feet, the rich hue gives the illusion of expansive depth.

Frost-proof 6-by-6-inch ceramic tiles were used at the waterline while a natural travertine tile border frames the elegant pool and spa.

Rounding out the salt water pool’s features are steps, a lap lane, a sun ledge and cozy spa at the shallow end of the pool and a custom copper sheer descent waterfall at the deep end.

An automated Pentair IntelliBrite 5G LED pool and spa lighting system ensures that a variety of ambiances can be achieved.

From Party mode — with its rapid-fire energy and excitement — and Patriotic mode to blues and greens of Caribbean mode and the soft California Sunset mode, a variety of solid or color-changing light schemes add visual interest during nighttime social gatherings or swim sessions.

With the push of a button on an automated smart panel in the house, the pool temperature or lighting effects can be easily and conveniently controlled.




Shade and Shadows

Beyond the water’s edge, Backyard by Design created the yard’s landscaping and hardscaping elements. Backyard by Design and SwimThings frequently work together to transform backyard settings.

Backyard by Design completed the pool decking with Belgard Mega Lafitt pavers in natural Aspen Blend, complementing the project’s Mediterranean-inspired appeal.

A rough cedar pergola graces the side of the pool and offers an intimate setting for reading or relaxing conversation. Backyard by Design emulated the style from a pergola the homeowners spotted in a magazine.

The cedar structure features breezy lattice, a fan, comfy cast aluminum Hanamint seating and an audio system feeding from the residence.

“We basically created the pergola with a nice little seating area to fit the space,” says Todd Higgins, president of Backyard by Design. “Also the lattice was designed to match the latticework on the back side of the house.”

The 9-foot-tall pergola offers an airy 7-by-14-foot space steeped in alluring shade and shadows. Serbian spruce trees, rose bushes and other picturesque landscaping adorn the fence line and grant plenty of privacy to the property.

The natural stone wall and calculated elevation changes along the backyard’s perimeter provide aesthetic appeal and discreet water drainage solutions away from the house and outdoor living areas.

All told, between the pool, hardscaping and landscaping, the backyard project — which in good weather would take two months — took about four months to complete.

Despite weather-related construction setbacks during the winter months, the stylish outdoor pool and patio were completed just in time for spring’s arrival, much to the homeowners’ delight.

The couple has since been enjoying their splendid sanctuary, now a welcoming retreat for cooling off on hot days, grilling favorite foods and spending time outdoors with guests.

Davenport says achieving the perfect pool environment is dependent upon thorough assessment of personal needs.

“What kind of yard size are you working with?” asks Davenport. “How are you going to use the pool? Will there be kids using it? Is it for grandkids? Do you anticipate entertaining? You need to really evaluate the size, depth and style that will work best for you.”

Once the luxurious transformation is complete, there is only one thing left to do: Enjoy.



Pool: SwimThings   |   Landscaping: Backyard by Design

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