Taking the Plunge

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With the ingenuity of Banks Blue Valley Pool and Spa on full throttle, this backyard enjoys a one-of-a-kind pool experience that takes you to infinity and beyond!

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photos by Matt Kocourek

It’s difficult to argue that a backyard pool adds beauty and warmth to an outdoor space. When that backyard pool is thoughtfully designed with the right shape and style to suit the homeowner’s needs with the added touch of certain specialty features, the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

When the owners of this Stilwell, Kansas home decided to upgrade their backyard with a luxurious pool setting, they turned to the experts at Banks Blue Valley Pool and Spa. Under the guidance of co-owner Hoyt Banks, the owners were able to achieve their dream backyard paradise, relying on the ingenuity and creativity of the Banks team. Situated on 10 acres of land, the owners wanted a large pool and patio area to fully utilize the available environment.



“We wanted a space that was an extension of our home,” expressed the owner. “Banks opened up our lanai and made that area all one space, stepping down to our pool. We wanted an area that came out from the kitchen and flowed well. We also wanted a large deck area for entertaining.”

Because the homeowners had worked with Banks at their previous residence, it made perfect sense to call on them again to create their backyard wonderscape. In addition to the pool, the other items they desired included built-in planters all around the deck for annuals and perennials, an automatic pool cover, and a fire pit area.



“We built a pool for them before in a different neighborhood, and when they moved further south and acquired some land, they decided they wanted to do something completely different than what they previously had,” explained Banks.

Symmetrically designed, this simple yet elegant saltwater pool, seven feet at its deepest, fits well in the yard with its robust and classical appeal. Added features include Corinthian-style fire bowls with circulating water which provide another layer of glowing style in the evening hours.



With beautiful appointments sprinkled throughout the area, the entire space seamlessly flows together. Banks did not disappoint with his use of thoughtfully-selected touches to balance the entire space: he placed travertine over the existing concrete on the lanai; created the spa out of natural stone;  added accent lighting throughout and on the stairs leading up to the lanai, which provides another layer of function and aesthetics; and installed a beautifully-crafted drain strip on the deck that is comprised of CNC hydro-blasted travertine concealed by laying a strip of travertine over it.

“The manufacturer blasts the holes with a water jet, allowing the water to flow to the middle and drain there,” explained Banks. “It provides a nice touch without being as obvious as a bronze or plastic strip.”



However, it took a labor of ingenuity to bring to fruition one of the biggest aspects of the pool.

“The customer wanted an automatic pool cover,” indicated Banks. “However, it is not easy to run a track for one over an infinity edge.”

Not one to back down from a creative challenge, Banks employed ample strategic thought.



“We made it work, using a powder-coated track that runs along the infinity edge wall. The pool cover just glides along the track and then hops back over to the other side after passing the infinity edge,” he said.

And the homeowners are pleased with the results, knowing it was quite the challenge to implement such a design.

“We love having the automatic cover which is easy to open and close,” expressed the owner. “It helps maintain the pool temperature and cuts down on maintenance. I am pretty sure we are the first pool they have done with an automatic cover on an infinity edge, and they made it work!”



As the water cascades over the infinity edge, it circulates back into the pool in an endless loop. Mosaic tile highlights the basin area into which the water from the infinity edge overflows. Other elements that set the elegant stage include stone columns artfully situated on either side of the infinity edge.

“These provide a nice frame, almost like a Monet painting of a natural landscape,” expressed Banks, who also incorporated large retaining walls that flank the infinity edge, along with oversized limestone boulder retaining walls with elevated planting on the sides, a delightful response to the owner’s desire to showcase seasonal flowers.

Additionally, Banks created the fire pit area, which originally had a U-shaped retaining wall in that particular area.



“We excavated and carved out the space a bit and incorporated flagstone for a rustic, country vibe,” said Banks, who rolled in compacted gravel and place large flagstone slabs on top. He utilized the same veneer on the fire pit as used with the rest of the overall project, bringing the pool environment in alignment with the fire pit area.

Although the overall footprint of the backyard area incorporates multiple moving parts, the design in and of itself is relatively simple.

“Everything just works with this,” stated Banks.


Project by Banks Blue Valley Pool and Spa

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