Pools serve different purposes for different people.
Pools are an aesthetic for the yard and enhancement of the architecture and landscaping. They a centerpiece for outdoor cookouts and entertaining friends, for family fun, exercise and therapeutics. Or pools are simply a place to cool off in the summer heat.
They have been around for years and played an important part of society since Greek and Roman times. About 2,500 year ago, in addition to enhancing the beauty of one’s property, pools were used for bathing, health, socializing and religious events. The military even used them to physically train for war and the philosopher Plato felt children should learn to swim as part of their education. This still holds so true.
Pools became a status symbol after World War II through Hollywood movies. Some can remember Esther Williams gracefully diving and swimming across Cypress Gardens pool, or the “cement pond” made famous by the Beverly Hillbillies. As Americans became more affluent, pools became commonplace. Today the National Swimming Pool Foundation estimates that there are 10 million pools in the United States, as we fulfill our dreams of taking a backyard vacation. We sat down with a long time friend, Nick Fasciano, of Year Round Pools, to see the various styles of pools and their many uses.
Complimenting the classical architecture, this formal pool is centered on the home, enjoyed from inside, on the rear porch or on the deck. Reflecting the house, or glowing at night with lights on, this pool is for both aesthetics as well as enjoyment and entertainment. The extra wide spillway on the heated spa, which also heats the pool, creates a vanishing edge and the relaxing sound of a waterfall.
The design of the pool was no accident. Located close to the home, it welcomes you from inside as well as outside with the intimate lounging and dining areas. Note the orientation with the oak trees, the raised spa and spillway at one end, and the linear shape for swimming laps or just cooling off while sunning on the deck. The wide landing underwater is called a sun ledge. This is great for sitting and cooling or playing with kids while being partially underwater. The beige color of the pool surface is called sandy beach. It is one of the Pebble Tec products that is replacing marcite for longevity which has a variety of subtle colors and is easy on your feet.
Tucked close to the house and surrounded by landscaping, creating privacy, this inviting pool becomes an extension of the interior space and plays with the natural environment. It has a modified beach entry, meanders along the rear of the home and is anchored by the stone-covered spa and spillway, just steps away from the master bedroom.
Reminiscent of Roman times, this pool surrounded by Tuscan columns is a symmetrical extension of the architecture of the home. The vanishing edge of the pool creates the illusion that the pool is one with the ocean for those sitting inside the home or lounging outside on the terrace. There are deck jets, which send streams of water arching from the deck into the pool when turned on. This completes the aesthetic and creates a calming sound.
The design of this pool creates an outdoor living room that embraces nature. It is an extension of the home. With our wonderful seasons here in the Lowcountry, it can be enjoyed for most of the year. The old shading oaks casting dappled light, and the water and marsh beyond, give the pool a sense of being part of the natural environment. One can imaging sitting under the trees and stars at night with the pool light on, hearing an occasional blowing sound from a surfacing dolphin passing by. This space is perfect for private family enjoyment or having a group of friends over for an outdoor dinner party.
The high kicked-up mansard roof of this screen enclosure creates a volume of space. It becomes an outdoor living room around this freeform pool. The screening creates a subtle sense of privacy, but it allows for views of the lagoon and golf course. The raised spa is tucked away and the rock waterfall. It acts as the centerpiece for the pool and is visible from inside the home. This gives the entire space a calming ambiance and gives the home the sense of being part of nature.
The pool juts out into the creek and marsh that is facing three sides of this outdoor living space. The views here change as the tide changes. The lowered planters and spillway, with its waterfall, is in response to the building code. This allows the view to not be interrupted from the home or on the terrace. It stands above the ground five feet.
This pool is a masterpiece of design. Swim under the light grotto with the spa above spilling over as a waterfall. Both appear to defy gravity. At the other end of the pool is a freeform Pebble Tec sun deck. Just outside the great room is a small rectangular pool and spillway with a fountain.
With the popularity of pools, it might seem like pools have always been in here in the United States. But that is not the case. The first pool in America dates back to 1907 at the Philadelphia Racquet Club. It was constructed by the builder of the Brookline Bridge, the Roebling Construction Company. The first pool to cross the Atlantic Ocean, literally, was installed on a White Star Lines cruise ship, in 1907. And just one century later, we have an abundance of pools in all different styles.
By Randolph Stewart