If you think your backyard is too small to create a grand outdoor oasis with a pool, think again! Big homes with larger footprints and smaller lots may present more challenges, but landscape designers and pool builders can work miracles with yards of all shapes and sizes.
“We created a pretty amazing space within a fairly small urban backyard,” says the homeowner of a recent outdoor living transformation in West Wellington Village. The project involved adding a custom-made pool to the long rectangular area to maximize sunlight in a neighbourhood full of mature trees, together with a new landscaping design that ups the wow factor.
Pool Builders installed the 12 × 24 foot salt water pool which is six feet at the deep end and fully loaded with high-end features. In a family business owned by her father, Shanelle Lee manages the pool projects, while her brothers take care of all installation and service work.
She explains that this customized pool has vinyl over galvanised steel sides with a grouted-concrete bottom that will not shift, crack or lift the liner. “The steps along the width of the shallow end are also made from vinyl over steel which is becoming more popular as it gives a sleek, modern look and allows for a non-slip, gradual entry.”
Automation is an extra feature that the homeowners wanted to make pool operation and maintenance a breeze. “It’s fully automated so the pool heater, lights and auto cover can be controlled by a remote and a panel,” says Shanelle. She adds that the solar and safety cover is a mesh that fits into a metal railing system that not only keeps leaves out and the heat in, but also prevents falls into the pool when closed.
Like many pools today, a salt-water system was chosen for its lower pool maintenance benefits and because it’s softer on skin and more environmentally friendly. The crystal coloured liner gives the pool the same blue tones of the Caribbean Sea and offers another inviting element.
Once the pool installation was finished, it was time to integrate the new landscaping design with the existing outdoor living space.
Marc Bertrand, president of Green with Envy Landscaping & Design, collaborated with Shanelle on the coping and interlocking around the pool, and worked with Parkway Landscaping to bring the transformation together. He notes that the functional requirements of defined pool access and proper drainage to protect the property were the first considerations.
“I incorporated wide Mega-Melville slabs into the design to balance in size and colour with the backyard’s large natural stones,” says Marc. “We used river stone to enhance the drainage, and I also designed a structure to go over the pool cover to hide it and to provide easy access all around the pool.”
In addition to the drainage aspect of river stones, they were strategically placed to provide a clear separation between the new pool area and the existing lounging and dining patio space. The oversized stonework around the pool also has the effect of making the pool area appear larger.
“As we needed a retaining wall to support the base of the patio, I proposed bringing it forward, off the back fence, to convert what otherwise would have been an unutilized space into a raised flower bed,” adds Marc.
The raised wall adds elevation to a dead space without much natural light. The flower beds are filled with the homeowner’s love of colourful hydrangeas, they also planted a dwarf hydrangea tree in the corner. Inserting cap lighting into the retaining wall to shine down onto the ground helped to lighten up the shady side of the yard.
For the finishing touches, Marc put in two big stones in the transitional area between the pool and patio for planters to be added. “After the pool and stonework have been installed, the plantings really soften the hardscaping, and together with all the greenery, lighting and good furniture placing, it really brings the space together.”
With distinctive patio furniture from Hauser, along with pretty pots and plants from Flowers Talk Tivoli, the outdoor oasis is complete. Only hot, sunny days are needed now to enjoy this perfect pool and patio!