August 10, 2022 at 12:10pm | Suzanne Clark

For some people, the most exotic spot is in their own backyard. Credit new trends in pool design that have made these watery retreats smarter, sleeker, and even a bit magical.

“People are looking to their pools for an experience. It enhances and enriches their lives,” says Rick Pendleton, founder of Artisan Home Resorts, a luxury landscape design and pool firm headquartered in San Francisco. “It’s a distraction from all things we’ve been dealing with the last two years. It’s an escape, a sanctuary.”

Pool designers are thinking outside the lap lanes to give homeowners a total backyard experience that is relaxing, refreshing, therapeutic, and entertaining. Sloped-entry pools evoke the beach, while pools with transparent walls or windows bring aquariums to mind. Think swimming in a giant fish tank. Pendleton says elevator pools “are catching on.” With just the push of a button, the patio floor lowers like an elevator and water streams in from all sides. This patio-to-pool transformation “is straight out of James Bond.” Pendleton also calls on the talents of his “imagination team” to create underwater worlds, both three-dimensional and projected.

In the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe, the swimming pool in the backyard of a 10,085-square-foot estate “makes you feel like you’re in Italy,” says Linda Sansone of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in Rancho Santa Fe. “The only thing missing is the gondola.” The residence (shown on page 36) is on a three-acre parcel, one of the few lots located right on a golf course and trail system in the prestigious community of The Covenant. Back doors open up to a massive zero -edge pool with a waterfall, spa, dipping pool, and even a grotto.

Integration is a theme in contemporary design, whether it’s using glass or acrylic walls to blend a pool with its surroundings or merging a pool and spa with just a minimalist dam wall separating them for one seamless look. Another example of integration is the Baja shelf, also known as a sun shelf or tanning ledge. First popularized at resort hotels, it is a partially submerged level of the pool designed specifically for lounging. Chairs, tables, and umbrellas are set in shallow waters, typically up to a foot deep, and are perfect for toe-danglers. Pool and poolside are one.

Depending on the location, complexity of design and features, pools can range from a half-million dollars to $5 million. While the residential pool market in the United States is the largest, the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions are fast-growing.

These days, technology and thoughtful design have helped overcome earlier challenges. The prospect of maintenance, for instance, no longer stands in the way of homeowners who want to take the plunge. Pool upkeep has never been easier. Smart technology enables heating, filtration, and lighting to be controlled from a smartphone. “You can put the heat on your Jacuzzi pool when you’re driving home so it’s ready when you get there,” Sansone says. Pool designers have managed to solve another issue: space constraints. Diminutive-size plunge pools and cocktail pools are elegant options even for the most space-challenged urban spaces. The cocktail pool, sometimes known as a spool—spa pool—is like an Olympic pool’s little brother and represents a growing segment of the industry. An irregular-shaped yard? An angled pool is the answer.

“Having a pool is really soothing,” Sansone says. “There’s a peacefulness in looking into a crystal clear pool and hearing the sounds of the water, even if you don’t go in.”

Mallorca, Spain

This breathtaking stately property consists of a plot area of approximately 9,000 square meters, offering complete privacy. Due to its location and being built on a hillside, this exclusive property boasts beautiful views, overlooking the nearby mountains, Son Vida’s golf course, and is within a 10-minute drive of Palma’s city center. In 2020-21 the property was equipped with the latest mobile technology, including a solar station.

The main property consists of nine spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and further bedrooms with bathrooms located in the side building. There are several waterfalls and amphoras as well as ancient statues surrounding the perimeter of the property.

Furthermore, there is a tennis court, a separate gym, as well as a spa with Jacuzzi and a steam sauna area. The pool offers a sporty and relaxing atmosphere, with a counter-current system plus two waterfalls.







Rancho Santa Fe, California

Escape to a private, lushly landscaped, all fenced and gated, 3.04-acre oasis, where one can enjoy the beauty found at this prime Rancho Santa Fe Covenant Golf course location. Exceptional French farmhouse architecture, finest craftsmanship, and exquisite materials blend harmoniously to create an estate that is timeless and can be enjoyed for years to come. The residence, with its spacious design, incorporates a traditional floor plan with modern living influences where rooms flow into one another and to the outdoors, onto sheltered loggias, and to the dramatic zero edge pool with stone detailing, waterfalls, private spa and dipping pool, and mature gardens with jaw-dropping golf course views.








Encino, California

Located in prime Royal Hills, this Mediterranean-style gated compound is a stunning custom estate. Sitting on a lot that spans more than 17,500 square feet, the property boasts a main house, proper guesthouse, and sprawling backyard with breathtaking views of the exquisite California landscape. The main house, complete with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, is full of natural light and vaulted ceilings. Custom from top to bottom, the home features detailed woodworking, molding, closets, and extensive use of Porcelanosa tile, cabinets, and slate. The backyard oasis is the perfect outlet for relaxing and unwinding or entertaining.








Capri, Naples, Italy

This monumental estate in the heart of Capri is immersed in the greenery of its private park consisting of eclectic gardens, elegant patios, and spectacular terraces. This beautiful property consists of two villas and one annex.

The main villa offers six bedrooms, and showcases the typical Capri architectural style featuring a magnificent double terrace and a captivating panoramic swimming pool carved into the rock.








New Tecumseth, Ontario

Privately tucked away in the Simcoe County countryside is “The Villa,” a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired oasis constructed with European-sourced features and accents. Only an hour away from downtown Toronto, this Mid-Century Modern sanctuary enjoys 50 acres of sprawling privacy and endless opportunities for future development. Designed to unify the wonderous outdoors and indoors, as you walk through the double door entryway, you’re greeted by a two-story atrium featuring large plants growing directly from the earth. Natural sunlight is prioritized in this estate with grandeur windows in every room. Built to entertain and relax all year round, the lower-level spa features an 80,000-liter natural indoor pool, with water filtered in from the estate's pond and naturally heated by the air. The at-home spa features a coffee bar, change rooms, a two-piece powder, soaker tub, rain shower, six-person sauna, and a large lounge area. Keeping the rest of the home in mind, it was carefully constructed with a ceiling sound absorber—designed to absorb the sound inside as to not disturb the rest of the home. This private estate is the meeting place of a Mid-Century Modern retreat, and the earth’s natural elements.








Kaanapali, Maui

This is a rare offering of one of only six beachfront parcels in Maui’s famed Kaanapali Resort. With over 11,000 square feet of living space, this gracious home is situated on an acre of land, with eight bedroom suites, a media room, formal and informal dining spaces, a library/game room, gym, and a chef’s kitchen. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the kitchen has top-of-the- line appliances, an ice maker, two dishwashers, and opens to an outdoor kitchen and dining area surrounded by reflecting ponds. The living room features spectacular two-story pocketing glass doors on both the mauka and makai sides, opening the living space to beautifully landscaped grounds and the magnificent pool. An inner sanctuary with koi ponds creates a serene setting. The pool has the feeling of a secluded lagoon, formed by Maui’s flowing waters, with a hidden spa, tucked away for privacy yet with views of the ocean. A relaxation pavilion takes center stage, with panoramic ocean and sunset views framed by tropical gardens and tiki torches. All with direct access to one of Maui's most popular beaches.








Woodside, California

“Between every two pines there is a doorway to a new world.” –John Muir

There’s something magical about driving through the redwoods to this hilltop retreat, where you’ll encounter a view that will take your breath away. A carpet of green, a bay of blue, and an incredible ever-changing sky, spread out before you. That’s the promise of this 11-plus acre enclave. While you feel like you are sitting on top of the world, the town of Woodside is just 6.5 miles away, with easy access to Silicon Valley or San Francisco just a little farther down the road. Exploring the grounds you will appreciate the full usability and total privacy. The optimum knoll-top orientation provides multiple level lawn areas, a resort-inspired pool pavilion with outdoor kitchen, and infinity edge saltwater pool that seems to meet the view, an orchard with multiple fruit-bearing trees, a cleared sunny space ready for a vineyard, walking paths, and the impressive five-bedroom, 6.5-bath, multi-level home that features 10,650 square feet of living space.








Messina, Italy

Elevated on a green hill in the province of Messina, this modern and exclusive home dominates the surrounding space while also integrating with the natural environment. The design invites natural light in and fosters an invigorating yet harmonious atmosphere. Although divided into several spacious levels, the home revolves around a double-height central living space. Along the sides of the property, ramps wind sinuously up to a roof that opens up to a solarium. One of the most intriguing amenities is the swimming pool, where water flows through two different levels, evoking the soft motion of waves.



Share

check_circle

You message has been sent!

Send us a Message


You agree to receive automated promotional messages from Clark Collective regarding real estate information and education.Click here for terms and privacy policy. Message frequency varies. To opt out of receiving messages from me, text STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for help. Message and data rates may apply.