Because the pool and pond re-create a 14th century olive mill in the French countryside. Because the expansive pond laps up against one side of the house. Because a wooden bridge cleverly conceals the separation between pond and pool. Because the pond’s rough-hewn boat dock and rickety companion rowboat make you think of being 14 again and sneaking off with someone you like. Because the reclaimed clay brick used for the deck and meandering paths matches the hues of the setting sun over the Arizona desert. Because the water-spilling scuppers add a playful touch to the otherwise traditional European countryside setting.

When Ron Elliott was asked to build a swimming pool and pond to simulate the backyard environment of a 14th century French olive mill turned private chateau, he knew he had signed up for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“This type of project is rare for the Scottsdale area,” says Elliott, a pool/pond contractor and president of Supreme Pools & Saunas Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Most of the pools are in an arid setting with more desert-type landscaping.”

He worked with an architect, a general contractor and a landscape architect. The resulting combination pool-pond project rivals any set from a big-budget period movie. Although the two bodies of water run off separate pump and filtration systems, they give the appearance of one functioning unit.

“A simple wooden bridge, to keep with the character of the Old World, conceals the separation between the pond and swimming pool,” Elliott says. “We didn’t want to combine the dirty pond water— which is inhabited by plants, fish and ducks — with the pool water.”

Running the pond water up against one side of the house serves to enhance the European charm of the property. It also represents a unique technical achievement. “The house had a basement, so we had a fairly vertical surface. And it was waterproofed,” Elliott says. “Then we installed a PVC liner and applied shotcrete over the top of it.”

The backyard now transports you to another place and time. “It makes you feel like you’re in a different world,” notes Elliott.