Garden party: The homeowner loved her garden and didn’t want to interrupt it. To accommodate her, Shane LeBlanc, president of Selective Designs in Peachtree City, Ga., created a tranquil garden atmosphere and limited construction on the pool to 6 feet outside its perimeter. During the design process, LeBlanc employs a unique design strategy to help him envision the final product: “I design all my projects like I’m laying out in the homeowner’s pool,” he says. “So I see the pool, put on some jazz, take my shoes and socks off, and look around me while acting like I’m in the pool. I don’t draw and design from overhead like I’m looking at it from a helicopter.” To outline the pool, he drew the drip lines of existing trees, as well as the eventual drip lines of a few he planned on planting. The finished product was a free-flowing shape that appears to merge with the lake in the background.
Creative turf: In keeping with the garden appearance, LeBlanc wanted grass to come right up to the perimeter-overflow pool. However, that would mean exposing the sod to chemically treated water. Instead, he found a new artificial turf that can handle the sun and water treated with a salt chlorine generator. The turf was adhered to stainless steel trays over the perimeter-overflow gutter using a proprietary method, and it was placed between the large, irregular pieces of deck. To add a natural appearance, LeBlanc placed coal slag through the turf. The coal byproduct, which looks like BB-shot or black sand, made the imitation sod look natural and weighed it down. The interior edge of the raised spa was rolled to make it comfortable for users. This was also done on the interior edge of the pool, throughout the entire 104-foot perimeter, since LeBlanc placed a bench all around. A boulder is placed on each side of the vanishing-edge weir to help conceal the transition from the rolled interior edge around the rest of the pool and the sharper cut of the weir.
Stroll through nature: The set of meandering, floating stepping pads line the outside of a 9-inch-deep sun shelf. They were placed by having the customer walk in that spot and measuring from one stride to the next. To ensure that all stones were level, crews custom sculpted each pedestal, with the exact elevation based on the thickness of the specimen it would support. To make all this possible, LeBlanc had to select each stone and plan in advance where each would ultimately be placed. He used a surface field stone rather than a quarried variety. “That means it’s been aged for millions of years on top of the ground, so all the edges are round,” he says. “I also wanted natural color.” He placed inlets nearby to gently propel water between the stones and create a natural effect. “If you walk across stepping stones, you normally see a mountain stream running, so I put return jets from the tanning shelf to push water in between the rocks, and it looks like a current that you would see in a little creek,” LeBlanc says.