Proper execution is all about learning from experience. You may have to burn the tongue a few times before enjoying a taste of success.
The design process on this fiberglass poolscape was no
Jonathan L. Melvin, RLA, ASLA, landscape architect and principal
of MRM Design Group, PA in Battleboro, N.C., spent a year
planning and developing the challenging installation and its unique
waterfeature, which also houses the pool’s automatic cover.
And while there were re-starts and do-overs, by all accounts the
result was well worth the effort.
From the beginning, Melvin knew this would be a tricky
installation. The homeowners — a young couple with
contemporary tastes — were sold on an automatic cover. And it
would have to retract beneath the waterfeature.
“Projects like this don’t come along every
day,” Melvin says. “So when the opportunity arose, it
was nice to flex the creative muscles.”
Melvin coordinated with Mike and Jimmy Baker, co-owners of
& Spas in Rocky Mount, N.C., to construct the waterfeature
wall first. He then set the pool at the precise elevation to allow
the pool cover track to align properly with the 4-inch opening.
The nearly 20-foot-long waterfeature wall was constructed of
reinforced, concrete-filled block. Six-inch-thick, poured-in-place
concrete lintel, similar to what’s used to shape windows and
doorways, was used for the cover opening. The structure also
features 2-foot-wide sheer descents on either side, and an
18-inch-wide tapered sheer descent in the above center position.
(For more details on this installation, go to Project
“The wall is supported on both sides of the opening with
reinforcing,” Melvin says. “For this reason, the motor
housing for the pool cover couldn’t be inside the wall.
Instead, it was positioned behind the wall, requiring a lean-to
cavity structure for housing.”
Melvin contacted the cover vendor —Pool Cover
Specialists in West Jordan, Utah — and sent over
preliminary construction details.
“I was then able to design to the measurement requirements
for the motor and spindle housing,” Melvin says. “After
discussions with [Jimmy Baker], we decided we would have to build
the waterfeature wall first in sequence.”
The cover box itself was constructed of brick, and the lid was
prefabricated from aluminum. Because of its length (16 feet, 4
inches) and mass, the lid was split into two sections, which
overlap in the center to keep out rainwater.
An angled piano hinge provides ready access for service, as well
as access to the water supply lines that run to the sheer descents.
This configuration also allows rainwater to shed easily down the
“The pool itself was set following the rough-in for the
waterfeature wall,” Melvin says. “This allowed the pool
to be set at the precise elevation we needed in order to line up
the cover track with the opening at the front of the waterfeature
The actual build went off without a hitch, Melvin reports, thanks
in large part to advance — and precise — construction
details, as well as close coordination with the contractors.
Take a closer look at the details of this installation.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION TEAM
- Jonathan L. Melvin, RLA, ASLA, MRM Design Group, PA, Battleboro, N.C.
- Mike Baker, Aqua-Clear Pools & Spas, Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Jimmy Baker, Aqua-Clear Pools & Spas, Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Shaun Joyner, Bridgeview Contractors, Rocky Mount, N.C.
- Bobby Joyner, Appian Consulting Engineers, Rocky Mount, N.C.