Randy Rodecker had a problem. The couple who hired him to build their pool had disparate tastes. The husband, a lap swimmer, was looking for a conventional lap pool. But the wife wanted a free-form vessel that fit naturally into their woodsy environment.
“She didn’t want to see [the lap pool],” Rodecker says. “So our problem was, could we do a lap lane off a free-form pool?” Turns out, it was a no-brainer for Rodecker and his crew. The pool was designed with the lap lane portion invisible from many of the sight lines — most importantly, the house. Fortunately, the lap lane met the setback requirements and the pool could be placed in a manner that would please both clients.
“Where the lap lane goes into the wooded area, the property lines aren’t square,” he says. “The left and right side tips [of the pool] just barely fit. Otherwise, we would have had to pull the whole thing and reset the footprint.”
Rodecker’s Swim King Pools, a vinyl-liner builder in Rocky Point, N.Y., uses concrete forms to construct its walls. “We had never built a pool like this before and we were worried because the forms we use are not bendable,” he says. “So we dug up about 90 percent of the pool and then set up the forms. As we were digging one part of the pool, we were forming another part.”
Eventually, some new, customized forms had to be created, but overall, the plan worked. Still, Rodecker had to deal with all the trees on the property. The clients wanted to save as many as possible, so a crew was on hand to cut down only the trees necessary as pool construction progressed.
The pool walls were complemented by poured concrete stairs. Foam padding was then laid on the walls and steps, and the vinyl liner was placed over both. The walls were reinforced with steel rebar. The coping was custom-made for the installation from the same bluestone as the deck; it was hand-chiseled on site.
To meet the wife’s requirement of a pool that fit seamlessly into their backyard’s natural setting, Rodecker included a natural rock waterfall.
A gazebo and carved rock sitting area were added to the deck later. Rodecker also included a series of natural sculptures: rock snowmen.
The net results surprised everyone. “We were ready for this to look bad,” Rodecker says with a laugh. “But if [the homeowners] weren’t happy, we would have redone it. I wasn’t going to make them live with something that was an aesthetic disaster.”
In the end, the project became a celebration of compromise and ingenuity. “Two different tastes in one household, and both clients were accommodated,” Rodecker says.