THE CANVAS: Seven acres of wooded paradise, rolling verdant landscape, nature’s blank slateTHE PALETTE:Free-form fiberglass shell, natural stone pavers, colorful explosion of flora and faunaTHE MASTERPIECE: An exotic getaway, jungle living Canadian-style
THE CANVAS: Seven acres of wooded paradise, rolling verdant landscape, nature’s blank slateTHE PALETTE:Free-form fiberglass shell, natural stone pavers, colorful explosion of flora and faunaTHE MASTERPIECE: An exotic getaway, jungle living Canadian-style

Many builders today are confronted with shoehorning a pool into a tiny backyard, but these designers’ challenge was just the opposite. Ginette Couillard and Denys Aubry had nearly 7 acres at their disposal. That meant they needed to be creative.

“The biggest problem was that a pool can get lost in a large yard like that,” says Couillard, who co-owns Tresors De L’estrie with Aubry. “We needed to make it stand out.”

They succeeded in creating an attention-getter with vibrant landscaping, an enclosed gazebo and whimsical foot bridges on the deck.

The big challenge

The Canadian pool builders’ clients had recently returned from a trip to Africa, where they fell in love with the natural, lagoon-style swimming pools there. Their primary desire was for a pool/spa combination to be used for relaxation and therapy.

“Their existing landscape already had a pond, so they wanted the pool to sit well in that environment,” Couillard says. “They wanted it to be like a second pond.”

To fit the bill, the aquascape would need a cascading waterfall and plenty of vegetation, including brightly colored flowers. This was important to the homeowners, and it helped bring the pool to center stage.

Besides the colorful summer blooms, the couple sought to have evergreen-type plants added to the landscape.

“We’re in Canada, so the customers gave a lot of thought about what the pool would look like in winter,” Couillard explains. “They picked out some [evergreen plants] that would add color during those months.”

Pieces to the puzzle

The designers and clients selected a free-form fiberglass shell to emulate a pond. An outline of small, successive curves gives it a natural look. To keep the effect organic, Couillard and Aubry decided not to tile the waterline.

The land had a gentle slope, so a retaining wall was needed to create a flat area for the waterscape. Because the pool required a big feature to keep it from getting lost in the expanse of yard, the builders topped the retainer with an open deck area and Oriental-style garden. It would also provide a nice view of the pool.

The idea of a screened gazebo was born from necessity.

“The view was great and the clients wanted to be out there at night,” Couillard says. “But we needed something enclosed to keep the bugs away.”

To make it work, the deck area had to be modified slightly to accept the octagonal shape of the structure.

For Couillard, facing such creative challenges makes her job worthwhile.

“Projects like this are fun because it’s not the ordinary type of thing we do,” she says. “It’s very stimulating.”