Set in Stone

From the house, the homeowners can see a series of natural looking “waterfalls” that feed into the pool. The deep end of the pool, at right, features a diving rock rather than a board. The flat rock “steps” to the right of the diving rock lead up to a fire pit. “It’s a family with five boys,” says Giannamore, “and we knew they’d be scrambling all over the rocks anyway, so we wanted to at least allow easy access to the fire area, which we knew they’d be using a lot — hopefully without twisting an ankle to get there.”

The granite outcropping seen above the worker remained in place in the finished installation, as did the ledge just below him and to his left. “The first step was to expose what was there,” says Giannamore, “then to finalize the design of the pool, to figure out what could be done with what was already there. Based on our experience with ledge, there was nothing we needed to do to stabilize it other than scrape and remove what was loose — which accounted for the first half a million hours or so!”

After exposing the stable ledge and moving loose material out of the way, Aqua Pool construction supervisor Gregg Pruitt worked closely with the blasting contractor to define the edge of the pool. This involved drilling and blasting a vertical wall out of the solid granite — to a depth of 10 feet at the deep end of the 8-foot pool. “During this part of the job we were continually on site with the homeowner and the blaster to create the final shape of the pool,” says Giannamore. The company’s gunite crew were then able to form and shoot the concrete walls. “We didn’t pin to the ledge, but we placed the walls so it looks like the rock formations are connected to the pool, even though they’re not,” Giannamore adds. “We set rocks between the ledge and the pool, grouted and waterproofed, so that as water came down these rocks it would fall into the pool.” The pool features an in-floor cleaning system and touchscreen controller.

Rocks from the site set along the edge of the pool and grouted into place provide a natural transition from the spa. The gunite walls of the pool are adequately reinforced to carry the extra weight. All of the stone used in the project was excavated from the site.

“The backyard is a bit of a funnel,” says Giannamore, “so we do struggle a bit with overfilling quickly. But this is one of the more understanding homeowners you could ever meet, and they love their pool, so it’s not a problem.” Given the runoff, some seasons the pool requires draining and pressure washing.

The walls of the pool were finished with Pebble Tec. Once filled, the pool’s walls disappear beneath the overhanging stone edges, creating the impression of a natural setting. “One of the things we did a little differently here is to leave the spa open year ‘round,” says Giannamore, referring to the wintry New England climate. “So we excavated deeper than normal for the recirculation lines, plus all the plumbing for the spa is protected with insulation. All the heating equipment is indoors, about 75 feet away, so the hydraulic design — in terms of flow rates and turnover — was a little more complicated than usual.”

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