Fulfilling dreams: The initial design plan for this expansive Louisiana backyard involved a simple freeform fiberglass pool with a 14-by-14-foot pergola. But then the homeowner wistfully expressed her desire for a tanning ledge, which she thought impossible to add to a fiberglass pool. Third-generation pool builder Brandon Miller surprised her with his response: “If that’s what you want, I’ll find a way to build it.” His can-do approach opened up a flood of design ideas, eventually changing the pool’s size and shape and adding multiple, customized features. One such prominent element is the fire-and-water feature. Placed at the far end of the pool to close the gap between the pool area and the rest of the backyard, the waterfeature was constructed with a cinder block base filled with concrete, then veneered with glass and ceramic tile. Miller added 2 inches to the standard 4-inch footing for increased support. To tie the design together, the same glass tile was used on the waterline, and similarly colored pebble-shaped glass was chosen for the 6-inch-deep concrete tanning ledge. The placement of the tanning ledge allows for a view into the entertainment space of the pavilion.
Backyard bliss: Ultimately, the completed aquascape incorporated an expanded, 16-by-38-foot pavilion mirroring the length of the pool. It has a full kitchen, a living room with a flat panel TV and large fireplace, and a floating daybed for lounging. The entire project, including pavilion and landscaping, totaled $175,000. “Everything about this project grew tenfold, causing the budget to almost double,” Miller says. “But the homeowners were thrilled with the outcome and considered it money well spent.”