A designer who can effectively mix styles is rare. Most shouldn’t even try it. But when done well, the result is something you’ve never seen before.
Such was the assignment for Ian Fyffe, president of this building firm.
The clients lived on a heavily forested lot and requested a pool with an automatic cover. In that setting, you’d expect to build a lagoon-style pool, but the homeowners didn’t want to pay the extra thousands it takes to install a cover on a free-form pool. The vessel needed to be a rectangle.
But how do you blend a rectangular pool into the forest?
Using inventive techniques, Fyffe turned this challenge into an opportunity, creating an ethereal pool surrounded by a natural aquascape.
The result is a work of modern art — a pure rectangular gem rising above a dark-textured rockscape.
Following the terrain
The yard sloped up away from the house, but Fyffe had no interest in building up the area with fill and a retaining wall. Instead, he wanted to work with the topography and create waterfalls spilling toward the home.
He reserved fill just to build up the pool and 3 feet of deck around it. Then, to the left and right of the pool, he placed rock waterfalls that smoothed out into flowing streams, forming a moat around the pool and deck. Finally, the glassy water breaks over a rock wall and into a lower pond for a vanishing-edge effect.
“We didn’t try to make the pool look like part of the pond. That wasn’t our intention at all,” Fyffe says. “We didn’t want the pool to look natural. We wanted the pool to be a pool.”
So the pool and pond would stay separate. With this layout, the clients still could enjoy their waterfalls from the house, but Fyffe could build a pond, complete with aquatic plants. He decided to hang the pool deck an inch or so over the moat to give the impression of a floating pool.
On the natural side
Then came the wall. This is where the final transition would take place. Fyffe specified two flat stones to pro-ject outward from the wall’s surface and create separate, sheet-like waterfalls. He didn’t want the Pennsylvania wall stone to look too natural, nor could it be uniform.
“In the back where we’ve got a little patio that steps up, it called for it to be a little bit more formal there,” he says. “But as we got outside that, where the streams are, we wanted it to loosen up and slowly get back to natural looking.”
“I kept having to go back and tell my guys to just stack the rocks, not to cut and make every one perfect and straight.”
In the pond, near the base of the wall, the crew placed large, glacial boulders called erratics. The surrounding vinyl-lined stream and pond were made with more erratics, and stocked with irises, water lilies and grasses.
Fyffe scattered low-voltage spot lights around the waterfalls. The pool’s color-changing lights make it look even more mystical.
“The synergy of the two things created a much better product than either the pond or pool separately,” Fyffe says. “You’ve got the pond with the plants, fish and all sorts of wildlife that congregate there. Then you have the pool in the middle. When you’re in it, waterfalls surround you on three sides.”