Design objective: Bridge the home’s modern architecture with the stream and forest on the property.
Lay of the land: The 27-by-19-foot pool sits at a lower elevation than the house and fits within tight setbacks. A 15-foot-long vanishing edge not only ties into the forest, but also takes advantage of a 20-foot drop in elevation. A nonstructural wall under the elevated deck conceals pool equipment.
Working textures: The Pennsylvania bluestone deck is cut in regular patterns to match the lines of the house. The stacked stone concealing the equipment pad provides a textured backdrop. The designers contrasted this surface with plants featuring distinctive leaves, such as ligularia with its large, broad foliage and irises, whose tall stalks resemble grasses.
“We wanted a strong contrast in texture there, up against the obvious hard texture of the stone wall,” Heslin says.
With a mixture of leaf sizes, the existing trees blended together to create a cohesive background with no showcase pieces. Fine textures are used around the pool to continue this feeling. Just peeking above the vanishing edge, tall maid grasses give a dainty, wispy profile.
“The concept originally was to block the view for the residents below, but it had the added benefit of a light, airy texture,” Heslin says. Plus, the various plants create white noise, which combines sounds of different frequencies when the wind blows through them. A pebble pool interior continues the sense of endless texture.
Looking back: “The architectural shape of the pool fits better with the hardscaping and architecture of the building,” Heslin says. “Then the softening of these wispy perennials and ornamental grasses lightens it up, and brings nature right on top of it.”