The Canvas:Pure American suburbia, fields of green, a physical challengeThe Palette: Poured concrete cantilever ledges, brick-accented retaining wall, natural field stone waterfeatureThe Masterpiece: Abundant textures, children laughing, a family celebration
The Canvas:Pure American suburbia, fields of green, a physical challengeThe Palette: Poured concrete cantilever ledges, brick-accented retaining wall, natural field stone waterfeatureThe Masterpiece: Abundant textures, children laughing, a family celebration

With a background in landscape design, Dan Inderbitzen has an all-things-are-created-equal attitude when it comes to the backyard environment. “We think in terms of sight, scale, colors and textures — everything that applies to the landscaping and the pool,” says the sales/project manager at Goodall Pools Inc. in Camp Hill, Pa.

His philosophy came in handy when a client with special needs approached him for this project. A family with three children, one of whom is physically challenged and requires a wheelchair, wanted its new backyard and pool to be a place to celebrate and entertain. “They wanted the pool to be large enough to accommodate 12 to 18 people,” Inderbitzen says. “They also wanted it to be beautiful and naturalistic.”

The backyard was basically a “clean slope” with a slight 4-foot grade. The builders had to cut into the slope by about 2 feet, which meant the existing walkway had to be altered to allow for wheelchair access. The walkway, which follows Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, opens up near a small sun deck, where the clients’ physically challenged daughter can enter the water.

The next design criteria: Create an area around the pool to match the home’s existing brick patio. “We built brick pillars at the fence corners to match the patio,” Inderbitzen says. “We wanted to repeat using [brick] in the pool area so it would all blend together organically.” This was done by constructing a brick retaining wall that holds an array of shrubs and trees. The wall’s radius follows the curves of the pool.

Another client request proved challenging. “They wanted a waterfall, but the slope [approaching the pool] was going downhill,” Inderbitzen says. “I didn’t want to build it up and try to create an illusion.” Instead, he laid down a stainless steel shelf that formed a lip over the pool. The shelf was then covered with a thin piece of flagstone and surrounded by natural flagstone native to the area.

The cantilever ledge was made with polystyrene forms that give the coping and the colored, stamped-concrete deck a continuous feel. Amenities include a saltwater chlorine generator, in-floor cleaning system and fiberoptic lighting.

To enhance the landscaping, taller trees were added to the backside of the pool because of the way it slopes down. “We need to do that to lose the sense of falling into nothing,” he says. “We have a Japanese maple, a locus tree and some firs.”

The entire cost of this 32,000-gallon wonder, including the landscaping and masonry work, totaled approximately $100,000.