People love to look at high-end swimming pools. They make us think of movie stars, villas in the south of France and wine cellars larger than most apartments.

These aquascapes also can serve as inspiration for builders and designers, which is why such projects are frequently profiled in the pages of this magazine.

But while these show-stopping works of art are important to our industry, they are not representative of the typical American backyard. Most pools in this country are fairly modest: Less than half even have waterfeatures. I live in Los Angeles, one of the largest high-end markets in the nation, yet all the pool owners I know have fairly basic vessels.

Many of these pools are well-designed and full of cool features. Unfortunately, because they are a little more simple, and cost less than the GNP of a third world country, you seldom see them featured in magazines.

But while these pools may not seem remarkable on the surface, sometimes they represent true resourcefulness on the part of the builder. Many construction firms cater to homeowners on a budget and — considering the low price tag — they can create incredible projects by using cost-saving measures that don’t sacrifice quality.

In this issue, we feature six outstanding aquascapes that cost less than $60,000. Each builder overcame challenges, used a unique design and included plenty of add-ons. The pool professionals also shared useful tips on how they provided the feel of luxury on a tight budget.

The article is called “The Unsung Heroes.” Remember, anyone can have a great pool for $600,000, but it takes real ingenuity to deliver one for less than $60,000.

Erika Taylor