New England builders are used to dealing with ledge — those underground rock formations that can wreak havoc on excavation budgets. So the team at Aqua Pool, a 40-year-old pool builder based in East Windsor, Conn., knew what to expect when they were asked to build a backyard pool nestled against a hillside where largish-looking granite boulders were protruding.

“Like any pool that we build, this one was first drawn on paper, then in CAD, and a proposal was drawn up with a contract price,” says Aqua Pool vice-president Michael Giannamore, who along with Gregg Pruitt oversees construction. “But the homeowner knew that everything was going to change — design and pricing — once we exposed the outcropping of ledge. While most clients are not comfortable with such an open-ended arrangement, this one was willing to go along — it’s a rare client to have.”

The project was a three-way collaboration between the homeowner, Aqua Pool, and landscaping contractor Ching Lin, of Artistic Outdoors, who was instrumental in laying out and placing the stonework. “But it was really the homeowner that was excited about the potential for the site, wanted something special, and had faith that we could do it.”