The design materialized like ripples in a pond.

It began with a simple free-form pool, but it would become much more as the desired bends and turns were engineered to join the vessel seamlessly with its surroundings.

“There’s a reason for everything you’re looking at,” says Joey Pecoraro, designer and owner of Architectural Design Concepts. “It’s all about creating either great space to walk through, swim through or look at.”

Indeed, it’s all curves and motion on this split-level pool. The contours speak volumes as the vessel wraps sleekly around planters, a custom-made concrete sofa and the true show-stopper — a round, sunken swim-up fire pit.

Pecoraro also set out to prove that with proper planning, several finishing materials could co-exist without detracting from the aquascape’s overall design. He brought these plans to life with the construcion and hydraulic expertise of Ron Mecham, president of Lifeguard Pools.

There’s an abundance of features, to be sure, but the final product is infinitely more than the sum of its parts.

Form fitting

The designers were faced with a backyard featuring three distinct views: mountains to one side, a golf course on another and the Las Vegas strip.

Pecoraro wanted to encompass it all, so a vanishing edge was a must.

But the pool called for play elements to entertain visiting children, too. A sun shelf and wading pool would fit the bill. And he liked the idea of incorporating a fire pit.

The solution: Pecoraro fashioned a split-level pool. The upper pool would sit 18 inches above the home’s floor, providing optimal viewing from indoors.

The vanishing edge, meanwhile, would wrap from the pool’s back wall toward the house.

“That way, when [the homeowners] are sitting in the dining area, they can see the face of all that beautiful tile,” Pecoraro says.

The bottom level serves triple duty as catch basin, kiddie pool and swim-up for the fire pit.

That sunken fire pit, with a sofa wrapped around it, sits just behind the vanishing edge. Those gathered around the flames can enjoy the falling water, while swimmers can sidle up to the pit.

“I was trying to create great places in a not-so-huge space,” Pecoraro says. “As you’re swimming around, it’s a surprise as you come around the fire pit. [From the deck], you want to go down the steps, behind the planter and down to the fire pit.”

He also tucked a spa into a secluded area on the far side of the pool.

With its basic layout completed, the pool wound around five circular objects: the fire pit, spa, a round concrete bed with a curved wall, and two small planters, stocked by Jeffrey Lee Landscaping of Henderson, Nev.

“All the free-form [of the pool] flows in between that,” Pecoraro says.

Photo finishes

He had to juggle a set of similarly complicated materials choices.

The pool was simple. The interior would take a medium-blue pebble for depth and reflective quality. Pecoraro finished the backside of the vanishing-edge wall with tiles in shades of blue and gold.

The surrounding hardscape was more complicated. He chose to denote different areas with unique materials, a favorite technique of his. For the upper-pool area, he found square, reclaimed clay pavers from France. The 200-year-old pieces have an antiquated look, and the reddish tones color-coordinate with the kitchen.

The main pathway is covered in a faux wood finish consisting of concrete formed in individual planks.

For the coping and planter caps, Pecoraro wanted a neutral tone to tie the primary materials together. He selected a 4-by-12-inch bullnose travertine, custom-cut to accommodate the pool’s curves. The planter walls were veneered with the same stone used on the home’s exterior.

“I have so many different colors and flooring materials, I didn’t want to bring a completely different stone into the picture,” Pecoraro says.

With all the pool’s pieces in place, it’s now up to the homeowners — and their visitors — to complete the picture.

“No matter where you sit in that yard, you have a good view of something, a focal point,” Pecoraro says. “It just feels good when you look at those shapes.”

Ron Mecham
Joey Pecoraro
Jeffrey Lee Landscaper