Because if the Swiss Family Robinson built a pool, it might look something like this. Because the irregular-shaped deck — from its built-in bench to its thumb-shaped dining area — creates organic places for living. Because the cantilevered deck hides any telltale signs that this is actually an aboveground pool. Because a special finishing compound gives the cedar deck and rails a rich, warm look that will last for years. Because paver stones were used for the walkway instead of concrete, adding to the project’s natural look and feel. Because cedar flower boxes bring nature into this setting and honor a request from the garden-loving homeowner.

The way Patrick Halliday sees it, aboveground pools have it all over inground pools — as long as they’re done right.

“With our decks, aboveground pools can be just as nice [as inground gunite pools] without the added property taxes,” says Halliday, regional manager of Atlantis Pools in Alton, Ill.

But he isn’t talking about your average deck. Atlantis’ decks are elaborate works of art in and of themselves. And they’re pricey — as much as $15,000.

For the project featured here the pool had to be cut into a steep backyard incline— perfect for the type of pool Atlantis likes to build. “We just cut into the hillside and put a deck around it. It ends up looking like an inground with the deck around it. For this one, all the trees and the woodsy setting make it unbelievable.”

The finishing touch that brought the entire installation together was the pave-stone pathway that leads to the pool. The area around the deck was then landscaped. The final custom touch was suggested by the homeowner: flower boxes built onto the deck.

“The wife wanted something where she could plant some annuals and add some color in the summer,” Halliday says. “We like doing little touches like that.”