THE CANVAS: An archetype of American living, rich green perimeter, classic country accents

THE PALETTE: Dry-stack natural stone, ornamental concrete, water in motion

THE MASTERPIECE: Old World appeal, kaleidoscope of textures, the heart of family life

Putting a square peg into a round hole is tough but possible, with a little ingenuity — and so is installing a rectangular automatic cover over a free-form fiberglass pool.

That’s exactly what faced Jay Tucker, owner of Swim World Pools in Gallatin, Tenn. “The homeowners have a couple of little kids, so they wanted the cover, but they didn’t want to see it [when it was retracted],” he says. “The biggest challenge was dealing with the square cover and the [free-form-style pool].

“We had done automatic covers before, but this was the first time we did it like this,” Tucker adds. “It could be the first design like this in the Southeast.”

As construction began, everything centered on installation of the cover and how it would be kept hidden from view. After the hole was excavated and the fiberglass shell set, the crew poured the first layer of the concrete deck around the pool perimeter. The cover box was then created, so it would be flush with the lip of the pool shell. A custom-made lid for the box was crafted from poured concrete. “We cut the [cover box lid] into manageable sections,” Tucker says.

Once the initial concrete layer was laid down and the cover installed, a second deck was put into place to hide it. The top deck “sandwiches” the cover between the two slabs of concrete.

Deck defying

The next challenge involved the raised portion of the deck. Tucker turned to his engineers to make sure it would work. “A good portion of the raised deck is on the cantilever edge and you can measure 2 feet back underneath [the raised portion],” Tucker says. “That’s how big a space we had. We had to figure how to build [the raised portion of the deck] without it collapsing.”

The builders created a series of rebar grids within the concrete. Tucker says that gave it the ability to overhang and “mimic the weight of the pool. The raised deck was the owner’s idea. It is supposed to give some dimension to the backyard. It would have been easier to have just one pool deck, but with the cover design that they wanted, the only thing we could do is build up.”

The upper deck creates a wall along a section of the pool perimeter that sports a series of waterfeatures. They include three sheer descent waterfalls and two laminars that can be lit by a fiberoptic system. To create a dramatic setting, a fire pit was added to the deck’s raised portion near the waterfeatures.

Tucker’s staff worked with the homeowner on installing a gas line that runs from the property’s edge to the pool area. “To make it a useful lounging area, they wanted to be able to sit by a fire at night, hear the sounds of the water and watch the lighting,” he explains.

The raised patio surface is made of stamped concrete similar to the lower portion. Lighting columns feature dry-stack natural stone. “We picked this particular stamped concrete to give it textured color,” Tucker says. “The homeowner has a beautiful place and wanted to make it look as natural as possible.”

Jay Tucker, owner, Swim World Pools, Gallatin, Tenn.
Jay Tucker, owner, Swim World Pools, Gallatin, Tenn.