THE CANVAS: A sprawling house, 400 acres, wide-angle view

THE PALETTE: A neutral gray oasis, natural farmscape

THE MASTERPIECE: Scenic stunner, resplendent recreational retreat, softened hardscape, spacious decking

The client was looking for something special. He wanted a backyard environment that would smooth out the rough edges of a large farmhouse property in Canada.

“It’s a one-story, 4,000-square-foot home, and the client wanted a hot tub and pool installation that would not add to the bulky look of the house,” says Mike Killingbeck, sales representative at Pioneer Family Pools in Hamilton, Ontario.

The client, a farmer and his family who make their home on 400 acres, needed a pool for recreation. He also wanted to keep as much of the yard and view as possible. Killingbeck’s first thought was to design an inground installation, but he soon realized that the property did not easily lend itself to such a project.

“The variance of the property dropped off on one side, and they did not have a flat level landscape,” Killingbeck says. “There would be no easy way to concrete around an inground pool.”

The homeowner requested a customized backyard look. Killingbeck responded with a 20-by-30-foot, onground pool for more design flexibility. “With onground pools, you’re kind of limited,” he says. “You have three or four shapes or sizes, and that’s it. However, I find that it adds a more finished look when you landscape or deck around it.”

Staying grounded

An onground installation solved a number of potential problems presented by the site. For instance, the dramatic climate changes can be brutal to concrete decking. “We’re blunt with our customers for onground pools, [telling them] that concrete just won’t work due to the heaving that occurs when it freezes,” Killingbeck says.

For this pool, he suggested composite decking for its ease of maintenance. It also accommodated the family’s recreational needs. The deck was kept low in height, with minimal railings, so that it wouldn’t interfere with the view. The colors were carefully chosen to ensure that the whole project worked well with the property.

The composite deck and natural rocks around the pool are the same color as the home’s window frames. While the deck is large enough to provide a generous area for entertaining and relaxation, it also maximizes the aesthetic appeal of the backyard. Its clean lines help make it an integral part of the landscape rather than an obtrusive structural element.

Killingbeck is justifiably proud of the project. “Anybody can sell any kind of onground and aboveground pool, but what makes it stand out is what’s around it,” he says. “I think the scenery in the background, the general layout and flow of the deck, with the seating at one end — even the color of the composite wood that we used for the decking — ties in well with the house and landscape.

“Aesthetically, I think it’s one of the prettiest pools I’ve ever done.”

Mike Killingbeck, sales representative, Pioneer Family Pools, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Mike Killingbeck, sales representative, Pioneer Family Pools, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.