Posh pools are now going back to nature


Waterfalls, low stone walls and towering trees surround todays most stylish swimming pools, making them seem like spectacular natural scenery.

Thats just how the owners want it, according to two area experts: Cindy Huston at Huston Pools and Bob Spero at Maryland Pools, both in Fairfax.

They want features like landscaping and waterfalls, to create a resort-style oasis, Spero said. They see them at resorts and decide that something similar would look great in the backyard.

That natural look begins with a free-flowing design. Its a dramatic change from the strict rectangular shapes that came into fashion five years ago, at the height of the fitness fad, because they were perfect for swimming long laps.

Some people still choose pools to meet their exercise needs, he said, but most want that architectural appeal.

Whats more, they demand that natural beauty from top to bottom… literally… as Huston explained. That means they dont want those traditional white-plaster interiors ruining the effect.

Instead, she reported, they much prefer Pebble Tec, a mixture of pebbles and concrete. It comes in many different colors, and it is gorgeous, she said.

Pebble Technology, Inc., the manufacturer, explained that the product is created with pebbles from around the world, selected for color and beauty, in 18 shimmering shades.

Unlike regular pebbles, Huston insisted that these do not hurt your feet.

Of course, not everyone follows the latest fashions.

We are still doing indoor pools, she said. But they tend to be classic, with more tiles and lighter colors.

Spero added that his company also creates some geometric outdoor pools, when they suit the architectural style. We do them for contemporary houses, he said, because we want them to blend with the  aesthetics of the home.

Needless to say, no pool will have any aesthetic appeal to anyone if it is not kept clean and sparkling. Spero said the modern owners are looking for an easier method of keeping it that way. Once more, modern technology is meeting their demands.

He pointed to devices  like the Paramount PCC 2000 In-Floor Cleaning System. Going even beyond the automatic pool sweeper, he said, it is built into the pool floor, where it continuously pushes the debris down the drain.

The Bioguard Mineral Springs sends minerals through a cell, where they are converted to the free chlorine that kills bacteria and algae. It takes only a few minutes a week, the manufacturer claimed.

Thanks to developments like these, Spero said, It takes a few minutes to care for the pool, where 30 years ago it took hours.

Between the natural fashion and the new technology, he said, the pool achieves its purpose. As he put it, It allows the family to enjoy a vacation for the entire spring and summer, without leaving home.