This Kurt Bluemel-designed landscape is the winner of a National Distinction Award from the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and is featured on the National Garden Tour, 1992. What appears to be a lovely, naturalistic reflecting pond and swimming pool surrounded by bucolic gardens is foremost a serious lap pool. The sensuous, curving shape of the 840-square-foot pool, built by B&J Pool Contractors Inc., disguises its true purpose: to provide its owners with a straight 40-foot lap, with room for a return flip at the end.
The pool and garden's design presented a few challenges to the builders and Mr. Bluemel. First, the space had to be carved out of an incline so steep it resembled a cliff. Then there was the need to save the plantings in the pre-existing garden -- an extensive collection of mature dwarf conifers directly on the site where the pool would go. The collection included exotic umbrella pines that the owner had been acquiring for more than 20 years. Replanting saved them and also created a mature look for the new landscape.
The pool's stone retaining wall is studded with waterfalls, and the dark plaster finish allows the trees and sky to reflect into the water. The rocks (including a flat-topped diving rock instead of a traditional diving board) contribute to the area's natural appearance.