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Modernizing the Classic Poolscape
The Pool Environment


This poolscape, nestled in the small town of Pound Ridge, N.Y., was installed by David Katz and his company Land of Elite. The entirety of it sits on a very steep cliff and had to first be approved by the city council. An outdoor kitchen, a hot tub, a pervious sports court and walking paths are all incorporated in this pool environment. The pool itself includes a 16' x 10' underwater stone capped patio, automatic floor cleaning, a water heater, varying speed waterfalls, an automatic safety cover and 3 independent, yet interconnected, circulation and filtration systems (one for the basin, one for the pool filtration and one for pool cleaning.) The pool also has multiple water return lines placed at varying depths of the pool for even heating throughout.


This pool includes an automatic, safety pool cover with a vanishing edge design. Even if the pool cover is on, the waterfalls can still be viewed from the fireside deck. The wood deck is a composite deck and the pool trim and pool stairs are Bluestone slabs. Quarried granite from the Adirondack Mountain region of New York was picked for underneath the fountains. The pool deck is comprised of BLU 60 mm slabs in a smooth texture finish.

In today's time of eccentric pool designs with curved and wavy edges, sometimes all it takes to make a great poolscape is adding a few modern twists to an otherwise classic rectangular pool.

David Katz, owner of Land of Elite, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., constructs every aspect of pool environments. To build the project featured here, Katz had to first get the project approved by the city because the area was on such a steep slope.

He avows that pools are a great amenity even for the colder climate of the Northeast. "Even if it is too cold to swim in the pool and you don't heat it, which you certainly can, you're still enjoying your pool visually and socially."

Pool Covers
One benefit of having a rectangular pool is that is can be easily covered, keeping in heat, keeping out debris and acting as a safety feature. Pool safety covers (not to get confused with 'Bubble Wrap' style covers) are a viable form of safety and nowadays some are even strong enough that an adult can walk on them.

Pool safety cover manufacturer Tara Liners relays that a pool safety cover can also save money because "When your pool is covered it prevents evaporation (Up to 95% less evaporation), saving water and chemicals (35%-60% less chemicals used)."

When choosing furniture for a poolscape, reducing maintenance and repair is crucial. Katz's philosophy when choosing deck furniture for a poolscape is that wood based products can be hard to maintain due to their proximity to water.

He also mentions that different spaces of the pool atmosphere solicit different types of furniture. For instance, under a pavilion or pergola, larger, wicker-type furniture is permissible because it is more stationary and protected from the elements. Whereas, near the pool, the furniture should be more of a composite material and the incorporation of lounge chairs is desired because of direct sun exposure.

Shade Structures
Being out in the sun around a pool warrants a shade structure. Pool umbrellas are an easy fix, yet are no match for pool houses, pavilions, pergolas or grottos. Incorporation of a shade structure can offer respite from the energy-draining characteristics of a typical pool setting thus improving safety.

Additionally, shaded areas usually become communal spaces where people will lounge and spend time talking or relaxing. This attribute invites incorporation of seating, tables, kitchen/cooking facilities and entertainment amenities such as televisions or speakers to enhance the poolscape.


Every detail of this pavilion, even picking out the furniture, was done in-house by David Katz. The wicker furniture was specifically chosen for this area because it is more stationary and is located further away from the water's edge. The decking chosen for the pavilion is the same as the side deck located on the left of this photo - a composite material was used for both.

In-Pool Water Features
In-pool water features have expanded to include underwater patios, grottos, spas, waterproof furniture, multicolored lighting and more.

Katz incorporated a shallow underwater patio in the pool allowing the clients to cool off without fully submerging themselves. These subaquatic patios are typically installed between 3" and 7" below the water's surface.

Katz relays this information about the thought behind a shallow submerged patio: "The way people use water is very often just relaxing in it, floating in it, or sitting on the edge with their feet in it - but not fully submersed."

The incorporation of a weir, or vanishing edge, can be another useful addition to the poolscape because they essentially skim the pool. The way this works is that when water flows over the weir, debris, like leaves, collect in another basin down below the weir and allows the lower pool to be a sort of catch filter.

Concluding Testimonial
The color scheme of the project featured was chosen to make the environment very naturalistic and warm. Green umbrellas and chairs relate to natural forms and allow the poolscape to not be "over the top." The colors are festive and, at the same time, tie in with the environment surrounding the pool.

Katz declares that having a well designed pool environment is like "going to an island resort everyday in your own backyard. How could anyone pass up on that experience?"

Pool Safety

The raised seating area in the back serves two purposes. It lets parents monitor the pool from a higher vantage point and it also allows an area for children to jump into the pool, without having to install a diving board. The safety fencing provides the added bonus of security, prohibiting small children or animals unapproved access to the pool.


The waterproof 'Safety Turtle,' by RJE Technologies, Inc., can be worn on the wrist to unlock a safety fence and allow access to a pool.

Safety should always be a main priority and this is evident, as some states across the country have banned the installation of diving boards and slides for pools due to their high risk of injuries. Safety fencing and some pool safety covers do their due-diligence when it comes to protecting people from mistakenly falling in.

For instance, some safety fences require a user to wear a bracelet in order to enter, or insert a specific key code to open the gate, which prevents small children from wandering near the pool unattended.

The material chosen for the pool deck is also important because it should not be too slippery when wet. Soapstone or Bluestone can be reliable options. David Katz states that Bluestone is one of the most popular choices for pool areas in the New York/ New Jersey/ Connecticut area due to its softness, heat absorption, availability and pricing.

Due to the increasing angst among insurance companies regarding diving boards, one landscape contractor admits that grottos have become a sort of stand-in as a result. Not only can they provide shade inside, they can also permit kids to climb atop of them and jump off into the pool.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, July 2018.

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June 27, 2019, 1:57 am PDT

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