Tuesday, 28 May 2013 16:06

Extreme Backyards: Custom Pools, Lazy Rivers, Grottos, Waterslides & More

Extreme Backyards: Custom Pools, Lazy Rivers, Grottos, Waterslides & More


By Terri Shields, Luxury Pools Blog

Today, it is not uncommon to find backyards that include custom pools, outdoor kitchens, luxury outdoor furniture, putting greens, tennis courts, and even water parks, complete with kid-approved waterslides and lazy rivers. Indoor or out, many of these amazing spaces rival the best showcased by popular amusement parks and luxury resorts.

Before developing a cutting-edge recreational space, homeowners must consider all that is required to create their backyard oasis. Working with a talented and skilled pool designer and builder, landscape architect, or general contractor is a vital first step in realizing a long-held dream.

Experts in the outdoor living industry know what permits are needed and the local codes and zoning laws; they will also have connections with other specialists to successfully complete a job.

Once you have hired the professionals who will manage your project, be ready to share a wish list of ideas for your backyard oasis. Here are a few to get you started.

Homeowners are happily discovering that they can appease their inner child by building a personalized backyard water park. By adding waterslides, a lazy river, splash zones, and other water park favorites, homeowners can capture the pure excitement usually found only at a distant, crowded amusement park.

As the demand for personal water parks increases, pool designers are learning the ins and outs of developing and building these intricate spaces. It is important that highly skilled engineers and builders are consulted, because the correct type and number of pumps, electricity, and other controls are critical for success. Plus, these complex zones require a variety of permits and must follow a local government's building codes.

Putting Greens and Tennis Courts

Is golf your game? What could be better than walking out your backdoor and right onto the 18th hole, complete with everything you need to improve your putting skills? Many golf aficionados find that working on their handicaps in the privacy of their own home takes strokes off their game—plus, when paired with a fabulous pool that features a swimming lane or tanning shelf, a putting green becomes part of the ideal secluded, all-inclusive recreational center.

Basketball and tennis courts are two fields of dreams that many homeowners consider must-haves for their backyard playgrounds. By including them along with a swimming pool, homeowners give their family and guests a home field advantage: they will be able to work up a sweat on the courts and then cool down in the pool or under a waterfall (or hit the spa if the activity is a bit too strenuous!).

No matter what type of personal playing fields homeowners decide to include on their property, however, the appropriate skilled professionals need to be consulted. Permits and zoning laws must be investigated and drawn before anything can be built, and those experts in this type of construction are the best ones to manage the production of a private athletic field.

Grottos and Waterfalls

The tropics are a favorite getaway for countless people, and when they get back home, they want to recreate the relaxing experience found on the white beaches of the Caribbean or the South Pacific, complete with hidden grottos and majestic waterfalls. As a result, pool designers are seeing an uptick in the demand for lagoon-themed pools. Usually freeform in shape, these pools are perfect foundations for breathtaking waterfalls formed from natural or faux rock.

These sensational water features add a sense of timelessness and enchantment while also bringing musical harmony to a setting. Whether created from natural rock or composite materials, they transform an ordinary track of land into a mystical hideaway that is far from the middle of the road. Some homeowners choose small, gently flowing cascades, while others go for the gusto, creating their own backyard Niagara Falls.

Additionally, by including colorful lighting, hidden grottos and caves, and a secret spa area or koi pond, the waterfall can become the commanding focal point that will be a source of countless oohs and aahs for years to come.

Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Today's outdoor furniture pieces are not only more hard-wearing than ever, they are also designed to be beautiful complements to fabulous outdoor rooms and kitchens. Made of exquisite materials like teak, wrought iron, rattan, and man-made extrusions, outdoor furniture is designed to take center stage by providing a visual reminder of a home's electric personality.

There are more styles and types to choose from than ever before. Vibrant fabrics, exotic woods, and man-made materials such as recycled plastic and acrylic-based products, are crafted to stand up to rain, wind, sun, and pool chemicals. Such a wide variety of choices allows homeowners to not only make a bold statement, but also maintain the furniture's dramatic appearance for years—or until the homeowner is ready for a change, that is!

As extreme backyards become more popular, more unique and luxurious options are becoming available from innovative designers. From spectacular poolscapes to sports courts to water parks, these personal getaways include all of the items a homeowner needs to relax and enjoy outdoor living.

James Atlas

James Atlas, an 22-year veteran of the swimming pool industry, is the owner and co-principal of Platinum Poolcare Ltd., a residential swimming pool construction, renovation and maintenance company with service to several commercial aquatic properties including the Bulls, Bears and White Sox training facilities.

Platinum Poolcare Owner James Atlas came to the pool industry after three years of options trading after college, cashing in his chips to work with father Ronald Atlas, owner of Paragon Pools, a commercial pool construction and design company. An entrepreneur at heart, Atlas quickly started up an off–shoot company, Fountain Technologies, through which he designed and constructed water features for luxury residential and commercial properties.

When his brother took over that company, Atlas founded Pool Watch, a management company servicing recreational pools with lifeguard staffing, facility openings, closings and general maintenance. He sold Fountain Technologies and Pool Watch in 1994 and 1995.

Looking to broaden his skill set in the pool servicing industry, Atlas went back to his family pool business, working as a project estimator for multi-million-dollar waterparks, competition pools, high-rise pools, and other large-scale projects.

After a few years, Atlas began receiving consistent inquiries from residential property owners interested in pool construction and servicing. With his father’s blessing, Atlas took the reigns on those new accounts and formed a new company called Platinum Aquatech.

Again looking to go off on his own, Atlas teamed up with Terry Smith, owner of Poolcare Aquatech, another partner company with Ronald Atlas which focused on the service and maintenance. The two companies merged, with Terry and James owning a fifty-fifty share in 2007, effectively becoming Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.

Company Background

Platinum Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd., founded in 2007, and resulting from a merger of Platinum Aquatech, Ltd. (luxury swimming pool construction) and Poolcare Aquatech, Ltd.(service, repairs, renovations of swimming pools and spas), specializes in all aspects of pool design, construction and renovation with added focus on specialty aquatic features such as waterfalls, lazy rivers, rock water applications, statuary and other luxury waterscape amenities. The company also provides installation and maintenance services for its customers.

Platinum Poolcare has raised the standards of excellence in residential and commercial pools, spa and waterscape design and construction. We have a combined half-century of experience in building, servicing, maintaining, and renovating award-winning and nationally-recognized gunite pools throughout the greater Chicago area and other Midwest states.

Based in Wheeling, Ill., the company’s headquarters spans 10,000 square-feet of warehouse and office space with 46 trucks, 130 employees during peak season, and one of the industry’s largest onsite replacement parts inventory for quick fixes.

Platinum Poolcare has repeatedly graced the cover of various industry magazines, and has earned hundreds of awards for its designs. The company belongs to the prestigious, invitation-only Aquatech Society for professional pool builders.

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