Customized Look: The homeowner was a bit skeptical about choosing a fiberglass pool for her new backyard waterscape because of the predetermined selection of shapes and sizes. But she was completely on board once Bret Shallenberger explained how he could customize it to her specifications. The design started out with a lagoon-style pool customized to include a tanning ledge, and a raised spa was added. Water flows from the ledge and spa into the pool. The result is an aquascape that makes perfect sense for the space and use. “There was no set initial design,” Shallenberger says. “We created as we built. [The homeowner] trusted me.”
But First: Before the crews could get started with construction, they first had to remove a large wooden deck that was covering an old, empty vinyl-liner pool that had been out of commission for years. The old pool was filled in and the new construction began in a different part of the backyard. The foundation of the backyard was even raised so that patrons could enjoy the pool and patio while still taking in the lakefront views.
Lighting: Melody Int'l Group Ltd.
Fire Feature: Thos. Baker
Pavers: Artistic Paver Mfg.
Mosaics: Pebble Tile Mosaics
Dana Robinson is a senior editor at Pool & Spa News and Aquatics International.
Designer/Installer: Bret Shallenberger, Owner/President
Firm: Nxt Gen Fiberglass Pools & Spas, New Braunfels, Texas
What the judges thought: The pool’s unique shape, in addition to the tanning ledge and multiple flowing waterfeatures, created a comfortable backyard relaxation spot.
Nxt Gen Fiberglass Pools & Spas worked with the homeowner to create a customized lakeside paradise on Lake Dunlap, New Braunfels, Texas.
By Dana Robinson
A Texas homeowner gets a lavish, tranquil backyard look…courtesy of fiberglass.
By Dana Robinson
Category: Fiberglass Pools
By Ben Thomas
The design for this installation in Dripping Springs, Texas, started out with a Pleasure Island pool/spa combo shell from San Juan Fiberglass Pools with a custom tanning ledge. But once the excavation began, the homeowner felt that the footprint was going to be too small. So Bret Shallenberger, owner/president of Nxt Gen Fiberglass Pools & Spas in New Braunfels, Texas, headed back to the drawing board, and the pair ultimately settled on this three-piece hot tub/pool/tanning ledge set design.
The homeowner decided on a salt water pool because it works well with the fiberglass application and is relatively low maintenance. Very dense finish materials were used around the project to eliminate any hardscape issues.
For a more customized look, Shallenberger had San Juan create bar stools for the tanning ledge. Finished with the same small mosaic tiles used to veneer the spa spillway and the pool's waterline, the stools provide a place for hot- and cold-water revelers to converse. The fire bar adds some warmth and drama.
Steps were also installed on the backside of the spa to accommodate the finished height. “At the end of the day it all came together very well,” says Shallenberger.
The yard measured a snug 72- by 30 feet, but Bret Shallenberger and homeowner Frank Wiedner made the most of it. “One goal was to create a lot of gathering areas in a relatively small space without having it feel crowded,” says Shallenberger, owner of San Diego Fiberglass Pools in San Diego. This was accomplished with optimal placing of the pool, a five-person spa and a fire pit that provides seating on three sides.
There’s a unique geometry to the scene as well. “We wanted to incorporate different elevations,” Wiedner explains. “That’s a theme that fits into the surrounding mountains. So it was a lot of straight lines, but there are also soft edges to blend the environments together.”
In order to establish harmony between the design and home, Shallenberger mimicked the stucco exterior of the house with a wall he constructed to encircle the back and side yard.
Among the project’s most striking elements is the synergistic interplay between distinctive materials. The concrete coping from Pacific Stone Design frames the spa, fire pit, perimeter seating, planters and columns — most of which utilize natural stacked stone as well.
Glass tile in a variety of browns and blue was used for the waterline, serving as another visual tie-in between materials within the yard, the pool and surrounding hillside.
The project also features an automatic cover with tracks that were installed on the vertical surface of the raised planter. “[The homeowner] had exacting design preferences,” Shallenberger says. “So I ended up building a system that had a hidden recessed vault, vertical flush track, encapsulated wall track, and a hidden leading edge bar.”