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Carved in Stone

Blending a pool into its surroundings

Pool project by M&S Architectural Ltd.

Project by M&S Architectural Ltd.

Resembling the small plunge pools that form at the base of Burleigh Falls in Ontario’s Kawartha region, this swimming pool installation in Buckhorn, Ont., also mimics the natural splendour of its lakeside setting and the rustic qualities from local quarries to maintain an original, country-cottage look.

The ability to swim in the nearby lake was key to the family’s summer enjoyment at the cottage; however, with the onset of lake water issues, including invasive Zebra Mussel problems, the need for a swimming pool became apparent.

As it was important for the pool to blend in with its surroundings, the owner called upon M&S Architectural, a landscape design and construction specialist in Gilford, Ont., who partnered with Betz Pools Ltd., a high-end pool builder in Stouffville, Ont., to design and build the family a natural summer oasis.

To do this, natural elements from nearby quarries were incorporated into the design, which includes a 1.4- x 2.4-m (4.5- x 8-ft) gunite oval spa, which spills into an 11.5- x 6.1-m (38- x 20-ft) gunite pool. The pool features a natural-looking outflow comprising four, 6,100-kg (6-ton) granite boulders. Its full effect is best appreciated from the lake looking back at the cottage, as it appears to be an extension of the shoreline break wall.

To keep deck joints at a minimum, while also preserving the shoreline appeal, 102-mm (4-in.) Buckhorn flagstone was used to create large patio areas for entertaining. To maintain a natural edge, 127-mm (5-in.) thick flagstone was used on the pool wall without the traditional 254-mm (10-in.) pool coping. The edge was interrupted at various points around the pool with rock benches to allow stones to be set into the water, which furthered the pool’s indigenous look.

Granite fieldstone was used on the fascia of the hot tub’s elevated walls to co-ordinate with the stone fireplace on the property, while large granite boulders were used to enclose the pool whereby eliminating areas of fence that did not seem natural to the surroundings.

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M&S Architectural Ltd.
Bradford, Ont.
Tel: 905-778-0015
Special Design Elements
  • Gunite pool with natural outflow
  • Oval hot tub with spillover weir
  • Large granite boulders
  • Flagstone pool surround and patios
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