Books dedicated specifically to swimming pools are of immediate and obvious utility to a great many watershapers. I’ve found valuable ideas from such publications through the years – despite the fact that much of the time their content is aimed at consumers rather than professionals.
One thing that has disappointed me in many of these pool-focused publications is that the pool industry itself is not very well represented. Instead, what you usually see is the work of landscape architects, architects and other designers. In many cases their work is beautiful and deserving of attention, but the general exclusion of the work of top-flight pool builders means that a great many of the world’s finest watershapes are not to be found.
Despite this deficit, even a quick look at these swimming pool books yields interesting ideas and information:[ ] House Beautiful Pools (compiled by the editors of House Beautiful magazine and published by Hearst Communications in 2001) is a well photographed and illustrated book that does a nice job of covering a broad range of ideas having to do with how the chosen pools fit within their overall environments.
The text is broken into three sections: pools for swimming, which is mostly about rectangular and lap pools; garden pools, meaning projects surrounded by lots of planted material; and pools built primarily for entertaining, which are seen alongside cabanas, expansive decks and beautiful patios. The styles here range from natural to ultra-contemporary, and there’s a nice geographic spread to the coverage.
[ ] Spectacular Pools (written by Francisco Asensio Cerber and published in1999 by Hearst Books International) divides its treatment of residential swimming pools into four categories: natural pools (a term used very loosely); pools with historical lineage (including Roman and Moorish touches); architectural water (meaning structures built within or close to surrounding architecture; and water geometry, which shows how balance, shape, symmetry and various other factors enter the design process.
[ ] The Swimming Pool (written by Tom Griffiths and published in 1994 by Simon & Schuster) goes into the planning, construction and care of swimming pools. He includes discussions of such factors as site selection, working with prevailing winds, dealing with sunshine and such basics as encompassing views, setting orientations and determining access.
There’s lots of good information here about equipment selection and where to put it, drainage issues, finish choices and basic service and maintenance – sort of a handbook for prospective pool owners that’s of benefit to designers who aren’t as familiar as they should be with the working details of a swimming pool.[ ] The New American Swimming Pool: Innovations in Design and Construction (edited by James Grayson Truelove and published by Whitney Library of Design in 2001) offers 40 case studies of swimming pool projects designed by landscape architects. In each case, there’s a discussion of the pool’s basic specifications, materials, plantings, lighting and equipment – a good store of technical information supported by nice photography.
I’m a bit disappointed here by the fact that the book has an apparent bias toward rectangles, which if nothing else makes the book’s subtitle a bit ironic. There are, however, some very nice projects here, including a few vanishing edges, a few indoor pools and some above-grade pools.
Mike Farley is a landscape designer with more than 20 years of experience and is currently a designer/project manager for Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas. A graduate of Genesis 3’s Level I Design School, he holds a degree in landscape architecture from Texas Tech University and has worked as a watershaper in both California and Texas.