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Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I see something of this nature on the web about once a week in peak season and about monthly this cooler time of year.  In this instance, it was labeled as “55 Most Awesome Swimming Pool Designs on the Planet.”  I feel obliged to check out these things, but I always do so with a high level of reluctance because I’ve generally seen all of the collected pools before and almost invariably end up disagreeing with the judgment of the person or persons doing the selecting.

I was doubly hesitant in this case because there would be 55 of them to see.  That’s a lot to ask of this veteran surfer, as big lists often involve an exercise in clicking and waiting, clicking and waiting as images that are not sized for easy web viewing mount themselves and sharpen on a string of new screens.  

My guess going in, in other words, was that I’d be muddling through a half-dozen images before giving up and moving on to something more interesting.   

In this case, however, the raw experience was a pleasant surprise:  Yes, it’s a long shaft of images, but the page loads quickly and everything is stacked on one screen, so once you’re there, moving through the images is a simple matter of scrolling.  It was a surprise on another level, too:  Although some of the choices are quirky and the list might’ve been improved by some editing (maybe 40 would have been enough?), those who compiled this selection did so with a good eye.

I was also impressed by the fact that the images were sourced, with links provided to the various places the compilers found them.  Several come from resort web sites and real estate outlets, but some designers and builders get in on the act – a most unexpected thoroughness from, which assembled the images.

In addition and quite helpfully, the photos are categorized – most unusual for these sorts of collections – and grouped as infinity pools, lap pools, indoor pools, grotto pools/swimming caves and “really unusual pools.”  There’s also a sixth classification I’ve never seen anywhere before:  sitting pools, a sort of catch-all category that includes bar-stool arrangements as well as shallow-water lounge areas.

If this is the only one of these collections you view this year (as the movie promoters say), check this one out by clicking here.

I do, however, have one substantial bone to pick with the folks at  For whatever reason, the progress from a quick, enthusiastic introduction to the images is interrupted by a weird factoid band labeled “Saltwater or Freshwater?” that tries to persuade readers to go with saltwater options because “There’s no reason for anyone to be swimming in chemicals anymore.”  The odd thing is that, on the plus side for saltwater systems, it is conceded that “salt-water generators convert salt to natural chlorine.”  I guess the adjective natural somehow makes chlorine something other than a chemical?

Can’t win ’em all, I guess.  But in this case, it’s a shame because the stack of images is pretty impressive.  

One last cavil:  I counted 53 pools in the six offered categories, plus another five in two appendices labeled Related Designs and The Boys in the Band (the latter a category for pools decked out as musical instruments).  Not to be picky, but there are either two fewer or three more images than were promised.  I’m a forgiving man, but there are limits!

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