By Jason Cramp
The creation of a two-tiered level surface in the backyard of this home in West Vancouver, B.C., gave this client the private are they desired for recreation and outdoor entertaining throughout the year. The house was built on a steep hillside and had no usable outdoor space due to steep bluffs in the front and rear yards. However, Aloha Pools Ltd., in Burnaby, B.C., took the challenge of transforming the uninhabitable backyard, which comprised a series of rock outcroppings, steep drops and overgrown bush, into an elegant outdoor environment. The design included the installation of a 3 x 9.7-m (10 x 32-ft) gunite swimming pool, 2.4 x 2.4-m (8 x 8-ft) gunite spa and a fully cantilevered engineered deck.
Both the pool, which has a gradual depth of a 1 to 1.8 m (3.5 to 6 ft), and a spa feature a speckled-graphite aggregate finish that complements the surrounding landscape and hardscape. Both are constructed on a series of engineered bearing walls and columns anchored to a granite-cliff face. The equipment room and heat-pump pad is located within the structural bearing walls for greater proximity and noise suppression.
An outdoor kitchen also makes entertaining more convenient as the kitchen inside the home is two floors higher than the pool deck, which is finished in a charcoal-coloured concrete with an acid-wash finish. A lower balcony was also installed to provide access to the pool and kitchen areas so the homeowner could access the pool without having to circle the house.
The deck also incorporates three illuminated laminar jets and integral deck and step lighting to create a dramatic effect at night. Wrought iron railings and an automatic safety cover were also installed to protect users and easy safety concerns.
The finished project provides a beautiful backdrop from inside the house, as the homeowner is able to illuminate their aquatic vista, which complements the natural setting among hemlock, cedar and spruce trees and a spectacular ocean view.