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Great Grottos


The ‘resort look’ is definitely in among San Diego homeowners who installed pools last year,” says A.J. Wilson, owner of Like New Pool Service. “Seeing is believing.”

One look at the winners in the 2003-04 Pools of the Year contest sponsored by the local chapter of the National Spa & Pool Institute tells the tale. Wilson, a regional president of NSPI, says California leads the country in pool installation. More hot tubs are sold in the Golden State than anywhere else, he adds.

But what specifically sets apart California——and San Diego——is this region’s penchant for the grotto backyard resort, says Wilson. Waterfalls, islands, rock and boulder outcroppings, exotic hardscape, tropical landscaping, built-in barbecue facilities and sunny patios with designer furnishings are all part of San Diego’s version of a home-pool paradise.

Pool industry experts say a couple of factors are behind the resort look. Homeowners know a good thing when they build one. San Diegans have long been enamored by the water lifestyle available in our corner of California. And they realize dollars spent will eventually be recovered as home prices continue to soar.

Homeowners are telling pool builders they’d prefer to spend money making their backyards into mini-resorts than spend dollars traveling the world. This post-9/11 mentality is fueling record-high new——and refurbished——pool sales across the country, according to 2004 NSPI data.

San Diegans who’ve worked hard and want to install pools have limitless imagination when it comes to style. There’s also a seasoned roster of top pool builders in the county to make that big splash possible. These pages showcase a few design examples.
a boy dives into a pool  The Survivor Completed just before the Scripps Ranch fire, this pool is an elegant survivor at the home of Larry and Cheryl Gable and son Andy. The patio peninsula is silver quartzite flagstone. Water swirls around the spa (background) before splashing into the vanishing-edge pool.
 a vanishing pool Cabo Calling Terrific vistas of Rancho Santa Fe make this serene pool seem like a resort. The vanishing edge and sunken bar with swim-up barstools evokes tequila sunrises in Cabo San Lucas. Mission Valley Pools & Spas, San Diego.
 a pool lit dramatically at night Grand Grotto Well-planned and executed, this La Jolla grotto incorporates a vanishing-edge pool, adjacent spa and overhead breezeway. Mission Pools, Escondido.
 pool and hot tub It’s a Jungle Actually, it’s Tierrasanta, with water cascading from a hilltop spa over big boulders, down a 22-foot slide and splashing into a jungle lagoon. The far wall is ledger-cut stone; the pool is lined with blue granite Pebblesheen. Hallmark Pools, San Diego.
pool with slide  Don’t miss next month’s Home Design Quarterly (HDQ) as San Diego Magazine features the latest in pool and patio furnishings, including the sizzle in BBQ installations.
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