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Creating the Ultimate Backyard Retreat – Part III

bunker entrance

Eco-friendly opulence

While esthetics are important, the ultimate luxury backyard retreat should also keep energy efficiency top of mind. Sustainable, smart and safe pools should be a priority of any high-end pool design professional. These designs, which take a long-term approach to backyard planning, will look great upon completion and provide years of trouble-free, energy-efficient enjoyment.

Pool Covers

Automated covers provide both insulation for the pool and a level of safety for the body of water. By covering the pool, you automatically prevent roughly 70 per cent of heat loss. Combine this with an insulated pool shell and plumbing components and you will reap dramatic energy savings.

Variable-drive pool pumps

As opposed to their single-speed counterparts, variable-drive pumps automatically adjust to the demands being placed on the pool, resulting in more effective operation. Combined with engineered large-diameter plumbing, these pumps help provide safer, cleaner, more energy-efficient pools, spas and water features. Also, by simply returning the warm filtered water to the bottom of the pool, you can dramatically increase energy savings.

Light-emitting diode (LED) technology

Pool entries and exits need to be properly lit, while water features, wet wall art work and pool walls can be lit from below for stunning effects. Multiple lighting zones allow for varied nighttime effects. By choosing LED lighting, which is both energy-efficient and esthetically pleasing, you do not have to sacrifice beauty for savings.

Automation options

Automation is an absolute must-have feature for any high-end installation, as it will enable you to control your pool, spa and water features from a remote location or via the Internet. Automation allows you to save energy by controlling the speed of variable-drive pumps, timing lights and jet pumps and adjusting the temperature of pools, hot spas and chill pools as needed.

Underground equipment

Underground equipment bunkers provide a safe, quiet, secure, energy-efficient location to house pumps, filters, heaters and automation equipment, while also providing added storage space. Bunkers can also be insulated for both noise and heat loss. Locating them next to the pool shell or as a basement to a cabana will save you money, energy and space.

Dream it, design it, build it

When it comes right down to it, your ultimate backyard can be whatever you dream it can be. A well-planned, expertly designed and constructed high-end retreat will not only provide you and your family with years of enjoyment, it will also increase the value of your home should you ever decide to sell. By choosing a design that reflects your home’s architecture without being overwhelmed with ‘bells and whistles,’ your dream oasis can become a reality.

Barry Justus is the owner of Poolscape Inc., a landscape contractor and pool designing and building company based in Burlington, Ont. He can be reached at or by visiting

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