Find a Contractor

Three tiered pool with spa at highest point, a 500 sq. ft. pool at the middle point and a 600 sq. ft. pool at the lowest point.

The mid-level pool spills over a vanishing edge into
the lower pool six feet below.

Submit Your Own Project Photos

The home owners wanted a dramatic landscaped backyard pool. They had recently visited the Alhambra, a 13th century Moorish palace in Spain, and they also wanted to create something with a romantic, Mediterranean appeal which was also incorporated into the architectural style of the house. However, unlike the expansive terrain of the Alhambra, their property is compact and has drastic elevation changes. The property owners' goals were to frame their spectacular hilltop view and to provide a fun-filled play area for jumping and splashing of energetic grandchildren. The challenging project had to be completed on a shortened schedule due to their frequent travels.

To meet these expectations, the design-build firm, Land Design Texas, had to conceive a design that was simultaneously grand and intimate; and then build it on a tight schedule.

The custom home in the Texas Hill Country is frequently used for weekend entertaining. The design for the backyard pools had to include a therapeutic spa for the couple and create an amenity of the same caliber as the home. (Homes in the neighborhood started from $750,000 upwards.)

Land Design conceived a three-tiered pool design crowned with a round spa incorporating 12 individual spouts. To echo the colors of the Mediterranean, reflective glass tiles provide a modern interpretation of the Moorish influence, complementing the light green marcite plaster on the pool interior. For more pragmatic reasons, stainless steel hand-rails installed for access to the spa accommodate the older generation and the youngest grandchildren safely.

Spa with 12 individual water spouts incorporated adds to the Mediterranean feel.

View from top of pool shows all three tiers and the dramatic effect added by the vanishing edge.

The 500 square foot mid-level pool was designed to spill five feet over a vanishing edge to the larger eight foot deep, 600 square foot pool below. The pool coping, covered patio, and multilevel stairway which traverses the steep grade were constructed of hand-cut Oklahoma stone accented by the earth-toned colored decorative concrete pool decks. Creating a rock salt finish on 2000 square feet of color-hardened concrete produced a natural appearance and improved slip-resistance. Arizona Tan dry-shake color hardener (L.M. Scofield) was specified to complement the shades of the rustic stone. Massive boulders below the large pool defined the edge and helped the project blend into the hillside.

Award-winning landscape architect, Mike Logsdon, the owner of Land Design observed, "Since almost all of our projects are one-of-a-kind designs for prestige homes, people are often surprised that we often use colored, textured concrete for the pool decks, walkways and patios. Once we show our portfolio, our clients can see that decorative concrete offers many advantages. It is produced from local materials and is highly durable. Decorative concrete can save time and money."

"Architectural concrete used alongside a small amount of extravagant natural stone or imported tiles can be stunning and help maximize our clients' budgets. We often hear the term 'value engineering' and concrete is a solution," said Logsdon. "Installing natural stone or hand cutting tile can cost from $15 to $20 per square foot upwards, and may cause delays while we wait for an exact color shipment; whereas we can install decorative concrete with a beautiful natural color and a salt finish for $6 to $7.00* per square foot, or use a texturing skin that looks like river rock, accented with several colors at a square foot cost between $8 to $10.00.* The colors are all readily available without delays and the hardeners we use improve the durability and abrasion-resistance of the concrete," he added.

Reflective glass tiles were used to mimic the colors of the Mediterranean.

This amazing pool is surrounded by an earth-toned, salt-finished, concrete pool deck.

"We prefer to use a shake-on color hardener which allows us to produce some variations to the color by adding more or less of the powder in different areas. The concrete can have a weathered, natural appearance suited to our rustic terrain in Texas," continued the award-winning pool designer. "Saving money on the pool deck allows our clients to include other amenities. Some of our clients spend between $50,000 and $200,000 for their exterior amenities, such as an outdoor kitchen that's sometimes nicer than the one inside the home. In climates where outdoor entertainment is a big part of the lifestyle, the investment in hard landscaping and outdoor living spaces increases the property value. We design pools, spas, walkways, patios, accent lighting and of course, a design plan including the plant life and trees suited to our arid, rocky local terrain. In some projects the pool is the focal point, but we don't just build pools... We create total outdoor environments."

* Costs quoted include turn-key framing and drainage, but do not include design fees and major construction where steep changes of grade warrant structural beams and ties.

The dramatic tiered pool design exceeded all the clients' expectations and continues to win awards. Installing decorative concrete pool decks allowed the design-build firm to meet the clients' tight construction deadline, and leave some money in the budget for attractive planters and outdoor furniture.

Mike Land Design Boerne, TX

Michael J. Logsdon earned his B.A. in landscape architecture from Texas Tech University in 1983 and went on to found his own design-build firm in Boerne, Texas. Since 1990, he has been the recipient of more than 40 prestigious awards from international, national and regional professional organizations and magazines honoring his spectacular residential projects.

Read More About Concrete Pool Decks

Return to Concrete Pool Deck Projects