California pool and spa inspired by old-world Italy

Ooc 508 Aq The client is looking for something artful, not just to swim in," explains Scott Cohen, garden artisan at the Green Scene, a landscape design and construction firm in Canoga, Calif., reaffirming the popular demand for a resort-inspired backyard. Fire and water played an integral role in this waterscape's overall aura, mesmerizing guests before they have a chance to plant both feet inside the house.

"The spa is centered," says Cohen, "so when you walk in the front door of that home, you look straight down this really long hallway and you see the spa and you see the fire reflecting across the water right there. It's the focal point on entry."

The spa is the most complex perimeter-overflow spa the Green Scene has ever built, says Cohen. Waterproofing the channels and creating a level circumference proved to be challenging, "but it adds a level of difficulty to a project, and the effect can be absolutely stunning," adds Cohen.

An area perfect for entertaining, including a barbecue, bar, fireplace and conversation area in the design, was also an absolute must, under one condition: The client didn't want to see the barbecue. Cue the gentleman's lounge.

Cohen constructed a lounging area 3 feet below grade that houses the barbecue and features a swim-up bar and conversational area with firepit. "It's a nice place to relax, enjoy a scotch and cigar, hang out and play some cards maybe," adds Cohen.

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