Partnership Between Pool Builder, Landscape Architect Leads to Gorgeous Award-Winning Backyard Project

Michael Popke Headshot
All photos by High-Tech Pools Inc. and courtesy Pentair
All photos by High-Tech Pools Inc. and courtesy Pentair

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What began as a simple project involving the design of a small in-ground pool and the addition of a second garage eventually evolved into a grand backyard oasis — thanks to the collaboration between High-Tech Pools Inc. and landscape architect Patrick Cloonan of Cloonan Design Services Inc.

The longtime partnership between the two northeastern Ohio companies has resulted in many memorable projects over the years, including this $251,000 42-by-44-foot pool in Solon, Ohio, which also encompasses an 18-by-13-foot soaking pool and a 9-by-9-foot spa.

The setting connects the new garage and lanai to the pool and spa combination, which offers more than 1,200 square feet of water surface. The project also won Gold in AQUA’s 2019 Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Awards of Excellence in the Concrete Geometric Design category.

Cloonan Design Services Inc. — which has been based in Willoughby, Ohio, for the past 29 years and uses High-Tech Pools exclusively on its pool-related projects — designed the pool, lanai and garage. High-Tech Pools then came in and made that vision a reality.

“The homeowners had dreams and aspirations of creating a contemporary and custom pool yard. The client simply wanted the water close to the lanai and wanted to use the best products and contractor out there,” Cloonan says.

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“We were so pleased to be able execute Cloonan’s design by engineering this unique pool and delivering exactly the vision that he and the client had,” adds Jerry Hammerschmidt, operations manager of High-Tech Pools, a third-generation company based in the Cleveland suburb of North Olmsted that is now in its 62nd year.

Crews worked for a year on this pool, which features a vanishing edge on the spa and two false vanishing edges on the pool — executed by adding a reflective glass tile on the pool beam instead of coping. The effect not only works aesthetically, but it also satisfies a state code requirement by doubling as a fence.

“The pool’s exterior wall, which looks like a negative edge but isn’t, is actually considered the fence for the outside of that project,” Hammerschmidt says.

The multi-level project also features custom glass tile around the pool and throughout the spa, which is elevated about five feet above the pool’s surface. The pool itself sits about five feet above the grade of the backyard — level with the home and the new garage.

The upper lanai sports a linear fire feature, bar and kitchen. Fire bowls and various lounging areas on wooden decks flank the pool’s edges, and lighted stepping stones in the pool connect the deck that is furthest from the home to the pool house.

“We wanted the project to be as functional as possible while creating a high-end design,” Cloonan says.

“The challenge was understanding the design and being sure our engineering was perfect,” Hammerschmidt adds. “With all of the different pool elevations, we had to make sure everything worked correctly and was appropriately pumped with the right hydraulics. We also used premium setting materials and epoxy grout for the tile and the color-match main drains. When you look out from the house, it’s just gorgeous — like a piece of art.”

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Pentair: ‘My Favorite Manufacturer, By Far’

As with nearly every pool High-Tech Pools builds, this project is loaded with Pentair equipment. The product suite includes four MAX-E-PRO™ pumps, four 100-watt IntelliBrite® LED lights and three 300-watt IntelliBrite® LED lights, three Rainbow® chlorinators, two MasterTemp® heaters, two BioShield® UV disinfection sanitizers, two Sta-Rite® filters and an IntelliCenter™ control system.

“Pentair is our preferred manufacturer, and we have a great relationship with them,” Hammerschmidt says, adding that High-Tech Pools also is a Pentair-affiliated warranty center and distributor. “They are my favorite manufacturer, by far. They take care of us better than anybody else in the pool world, and they stand by their products.”

That’s a big reason why High-Tech Pools has remained loyal to Pentair for decades, and even more so since Hammerschmidt took over operation of the business in 2010.

“I consider Pentair part of the team,” he says. “Whenever I’m able to dictate what I want on a pool, whether it’s residential or commercial, I do everything I can with Pentair — unless they don’t make the product.”

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‘Competing With the Big Boys’

Founded in 1958 by Hammerschmidt’s grandfather and his grandfather’s twin brother under the name Twin Custom Pools, High-Tech Pools now builds between 100 and 150 pools per year. About 75 percent of them are in the high-end residential market, with the remainder in the commercial sector at colleges, high schools, YMCAs, recreation centers and hotels throughout the Midwest.

The company’s name change took place in the Eighties and coincided with Hammerschmidt’s father, Jeff, taking over the family business and expanding its scope of services. Today, Jeff is semi-retired but still has his pick of residential jobs in which he prefers to be involved.

Hammerschmidt, who grew up in the pool business, began working at High-Tech Pools full time after graduating from college in 2010 and has since doubled both the size and revenue of the company. Today, High-Tech Pools is considered one of the biggest builders in Ohio, and its portfolio includes pools for A-list professional athletes.

“I’m out here in northeastern Ohio, competing with the big boys in Texas, California, Florida and Dubai for awards,” Hammerschmidt says. “That gives me pride in what we do.”

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