Award-winning residential pool and spa in Jonesboro, Texas

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0809 Choice

There are several truly ingenious features to this enormous, 1,500-square-foot (that's just the main pool) aquatic installation.

Perhaps the most cunning of these is the emergent rock bridge and spa, which seem to rise from the depths on command. They are actually revealed by the lowering of the water level of the pool around it, the water being shunted down to the catchpool below using the vanishing-edge apparatus.

"When you hit the spa operation button," says builder Lew Akins, "there's an automatic valve which opens and drops the water out into the catchpool, and then a pipe stops the drainage once the spa is exposed. It takes about four minutes to drain down."

Also actuated by the 16-function remote control are the large waterfall in the wading pool and of course the 50-foot negative-edge spillover.

The resourcefulness of the design leaves one smiling in admiration, especially the creative use of equipment from the vanishing-edge feature to create others. The vanishing edge pump allows control of the water level in the pool, so the builder used it to create the emerging/submerging spa.

Since the water was already being raised up to the main pool from the catchpool, the builder lifted it a little higher and made a waterfall. And with the water already spilling over the negative edge, why not divert it into an adjoining channel to create an accompanying waterslide?

Making it all work together was the challenge. For instance, the slide forced Akins into a particularly copious catchpool, "but it had to be big to handle the water dropped out of the other pool and it had to be deep to be safe for people coming down the slide at all times, even in its lowest operating condition."

Such an integrated collection of equipment and structure could only be possible with a holistic approach - the entire backyard was designed by Akins' group before work began. Preparing the site was a monumental undertaking in itself.

Just to create space for it, 500 cubic yards of solid rock had to be excavated and trucked away. Then 425 tons of stone had to be brought in, including limestone, Oklahoma flagstone and moss-rock boulders for the pool, deck and outdoor kitchen.

While that massive rock transfer was included in the original plan, other obstacles could not be foreseen. Shortly into construction, Akins was surprised to be facing wild animals bent on sabotage.

Herds of elk took an interest in the project, their random and unannounced inspections creating a novel hazard. "I think that was the biggest problem we had in the construction of this pool," Akins says.

"Finally we had to build a fence around the equipment pad because they went in and tore it up, grinding their horns all over it. I went out there one day and it looked like somebody had run over it with a truck!"

Ocean Quest Pools by Lew Akins

Category: Pool or Pool/Spa Combination
Project Location: Jonesboro,Texas

Each month we feature one of 11 annual AQUA Choice winners. The 2009 honorees are: Botanical Decorators, Olney, Md. • Catalina Pool & Spa, Maple Ridge, British Columbia • Da Vida Pools, Austin, Texas • Ocean Quest pools by Lew Akins, Belton, Texas • Pools By John Clarkson, Jacksonville, Fla. • Rosebrook Pools, Libertyville, Ill. • Royal Oasis Pools & Spas, Medford, Ore. • Southernwind Pools, Dallas, Texas • Tumber & Associates, Orangeville, Ontario • Wise Pool Company, Conroe, Texas. For more information about AQUA Choice or to enter the competition, visit

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