5 Luxury Pool Options That Elevate Every Design

The decision to have a new custom pool designed is an exciting one. You probably have some ideas of the pool options you want, perhaps from seeing a friend’s pool or from looking at pool design ideas and projects online.

Our clients often have several wish list items ready for their first meeting with our pool designer. They’ll also be inspired by our design team during the discovery and pool design process. Wherever your inspiration comes from, the options for today’s luxury pools are vast, from hillside vanishing edges to waterslides to custom artisan tile to in-pool fire pits and much more.

There’s almost nothing we can imagine that can’t be done. But even if you’ve planned your investment, sometimes it’s possible to get carried away by all the possibilities and to create a design that pushes your budget.

After 30+ years of designing and building luxury pools, here are the pool options we recommend you focus on to elevate your design to the highest possible level.



Lighting can greatly enhance your enjoyment of your pool by extending the hours during which you can enjoy swimming. Even if you don’t want to swim at night, you don’t want your pool and landscape design investment to disappear into the dark when the sun goes down.

Rather than just having one or two backyard lights, we like to add lights to the landscaping, around the pool, and inside the pool itself. Lighting sets the mood, whether it’s for just playing around in the pool, entertaining or a romantic ambience. Your swimming pool water can glow, dance or resemble the flow of lava with expertly placed lighting around and underneath the water.

Lights can be monochromatic for a modern look or can incorporate different colors that can be programmed to shift depending on your mood and your favorite settings.

Image of a pool design with lights in the pool and in landscaping.


Thermal Shelf

One of our favorite swimming pool elements is a thermal shelf. Sometimes called a Baja shelf, thermal shelves add a wonderful luxury feel to any pool. These shallow portions of the pool are perhaps a foot deep creating water that is warmer and perfect for lounging, either in the water or on specially designed loungers that support you just under the water level. Add an umbrella and a small patio table and you’ve got a Caribbean beach feel right in your own backyard.

Thermal shelves invite you and guests to enjoy your pool longer. Most adults jump or climb into the pool, swim around for a few minutes, perhaps do a few laps and then climb out. No one treads water for an hour, but they’ll lounge on the Baja shelf until it’s time to get another cocktail (unless you also have a swim up bar, but that’s a topic for another time).


Custom or Raised Spa

“Pool and spa” seem like a given when building a new luxury pool or when remodeling a pool, but a spa can be elevated - literally and figuratively - to bring your entire design to a new level.

Instead of a spa stuck in a corner of the pool or added on the side, you can instead keep the spa in the pool, but raise it up above the water level. Then the water from the spa can spill over the edge, in effect, creating another water feature.

Add beautiful glass or custom tile and you now have not only a beautiful space for relaxation, but also a sparkling centerpiece in your luxury pool design.


Glass Tile

Glass tiles don’t need to be limited to the spa, they can be used for the swimming pool’s waterline, steps, seating surfaces, and even the bottom of the pool. The tile itself is an investment, but the expert labor to install it is also a consideration when adding this to your pool options.

Tile can be functional, but with an upgrade of glass tile to your luxury pool design, it’s all about aesthetics. Think of it as jewelry for your backyard. Just like jewelry, a strategically placed bit of quality glass tile can make a significant design statement.

The right amount of the right glass tile in the right spots can elevate your look tremendously and create a beautiful, sparkling touch of luxury.

Image of glass tile wall as part of a spa in a custom pool.


Water and Fire Features

When it comes to waterfalls, our philosophy is to go big or not at all. A few boulders with a trickle of water will look like an afterthought. Natural rock can be supplemented with GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete - it's frequently used in architectural designs) to expand the size and impact of your water feature.

If you don’t have the room or aren’t ready for a serious rock formation with a great flow of water, then add some fire to your water. We’ve created fire pits and bowls that sit within the pool, not just next to the pool.

Rick Pendleton, our founder and lead visionary, has wanted to build a feature where fire bowls are set on top of three-foot columns with water cascading out of them. It would be a spectacular effect for the right pool design and style. Fire and water features are one of his favorite effects because they’re visually stunning and add incredible romance to a project.


Ready to Splurge on Some Luxury Pool Options?

At Artisan Home Resorts, our most distinguishing feature is the level of vision, quality and imagination that we bring to the design process. We get excited right alongside you about the possibilities for transforming your backyard into something truly spectacular.



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