Twentieth century scientist Loren Eiseley said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” At the height of summer, countless New Orleanians and the pool/water feature specialists at Backyard Living would no doubt agree.

“A pool is always inviting and tranquil,” said Pepper Tregre, owner of Backyard Living, which custom designs and build pools, pool water features, outdoor kitchens and cabanas and has a showroom with outdoor furniture and accessories. “The backyard has become the number one place in the house since COVID and almost everyone wants a pool.”

The constants of pools and water features are the soothing and cooling effects they provide to our visual, auditory and tactile senses. Yet, as in other areas of home design, pool styles and amenities change. Tregre recommends trading in dated ideas like sheet water fountains and deck jets in favor of arc falls (a premade water feature made of copper and installed under the coping to create an arc of water that flows into the pool), bubblers (a fountain-like and often LED-lit addition that spews water into the pool’s shallow area like a small geyser) and scuppers (a gutter-like opening that carries water from a small low-profile retaining wall into the main pool). All are in step with today’s sleek, elegant pool designs and all provide the calming sound of water and help keep the pool water cool. White limestone and glass tiles are also on trend.

Those starting from scratch can design the pool of their dreams. Backyard Living works with homeowners to bring their vision to life by considering walk spaces, relaxation and entertaining areas, locations of trees, the part or parts of the pool and outdoor area design they want to see from inside the house, and the size of the available outdoor space. Tregre says homeowners with tight square footage may want to opt for a spa/pool hybrid called a “spool”. It’s bigger than a traditional hot tub but smaller than the average pool. Backyard Living then provides a 3D presentation.

Homeowners with existing, but lackluster pools need not throw out the baby with the pool water. Tregre explains that older pools can be renovated with new decking, plaster, coping, plumbing and tile as well as LED lighting, water features and linear firepits that provide ambiance as well as warmth in cooler weather.

“A contemporary, up-to-date pool adds value to your house,” he said. “A pool won’t solve all your problems, but it sure does help.”

  1. Customer’s expectations for a tight space need to be realistic. 
  2. The same things you’d consider for a larger yard – such as function, comfort, placement of equipment – pertain to small yards.
  3. Every inch counts – the space needs to accommodate all the things you want to include —walking, entertaining, exercise etc.

About the Designer

Along with an appreciation of pools and water features, Pepper Tregre brings over 30 years of experience to Backyard Living, his design/build showroom specializing in pools, pool water features, outdoor kitchens and cabanas. “My favorite part of the process is the design work,” he said. “I love getting the reaction from the homeowner when we finish the job.”