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Deep Water: 10 Modern Plunge Pools and Spas

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Deep Water: 10 Modern Plunge Pools and Spas

June 7, 2017

Plunge pools and spas are a stylish solution for small gardens.

What’s the difference between a plunge pool and a spa? Named after the watery basins at the bottom of waterfalls, plunge pools are generally deeper—and larger—than the average spa but smaller than a typical swimming pool. Which is right for you?

For landscaping ideas, read on to see 10 of our favorite petite pools–hot and cold, above ground and below, built on their own or in tandem with a larger swimming pool.

Northern California

If you’re adding a spa or hot tub, add visual impact by keeping it separate from the swimming pool, says landscape architect Scott Lewis. Photograph by Matthew Millman courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture.
Above: If you’re adding a spa or hot tub, add visual impact by keeping it separate from the swimming pool, says landscape architect Scott Lewis. Photograph by Matthew Millman courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture.

For more, see Ask the Expert: An Insider’s Guide to Swimming Pool Design from Scott Lewis.

Napa Valley, California

Above: In the Napa Valley, landscape architect Scott Lewis sited a spa pool near a master bedroom and bath. For more of this garden, see Vineyard Haven: A Garden That Belongs to the Land.

Pacific Palisades, California

Above: The interiors of a swimming pool and spa designed by landscape architect Mark Tessier are plastered with Pebble-Fina, an aggregate finish available in 11 colors. Visible above the water line is tile from Heath Ceramics. Photograph by Art Gray.

For more of this project, see Landscape Architect Visit: A Refined Family Garden in LA’s Pacific Palisades.

Cazadero, California

Above: Architect Olle Lundberg’s swimming pool is a former livestock watering tank made of virgin-growth redwood which he says could be 80 years old. It was a major undertaking to dismantle the tank and truck it in sections from a client’s ranch to the cabin. Photograph by Alan Owings.

For more of this project, see Architect Visit: Olle Lundberg’s Scavenged and Salvaged Cabin.

Maine Woodlands

Above: Winner of the 2015 Gardenista Considered Design Awards Best Hardscape Project is a recessed hot tub that intrudes minimally on the natural surroundings in Maine, designed by Elliott + Elliott Architecture.

See more of this project in Best Hardscape 2015: Elliott + Elliott Architecture.

Carmel Valley, California

Above: Landscape architect Bernard Trainor worked with architects Sagan Piechota to create a serene retreat in the Carmel Valley. A spa sided in batu wood is bordered by giant chain fern (Woodwardia). Photograph by Joe Fletcher courtesy of Sagan Piechota Architecture.

For more of this project, see Landscape Architect Visit: The California Life, Outdoor Living Room Included.

Marin Hills, California

Above: A spa sits adjacent to a swimming pool on a raised deck designed by landscape architect Scott Lewis. Photograph by Bruce Damonte courtesy of Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture.

For more of this project, see Swimming Pool of the Week: The View Through the Oaks in Marin County, California.

Northern California

Above: A spa set within the perimeter of a swimming pool by Arterra Landscape Architects was designed for “a young family with a love of the land who wanted to turn a tumbledown, overgrown hillside into a contemporary agrarian setting for entertaining and recreation. Equally important was celebrating the site through preserving all native oak trees and accentuating the panoramic views.”

For more of this project, see Considered Design Awards 2015: Best Professionally Designed Landscape Finalists.

West Marin, California

Above: In the rolling hills of West Marin in Northern California, architects Turnbull Griffin Haesloop designed a net-zero energy use homestead with a plunge pool and hot tub sited for sun and wind protection. For more of this garden, see Architect Visit: Getaway Ranch in Northern California.

Tulum, Mexico

A garden suite at Hotel Esencia (located on a secluded beach off Xpu-Ha Bay (half an hour from Tulum, Mexico) has its own plunge pool. Photograph courtesy of Hotel Esencia.
Above: A garden suite at Hotel Esencia (located on a secluded beach off Xpu-Ha Bay (half an hour from Tulum, Mexico) has its own plunge pool. Photograph courtesy of Hotel Esencia.

For more, see Hotel Esencia: Secluded Splendor on the Maya Riviera.

For more garden inspiration, see:

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