Diving into design: Finding inspiration for a modern midtown pool | Home-spring-2024

For Alex Tyler, owner of Alchemy Exteriors, pool design goes beyond just creating pleasant places for swimming; it involves designing beautiful backyard spaces that stand out on their own. 

“There’s a lot of things we can do to create not just a body of water, but a piece of art in your backyard,” Tyler says. “(Pools) need to act as pieces of art because you’re only in the water about 5% of the year, so we want them to look good all year round.”

This design philosophy is perfectly exemplified by a custom pool design Alchemy Exteriors completed for a Tulsa family. Surrounded by mature trees and accented with stylish features, the pool serves as a modern backyard oasis in the middle of midtown. 

In his initial conversations with clients, Tyler says he likes to inquire about their recent vacations and design aesthetics they have found inspiring. 

“I like to ask clients, ‘Where have you traveled to that you want to bring back to your own backyard to create your own paradise?’” Tyler says. 

The homeowners had recently returned from a trip to Argentina, where they stayed at a resort with a unique pool. They wanted to find a way to recreate the pool’s design while still making it their own, he says. 

“The pool had a lot of verticality to it, with slat walls, custom steel planters and other unique things that were integrated into the natural landscape,” Tyler says. 

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In a portion of the backyard, Alchemy Exteriors owner Alex Tyler designed a putting green for the homeowners using synthetic turf, which he says is a good way to keep side yards maintenance-free, functional and fun. 

Brazilian hardwood decking, inspired by the homeowners’ travels to Argentina, leads to the spa, pictured above, which features tile, stone veneers and a water feature.

Over about six months, the Alchemy Exteriors team designed and built a dynamic pool that fulfilled the client’s vision. Drawing on his extensive network of friends and contractors across the country, Tyler, who has prior experience in landscape design in places such as Alaska, Florida, Washington and Texas, sourced high-quality materials for this project.

Using Brazilian hardwood decking — a choice informed by the clients’ South American travels — Tyler and his team created an intriguing walkway to the spa, parallel to the pool. The spa was meticulously tiled and backed with stone veneers, which contain a water feature. 

“We wanted it to feel like they had taken a little piece of Argentina back to their house — that was the driving factor,” Tyler says. 

A focal point of the pool is a unique vertical water wall crafted from bronze as well as the custom planters to its right. Tyler says the goal of these features was to add intrigue and dimension to the space. 

“The water wall stands at over 6-feet tall — it’s so unique, but it’s a very simple design that pulls the whole project together,” he says. “I’m all about changing the verticality of projects. A lot of people think of pools as just being flat, but we really wanted to break the mold.” 

Tyler says his biggest goal for this pool design was to create a space the homeowners cherished, and one that made them want to spend more time outside. 

“People don’t have to travel as much if they have a resort oasis in their backyard — they can spend more time with family and friends there, instead of worrying about the hustle and bustle of life,” he says.

The homeowners could not agree more. “Coming home from a stressful day, and being in our own backyard oasis, has given us the ability to worry less about vacations and spend more time at home with our family,” they say. Mission accomplished.



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