When our judges first saw this photo, they said, “We want to be there. Now.” While the owners probably wouldn’t want us vacationing in their backyard, we briefly fantasized about it. The fiberglass lounge chairs offer a front-row seat to Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain and seem to float on the pool’s surface because they’re secured on a shallow, submerged deck. What would make this escape complete? A book, flip-flops, a spritzy refresher, and time to enjoy the negative-edge pool in its oasis setting surrounded by agaves, red yucca, creosote bush, saguaros, and palo verde.
Design: Rick Jones and Kristina Floor, JJR Floor, Phoenix (602/462-1425)
Steal it: The open-style fence of rusty steel pipes (anchored below ground in concrete) eliminates the need for horizontal supports and avoids blocked views. With close neighbors, you could plant a blooming vine on it for a living fence.