A cleverly designed Tucson backyard proves it's not the size that counts

A pool that would make a resort proud is a lot to pull off in a typical 1940s tract backyard. But landscape designer Lesley Mansur managed to squeeze in a saltwater version long enough for serious lap swimming for clients Brien Roussel and Ron Wassell.

She also provided plenty of places for less-active water lovers: a built-in bench on one side of the pool, an underwater chaise longue on another, and a separate spa.”Ron and I are both pool connoisseurs,” Roussel says, “and we gave Lesley a huge wish list.” She found room for everything ― including an outdoor shower (against the house) for postswim rinses and a festive blue beach cabana that was converted from an old shed.

Mansur even provided options for guests who wish to join the party but don’t want to suit up: They can perch on the ledges of the raised water features or on the nearby red banco. What more could pool lovers want?

Three great ideas from this garden

1. Consider the diagonal. Mansur installed the pool on the bias primarily to make it as long as possible. But her clients also find the asymmetric design exciting. “No matter where you are, somehow the water always seems to be moving away from you,” Roussel says.

2. Design multitasking features. The red banco is a good example, Mansur says. It provides seating, is a handy place to drop a towel or set down a drink, and serves as a setting for a row of votive candles or a sidebar for hors d’oeuvres during a party. As a landscape feature, it makes a handsome frame for the plants behind it.

3. Vary hardscape materials, but not colors. To add interest to the garden, Mansur used several different hardscape materials ― concrete pavers, decomposed granite, flagstone, quartzite pavers, and rock mulch. But because they’re all in the same earth tones, the effect is subtle, not busy.

Design: Lesley Mansur, Great Gardens, Tucson (520/419-8483)

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