Irregular Bluestone Patio by Cording Landscape Design in NJ

Design NJ Feature

CALIFON, NJ — A gently sloping lawn in Califon seemed the perfect place for a pool that would look like a natural body of water year-round yet allow for swimming, diving, water sports and wading in warm weather.

Ron Cording of Cording Landscape Design in Towaco set the pool beside an existing grove of maple and cedar trees that he extended with white birch trees. To balance this wooded setting and provide the homeowners and their guests with shade from the hot afternoon sun, he also planted large sugar maples on the opposite side of the pool. “When all the trees are lit at night,” he says, “it creates an incredibly serene setting.”

Additional landscaping includes rare Japanese maples planted throughout the garden and summer-flowering perennials and shrubs such as day lilies, black-eyed susans, hibiscus, spirea, shrub roses and more hydrangeas. Trees such as stewartia add summer interest, while spots that can be viewed from the house are planted with spring- blooming magnolia, cherry and styrax trees. Together with the white bark of the birches, the trees provide four-season interest.


The pool itself has a swim-in cave with one waterfall at its entrance and another one seen only from inside. Other fea- tures include streams the homeowners’ children can climb through and explore, a natural stone bridge and a spa that sits in one stream and can be converted to a water- fall when not in use.

The 600-square-foot shallow end of the pool is designed for playing water games and has a large wading area to swim onto or dangle feet into (though the dogs would argue it’s their own play area). A 10-foot-deep section
offers a quiet place to swim while games are played at the other end.

A dark plaster finish and the absence of conventional coping contribute to the natural look. Large slabs of bluestone form the patio and pool edge. Cording added a 3- to 4-inch bed of clean gravel beneath the bluestone with a drainage system so no water could accumulate, freeze and dislodge the stones in cold weather. The pool is winterized but not covered at season’s end so it fits into the surroundings.

The pool/entertainment area sits close to the home so the family can use the finished basement for bathroom and food prep needs without disturbing the natural look of the 14-acre property.

SOURCES: landscape design and installation, Cording Landscape Design in Towaco, NJ.