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Engineering a Backyard Paradise

Engineering a Backyard Paradise

Swimming pool design, construction and technology have taken huge strides in the 40-plus years since Patrick O’Connell created Landmark Pools in 1978. Sturdier, more beautiful and longer-lasting aggregate finishes have generally replaced the once commonly used pool plaster.

LED lighting that can change colors to suit your mood is so much nicer than the old single, round light at the deep end of the pool.  Swimming pool shapes and their special features have become more creative and diverse. Maintaining the pool has never been easier than with the latest automated pool systems which can be controlled by a convenient phone app.

Strides have been taken in engineering, too. The behemoth 1,200 square foot pool that Landmark Pools recently completed as part of a new home build in Culbreath Bayou sits less than six feet from the curving seawall that separates it from the waters of Old Tampa Bay. It took careful and detailed engineering to emulate the lines of the seawall and to design the pilings that the pool is built upon, so that it will remain sound as the earth around it shifts over time.

Bart O’Connell, Patrick’s son and owner of Landmark Pools, makes certain that his father’s legacy is honored. What has not changed since the inception of this business is their dedication to excellence. Not only does the company stay on top of all innovations in the industry including products, technology, and design trends, but his steady in-house crew also makes it their mission to respect the client’s wishes and their property, and to take great pride in their work.

Their meticulous attention to design and quality is obvious in the Culbreath Bayou pool. The sleekly modern design is accented with 1" x 1" blue glass mosaic tiles that form sparkling “jewelry bands” on all the horizontal edges. Coordinating

1" x 2" blue tiles form a six-inch band around the interior perimeter, then cover the top ledge and exterior sides of the enormous 10-seat spa, making the perimeter overflow spa look like a modern sculpture had been placed in one end of the pool.

The spa, built with 21 therapy jets, functions with a six horsepower jet pump. “It’s a lot of work. There is so much that goes into having that many jets in a spa,” Bart explained. “You need to keep all the water moving, so it takes a lot of plumbing.”

Another engineering challenge that Landmark Pools rose up to meet with this 51' x 25' swimming pool installation was how to provide enough power to heat the 37,000 gallons of water in the most efficient way. To do the job right, they decided to use separate heat sources: the 9' x 9' spa has a gas heater, while the electric heat pump and the solar panels will allow the homeowners to swim comfortably in their huge pool all year round.

“Our client is extremely happy,” Bart said. “They spared no expense to get everything they wanted for their backyard paradise, and we still exceeded their expectations.”

Landmark Pools has designed all sorts of pools: natural scape for those who prefer the natural environment; indoor pools; lap pools and spas. A visit to their website at has stunning photographs of their installations. You can contact them via email at or call them at (813) 792-1331.