Pool Guide 2009: Make a splash with a variety of styles from which to choose
The shape, size and features in a custom pool are limited only by imagination and budget.

Would you like it angular or curved? Long enough for swimming laps or just big enough for a cooling dip? How about a spa, fountain, fire feature or waterfall?

And let's not forget the associated amenities: sunning deck, outdoor kitchen, wet bar, fire pit, projection TV, lighting and landscaping.

Here's a sampling of Central Florida pools. Each is distinctively different. But each, in the words of one homeowner, "is like having a mini-resort in your own backyard."

A backyard resort

Ray and Katherine Scott's Maitland pool is large, extensively landscaped and multipurpose.

Aesthetically, it is scaled to fit the size of the 1.2-acre property, says Ray Scott, an Orlando architect. It has a lot of angles and organic curves to fit in with the shape of the yard, and the "bluish-greenish-gray" Pebble Tec color blends with the landscaping.

"The fountain centers on the axis of the house, so it can be seen from the front door," he says. "And we can see the pool and hear the fountain from most rooms in the house."

Essentially, the pool is a 66-foot lap pool (40 laps to the mile), flanked by a wide, shallow bay on one side and an extra-deep pool on the other. Katherine Scott, a teacher at Lake Eola Charter School, is the lap-swimmer. The couple's adult children enjoy the deep pool. Their young grandchildren play on the shallow platform, which is equipped with a large sun umbrella for shade in summer.

Pool company: Great White Pool Construction, Winter Park.

Features: Lap pool with directional tiles on the bottom, shallow "beach" platform, salt system, heating and cooling systems, fountain, waterfall, plastic cover to conserve heat in winter.

Cost: Approximately $50,000.

What you enjoy most about your pool: It's very serene and resortlike, says Ray. "We have a lot of lawn-and-garden events, my office parties, our daughters' bridal showers. It's like having a mini vacation every weekend."

Features you would add, change, omit: Have already installed a coquina-type deck in place of flagstones and gravel, which became uneven and gravel washed into the pool. Ten-foot depth requires too much water, heavier equipment and is intimidating for young swimmers. Lack of screen is visually pleasing, but makes keeping pool free of leaves and bugs more challenging.

It feels like Florida

A large, rectangular pool with a sandy beach at one end and towering tropical foliage on the other three sides is at the heart of Alexis Lopez's home in St. Cloud.

"I wanted a home that reflected Florida," says Lopez, a Realtor who moved here from Chicago four years ago.

His U-shaped house forms a spacious, private courtyard. The 80-by-50-foot pool and oversized spa lie in the center, ringed by lush landscaping and shady lanais. A high screen arches overhead. From the house, 22 doors open into the pool area.

Pool company: Freestyle Pools, St. Cloud.

Features: Solar heating, large spa, waterfall, fountain, sandy beach, screen high enough to accommodate full-grown palm trees, tropical landscaping.

Cost: $35,000, plus $14,000 screen.