John Guild - Photography | Joe DiPaulo Pools & Spas: Using Color as a Design Element (part 2)

Joe DiPaulo Pools & Spas: Using Color as a Design Element (part 2)

Part 1 of this two part blog post outlined Joe DiPaulo's use of translucent glass blocks as one source of color for pools and spas.  As sunlight passes through the glass blocks, color is spread across the pool creating an effect that can range from subtle to wild.   (Part 1 of this post showed four examples of this color effect.)  After the sun sets this source disappears but other sources of color can be used at night such as lighting, fire pits and fire towers.   The integration of lighting and fire within a pool or spa can add a vivid, dramatic effect to the installation after dark.  Several examples of Joe's use of lighting and fire are shown below.



Lighting Example#1

The example shown below combines underwater lighting with the flame of a fire pit.  Red and violet underwater lighting is placed around the waterfalls while blue underwater lighting is used in the pool area.  The lights mix to create a purple transitional color.   The flame of the fire pit tosses both light and shadows across the pool area.   Imagine yourself floating in a pool at night awash with these vibrant colors. 

Night LightsNight Lights

Lighting Example #2

Joe is a master at designing and building water caves.  These caves often act as entry points into the pool.  When you install underwater lighting in a water cave the results can be very impressive indeed.  An example of this is shown below.  This is a water cave entrance into a pool; the cave is lit with violet underwater lighting.  Imagine stepping through this cave at night as you make your way to the pool.  (As always, Joe uses only real rocks in his installations, nothing artificial.)

Lagoon Entrance - NightLagoon Entrance - Night

See this pool at this link Mike & Angie's place


Lighting Example #3

Lighting can be set up to cycle through various colors.  In the example shown below Joe has trimmed out the sides of a pool with lighting that cycles through a pallet of colors.  Shown below are the colors violet, blue and green but this lighting system also cycles through yellow, orange, red and white.

Night LightsNight Lights

The photo below is the same pool as above showing it during day trimmed with blue lighting. (Notice the fire pit.)


Lighting Example #4

Using cyclic underwater lighting to illuminate an entire pool can create vivid effects as shown in the image below.  These are 2 photos of the same pool cycling through the colors blue (top photo) and green (bottom photo).  Although not shown in this photo, the colors continue to change: yellow, violet, red and white.  (If you look closely you will see a fire tower on the left side of the pool.)

Again, the same pool with a focus on the waterfalls which cycle through the same color scheme as above.

Night FallsNight Falls

See this pool at this link Dave's Place



Joe's use of fire adds another element of color.  Fire can cast a dramatic mix of light and shadow across the pool at night.  Several examples of poolside fire pits and towers are shown below.

Fire Example #1

The photo below of a fire pit shows light being cast across the stone pillars that support the canopy as well as the seating area and stone decking. If you look closely you will see the pool in front of this fire pit.  The fire is bright enough to illuminate the pool area.  The ever changing flame tosses light and shadows throughout the pool area producing an enriching setting.


See this pool at this link Dave's Place


Fire Example #2

This example shows a fire pit in the middle of two fire towers.  The pool (not shown) is positioned adjacent to this fire installation.  The fire from this pit and the two towers produces a significant amount of light which allows coverage of the pool area.

See this pool at this link  Chris & Gary's Place


Fire Example #3

In this example below Joe has placed several fire towers and a fire pit within the garden spa.   Imagine the effect at night from these fires; casting a glow and radiance across the garden spa; light and shadows waxing and waning as the flames ever-change.

Backyard VistaBackyard Vista

See this Garden Spa at this link Kevin & Leah's Place


Combining Glass Blocks + Lighting + Fire

In the spa below Joe has combined translucent colored glass blocks (incorporated in the spa dome) with fire from the pit and light positioned at the base of the spa.  The spa base light is shown as blue but in actual fact it set to cycled through the colors blue, green, yellow, red, violet and white.  Not shown is underwater lighting within the spa.  During the day you have the color effects from sunlight passing through the glass blocks.  At night you have the color effects from the fire pit and the lighting.     Wild!!

Rainbow Spa - Blue Trim LightsRainbow Spa - Blue Trim Lights

The same spa as above with the spa base lighting cycled to violet.

Rainbow Spa - Violet Trim LightsRainbow Spa - Violet Trim Lights


A well designed pool or spa uses color as a key design element to enhance the users experience.   As outlined in parts 1 and 2 of this blog post, the source of color can come from sunlight through translucent glass blocks, fire or lighting.  The combination of all three of these color sources can create a dramatic backyard pool environment.


-John Guild


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