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||At home in
dad's business to the kids' playtime, the Worthington
family's swimming pool plays a central role in most family
BY NANCY BRACHEY
Water plays a big role in the lives of Rod and Lynne
In the mid-1980s, they courted in his wooden hot tub.
Their three children could swim by age 2.
On New Year’s Day, tradition calls for a polar-bear dip in
the family swimming pool in Charlotte’s Park Crossing
But it’s not all play.
Rod Worthington is one of the Carolinas’ leading builders of
custom swimming pools. He heads Artesian Pools, a company he
founded in 1976; his wife handles bookkeeping, accounting
and paperwork for the family business. Their children are
Eric, 17, Alexis, 15, and Robert, 7.
|Late on a hot July afternoon, it’s
easy to see that pool water runs in the veins of all the
Worthingtons. Kids and friends are shooting baskets and
making cannonball dives. Dad is preparing to get in the
water. Mom is watching with enjoyment, happy that her
children and their friends are there.
SEE POOL 10E
TOP LEFT | Rod Worthington is
founder of Artesian Pools, an award-winning Charlotte
company that builds custom pools. Summer jobs in the pool
business led him to the industry, though he’d planned to
become a photographer.
ABOVE | The pool provides a place for the Worthington family
to enjoy swimming and games with their friends.
|If You’re Considering a Pool:
- If you have children, make sure they know how to swim.
- A pool must be fenced for safety and
A pool should be landscaped with
“soft” materials around it.
- Try to keep the pool outside the canopy of your trees.
Rain through the trees can change the water’s chemistry.
Even outside the drip line, leaves will blow into the pool.
- Locate the pool close to the house to make it an extension
and important feature of the house.
- Consider a water feature for the soothing sounds it
brings, often masking traffic and other city noises.
LEFT | Various summer perennials, including daylilies, condflowers and redbeckia, form a colorful border beside the
make the most of their swimming pool
|Pool from 1E
“I like teenagers,” says Lynne. “I like them a lot.” Rod
nods in agreement.
A trip to the Worthington back yard is like opening a
shoemaker’s closet and seeing what styles and brands await.
Rod will be the first to tell you his backyard pool isn’t
the latest thing in residential pools. But it’s there, his
family loves it, and he’s thinking about adding one of the
newer water features.
Worthington, 52 actually built this 20-by-40foot,
30,000-gallon, free-form pool for someone else in 1987 or
1988. When his family, then living in a small house on 14
acres, sought a larger home, they wound up with this pool
and the bigger house they needed. “It’s a nice pool, but
it’s not what we do today.”
That pool is one of perhaps a thousand the company has built
since 1976, from smallish lap pools to large residential
ones and country club pools. Now the company concentrates on
custom pools, mostly in the $50,000 to $100,000 price range,
in the Charlotte area. It does some commercial pool work.
“When I first starting building pools, every pool had a
diving board, it was rectangular or oval and people would
treat them like a separate portion of their yard.” He
recalls. Rod is proud that he helped foster the concept of
the pool as an integral part of the house.
“Pools nowadays are built to be seen,” he says. “People want
to look at them and enjoy the beauty of them. It’s not just
because they want to go swimming. Now they are very close to
the house, more a part of the lifestyle of the home.”
The color also has changed. Pools used to be mostly white.
Now people look to shades of gray (for the deeper blue or
lagoon look) or black (for a mirror effect). Even Caribbean
turquoise is not out of reach, given the right mix of blues
New architectural styles, notably the vanishing edge – a
dramatic look in which the pool appears to flow unimpeded
into a scenic background such as a lake -- have changed the
look of pools. In shapes, variety is the current trend. For
a starting point, Rod’s company offers 53 shapes, each in
five sizes, to suit the house, terrain, existing landscaping
New water features also contribute to the current look. Most
pool projects contain a spa, but other things can add to the
pool experience, “Just about every pool we do now has some
sort of water feature that enhances the sound and sight.”
The sound of water, he says, pleases most people and has
practical value. More than once, Rod has used it as “white
noise” to blur the sounds of traffic and other noises of
He is thinking of adding another water feature to the family
pool. The couple, married since 1985, added a spa to the
pool area after they moved to Park Crossing in 1999.
Right now, floating goals with nets for shooting baskets are
the Worthington pool’s chief accessories. That’s because the
Worthington kids spend a lot of time with their friends in
Lynne likes the kids’ action, the fun and games - water
basketball, football and wrestling - and even their
splashing noise. But she especially likes their presence.
Tall trees and camellias shield the pool area, creating a
forest effect on the
fenced property. They like the trees
well enough that they don’t mind keeping the leaves out of
the pool. Around the pool deck, Lynne planted a wide range
of summer-flowering perennials that possess several
important attributes: None mind splashing pool water, none
have thorns, briars or other sharp points, and all will regrow should wayward feet land on them.
“I tried to make it really simple, so that I don’t have to
plant things every year. I brought most of the perennials
from our old house,” she explains. These include rudbeckia,
daylilies, coneflowers, irises, phlox, hostas and more. The
result is a wide ribbon of color, topped by lavender and
white blooms of crape myrtles.
Because of the slope of the land, the Worthingtons’ deck,
opening off the back of the house, overlooks the pool below,
creating two levels that provide an important perch for
grown-ups. “It’s great for watching kids,” says Rod, “And
that’s important if you have them. Number one, you must
teach your kids to swim. A baby can learn to swim before it
His wife adds, “We’ve raised all three of these kids with a
pool right outside the door. We didn’t try to barricade the
pool away from the children, We just taught them really
early to have respect for the water and to swim and how to
get out.” All went to water classes for infants that
stressed safety: all learned to swim by age 2. By 4 or 5,
all had joined a swim team.
“They’ve all been able to swim since they were very little,”
she says. “We’ve just made it a priority to help them
understand the water”
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