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8 of New Orleans' best pools 

Real simple

When Jackie and Frank Smart purchased their Country Club Gardens home and embarked on a full renovation, the backyard consisted of a hardscaped patio with a waterfall and koi pond.

   "It was beautiful but it wasn't practical for us," Jackie says. The Smarts wanted a pool where their family could spend time together. They also wanted shade, privacy and green space — all in a relatively small area.  

   Working with Reed Richardson of Gulf South Pools and landscape architects Alvarez + Basik Design Group, the Smarts transformed the yard to include an L-shaped saltwater pool on one side and a lawn on the other. The pool, which features a heat pump that can warm or cool the water, is surrounded by peacock pavers. In response to Jackie's request for a scented New Orleans garden, Alvarez + Basik included gardenias, wild roses and magnolias in the simple design. Kim Alvarez and Jackie were on the same page when it came to shading the porch with an airy, sail-like awning that moves with the wind.

  "I pulled a picture of what I call a cloth pergola from a magazine and Kim pulled the same picture and sent it to me," Jackie says.

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