Saturday, August 20, 2022 Aug 20, 2022
79° F Dallas, TX

Paradise Found

It’s hot outside. Really hot. But if you can’t move to the tropics, bring the tropics to you. This Highland Park pool is no ordinary swimming hole.
By D Magazine |

It’s hot outside. After wiping the sweat from your brow and panting from thirst, you daydream about sitting on the beach with a refreshing daiquiri in your hand. On second thought, make that a piña colada. Your daydream may even extend to the impressionable cabana boy who brought you that tasty beverage. But not everyone has the time and means to jump on a private jet and head to the Caribbean. When you can’t move to the tropics, bring the tropics to you. That’s what craniofacial surgeon Dr. Larry Wolford and his wife Denise did. The Wolfords’ Highland Park pool is no ordinary swimming hole: start with some California palm trees, throw in some South Pacific flora, and top it off with some Vegas-style misters, and you’ve got yourself a backyard resort. Cabana boy not included.

The planter boxes that extend into the pool were modeled after the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. Inside are tropical plants, palm trees, mini waterfalls, tiki torches, misters, and stereo speakers.

Seventy-five percent of the plants are tropical. The croton flowers, asparagus ferns, macho ferns, and vermiliads have to be replaced after the winter freeze. Fresh landscaping begins all over again in the spring.

The three natural stone balls resting on the divide between the pool and hot tub are high-powered misters. The Wolfords can pre-program the digital control panel that activates the misters and outdoor lighting to turn on at any time of the day.

Most pools are poured with concrete. This pool, modeled after the ones at Mexican and Caribbean resorts, is tiled from  top to bottom. It took more than three months to finish laying all 22,000 mosaic tiles.

The Wolfords, who have five children, wanted a pool and entertaining area they could use. They use the space, which is attached to their 13,000-square-foot manse, for hosting family, friends, and charity events, including the recent soiree for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debutantes.

The pool, which took builder and landscape contractor Brad Batson and landscape architect Jim Vaughn nine months to complete, is worth around 190,000 bucks. You could buy a nice home on the M Streets for that cash. (More like three-quarters of a nice home on the M Streets.) And that’s not counting the foliage, cabana, pond (complete with Japanese koi fish), deck, outdoor grill, and fountain.

The 25,000-gallon pool is heated year-round. It’s the same temperature whether you jump in on December 2 or August 2. The gas bill can climb up to $2,000 a month to keep the water warm in the middle of winter.

Palm trees cost up to $2,000 each. The pool area has four Palmettos, seven Windmills, and a double trunk California Filifera Palm. Now fully grown, the Filifera Palm is worth around $4,000.

The sheer descent waterfall has a bench below for a refreshing seat. The one behind it, with cascading water, is tilted at a 10-degree angle to allow the water to flow smoothly.