Johnston pool hot tub backyard
Homeowners Duane and Lisa Johnston of Anmore, British Columbia, Canada, wanted to create a backyard haven to enjoy with their two children. They designed, planned, and completed much of the work themselves, along with the help of a great team of people. The result? Not only did they get a summer oasis where their family can enjoy daily dips in the pool, but also a hot tub and outdoor kitchen they can use year-round.


We spoke with homeowner Lisa Johnston to learn how their amazing backyard project was completed.



Why did you want a pool, hot tub, and outdoor kitchen?


Since purchasing our home in February 2005, it was always our dream that 5 or 6 years down the road, when the children were older, we’d look into putting in an inground pool. Because our home sits on an acre, we’re fortunate to be able to incorporate a pool/spa/entertaining area while still having plenty of open lawn where the children can run and play. We look forward to our boys using this space as a hub where they can hang out with their friends as they get older. My husband and I also love entertaining.

Johnston pool deck jets bar
What materials were used for this project?


The concrete decking surrounding the pool was part of the original plan. We knew we wanted something plain (not too busy), and that the concrete had to come right to the edge of the pool in a cantilevered style. The outdoor kitchen countertop is granite, and the outside stone is West Coast ledger stone. The inside of the kitchen and backsplash is finished with slate tiles. 

What was your budget for this project?


The total planned budget was $150,000, and we went about $10,000 over. The costs were $50,000 for the pool, $50,000 for the outdoor kitchen, $30,000 for the concrete decking, $25,000 for landscaping, and $5,000 for the hot tub.


How long did the project take?

The entire project took about 9 months. The pool/hot tub were completed and ready for use by the end of June 2011.

Johnston pool constructionLead us through the planning/construction process.

Duane and I had a vision of what we wanted for the backyard and planned out the design. John Port at Parkview Landscaping, Ltd., truly captured our vision, added to it, and made the final look better than we could have imagined.  

The pool was dug in October 2010 and left to settle over the winter. There were a number of issues with the original pool contractor, so in February 2011 he was let go. Duane then took on much of the labor himself and hired separate contractors to assist in finishing the pool. Pedron Contracting, Ltd. poured the concrete for the pool bottom and surrounding deck. We marked out a diamond pattern in the decking and hired a company to cut it.

Johnston pool deck lounge area
Duane prepped the inside of the pool after the concrete was poured and installed all the plumbing and equipment in the pool house as well. He also taped the joints, hung the pool liner, and installed pool lights, valves, drain covers, an auto-fill, diving board, and even the deck jets, which are fun water features that shoot arcs of water over the pool.


Bentley Power Solutions completed the bonding of the pool and all electrical for the pool, equipment room, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, and outdoor lighting. Arjay Mechanical installed the gas lines for the pool, outdoor heater, barbecue, and built-in firepit. 

How was the fire feature installed?

The firepit was purchased as a unit; it has lava rocks on the bottom, ceramic logs, and is gas fed (so we can turn it on/off with a single switch). We advised our landscaper of the preferred placement, hired the gas fitter to bring a line to it, and had the landscaper design the retaining wall around it. It’s a great feature to use at night.


Johnston grill outdoor kitchen poolWhat’s included in your outdoor kitchen?

We purchased all the appliances first, and then contracted Dreamline Construction to construct the kitchen around them. The kitchen has a microwave, double gas burner, gas grill/smoker/rotisserie, deep fryer, beverage station, mini-fridge and ice maker, sink, dishwasher, overhead gas heater, and plenty of storage and counter space complete with a 55-inch weatherproof TV.


We already had a popcorn and slurpee machine, but added a hot dog hut to complete the ensemble. These three items, along with the deep fryer, were by far the favorites amongst not only our children, but all our guests throughout the summer. We used them on a daily basis. Having the raised bar area and bar stools makes this a great place to hang out and converse
with the cook.
Johnston outdoor kitchen overlooking pool

How often do you use the pool and other features?


We swam in the pool almost every day during the summer. The pool is now closed for the winter, but we’ll continue to use the hot tub year-round. The hot tub is separate from the pool so we’re able to keep it heated with the cover on, removing it only when in use. It’s also close proximity to the house, which we’ll appreciate during chilly whether.


The outdoor kitchen is completely shaded by the balcony above, so we can be cooking outdoors rain or shine. We plan to use the kitchen year-round.


John Port of Parkview Landscaping, Ltd., designed and completed the landscaping based on the Johnstons’ vision.

Pedron Contracting, Ltd., poured the pool bottom and concrete decking.

Bentley Power Solutions installed all the electrical.

Arjay Mechanical installed all gas lines.

Midland Appliances Ltd., supplied appliances for the kitchen.

The pool liner was purchased through Ideal Distributors in Surrey, BC. Two of their employees, Karsten Petersen and Sara Stanbury helped Duane gather the miscellaneous supplies necessary for him to hook up the pool and the deck jets. Ideal also supplied the salt and chemicals for start-up of the pool.