Photography: Courtesy Pratt Guys
If a client came in asking you to build one of those crazy backyards and grottos you see on TV, what would your reaction be? If you’re the Pratt Guys, you take it in stride and start right away. The family-owned, Jacksonville, Florida-based company of builders and designers, helmed by co-owners Derek and Adam Pratt, is well known for creating outdoor living oases. In this particular case, the client was very clear about what he wanted—a tropical paradise and party spot in the comfort of his own backyard, replete with a huge pool and grotto that included space for water volleyball, a full-size sand volleyball court, various sports, and a putting green. Last but not least? A luxurious kitchen designed for entertaining and grilling.
“The client came to us on Black Friday when we were already closed” says Adam Pratt. “After speaking to him for like 30 minutes, I realized he was serious,” he continues, about the client’s request. “Long story short, we ended up getting the process started right away.” The process consisted of designing an over 1,500-square-foot lagoon style pool with a beach entry and a sand island inside a tanning ledge, an epic swim-in grotto with various additional small natural rock waterfalls, a Tiki cabana with thatch roofing that houses an outdoor kitchen, an unbelievably cool killer sound system that includes underwater speakers, and a natural stone patio complemented with Hawaiian-style gas torches. “He wanted the island vibe, a getaway resort of his own to wine and dine his family and friends, relax, and have everything at hand,” explains Derek Pratt. Since the undertaking included over 200 tons of rock, the Pratt Guys teamed up with Lucas Congdon of Lucas Lagoons from Insane Pools to construct the grotto—a serendipitous decision.
Everything in the outdoor paradise was designed to fit the client’s requests and needs. In the kitchen, the Pratt Guys went with True Residential products, not only because they can withstand the harsh Florida weather conditions, but also because the company is committed to always selling items that are made in the USA. “We know True is the best of the best, so we always want to pair with that,” says Adam. Included in the design is our Clear Ice Machine, our Dual Tap (beer) Beverage Dispenser and our glass door Undercounter Refrigerator. “It looks cool,” says Derek of the latter design, “you can show off the beautiful lights inside, and everyone loves to be able to see what they want.” And in terms of the Beverage Dispenser? “The client loves it, there is always something different on tap,” he adds. As big cocktail drinkers who love the island feel, we can only imagine they are just as happy with our Clear Ice Machine as well.
As for the rest of the design? “It was very technical, sometimes we had almost 40 employees out there at a time. Orchestrating everything was unreal, and we did it pretty quickly,” says Adam. The duo also added tropical landscaping throughout to not only bring all the elements together but create a balanced, aesthetically pleasing spot. From a backdoor entrance to the shower, to a hidden outdoor shower, and the “beach” entry straight off the deck leading into the very blue pool—the effect is unbelievable. The backyard resort even includes an amphitheater stage so the client can bring in a band. “My favorite part was literally seeing the client’s reaction at the end” recounts Adam. “We wouldn’t let him see what was going on for the last month—and during the reveal it was absolutely amazing to see his reaction.” A celebratory party, of course, ensued, the client was thrilled, and in a twist of fate, the entire design ended up on the Insane Pools TV show in an episode aptly titled “Pina Poolada”.