Does your average neighbor have the kinds of pools and back yards shown on these pages? No, of course not. Most people would rather dole out the kind of money being spent on these pools on cars, boats, trips to Europe … things like that.

We don’t have anything like this at our houses, either. So we assumed that, like us, you’d probably like to live vicariously through your fabulously fortunate neighbors, but just don’t feel it’s appropriate to scale their privacy walls or drive slowly by their homes while trying to zone your vision between the posts of their 8-foot-tall fences in order to sneak a peek.

So we went about finding some of the most extraordinary pools that our neighborhood has to offer. In  the process of researching this story, no swimsuits were worn — believe us, we tried — but we did find out that behind just about every pool, there is a story, and an awful lot of nice people:

Homeowners: Hassan and Talat Bukari, Lakewood residents since 1978.
Year pool built: 1980-81, by Fountainhead Pools
Cost: $20,000 (the pool would cost much more to build now); though Hassan Bukari says he built the pool for his children, who were living at home at the time, the design grew out of fond childhood memories. “I’m from and grew up near the Shalamar gardens. It was built around 500 years ago and has very beautiful terraced gardens and waterfalls. That was in my  mind when we did this pool,” he says.
What makes it unique: The Bukari’s home is on a little more than an acre of land near White Rock Lake . Hassan Bukari calls it a “mini-estate,” with Moorish and Mediterranean influences. The pool is expansive and was built to complement the house, but the most impressive backyard feature may be the tennis court,  built at about the same time as the pool and costing $70,000.

Homeowners: Hal Jackson, Lakewood resident for just over 12 years.
Year pool built: 2001, by Aladdin Pools
Cost: $75,000; Hal Jackson says he likes to swim laps and his wife likes to dive, and they both entertain a lot. But, he says — “quite candidly” — it was the stock market making its way south that was the deciding factor in building this pool. “I just thought I’d rather spend [the money] than lose it,” he says. “And then I thought, if we’re going to go to all this trouble, let’s build a pool we won’t regret.”
What makes it unique: The pool has many fountains, spillways and torpedo jets, which creates a lot of water sounds that the Jacksons and their five cocker spaniels enjoy. “The dogs fall asleep to it. It’s going to take a little tension away and add a few years to our lives,” he adds with a laugh.

Homeowners: John Mabry, Lakewood resident since 1995.
Year pool built: 2000, by Summerhill Pools
Cost: $155,000; the inspiration for and design of Mabry’s pool came out of his busy lifestyle — he works for a corporate meeting planning company and is away from home about 150 days out of the year. “I travel all through Europe and I just love a lot of French and Italian designs,” he says. “That pool along with Lakewood are my refuge in the city. When you come into my back yard, it’s almost like you’re at a resort, except none of the people are there.” But the pool was not without its troubles: “We hauled about 100 dump trucks loads of dirt out of my back yard. But we took all that dirt over to the golf course on Tennyson. I helped build about five of those fairways,” he laughs.
What makes it unique: Besides its obvious beauty, the pool is temperature-controlled — both heated and chilled —making its waters the same pleasant 80-85 degrees 365 days out of the year.

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