Concrete Chess Table Stars in Backyard Spa Remodel

Concrete chess table in a swimming pool

Transforming tired and dated backyard retreats into personal and welcoming family havens just so happens to be Scott Cohen’s specialty. This specialty shows itself in a recent project featuring a concrete chess table.

“Decorative concrete continues to be a growing trend in our high-end swimming pool and outdoor kitchen designs,” says the president of The Green Scene Landscaping & Pools in Chatsworth, California. “This remodel takes advantage of not only the durability of concrete, but the endless color and finishing options as well.”

Concrete Chess Table in the middle of an outdoor pool

In this case, for that personal touch, concrete was fashioned into a built-in concrete chess table. This was to be a part of the pool’s Baja shelf layout.

“The client’s son is an avid chess player. He flipped out over the idea of being able to challenge his friends and family to a heated chess match while chilling in the pool,” Cohen says. Cohen built the table with cast concrete and granite tiles. They then ground, honed and polished them with a handheld three-head polishing machine.

Next to this gaming area, in the square where the former hot tub had resided, Cohen added a precast concrete pot. The pot has an LED waterspout and a tiled spillway. To add more ambiance to a nighttime party, dual precast concrete firepots anchor the rear of the pool. Additionally, a sleek fire trough complete with built-in seating and a cast-in-place concrete cocktail table are behind the new whirlpool.

Using lighting in the design

In addition to the fire features, lighting is integral to the design. More than 300 fiber-optic cables are embedded below the large recycled glass chips and chunks in the cast-in-place concrete kitchen counters. An illuminator uses a “sparkler wheel” to create a show where multicolored lights dance in a seemingly random pattern across the barbecue counter and serve bar.

Glass aggregate and fiber optics in an outdoor kitchen

“I love to incorporate decorative concrete techniques and features into all of my high-end outdoor projects,” says Cohen.


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