It started with a small waterfall.
Lucas Congdon had a successful landscape business in Sarasota when a client asked him if he could remodel a pool. “It was very simple, with one waterfall. But once I did it, I knew it was what I wanted to keep doing,” Congdon says. “Whenever I get a new project, I ask myself, ‘How cool can I make this pool for this budget?’ and I always deliver more than expected.”
Word soon spread of Congdon’s ability to turn a boring pool into an aquatic masterpiece. Business at Lucas Lagoons continued to grow each year, but that was just the beginning of his high dive into the deep end of the luxury pool industry. An online talent agent saw videos Congdon had posted of his work and began shopping the concept of a reality show to television networks. It took four years before one — Animal Planet — decided to give him a chance.
“I stopped talking about it because it became a joke with my friends,” Congdon says. “Whenever they saw me, they would ask, ‘When are you going to be on TV?’”
Now his show, Insane Pools: Off the Deep End, has aired three seasons, and Congdon has designed pools all across the U.S., consulted on projects internationally and won more than 40 design awards.
Congdon and his team have expanded their scope of work way beyond pool design to incorporate the entire backyard and more. “You can be more creative with $1 million to $2 million budgets,” Congdon says. “We’ve started to redesign the entire outdoor space. I try to find out what inspires someone, what their favorite getaway is.” He says that, combined with how the space will be used, determines the design of his projects.
“The flow is inspired by the house, landscaping, flora, local rock. We take it all and put it in a cohesive design,” he says.
As for his favorite project?
“All of my projects are special to me,” Congdon says. “Something from each one stays with me. Every job I do, I get emotionally attached to it and I don’t think I can do any better, but then another project comes along and becomes my favorite.”
DIY Network will be airing past and debut episodes of Insane Pools: Off the Deep End every Thursday this summer. Tampa gets its turn in the spotlight on the brand-new two-hour special “From Mild to Wild,” premiering May 23 at 9 p.m., when Congdon turns a backyard into a jungle oasis at a home in the swanky Avila neighborhood