Paul Nota: Landscape Architect and "Something Else"

His Lost West firm has been doing Endless™ Pools installations since 1998

“You like plants. You like art.” That’s how Paul Nota recalls his sister assessing his career prospects in the late 1970s, when he was still in high school and she was working for the U.S. Forest Service. “There’s this thing called Landscape Architecture,” she informed him.

That’s all it took for Paul to find his calling. Today, as co-founder of Lost West, a landscape architecture and construction firm, he’s getting his hands dirty on job sites and designing projects from their L.A. headquarters. But his business model isn’t quite what he’d imagined when Lost West launched in 1987. “At least half of my business is from Endless Pools,” he reports. “It’s a big part of what we do now.”

That “half” started for him back in 1998. Paul was trying to satisfy a customer who wanted a lap pool. They’re typically 35 to 40 feet in length, and he recalls the customer fretting that the lap pool would “‘wipe out my whole backyard.’”

Research brought Lost West to the Endless Pool®, but “we couldn’t find anyone to install it. So we figured, ‘How hard can this be?’” While he admits to a slight learning curve, Lost West’s first installation was a success. “She loved it,” he says proudly; “it saved almost all of her backyard.

 “You can’t tell it’s a therapy pool,” observes Landscape Architect Paul Nota. Since 1998, he’s been installing Endless Pools and notes that, often, “It’s something they need to have in their lives.” Merging function with beauty, he trimmed this showpiece with harlequin patterned tile, wall fountains, and lion-head spouts. (Photo courtesy of Lost West.)

Paul finds that the Endless Pool “completely” fits Lost West’s stated mission of creating projects “as functional and sustainable as they are beautiful.” In his view, “The Endless Pool has a small footprint in a lot of different ways, not just physically.” He points out the simplicity of its maintenance and its lack of complexity as compared with traditional pool installations. “It’s less of a commitment in the long run.”

“With the drought emergency conditions [currently in California], it has much less water,” so installing an Endless Pool “makes a lot more sense.” (The standard Endless Pool holds less than 3,000 gallons; traditional in-ground pools can require 30,000 gallons or more.)

And with the Endless Pool’s adjustable swim current, his customers love the convenience of “being able to swim in your backyard, without having to jump in your car and guzzle gas” and, of course, navigate Southern California’s notorious traffic. “It makes sense.”

 A pool with a ‘twist’: Ornately dyed concrete tile skirts this Endless Pool. Installer Paul Nota, of Lost West Landscape Architecture and Landscape Construction, recalls that the couple “wanted it to fit into their small-scale, quirky design” featuring an altar of “repurposed material” from a previous homeowner.

After installing nearly 130 Endless Pools, “the ones that stand out most” for Paul “are the ones that have some emotional value. There’s a real need for it. It’s not just an aesthetic thing. It changes their lives.”

He recalls one client who had a “chronic back and leg injury” and was being warned by her doctor of the risk of permanent disability. After getting her Endless Pool installed, “She said, ‘This saved my life. I’m not in therapy, I’m not in my wheelchair.’ It turns you from being a contractor into … something else.”

Whatever else he is, Paul Nota is a Landscape Architect, as his sister predicted. He’s also a licensed Pool Contractor, which comprises a big part of that “something else” he’s become. He feels it most clearly when he returns for routine maintenance on any Endless Pool. “It’s like going to see old friends again. It’s a really cool thing.”

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