Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Some rich Oklahomans have ridiculous swimming pools…

fancy pool

Like most people, I’d like to be rich. And like most people, I’m not.

If I were rich, I’d want to be the “cool” rich guy. You know, the dude who uses his wealth to make everyone like him. I’d donate to local charities, give new cars as birthday presents, and buy Lunch Boxes for everyone at Edna’s. I’d also probably hire my own personal meteorologist, because let’s be honest, that would be the coolest thing ever.

I bring this up because Channel 9 is running an OKC-version of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” called “High Dollar Dives.” It takes a look at some of the most batshit insane pools in the Oklahoma City metro. If you like to see money wasted on extravagance, dream of things you’ll never have, and / or secretly wish Alligators really did hide in the sewer system occasionally eating unsuspecting swimmers, it’s the series for you.

On Monday, they profiled an 85ft by 45ft glass tiled pool in Yukon. Since it has glass tile, I guess it’s okay to drink bottled beer in it:

swimming pool 2

There is a little slice of heaven is in Yukon, where a family of six enjoys a backyard built for kings. The waterfall is the first thing to notice with an island right smack in the middle of one luxurious swimming pool.

“They wanted this island in the middle of the pool where they could raft race around it. It’s 85 feet long by 45 feet wide. So they wouldn’t have to re-plaster the pool, they decided it would be a great upgrade to lay glass tile through the entire pool,” Kelly Caviness said.

It’s a rare choice to glass-tile an entire pool because of the extreme cost of it. The tiling alone was a two-and-a-half month project. But Kelly Caviness makes his clients dream designs come true, although, patience is key.

“Most of our clients are like, ‘hey, are we ever gonna get this thing finished?’ It just takes forever,” Caviness said.

Tuesday’s pool featured a pool with a gigantic waterfall. It’s kind of like Turner Falls, only without Mexicans and giardia:

fancy pool

It was an immediate muscle relaxer hearing and seeing the beauty of an east metro backyard. It’s a resort right in the backyard.

“We always caution the people before their first drink…don’t jump off the waterfall,” Larry Smith said.

Larry Smith originally wanted to just freshen up the existing pool, but then, he began dreaming with Caviness Landscape Designs. And the master project, with his favorite part being the hot tub, ended up taking more than a year to complete.

It’s a 95,000 gallon pool, 9-feet deep at its deepest spot with four waterfalls and several pumps to power them. Yes, it takes a lot of electricity to run it all, but Smith tries not to think about that.

The granddaddy feature of them all is, of course, the waterfall. It’s powered by seven pumps and all it takes to start it is a remote with a click of a button. And with a great outdoor pool, you have to have a fantastic kitchen along with it. You can cook anything out here, cool off by the fandelier and of course, watch your favorite News 9 folks on the tube.

Yesterday, they showcased a pool with a swim-up bar and grotto. For what it’s worth, this was Mary Fallin’s favorite pool:

swimming pool 3

Natural settings are all the rage for high-falutin’ backyard pools these days. And, one Oklahoma City pool boasts 70 tons of natural native Oklahoma moss-covered boulders, a 900 square feet faux rock grotto with three swim-through waterfalls, stone covered walkways and water features galore.

Inside a cave is a plasma television and high-tech light system. The swim-up bar was made from natural sandstone from Arkansas.

“While he was building the waterfall, he came to me with a crazy idea of incorporating a swim-up bar grotto style that you can swim in and go in and watch TV,” Owner Richard Orthwein said.

So, how much do these pools cost?

First, the total cost for the pool in Yukon was $650,000. It was the island pool. It cost $90,000 alone to glass-tile it.

As for Tuesday’s pool in the east metro, the backyard cost $1.1 million with landscaping and designer furniture galore. The pool was, of course, the biggest expense… $800,000.

Wednesday’s big daddy backyard is value is estimated at $2.5 million. Again, that is the backyard features alone.

That’s ridiculous. Of course, I don’t blame these one-percenters for rubbing it in and building these super pools. I’d do the same thing if I were rich and wanted people to know it.

The only difference is that instead of flaunting my life of luxury, I’d try to pay homage to my South Oklahoma City roots. Screw grottos, caves and waterfalls. I’d try to build the largest above-ground pool the world has ever seen! Are above-ground pools trashy and boring? Yes, but you have to admit it would be kind of fun to get 50 of your friends to walk around in a circle and make a super current.

Another option would be to move a run down apartment complex pool to my property that will hopefully be in Deer Creek. That would be fun in an ironic way. I’m sure the hipsters would love it. To keep its authenticity, I’d surround it with cheap plastic Walmart pool furniture, excrement and a couple of old tennis courts. I’d also tear the pool liner and make sure the concrete is cracked for effect. I can see the News 9 report on it now. If anyone has any tips or idea on how to get rich so I can pursue these dreams, let me know.


  1. Because you want to pay homage to your south side roots by building an above ground pool for super current formation, I have lit a candle in hopes that you do become a 1% soon.

  2. I’ve been on the Orthwein estate a few times to do some home interior work, and it is very impressive. The whole 25+ acres is pristine. The driveway winds past the estate managers house, the horse stables, and the par 3 practice golf hole. There’s a treehouse that is bigger, & (much) nicer than the apartment I lived in during college. They even got one of those fancy TVs that rises up out of the marble top kitchen island. What’s funny is they still haggle a bit on prices.

  3. Like so many of New9 (and KFOR) reports this sounds like it was another thinly veiled ad for a local company, in this case Caviness Landscape Designs.

  4. I’m sure there isn’t anything going on at the Capitol that needs covering. Good job, Snooze 9!

  5. I was a Southsider born and raised. My family had a sweet above ground pool. I grew up and thought the grass was greener in Edmond. Found myself downwind from the dog food factory with no above ground pool to make waves and currents in. How I long for the good ole days!

  6. Kill the poor!!, but seriously the top 1 percent have to go. I think we should take the rich and famous of Nicholas hills and hog tie them, blind fold them and throw on the sidewalk of northeast 13th and prospect then they’ll learn.

    • I work with “high net worth” clients. Some were lucky at birth and their greatest fear is losing their wealth and becoming poor or middle class like the rest of us. And while they complain about “those people” who are too poor to owe taxes, they generally find a way to avoid paying any themselves.

  7. Caviness put a pool in for one of our neighbors. I don’t know how many trees he’s had to replace because they died. Guess I’ll have to get out the ol’ slip ‘n slide.

  8. The best pools are the ones you’ll never hear about. For example in Edmond a fellow named Mr. Corbit, or Corbitt, is building a pool that puts all these combined to shame, will it ever be on TV, NO. But check out google earth 1/2 mile East of I-35 in Edmond between 15th and Second Street. You can’t miss his compound still under construction…

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