Ask an Expert: Amanda Elboz, Space Landscape Designs

Space Landscape Designs
Friday, 24 June, 2016

Ask an Expert: Amanda Elboz, Space Landscape Designs

Pool+Spa editor Alice Richard spoke to Amanda Elboz, Principal Designer/Director at Space Landscape Designs.

Pool+Spa: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into poolscaping?

Amanda Elboz: I am the principal designer at Space Landscape Designs and started the company over 13 years ago. From day one we found that clients wanted to have landscaping incorporated around the pool — they wanted a holistic approach brought to their gardens. This then led into more detailed pool designs focusing on the pool size and shape to ensure the area flowed into the new landscape design and still had a connection with the house.

P+S: The pool has come a long way over the last 50 years — it’s no longer just a concrete hole filled with water. Is this a fair statement and does it reflect current customer expectations?

AE: Pools today are a very big part of a new build. People who are looking to build new houses like to incorporate their pools around the alfresco area so they can also be viewed from inside the house. Involving the pool as part of the living space and feeling connected is a very important aspect when we are designing new pools.

P+S: At what part of the process should a pool builder make contact with a landscape designer, and when should the client be involved?

AE: Pool builders and clients should contact a landscape designer or architect at the very beginning. Designers have a very good understanding of how the pool should work with the land. It’s important that the pool is positioned in the right location and at the right height. Here at Space Landscape Designs we like to also be involved with the selection of materials and finishes when it comes time to designing the pool. These items should also be selected before work starts so that the right materials can be tailored into the pool design.

P+S: If a pool builder joins forces with a landscaper, how important is it to select the right person for the job?

AE: Landscape designers generally design integral detailed pools so it’s important that a pool company is happy to work with this level of detail. Designers are also concerned with the landscape and expect the pool builder to be interested in what happens outside the actual pool.

P+S: What are the downsides of getting the timing wrong, and who is impacted — landscape designer, pool builder or home owner?

AE: Timing is everything! A landscape designer can create the design and look after the approvals either being a complying development or a development application. If the timing is wrong it is the pool builder and home owner that it impacts. The pool builder will have a scheduled start date and if this is delayed they may not be able to line up the different trades when needed. Often the pool will be built before a new home when access is easier. If delays occur it can set back not only the pool but also the new home start date, which can be costly.

P+S: How important is communication between all stakeholders in a poolscaping project? What are the pitfalls if everyone is not on the same page?

AE: The beauty of having a landscape design is that the client knows how the pool and surrounds are going to look before the project even starts. There are no surprises and the job can be priced accurately. If good communication is lacking then misinterpretation can occur. This can lead to costly mistakes for both the pool builder and home owner.  

P+S: We live in a time of increasing temperatures. What impact does this have on the design of a pool and surrounds?

AE: Today Space Landscape Designs is designing more pools than ever. Over 90% of our clients building a new home or doing a major renovation include a pool. Outdoor living is very much a big part of the Australian lifestyle and entertaining at home is increasingly popular. With families more time-poor they want to come home and stay at home to relax. I believe the demand for pools is going to keep increasing.

P+S: How important is it for designers and builders to have an ethos of sustainability? Does the average customer think about the environmental impact of a pool and surrounding elements?

AE: Most of our clients are conscious of the environment. They are happy to install water tanks which can be used to top up the pool as well as water the gardens. As we are also designing the entire landscape we are able to select low water use species and incorporate environmentally friendly products.

P+S: How do design requirements change according to the needs of a client? Is there a big difference between a family-focused design and a space used for lap swimming, for example?

AE: The majority of pools that we design are for families with children. This means there needs to be a practical element within the pool design. This includes deep end swimout ledges and calculated walkways around the pool. If there is room on the site and a client would like a larger pool, we can incorporate a lap pool in the design of the main pool.

P+S: What has been the biggest change in the last 10 years with regard to design and building trends, as well as customer involvement/engagement?

AE: As blocks are getting smaller, the houses are taking up a larger proportion of the site, which means the sizes of backyards are reducing. This means that designs need to be smarter to ensure the block is fully utilised. The impact of new pool fencing laws also has made a big impact on the design of the backyard. Fencing needs to be worked out in the design stage to avoid costly mistakes and to achieve good design outcomes.

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