Designers and contractors working together

Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers

By Karen Staunton-Ross on behalf of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers (AILDM)
Monday, 31 July, 2017

Designers and contractors working together

There are not too many sites with open, level backyards and no trees where a pool can be positioned without requiring some consideration of the area around it. A landscape designer can provide a range of services to help pool contractors optimise the outdoor space on a site — helping to make the pool as well as the yard look amazing.

What can a landscape designer provide for your client?

A landscape designer can provide a wide range of services for you and your client. Not all designers offer all of these services.


A designer can meet with you and your client to provide a few ideas or clarify some basic issues specific to the site. This may include assessing whether existing planting is worth retaining or, perhaps, where best to locate a particular landscape feature planned for the future.

Concept plan

Clients may be interested in looking at their whole site, even though they are not quite ready to undertake all the work as yet. A concept plan will provide a good general layout for the site, reassuring the client that your proposed pool fits in a complete landscape.

Master plan

More complete plans can be provided where more extensive detailing is sought. These plans will allow your client to realise the vision of their designed outdoor area.

Planting advice

Planting around a pool can be a bit tricky. Selecting appropriate plants can save your client the time and money involved in replacing poorly selected plants down the track.

Images of a project

Some clients may have trouble seeing their pool as a finished project when they look at plan documentation. Having some clearly presented elevations or 3D renderings of the backyard will help clients understand what is being proposed and provide some reassurance for the design.

Assessment coordination

All pools require formal assessment at some level, whether as a Complying Development with a Certifying Authority or through development application (DA) with the council. This can be a complex and time-consuming process. A landscape designer familiar with the aspect of development can potentially manage this aspect of the project on behalf of you and your client.

When should you call in a landscape designer?

Liaising with a designer in the early stages of a project ensures time and energy is used most effectively by everyone.

It is worth developing a relationship with a few designers you can call on for ideas and inspiration. Different designers will have varying approaches to a job and will offer a variety of services. Not all will provide the range of services listed above. If you know a few designers you are comfortable to approach, then you can start with the designer you think will be best suited to your job. You also will not be left in a hole if a designer is unable to take on the work.

Making the most out of the relationship with a designer

Be clear about everything.

  • What do you want the designer to do?
  • What is the time frame for the expected work?
  • What documentation is currently available?

Equally, the designer needs to be clear about things, too.

  • What services can the designer realistically provide? Do they have experience designing around pools?
  • How is the designer’s workload?
  • What documents are required to get working?

Main image courtesy of Outside Living/Karen Staunton-Ross.

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