Poolscaping — beyond the garden

By Dannielle Furness
Monday, 14 December, 2015

Poolscaping — beyond the garden

Planting and landscape design are a huge part of any poolscaping project, but it doesn’t all begin and end with the greenery. We take a look at some of the other elements you can incorporate to deliver a dream environment to your client.

A good landscape design can truly redefine a space. With the right design and planting ideas, you can create an oasis at home for the most discerning customer and deliver a usable, beautiful and functional space. But it doesn't all begin and end with the garden, there's a multitude of other items that should be your poolscaping radar if you want to add value. From the functional to the purely aesthetic, all add up to create resort-style living.

Starting at the water line

Water features add a sense of calm to a backyard environment, providing an additional focal point, as well as relaxing ambient sound. There is a never-ending range of styles, sizes and shapes available to suit any application, so be sure to discuss options with your client at the design stage.

Think beyond the blue when it comes to tiling, particularly where water features are concerned. Customised tile patterns and designs can add a whole new dimension to an otherwise conventional pool, creating a point of difference for your customers.

Feature framing

Poolside fencing may be a legal requirement, but that doesn't mean it can't be inspiring as well. There are many options available to complement the pool and landscape design, rather than work against it. Treating the fence as an important design feature will give the client control of the overall look. The same applies for pool decking, surrounding patio and paving applications — looking beyond the norm will offer unlimited design choices and visually tie all of the separate elements together.

Bringing the inside out

Given the investment in creating an outdoor living area, customers now seek to develop a space that is usable year round. Including a pool house, cabana or other undercover area, replete with cooking facilities and heating, helps make that dream a reality. A separate space offers shade during the warm summer months and extends the outdoor season when temperatures start to drop. Value-add items, such as in-built barbecues and pizza ovens, are fast becoming the norm for many clients, so be sure to discuss their lifestyle expectations when creating the initial designs.


As home automation becomes increasingly prevalent, why leave the pool behind? Consider entertainment options such as distributed audio systems, which provide the desired atmosphere for any poolside gathering. Gazebos and patios become an extension of a home's living area, so many buyers will opt to include features such as television and internet access as well.

Light the way

Never underestimate the value of lighting. It not only provides safety after sunset, but allows the home owner to highlight features and to bring their design to life. Pathways, water features and individual garden elements become connected parts of the overall scheme.

The finishing touches

Planting, furniture and other garden features are integral to a beautiful final design. Understanding the impact of plant choices is important from both aesthetic and practical viewpoints. Furniture selection must be appropriate to the desired use of the space, so understanding how that space will be used means you can allow enough room to accommodate while still at the design stage.

Know your customer — or ask

No two clients are alike, so it pays to ask too many questions in the early stages. Families with young children have different needs to empty-nesters and will therefore have vastly different expectations for immediate and future use of their pool. Home resale value may also come in to the equation, if this isn't to be the 'forever home'. With so many additional elements to consider, it may be worthwhile working with other professionals to ensure that you are offering the best advice.

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