Monday, June 29, 2015
As Featured in Trends magazine,
Holiday homes were once defined by their large sites – landscaping was limited to a great expanse of buffalo grass and a few fruit trees. Today, sites are smaller, space is at a premium and there is a more pressing need to maximise the available outdoor living areas.
For this project by landscape architect Robin Shafer of Shafer Design and pool builder Neil Runciman of Frontier Pools, it was essential to incorporate an outdoor entertaining space and a good-sized swimming pool.
“The small site was challenging as we needed to consider pool safety,” says Shafer.
“A typical pool fence would have taken up a lot of space and made the whole area look very enclosed. So instead of doing this, we elevated the lap pool and spa – the sides of the pool form a wall, which is also the safety fence.”
To visually soften the pool wall and provide a feature beside the entry, a weir was created at one end of the pool. Water falls over a textured wall of hand-hewn sandstone sleepers, into a small wading pool.
“The weir provides something interesting to look at when you enter through the gate,” says Shafer. “It can also be enjoyed from the seating and barbecue area beside the house.” Runciman says the pool features a Quartzon Gold Star interior, which imparts a soft aqua colour to the water. This is teamed with Span- ish glass mosaics along the waterline – similar tiles fully line the spa. Both pools are heated by a single, dual-purpose heat pump. The pool equipment, including an automated slatted cover, is concealed beneath caulked decking reminiscent of a boat deck.
Shafer says screening the property from the neighbours was another key driver for the design. To this end, a row of Kentia palms is positioned along the boundary. Other Kentia palms provide leafy shade for a seating area.
“The owners wanted subtropical planting, but the climate is dry and windy, and more suited to coastal plant types. So plants were chosen for their tropical look and their ability to withstand drought.”
Key plants include Bird of Paradise along one side of the pool, cycads, bromeliads, star jasmine and stephanotis creepers.