We finished the Pool off around a month ago, but I haven't posted pictures until now as there are almost always small children and an awful lot of fluorescent pool toys in it. It's getting a lot of use, and it's been fantastic to have friends over these Summer holidays using the outdoor entertaining spaces to their fullest.




If you're interested in details on the pool, it's a concrete pool that has been fully tiled in the standard range of pool tiles (Antique Aqua). I'd have loved the glass mosaics, but they were going to cost 3 xs as much, so as it was already expensive we decided to go with the normal range. I really wanted green tiles, but unfortunately I seem to be in the minority, as you literally can't buy a standard green pool tile. Any shade of blue is fine, but green… no. So the colour I chose was a muted blue, and looks good with the bluestone paving surrounding the pool, and the rendered grey wall behind.




The wall is around 1.8m high at the highest level, and meets up with our boundary wall. In effect this encloses the pool on two sides. The back wall was designed to screen the utility area behind the pool, and the future garage (currently a very ugly, very large and nearly falling down brown tin shed and carport complex - this is my new project this year).  The other two sides have a glass pool fence (it is law in Australia that all pools are fully enclosed). We looked at a couple of options, however the visibility was the deciding factor. With small children we decided it was safest to have unobstructed viewing from the Outdoor dining area.






The Outdoor dining area has really now come into its own. When the Swing chair was first put up it had a picturesque view over the remaining building site, skips and builders port-a-loo, so naturally the improved view has made this a prime spot to swing with a drink. It's particularly nice to spend time there in the evening when we're having a spectacular sunset. The back of our house faces West, and prior to building the extension we'd never see the sunsets or get the benefit of the light in the late afternoon. 



The pool is in full shade after 1pm, as the sun moves behind the tree. This is the biggest benefit of the tree, as the kids love being in the pool for hours, but I worry about their sun exposure as they're all very fair skinned. 

The garden has come along and is growing in well (as are the weeds!). We still have a lot of planting to do - we've probably put in 2/3rds of the planting, but we have more to go that will have to wait a few months until the really hot weather has waned somewhat and we have milder days. 


view from the Bocce court

Some of the round topiary balls are starting to get their form, filler plants starting to fluff up a bit


I do have an unfortunate problem with Nut Grass. It's a lot like Onion weed in that it comes from tiny bulbs under the ground and has to be carefully lifted by shovel so that you get the bulb up and destroyed. Despite having spent hours doing this, it pops up again within a week - obviously a single tiny bulb left behind. I'm about to go to the last resort - Roundup, which will definitely kill it. But I do hate using non organic pesticides on the garden. Unfortunately though it is insidious and fast growing, and I've not been able to get on top of it in the past 3 months.

Cycad, Crepe Myrtle and Japanese Box topiary with Start Jasmine ground cover 

I've included some photos taken in the evening to show the lighting that we put in. Lighting is hands down the cheapest way to improve anything - a bit of inventive and dramatic lighting will go far further than expensive furniture or finishes. Eventually the back wall of the pool will have Boston Ivy growing over it, which will look spectacular. At the moment it's a tiny plant so we have a long way to go!





 And for a bit of contrast, here is the back garden in its before state

Before we started renovations when it was a neglected lawn tennis court

The old rotary clothes line and the big tree behind - this is where the pool is now.

This time last year - View from the Outdoor Dining, to a building site 

 Side view of the enormous brown shed and the tree. The trampoline is approximately where the pool is now

 Rubbish and the outdoor dining area

 one of our boundary fences with weeds and the trees struggling in the Summer - these are now garden beds that I've pictured above. 

Apologies for the quality of the photos - unfortunately my generally terrible photography is worse for this post as my DSL camera charger has stopped working, so the battery is flat. I took these with my phone...

58 comments:

  1. Heidi what a transformation! It looks spectacular, that glass fence around the pool is genius. I've not seen that before, typically people here use heavy black iron fences around their pools.
    It looks like a resort. Especially to me as I get ready to brave -20 for my morning walk with the dog!
    I've broken my camera, dropped it on the ice at the ski chalet, I can't take photos with my phone at all, I think yours are impressive, it's very difficult to get a good pic with those things! xo

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    1. Thanks Dani! I thought that you Canadians might appreciate photos of Sun, even if your weather is the exact opposite… promises of the Summer to come for you. Essentially there are two types of standard pool fence in Australia - the glass or the tubular aluminium, which sounds a bit like what you're describing. We also looked at a custom fence that would comply with the very strict regulations (you're not even allowed to fill up the pool until it's been inspected and approved), but the sight line obstruction worried me as my youngest doesn't swim yet, plus a lot of our friends have younger children than us, so there will be little children in the pool for a few years yet.

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  2. Simply awesome! You've created a space that will get tons of use in the years to come, appealing to kids and grownups - quite an accomplishment! Good luck with your 2015 project...

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    1. Thanks Liene - I have to say I appreciate so much seeing my children play in the garden and enjoy using the pool. All those years with small courtyards and then building sites and dirt have been worth it.

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  3. Heidi, it is all so stunning!! Congratulations!! Also, very envious of the lovely weather. We are in deepest winter here in Canada!

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    1. Thanks Louise, the weather is great at the moment, although we definitely have two months of intense heat ahead of us, just as you have snow. Equally uncomfortable! But handy to have a pool…!

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  4. Gosh, what a beautiful outcome to a project that I'm sure you are glad to see the back of. I'm sure you are very pleased with the results and the very fact that you are using the area so much warrants it a success by every measure.

    I love your choices and both the pool and that wonderful swing chair look too inviting to pass up. Yes, I can just see myself enjoying a sunset with a cool gee and tee, or two for that matter. Well done, absolutely lovely!

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    1. We are spending all day every day in the garden, and it's totally transformed how we live in the house as well. The swing chair is hard to get into unfortunately… we have small children that take it over and turn it into a wildly swinging spaceship most days!

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    2. A spaceship! Well, I can quite understand. Isn't that every little kids dream.

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  5. The garden is coming along and you have some unique plants we don't have here like that pink bloom bush thingy. ( very botanical I know) The pool is just making me whoozy with envy. I could not have a pool and ever leave the house again I tell you! But how much space is there? I can't wrap my head around it - I reckon its as big as my whole street! ;) PS do you have a veg patch as well for herbs and little veggies like tomatoes as well?

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    1. That's a Crepe Myrtle - they're good in Mediterranean climates, so suspect you won't get them to grow in London! I have to say that we've done very little these Summer hols - friends come to us, and there was a period of a week where the children had not left the house at all!
      The back garden is probably around 750 square meters, approximately 20 x 40m with the lawn/ bocce court taking up half of it, the pool the other 1/4 and the behind utility/ carport the remaining 1/4. Hopefully we'll get the veggie patch up and running soon. At the moment the trampoline is sitting where it is supposed to go, and I've got to get the garage done to truly finish off the garden works as well.

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  6. Beautiful. Such a sanctuary. And my first thought on seeing the pool was "where is the pool fence"?
    I bet kids with wet bathers are shooed off the swinging chair.., :)

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    1. It doesn't show up at all in the photos for some reason! But it's great that it does make it all feel connected to the garden. Just the cleaning of the glass is the downside - always a smeary sun screened handprint on it somewhere!

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  7. Heidi, it looks amazing & of course a sunset swing with G&T in hand has to be the best way to end a crazy child filled day. Enjoy the last days of the summer holidays!

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    1. Thanks Engracia - the chair has had quite a workout during the school holidays. Hope you're enjoying your remaining time in the holidays too! x

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  8. Heidi - just exquisite! I have packed my bathing suit and will join other fair skinned people there tout de suite! Well done!

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    1. Thanks Wendy - we'll reserve a spot for you in the afternoon then! Have to say you'll find a crew of noisy kids splashing away though, which may ruin any ambience conducive to relaxation!

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  9. It is just glorious Heidi! All your selections are so beautiful! I keep banging out about lighting to my husband. I want to do that in my front yard. I hope you get on top of the nut grass stuff! The ivy wall will look INCREDIBLE! I wonder how long it will take to make good coverage. What a transformation!

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    1. Lighting is key! I love those sconces you put on either side of your fireplace -they make such a difference. But you can do clever things with up and down lighters too. I think in terms of coverage it's going to take around 3-4 years. While it can grow fast, it takes a while to get going, and I've only got one plant for the whole wall (due to needing a garden bed to plant it in). It will look fabulous all green though. I can't wait for the garden to mature!

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  10. stunning! i cannot wait to see that wall grown in with ivy. it's gonna be spectacular.

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    1. Neither can I Janet! I just keep lugging watering cans of liquid fertiliser around the garden and telling it all to grow, grow grow!

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  11. Heidi this just looks gorgeous esp the sunset! PERFECTION!!!! Luff your chair. A friend asked me where it was from, are you able to share?

    It's all a testament to your wonderful taste x

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    1. Such a shame it wasn't all finished when you were here! I would have loved you to see it all with grass (for one) and plants and a pool that wasn't a concrete hole with an ugly safety fence.. oh well, next time!
      The chair is called the Swingrest and is from Dedon. In Australia it's distributed through Cult Design. I think they might have a showroom in Brisbane?

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    2. Heidi, it's truly divine and must be such a blessing over the summer! Your pics are great. While I love a green pool too, the blue looks so beautiful - and with the dazzle of sunshine there is almost a mosaic effect. Glass walls are brilliant - our son and DIIL put one in around the pool they inherited when they bought their current house. At that time the pool fence was a horrid mission brown and half falling over - so dangerous - they had to have it pulled down quickly and get a new one as the girls were very young then and neither could swim.
      Currently up in Brisbane and there was so much rain the day we arrived you almost had to swim through the streets. Have just seen the Japanese couture exhibition at GOMA - fascinating and bizarre and wonderful! We had the fashionista lunch package - a superb meal with the dessert themed to look like a Japanese couture creation. Tomorrow we meet up with old friends on the Gold Coast at Marina Mirage.
      Looking forward to catching up with FF too. Pammie xxx

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  12. The pool looks wonderful, Heidi! Love the hanging swing seat too, I'm sure it gets a lot of use (I'd never leave it!).

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    1. Thanks N! The chair gets masses of use (mostly by the kids though!), and really makes such an impact in the space in a way that outdoor sofas etc wouldn't.

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  13. Wow your backyard looks absolutely amazing, I love love love that hanging chair too what a perfect place for it and I'm sure its getting lots of use this summer as is the pool!

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    1. Thanks Michelle, the chair has been a great feature and is very comfy so it's win/win!

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  14. I love it all Heidi! You have me itching to renovate, but not in the budget till 2016/17. Sigh.

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    1. Would you believe we're now almost 5 years since we bought the house!! As we still have to do the garage this year it's going to end up being a 6 year project - Ridiculous!!!

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  15. This is spectacular! I absolutely love it and it all looks so lush and lovely. I love green pools too! Pools are a major liability where I live, but if I were in a warm climate-I'd definitely have one! I'm sure the children are just loving it. Congratulations on a job well done!

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    1. Thanks Stephen, it's all growing in really well, and I SO love having a garden to look out to - I designed the extension to have a garden room feel to it, so the fact that for almost a year we were instead looking out to dirt was kind of painful! All worth it in the end

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  16. Dear Heidi,
    On word. AMAZING!
    Kate Bx

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    1. Thanks Kate, we're so happy with it all. Was worth the pain (I think!!) x

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  17. Heidi, you hit a home run with that pool and landscaping. Do you or Mr. AV swim laps?

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    1. No, neither of us do! So far I've been in the pool twice. It's not been that hot this Summer, but the kids have not been deterred!

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  18. Hi Heidi,
    You are a genius ! Not only do you write , photograph, design but also, execute with your own hands...brilliant !
    I am sure architectural digest will be looking to recruit you asap. Thanks for all the time you put into the blog it is an inspiration and much appreciated by your fans. Here's hoping for a great 2015 for you and your family and many more fabulous posts. x

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    1. Well.. I'm not sure this blog is renowned for my photography skills! In fact a few people have kindly pointed out it would be much improved if I got a professional in to photograph the house! But thank you for your lovely comment x

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  19. P.S.- If you want a green pool, just don't add chlorine for a couple of weeks ;)

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    1. that almost happened a week ago! I picked it up just in the nick of time with the Ph kit.

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  20. Everything looks beautiful Heidi! x

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    1. Thank you so much L - hope you are enjoying your beautiful pool too x

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  21. Hello Heidi,

    You have completely transformed the garden and, no doubt, your lifestyles at the same time. How wonderful that you have the weather to completely enjoy your pool. It all looks so beautifully inviting and it is especially good that you do get shade in the hottest part of the day.

    It is very tempting, we know from experience, to deal with pernicious weeds with Roundup......but resist. For, this is a noxious chemical which we really do think can have disastrous side effects. As your plants grow and cover the ground, your weed problem should lessen. And, a good maxim we always followed was to weed little and often.

    In the meantime, from a cold and wet Budapest, we really could curl up with a good book in the swinging chair.....

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    1. I can't say enough about how much of a difference it has made to our life to have the garden done! It gives me so much pleasure to see my children playing in it, after all the years in tiny inner city houses with courtyards, and then the dirt back garden for all the renovation period.

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  22. Wow! Great vision, beautifully executed & future good times guaranteed. Den xxx

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    1. Thank you Den - it's already getting quite a workout, and we're loving using the whole of our home x

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  23. This all looks fabulous Heidi. I especially love the lights. It must be so lovey to entertain in daylight (and outside) after all that wait. All very transformative! xx

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    1. Thanks Charlotte! We are really enjoying being outside in the evening this Summer, it's really expanded the living space. x

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  24. Oh wow! That looks absolutely fabulous. What a triumph.
    Love it all.

    Heidi, pour boiling water on your weeds!
    Kills them without the poison, which is bad for everything.

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    1. I'm not keen on poison, but I'm afraid the boiling water won't kill the bulbs, which are down quite deep, so it will just keep reappearing and it chokes out other plants. I'm also having to use blackberry killer on the Wisteria, which is an inherited problem from the former owner who had let it go rampant. I'm carefully painting it on the end of the shoots to get rid of it, but sometimes it's necessary to get the poison out as a last resort. Certainly not ideal….

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  25. Not sure why I haven't commented as have looked at this post a number of times - jeliss! Living your sunny life vicariously. That swing couch is perfection and just perfect right there. Love how you've put the pool to the side so you still have all that grass, kids have so much fun on grass don't they?
    So pretty how you've surrounded it in glass too

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    1. I'm surprised the glass pool fence isn't common in the States? From the comments many people have made I'm finding out it's not really done outside of Australia? We're very lucky to have a big garden with space for the pool as well as for the kids to play. x

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  26. Your pool and outdoor area is my idea of perfection. You have done a brilliant job.
    I'm partial to a green pool myself, wonder why they don't have that option? Sometimes I wish I lived in the States if only to be able to source all the things my heart desires! I found a gorgeous statue when I was in New York but the shipping was ludicrous. Tried to find something similar here, to no avail. As one does, I now can't stop thinking about it and looking for ways to justify having it sent over!!!

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    1. Hi Anna, I don't know why the green tiles aren't done. It seems that they think everyone wants blue tiles, so they don't offer any alternative options. If you're happy to go with the glass mosaics you've got every colour imaginable… but the cost! With a garden the size we have and all the work we had to do in it (and the plants!) I couldn't justify the extra.
      Always frustrating to find something that you can't get out of your mind! I often daydream about a container load of furniture coming from France or the US or something…!

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  27. Heidi,
    It looks absolutely amazing. A perfect space, especially for those incredibly hot days!

    Fifi x

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    1. Thanks Fifi - we're just about to get some heat after a very cool January, so I think we'll all be in there over the weekend! xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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