Expert Tips

Pool Party

In time for the heat of summer, we wrap up ideas and inspiration to bring a distinctly Australian vibe poolside…

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Photograph by: Will Salter

Structure and contrast…

Fiona Brockhoff brings a distinctly Australian, leisurely and lived in style to her garden designs – and some of her pool side creations are no exception. Part sculptural with tightly pruned plants to provide structure, contrasting forms of foliage and a generous dash of local and native plants are a signature she brings to a collection of these coastal gardens where pools take centre stage.

Native Plant Project picks of plants to try: Lomandra confertifolia rubiginosa ‘Lomandra Cracker Jack’, a textural native grass; Eremophila glabra ‘Silver Ball’ for sculptural interest and to bring a silvery contrast in your poolside areas.

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Native sanctuary…

This may appear to be a bush oasis but it’s the inner suburban home and garden of architect Rachel Nolan of Kennedy Nolan. Perched over the Yarra River, this garden, deck and pool looks at ease in its surrounds thanks to a creative collaboration with Nolan, landscape designer Sam Cox and Natural Swimming Pools. The interplay between setting and design blends seamlessly around a perfectly circular pool that’s surrounded by carefully chosen indigenous and native plants from gums to grasses, kangaroo paw, banksia and wattle.

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Natural statements…

This dramatic clifftop garden (a recent finalist in The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula with its sparkling pool taking centre stage has relied on mostly native plantings to anchor it within its coastal landscape. But Australian natives are the preferred choice of landscape designer Brett Robinson at Acre, who relishes the soft and clam effect natives can bring.

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“They work so well in creating a sanctuary through their rambling forms,” says Brett. Acre regularly work with a native plant palette to quieten architectural lines, especially decks, paths and fences around pool areas as seen in both this coastal retreat and smaller suburban gardens where pools feature.

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Native Plant Project picks of plants to try: Disphyma crassifolium subsp. Clavellatum – Round Leaf Pigface for informal edging; Banksia spinulosa ‘Black Magic’ a small compact shrub with striking gold and black flowers that’s great for hedging and screening fences; as well as another low maintenance, hardy banksia that’s very happy poolside or in pots Banksia paludosa ‘Little Pal’