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Tuesday, 22 April 2014 05:02

The Robotic Pool Cleaning Company

A SUPERIOR CLEAN

Since its official launch at the Melbourne Pool & Spa Show Expo in January 2014, the iCleaner 120 by ICH Roboter has received an overwhelming positive response thanks to its great value for money and superior performance. 

Easy to operate, users need only place the iCleaner 120 into the pool, turn it on and watch as it cleans the floor and walls automatically. Featuring two powerful drive motors for manoeuvrability and a dedicated water pump that enables superior climbing capability. The iCleaner 120 also includes a 'floor only' cleaning option, as well as a remote control and an aluminium caddy for easy transport and storage.

If you’re considering investing in a robotic pool cleaner, you deserve the whole package. To discover more about the iCleaner 120, visit The Robotic Pool Cleaning Company’s website or call the company directly on 1300 886 609.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:39

International Influence

Holidaying at home leaves a lot to be desired if your outdoor spaces are more barren land than Garden of Eden. From the greener pastures of England to the Zen gardens of Japan, Rachael Harrington takes a trip around the world to discover the best of international garden design.

While you may not be living in a château in the French countryside or by the sea in a tropical Balinese villa, you can transport yourself to the other side of the world without leaving your own home by looking a little further than your neighbour’s yard for design inspiration.

Drawing ideas from international gardens goes beyond using plants indigenous to that area and incorporates the time-honoured distinctive elements of the style to create a harmonious space that will transform your outdoor area.

À LA FRANÇAISE

Our journey around the world in six gardens begins in France with the French formal garden or jardin à la française. Arguably the most wellknown example of this style is the extraordinary Gardens of Versailles. Centuries-old, these gardens are still a source of landscape inspiration today and perfectly illustrate the distinct style of the French formal garden.

As the name suggests, order and symmetry lie at the heart of the French formal garden. This style begins with a strong axis of symmetry that is centred on the house, with a symmetrical arrangement of features on either side of that axis. French formal gardens were designed for strolling, with wide paths for walking and admiring the view of the château, rather than sprawling lawns for backyard cricket.

Paths are gravelled and edged with neatly clipped hedges and topiary in symmetrical, and often intricate, patterns. Close to the house, planting is kept low with parterres, while further from the house, trees are planted in straight lines to add perspective and reinforce the symmetry of the garden.

French formal gardens are known for their cool colour palette, with an emphasis on white, blue, pink and mauve. These were the only colours available in the 17th century when many of the French formal gardens were created. Red, yellow and orange plants weren’t introduced to Europe until about 1730.

Trees used in the Gardens of Versailles that can be used in the gardens that surround your own castle include beeches and elms, while box, lavender and rosemary can be used for clipped hedges.

Even without the 800 hectares and intricate patterns of the Gardens of Versailles, the essence of the French formal style can be recreated in your own backyard by using straight lines and symmetry. However, the formal nature of this style means that gardens can be high-maintenance.

THE BEST OF BRITISH

While French landscape designers saw the garden as an extension of the architecture of the home, English landscape designers were inspired by paintings. The great French-inspired gardens of the 17th century were ornate, extravagant and precisely laid out in mathematical patterns. In response, English critics agitated for a change towards a more ‘natural’ garden style.

Contrasting the French formal style, an English landscape garden is characterised by sweeping vistas across rolling lawns, creating a peaceful, park-like setting. The English landscape garden is not to be confused with the cottage garden style, with masses of uncontained annuals and perennials.

While the French favoured straight lines and symmetry, one of the hallmarks of the English landscape gardens is the movement away from geometric garden beds toward serpentine shapes. Rather than rigid, lines in the English landscape garden are curved and meandering.

Another key difference across the channel is lawn. Creating a park-like feel means a large lawn that comes right up to the house, often at the expense of a flower garden. As well as a lawn, key features of an English landscape garden include stately trees and a sense of flow between every part of the space.

The ornamentals and parterres of the French formal gardens are replaced with ponds and lakes and copses of trees to draw the eye into the distance. Plantings of varying heights, shapes and colours are used to construct lines of sight.

Lush greenery is a must in an English landscape garden. However this is obviously easier to achieve in rainy England than it is in droughtprone Australia. Water tanks can come in handy when there’s no rain to keep the garden green, or alternatively look for drought-tolerant plantings to replicate the look.

MEDITERRANEAN MARVEL

Perhaps better suited to the Australian climate is a Mediterranean-inspired garden, which is lush, inviting, and generally low-maintenance, with drought-tolerant plants. A Mediterranean garden is designed for year-round enjoyment. Capturing the summery, hedonistic feel of Spain, Italy and Greece, it’s easy to understand the appeal of a Mediterranean-inspired garden.

Contrasting the lush greenery of the English landscape style, in a Mediterranean garden, plants (soft landscaping) are secondary to the hardscape (hard landscaping). This style is defined by patios and courtyards. With an emphasis on relaxation, outdoor furniture and overhead shade are essential.

The hot, dry climate of the Mediterranean renders it unsuitable for lawns. Instead, ground surfaces are paved or covered with gravel. Durable, earthy materials like stone, concrete and ceramics are found in abundance.

Plants are hardy and drought-tolerant, often with silver-grey foliage typical of drier climates.

Citrus trees, olive trees, rosemary and lavender have grown in the Mediterranean for thousands of years and are almost essential for creating a true Mediterranean feel. These could also be complemented by Australian natives, which have the drought-tolerant capabilities necessary for this style. Shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs and grass-like plants are also popular choices.

While earthy tones lay the foundation for this style’s colour palette, splashes of bold colour are also sometimes used, with colourful mosaic tiles or brightly painted walls. Commonly-used terracotta pots add colour to the space, while in keeping with the earthy look.
Water can be used as a feature in a Mediterranean garden, but unlike the nature-inspired ponds of the English landscape garden, these come in the form of a fountain or small courtyard pool.

In some ways, a Mediterranean garden is more about evoking a feeling than recreating a look, with the key ingredients being light, warmth, simplicity and, most importantly, relaxation.

TURNING JAPANESE

Heading east, Japanese gardens follow a similar vein as the Mediterranean style, in that they act as an antidote to the hectic pace of modern life.

Designed with quiet contemplation in mind, Japanese gardens are focused on tranquillity and harmony, imitating the natural countryside on a miniature scale.

There are four essential elements in Japanese garden design – rocks, water, plants and ornaments. When selecting and placing these elements in your own Japanese garden, it’s important to keep in mind the principles of asymmetry, enclosure, borrowed scenery, balance and symbolism.

Japanese gardens tend to be very green, with foliage, form and texture being of greater importance than flowers. For that reason, trees and evergreen plants are very common. However if colour is present, it is likely from Japan’s unofficial national flower, the cherry blossom; the leaves of the maple tree, or azalea flowers.

Additional plants that can be used to recreate the Japanese look at home include bamboo and silver birch. Japanese gardens are designed to be enjoyed year-round so the space needs to be carefully planned in order to look equally beautiful in all seasons.

Another common feature of Japanese gardens is moss, used because of its versatility and resilience. Moss is able to survive and remain green even in harsh conditions, but adequate shade is required for it to really flourish.

Unlike the fountains of the Mediterranean garden style, water in a Japanese garden is made to look natural, with ponds mimicking miniature lakes or streams. Koi ponds have also become a muchcopied element of Japanese garden design.

Sometimes a Japanese garden may not have any water features and rather, water will be represented by pebbles, stones, raked gravel or sand. Sand and pebbles are also often used as paving, while larger boulders may be scattered throughout the space. Stone is also commonly found in the form of stone lanterns, which provide the perfect finishing touch to a Japanese-inspired space.

BALI HAI

Staying in the east but heading a little closer to home, our next stop is the Indonesian island of Bali. A much-loved holiday destination for many, it’s no surprise that many Australians are inspired to create their very own tropical paradise reminiscent of Bali in their own backyard.

In a Balinese garden, plants are used to create a look of lush, tropical greenery. Foliage plants such as cordylines, palms and ferns can be complemented by aglaonema and dieffenbachia, as well as the beautiful, bright colours of heliconias and gingers. A tropical look with palms and colourful understorey planting can be achieved almost anywhere in Australia by choosing foliage plants to suit the climate.

To keep a Balinese-inspired garden lowmaintenance, choose self-cleaning palms such as bangalow or foxtail so that the fronds fall cleanly from the tree and do not require pruning.

The sound of water is used to give a Balinese garden a feeling of tranquillity and peacefulness. If a swimming pool is being incorporated, a water feature is the perfect way to add the calming sound of running water.

Perhaps the most easily-recognised Balineseinspired garden element is the much-copied Bali hut. Usually open sided with a thatched alang alang grass roof, Bali huts are great for poolside shelter. The area that the Bali hut covers can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, from simple Balinese-inspired outdoor furniture to a full-blown outdoor kitchen.

A Balinese garden will often feature statues carved from timber or stone, placed in niches or scattered among greenery. Larger sculptures are also sometimes found in the centre of the garden.

As well as sculptures, Balinese temple flags and umbrellas can also be used as features.

Like in a Japanese garden, bamboo is often used when landscaping in the Balinese style. Bamboo is not only planted, but also used as a material for fences and screens.

AUSTRALIANA

Our journey ends on home soil with Australian native gardens. This style has earned an unfair reputation for being harsh, straggly, grey and even ugly – however it is certainly possible to achieve a beautiful garden using Australian natives.

Native plants got a bad name in some people’s minds in the 1970s after mistakes in suburban gardens. This was often because little thought was given to the suitability of a particular plant to the chosen site or because low-maintenance plants were treated as maintenance-free.

Nowadays, lessons learned, when carefully chosen and placed, native plants can be used to create an enviable garden with year-round appeal not just for humans, but also birds and other animals.

A popular inclusion in a native Australian garden is the macadamia tree, with its soft pinky-white flowers among its evergreen leaves. After the flowers finish, macadamia nuts are formed, often attracting visiting cockatoos.

Another popular and widely-recognised choice is the kangaroo paw. There are many varieties available in differing heights and flower colours.

These can be complemented by wattle, grevillea, banksia and bottlebrush. One of Australia’s most admired flowers and the state floral emblem of New South Wales is the spectacular waratah, producing bright red flowers in spring and attracting a wide variety of
birds.

Native Australian garden design would not be complete without eucalyptus trees. There are more than 800 species available to create your home among the gumtrees, ranging in size from immense, single-trunk, forest trees to the multistemmed shrubs called mallees.

Sydney Water has found that gardens use up to 25 per cent of all household water. Traditionally an icon of the Australian outback, a water tank is now also a must-have in Australian gardens, creating a visual reference to the outback and allowing the garden to be maintained, even in times of water restrictions.

Whichever international style inspires you, when planning your garden it is vital to select plant species that are suited to the soils and climate.

While the species used in your favoured style may not be suitable for your backyard, the look can often still be achieved with alternative varieties.

Whether incorporating select elements of a design style or following the principles to the letter, instead of dreaming of faraway places, take inspiration from any of these unique styles to transform your outdoor space into your dream destination.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:38

The Changing of the Seasons

Transforming your backyard into a year-long liveable outdoor space can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you’re dealing with a limited space or just don’t know where to start. Whether you have a small space or expansive backyard, Bojana Lazarevska provides you with tips for creating an inviting and weather-proof outdoor area all year-round.

No matter the size of the yard, it’s important that it be enjoyable for you and your guests during all seasons. The materials for the furniture, where it is laid out and what is the main focal point are all important in adding beauty to your outdoor space. It is important to remember that the changing of the seasons may have some impact on your outdoor furniture, so choose wisely!

SITTING PRETTY

Comfortable seats that can accommodate family and friends are the key to making your outdoor space inviting and relaxing. Generally, there are four types of patio furniture: wicker, resin, metal or wood. When choosing outdoor furniture, it’s important to pay attention to what types of material will best survive in the elements: some
may be more resistant to wind or rain, while others will last longer in sunshine or intense heat.

In summer, as the days become longer and the weather heats up, more and more time will be spent outdoors soaking up the sun’s rays and hosting summer barbecues. Wood will give your outdoor furniture the most natural appearance and doesn’t hold the heat like plastic or metal do, so it’s perfect for those hot days. Wood is also very durable, but treating it with oils is a must, as it will improve the appearance and act as a shield from the elements, increasing its lifespan significantly.

Wicker will give your outdoor furniture a cosy or rustic look and is durable, but lightweight, and those made from synthetics have increased weather durability and resistance. Weatherresistant wicker can be hosed off and is designed to last outdoors during all seasons.

When it comes to metals, wrought iron is a popular choice as it is weighty, so it will withstand high winds and looks great, however, it does require some maintenance – regular painting is recommended to keep it rust-proof. Iron also has a tendency to heat up when left out in the sun, so it’s best to remain under shade during the summer season. Aluminium is another popular choice as it will not fade or rust, especially if it’s been powder-coated. It requires less maintenance and is lighter and easier to move if you’re a fan of frequently changing things up (or want to keep moving your furniture in and out of the shade).

An outdoor lounge, or couch, is perfect for creating that indoor living room feel outside. It will add to the cosiness of your outdoor living space and is great for relaxing with friends and family. An outdoor lounge gives you the option of facing the main feature, whether that is an outdoor fireplace, a TV, or an elaborate outdoor kitchen.

LET’S GET COOKING

Outdoor kitchens are a must as they are perfect for creating a tranquil outdoor dining experience. Cooking outdoors will also give you the opportunity to entertain your family and friends while doing so, but with an added bonus of less cleaning up! Choosing an outdoor kitchen is as simple as looking at how much space is available in your yard and what kind of cooking you enjoy doing. For the simple cook and those with limited space, a barbecue may be all you need to entertain your guests. More elaborate kitchens, on the other hand, are an entertainer’s dream and the options are endless. You could have an L-shaped kitchen with a dining counter, for guests to sit at, or a kitchen island as a main feature.

Once again it’s important to choose resilient materials for your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchen benches can come in a range of beautiful and durable materials – granite, stainless steel and stone will be the most hard-wearing and look great. Lighting is also very important, as it not only helps to create mood, but it will also ensure that you can see what you’re cooking at night-time (very important!).

MAKING A SPLASH

Pools are a great addition to every outdoor living space as they are not only excellent during the warmer seasons, but make great entertainment areas for guests. However, to make things more accessible year-round, it’s a good idea to invest in a spa that can be used during colder months as well.

A spa gives you the ultimate feeling of relaxation, can be used during all seasons and adds a touch of class to every outdoor living space.

A pool and spa combination creates the perfect backyard refuge, but it’s important to be mindful of space when creating yours. An outdoor kitchen and dining area leading into the pool area will work wonderfully, as will a pool in the middle of the outdoor area acting as the centrepiece.

Adding palm trees and lush vegetation around your pool and spa will create a tropical feel, giving you an illusion of being on a holiday, but also screening you from neighbouring houses.

A range of materials is available for your pool and spa: natural stone will provide a luxurious feel and is long-lasting; stamped concrete offers a variety of patterns and stain colours; and travertine is a high-end choice for pool patios, stays cool underfoot and withstands freezing temperatures, so is a great choice for ensuring year-round comfort.

PERFECTLY ACCESSORISED

Now that you have your outdoor furniture sorted, add some flair and personal touches using accessories. Outdoor rugs and brightly-coloured cushions will help to tie in your outdoor area with your indoors and add comfort. Just make sure you choose a rug that is resistant to mould and is easy to clean, and keep in mind that it might work best for an area that is under cover.

When shopping for cushions, choose ones that are made of water-proof and fade-resistant fabrics. Pillows and cushions with removable covers are convenient accessories and you can change the covers easily to match the seasons!

By choosing hardy, weather-proof fabrics and materials, providing adequate shade/wind protection and having ample space to relax, your outdoor area can be a haven and entertainment hub all year long – not just when the sun is shining.

 

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:38

On The Horizon

After several years of working on projects around the globe and establishing himself as a popular fixture on US television, Jamie Durie has returned to Australia with a number of projects in the works. He speaks with Lara Bailey.

A household name thanks to his high-profile TV roles and knack for landscape design, Jamie Durie has expanded his repertoire over the years, designing outdoor furniture, a skincare range, and dabbling in interior decorating. His latest project, Horizons by Jamie Durie Signature, is a range of rugs created in collaboration with The Rug Collection.

The rugs – including the design ‘Terra Verde’, which Durie is pictured with at left – are inspired by Durie’s globetrotting travels.

“I travel quite a bit these days, so the inspirations have come from horizons all over the world,” he says.

“It’s really about the ocean meeting the sky; the earth meeting the mountains; salt flats meeting the sky. Each rug … gradually runs between two or three colour spectrums, and you can pick up any one of those colours … and align that with some of the other colours within your home … so it’s an effortless way to design.”

INSIDE OUT

Having appeared on 12 different design shows in the US and worked abroad in various locations, Durie is enjoying living primarily in Australia again. At the time of this interview, his show The Outdoor Room was screening its fourth season, and had “gone to 28 countries”.

Reflecting on his career, Durie says his original approach to outdoor design – i.e. conceptualising the backyard as another room of the house, the ‘outdoor room’ – remains a relevant and valued part of his and his team’s attitude towards landscaping and outdoor design.

“I guess that’s always been a part of our philosophy, for [more than] ten years now,” he says.

“Some [people] have said that we [Durie and his team] pioneered the term, which I’m very flattered to hear, but my idea and our whole brand promise is really about connecting people with plants. I think the easiest way to do that is to build destinations, [such as] outdoor lounge rooms, outdoor dining rooms, outdoor kitchens [and so on], where people actually get out into the garden and spend more time in that landscape, and they’re immediately connected to nature, simply through that process.”

BUILDING LUXURY

In addition to having created countless landscapes, Durie has been engaged for projects the world over, and his expertise has come in handy for massivescale, multi-million dollar projects.

One in particular stands out in his mind. “Probably the biggest project we’ve worked on to date would be the Al Barari, in Dubai. That was a $2.4 billion master plan, so it was a huge project, [with] 330-odd villas that range between $8 million and $12 million apiece.

“We did all the landscape architecture for that and it’s been [very successful] – I think there are only three villas left; they’ve all sold.

“I was on my way to exhibit our first range of furniture in Milan in April [2013] and we stopped over for a couple of days in Dubai to go and take a look at the project and it was like a jungle; like an oasis in the middle of the desert – it really is amazing. We were working on that project for five years.”

FASHIONING FURNITURE

Durie’s interest in the melding of indoors and outdoors and his keenness to create has been a natural gateway into furniture design; a field he has recently embraced. It is, he says, his most consuming passion.

“I think definitely the most enjoyable thing that I’m doing right now is furniture design. I absolutely love it and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Unlike a landscape, the furniture pieces will never change. They can’t be manipulated and they could live for ever.”

Durie’s interior furniture line is the result of a collaboration with Riva 1920, a luxury Italian brand that shares Durie’s passion for eco-friendly design.

The Jamie Durie for Riva 1920 line was launched at the Milan Furniture Fair, and the collection included a sofa, stools, a table and shelves.

The high-end collaboration is a considerable departure from his line of outdoor products for Big W. Durie says this reflects the importance he places on providing quality goods at both ends of the price spectrum.

“I think for the most part it’s important to me that good design is accessible to everyone, and so … nine years ago we started designing [outdoor] furniture for our Patio by Jamie Durie range. Initially we felt that this range, which is available at Big W, would really allow the marketplace to get access to good, sustainable design. It allows people to decorate their outdoor spaces the same way they would look at their indoor spaces.

“The new Horizons rugs, I think, are the easiest way to do that, because you’re essentially taking natural, beautiful, inspiration and colour and vibrancy into your home. [The Horizons rugs are] also 100 per cent pure New Zealand wool, and they’re all handmade.”

Durie’s new book, Edible Garden Design is available now, and in addition to his skincare line, People for Plants, he has also launched a new product – a vertical greenwall blanket that allows you to have a garden, regardless of how compact your property is.

There is plenty on the horizon for Durie, and he is looking forward to new challenges and adventures.

“There’s a lot on my plate but I’ve got a really good team around me,” he says.

www.jamiedurie.com

 

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:38

Good Chemistry

While a swimming pool will be an enjoyable addition to your home, it can also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria if not sanitised correctly. To ensure your pool is safe to swim in, Stevie Newbegin speaks to the director at Pool Controls, Liz Hollingdale, for her expert advice on pool sanitation.

Pool ownership is seen as a luxury, and it is. From fitness to leisure, relaxation and entertainment, a swimming pool provides a haven to retreat to in the privacy of your own home. However, with this luxury also comes responsibility. Pool owners must ensure their pool is safe and sanitised, and for many, this can be an overwhelming task.

To simplify pool sanitation, Sydney Pool + Outdoor Design magazine speaks with Liz Hollingdale, director at Pool Controls. Pool Controls has been providing innovative solutions for pool water management for more than 30 years, so Hollingdale is well-versed in the importance of proper pool sanitation, the different sanitisers available and maintaining the correct water chemistry.

BACTERIA BE GONE

Before learning how to sanitise your swimming pool, it’s important to understand why it needs to be done. Learning the risks will ensure you create a safe swimming environment, and don’t put any friends or family members at risk.

“It is vital to sanitise a pool so that harmful pathogens are destroyed. Otherwise, serious illness, and even death, can result,” says Hollingdale.

“[Examples of illness include] amoebic meningitis, giardia, cryptosporidiosis and pseudomonas, which often manifest as swimmer’s ear and skin infections.”

According to Hollingdale, bacteria can enter a pool via the air, bird droppings, and most commonly, on the bodies of swimmers. From pets, to debris and sick swimmers, there is a range of contaminants that can make their way into your pool. By properly treating your pool water with a sanitising chemical, you can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and keep your pool safe.

As well as illness, bacteria also need to be removed to protect your pool from damage.

Chemistry

While a swimming pool will be an enjoyable addition to your home, it can also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria if not sanitised correctly. To ensure your pool is safe to swim in, Stevie Newbegin speaks to the director at Pool Controls, Liz Hollingdale, for her expert advice on pool sanitation.

Good

“The pool infrastructure itself can be damaged if the chemical balance of a pool is incorrect. For example, if a pool is incorrectly sanitised, algae may grow uncontrollably and may colonise filters. Serious algae problems can be difficult to resolve and can make the pool very unattractive,” says Hollingdale.

So how do sanitisers work? According to Hollingdale, for a sanitiser to be effective, it must be able to kill pathogens quickly and effectively and there must also be a residual effect to protect the pool as it is being used.

“Essentially, molecules of the disinfectant are capable of passing through the cell walls of waterborne bacteria and once inside the bacteria cell, set about oxidising the various enzymes found there, resulting in the death of bacteria,” says Hollingdale.

TICK OF APPROVAL

There are many different sanitation methods marketed and available, but, according to Hollingdale, sanitation methods have to be approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) in Australia.

“Popular and approved sanitation methods include the use of chlorine, bromine and ozone, or combinations of these,” says Hollingdale.

“Several other alternative sanitation methods are extensively marketed, but not all are approved for use in Australia.”

Chlorine and bromine

The most commonly used chemicals for pool sanitation are chlorine and bromine, as they are both strong oxidising agents and provide a lasting residual, which means they can remain in the water while the pool is in use and will continually protect against bacteria.

“Chlorine is a strong oxidant and it works by chemically ‘burning’ bacteria. It is the most commonly used pool sanitiser in Australia because it is effective, has a proven track record and is not too expensive. The long-term effect of this sanitiser has been studied extensively and the parameters for safe use are well-known,” says Hollingdale.

Chlorine can be added to the pool in granular, liquid or tablet form. Granular chlorine is convenient, easy to store and affordable, but
can’t be dosed automatically. Liquid chlorine can’t be stored for long periods, but can be dosed automatically through an electronically controlled feeder, and tablets can be automatically dispensed in an erosion feeder, where the chlorine will dissolve over time.

Pool Controls has found that, if used correctly, chlorine ensures highly effective swimming pool sanitation and the elimination of potentially lifethreatening pathogens. However, as chlorine is a powerful oxidant, it is essential that it is used correctly.

“People often complain about the chlorine smell in swimming pools. Ironically, what they smell is usually chloramines, which are produced when insufficient chlorine has been added,” says Hollingdale.

If there is insufficient chlorine in your pool, you may need to ‘shock’ your pool water, otherwise known as super chlorination.

“Super chlorination is when chlorine levels are raised to a much higher level than normal.

This makes sure that all bacteria are totally eliminated from the water. The extra chlorine also removes chloramines. These chloramines are the compounds that smell and can cause eye and skin irritations.”

State health authorities measure sanitiser levels as parts per million (ppm), and Hollingdale explains that a safe level for chlorine is between 3ppm and 5ppm. That said, she believes it’s better to measure chlorine by the oxidation reduction potential (ORP).

“Chlorine operates as an oxidant, and this is how it actually destroys the harmful bacteria. So, a preferable way to measure the effective chlorine is by measuring the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) of the water. This is done electronically, giving a reading in millivolts. Generally, an ORP of 650mV will provide effective sanitation, killing bacteria in one to two seconds.”

Similar to chlorine, bromine is also a strong oxidant that works well killing bacteria. “One advantage of bromine is that is does not form chloramines and is generally perceived to smell better. For this reason, it is often used in indoor spas, where ventilation can be an issue. It is usually a bit more expensive than chlorine, which makes its use in large pools less attractive,” says Hollingdale.

Salt chlorinators

Salt chlorinators offer an alternative way to sanitise your pool with chlorine, and have been very popular in Australia for many years.
Hollingdale believes the reason for their popularity is because once set-up correctly, a saltwater system is capable of steadily producing sufficient chlorine to sanitise a domestic pool.

“Pool owners don’t have to hand-dose their pool with chemicals, and for many this represents a very convenient option,” she says.

Hollingdale finds that hand-dosing chlorine is very ‘hit and miss’, and most pool owners aren’t really sure how much granular or liquid chlorine to add or how to test their pool water chemistry.

“There are much more efficient options on the market these days. Chemical feeders can be fully-automated and some are able to analyse the water chemistry and dose the pool with precisely the amount of chlorine needed.”

For this reason, Hollingdale finds that it is advantageous to choose a saltwater chlorinator that monitors the water chemistry and controls the addition of chlorine; otherwise you may have some adverse effects like chlorine build-up in winter or inability to satisfy chlorine demand in summer.

So, how do they work? Hollingdale explains that saltwater chlorinators produce chlorine gas from dissolved salt (sodium chloride), although mineral chloride salt such as magnesium chloride can also be used.

“As the saltwater (containing dissolved chloride ions) passes over an electrolytic cell, chlorine gas is produced. The chlorine gas immediately dissolves in the water, producing a chlorine residual, which sanitises the water.”

Ozone

Another sanitisation agent that is even more powerful than chlorine is ozone. Ozone is a naturally occurring gas formed by the sun’s
ultraviolet rays interacting with oxygen atoms and molecules. It can also be formed by a large electrical discharge.

Injected into the water via a compressor or venturi system, ozone is highly effective, and starts to work immediately as it hits the water, killing bacteria and oxidising contaminants.

“Ozone is an even more powerful oxidant than chlorine, oxidising bacteria to death,” says Hollingdale.

Despite its effectiveness at killing all pathogens in its path, Hollingdale explains that ozone is also highly toxic to humans and all traces must be removed from the water before anyone returns to the pool. This means that ozone systems require a chlorine residual to ensure ongoing safe levels of sanitation for pool users.

“A chlorine residual should be maintained in the water to ensure there is ongoing bacterial control. The system will require less chlorine to maintain a safe residual than if chlorine was being used as the primary sanitiser. Therefore, a combination of methods may be the best approach – for example ozone with a chlorine residual,” says Hollingdale.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Before deciding on the right sanitiser for you, make sure that you do your research and understand the system you are installing.

Hollingdale advises that pool owners educate themselves and get advice from trustworthy sources such as the APVMA, which is the government agency responsible for ensuring that registered sanitisers meet Australian Standards.

It is also important to understand how your sanitiser will differ if you have an indoor or outdoor pool, or if your pool is heated.

“An outdoor pool will almost always be better ventilated than the best designed indoor pool, meaning that any chloramines present will have less of an impact. However, ultraviolet light from the sun will result in considerable loss of free chlorine, which should be protected with the addition of stabiliser. In outdoor pools, ultraviolet light can destroy unstabilised chlorine and reduce its effectiveness as a sanitiser,” says Hollingdale.

“A stabiliser is isocyanuric acid and it combines with free chlorine to form a more stable molecule that is less susceptible to ultraviolet light. A stabiliser is often described as ‘sunscreen’ for your pool. It greatly prolongs the life of chlorine in the water, meaning that you have to add less chlorine to your pool to achieve and maintain safe levels of sanitisation.

“For people using saltwater chlorinators, this can be vital because they generate chlorine quite slowly (between 15g and 40g an hour). If this chlorine is unstabilised, it may dissipate too quickly to build up a safe residual and the pool water may not be safe to swim in.”

IN BALANCE

Once you have a sanitation system in place, as well as your chosen filters and pool cleaners, you need to ensure that you monitor your pool water.

Sanitation effectiveness can be reduced when water is not chemically balanced.

“There are a variety of test kits available to check that various aspects of water chemistry are maintained in the correct range,” says
Hollingdale.

“Balanced water is water where the following aspects of water chemistry are kept in the appropriate ranges. Chlorine 3–5ppm, pH 7.4–7.6, total alkalinity 80–120ppm and stabiliser 50ppm.”

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline water is, and things like topping up your pool, rain, or lots of pool use can change the pH level in your pool water. If your pH level is not within the above range, it will inhibit the sanitising effect of chlorine, so both your chlorine and pH levels should be checked once a week, or more regularly if your pool is in high use.

Total alkalinity is a measure of bi-carbonates, carbonates and hydroxides in the water, and it can lead to the erosion of pool surfaces and equipment as well as make pH levels unstable.

Calcium hardness measures the amount of dissolved calcium in the water and can lead to corrosion on pool equipment. Both total alkalinity and calcium hardness can be measured less frequently, and it is advised you do this through a pool shop.

No matter how you choose to sanitise your pool, it’s important to make sure you administer the sanitiser correctly, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and maintain your sanitation routine to ensure ongoing protection. If you follow these guidelines, you will be left with the ultimate luxury – a private haven to relax in and enjoy.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:37

The Sweet Smell of Relaxation

Take relaxation to the next level with aromatherapy specifically designed for spas and hot tubs. Elena Papargiris discovers the soothing and therapeutic benefits associated with particular aromas and essential oils that will help you unwind and further enhance your home spa experience.

Imagine sinking into a soothing spa after a long day and being able to dial in the mood you wish to experience as you soak in and inhale sweet aromatic oils.

The ancient, traditional remedy of aromatherapy has long been associated with being able to stimulate the mind to elicit that much-desired, calm state of relaxation.

Aromatherapy specifically designed for spas and hot tubs offers a range of health and wellbeing benefits. It can be dispensed into spa water via specialised forms so that the clarity of water remains consistent and residue is kept to a minimum.

The sweet scents combine with warm water and through the spa’s bubbling jets to soften your skin, influence your mood and in-turn increase the enjoyment and relaxation you experience after using your spa.

WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?

Traditionally a form of alternative, natural therapy, aromatherapy dates back to thousands of years ago. The relaxation and altering of one’s state-of-mind induced by evaporating fragrances has been a therapy known and implemented since ancient times.

Using organic resources extracted from leaves, flowers, roots, bark, seeds and buds, otherwise known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds, aromatherapy is designed to help you relax, and may assist with minor discomforts or ailments.

The specific fragrances of essential oils have been proven to assist with colds, insomnia, migraines, muscular pain and relieve stress or anxiety when inhaled, as aromatherapy is believed to trigger the limbic system of the brain
linked with emotion.

Be mindful before selecting a scent, and be wary of products that contain synthetic fragrances as they will not have the same therapeutic properties as essential oils.

SPA AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy products specifically designed for spas and hot tubs are most commonly available as essential fragrant oils in the form of hardened, dissolvable beads or crystals that disperse into warm water and dissolve, releasing your choice of fragrance, and are formulated to keep your spa in good condition. Other more traditional forms include floating candles and oils.

If you already own a spa, first check if it contains a built-in aromatherapy dispenser, and if you are yet to invest in a spa or hot tub, it is well worth investing in one that includes such a port.

Aromatherapy canisters are used by many Australian-made spas including Signature and Lanark. Built-in dispensers will take specific spa aromatherapy cartridges that slot right into the dispenser, or can be filled with beads or crystals designed for spas.

Built-in dispensers are a preferred option for aromatherapy dispersion, as they’re specifically designed to release calming or mood-enhancing aromas without harshly affecting the chemistry of the water and are highly convenient.

The most popular, highest-quality beads or crystals for purchase allow the scent to be dispersed through air bubbles so that the spa water remains clear, as you sit-back and relax without a worry, and indulge in your spa aromatherapy experience. The system relies on air instead of liquid to infuse aromatic bubbles into the water.

If you already own a spa that does not feature a built-in dispenser, you can also purchase specifically formulated aromatherapy scents that mix straight into the spa water. These crystals or oils will relax and soothe tired muscles with emollients, minerals and softeners, providing further benefits in addition to the aromatherapy scent.

Most products designed for spa aromatherapy will not cause clouding of the water and will be made to dissolve effectively without interfering with water chemistry levels, so ensure you’re choosing products specifically designed for spas or hot tubs, as other generic aromatherapy products may cause residue, clouding or interfere with your heaters and pumps.

THE BENEFITS

There is a scent available for whatever mood you’re hoping to provoke through your spa aromatherapy experience, so it’s good to know what you’re choosing aside from a preferred smell.

In general, orange and citrus spa and hot tub aromatherapy scents will be invigorating, vanilla is associated with comfort, coconut scents are thought to heighten sensuality, berry scents are likened to relaxation, and apple aromas should bring about a feeling of euphoria. In addition, studies have shown that lavender and rosemary decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.

To induce a greater calming sense, whether you’re stressed or just want to increase the relaxing experience of indulging in your spa, opt for lemon balm or mandarin. Other relaxation inducing scents include juniper, bergamot, clay, jasmine, lavender, pine, fir and spruce.

Eucalyptus will assist with cold and flu, and tangerine, lavender or basil are good options for aiding insomnia, while peppermint and basil are said to be great for assisting with migraines. If you have sore or tired muscles, opt for rosemary, lavender or nutmeg.

One of the other more practical bonuses of spa aromatherapy is the masking of harsh chemical smells. If you are usually bothered by the aroma of chlorine or other chemicals, you will find this a simple, yet effective benefit.

Delve deeper into the relaxation your spa or hot tub can provide. Aromatherapy products specifically formulated for spas and hot tubs are becoming increasingly popular for many reasons, including the pleasant smell, the therapeutic qualities and for making skin feel smoother and more refreshed after your spa experience.

Allow yourself to completely unwind and get the most out of your spa by investing in the spa aromatherapy products that best suit your spa or hot tub.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:37

A Lap Of Luxury

Perfect for exercise and ideally suited to narrow lots, lap pools have much to offer the keen swimmer – and those short on space! Lara Bailey seeks out expert advice about the many and varied benefits of lap pools.

A lap pool provides the best of both worlds when it comes to pool design: fun and fitness. If you’re keen on using your pool for exercising as well as relaxation, a lap pool will tick all the boxes.

John Storch, from A Total Concept Landscape Architects & Pool Designers, is well-versed in the advantages and potential pitfalls of lap pools, and here he shares his tips and knowledge with Sydney Pool + Outdoor Design.

FAR-LAP

Storch says it’s important to ascertain whether your property is suitable for a lap pool before committing to the design.

“A lap pool is often suited to a long, narrow garden area and where a property owner wants to minimise the intrusion of the pool into the rest of the external space areas,” says Storch.

Designed to comfortably accommodate an adult swimming laps with room to tumble-turn, lap pools need to have adequate depth, length and width, he says.

“Lap pools are installed where an owner is a serious swimmer. Generally a lap pool should be in increments of standard recognised land widths and lengths.

“Lap pools may also be incorporated as an extended laneway within a standard family pool.”

Storch advises that common lengths for domestic lap pools are 12.5 metres, 15 metres, and 25 metres. He says the width of public lap pools is generally between two and three metres, and “often narrower in domestic pools”.

“The water in a lap pool is usually of a uniform 1500mm depth. This allows for an adult to easily undertake a tumble-turn at either end of the pool, but [it] can make them less user-friendly for children and pets, especially if a ladder is incorporated in the pool in place of [a] swim-out and steps.”

LAP TIME

If you have the inclination to exercise and your heart is set on a lap pool, you’ll need to consider what will best suit your block, and your tastes! Think about what will work in your yard and complement your home, as well as suit your lifestyle.

Options for lap pools include indoor installation for year-round use, a lap pool that extends from a normal family pool, or a lap pool with a spa. Storch also says lap pools can be tailored to suit the style of home they will be sitting alongside, and that particular features can add a personalised touch to a lap pool.

“Sometimes the architecture of the home may suggest the style to be used for the lap pool,” he says.

“For instance, a classical style such as Edwardian, Federation or even Californian bungalow may be best suited to a geometric design incorporating circular swim-outs [located centrally] along the length of the lap pool, [while] a contemporary … home may be best suited to a geometric lap pool with a simple, clean, hard line design, possibly incorporating an infinity-edge where a view beyond the property line is aesthetic, such as a lake, harbour or panoramic hillside to draw the eye beyond and to give a strong architectural element.

“A home located in a bushland setting can accommodate a bush or tropical freeform lap pool design, where the surrounding vegetation and natural organic shapes may be visually incorporated into the design. Informal or geometric lines, undulating levels and sympathetic ‘earthy’ use of materials are the design components of a native bush lap pool and garden.”

He adds that “terrace homes and gardens [and sloping blocks] often lend themselves to this type of pool design … to minimise excavation where the pool can run across the slope, rather than at right angles to it”.

For those who want a lap pool for exercise but don’t want to compromise on having a place for the kids to play, a hybrid pool provides a middle-ground.

“Often a client wants a lap pool but also wants the pool to be suitable for general family use,” says Storch.

“A hybrid pool with features of several different types of pool may be an option. If the space allows … or if other uses are necessary for the garden areas (such as informal cricket pitches and football fields for the non-swimming months), the family pool may be designed with an extended length through only one side of the pool to create a swimming pool lane and barge out at one end to a more traditional shape.

“This will limit the intrusion of the pool into other garden areas down to about 1800mm overall, allowing for a long swimming lane.

The bulged section of the pool can then incorporate water features for aesthetic reasons. Benches, beaches and swim-outs are often provided to the entire internal perimeter of the bulged section of the pool for the shallow water use of younger children and socialising for teenagers.”

To ensure your lap pool is useable all yearround, you can incorporate it into an internal home gym, or provide shelter from the elements.

Another idea is the addition of a spa. “A spa for the cold winter months or for relaxing after swimming laps may be a nice addition to a lap pool and can be incorporated either into the bulged section of a lap pool or may be constructed as a standalone feature.

“Often, where a spa is incorporated into a pool, the two can be designed at the same level so that the pool and spa are visually read as one, rather than two separate structures, or alternatively, the spa may be elevated above the lap pool to create a cascade feature from the spa to the pool.”

TO LAP OR NOT TO LAP

Despite the aesthetic and practical benefits proffered by lap pools, there are some pitfalls to the design that should be considered, and Storch points out that lap pools are not for everyone.

Below are his tips for addressing potential issues with lap pools.

“Lap pools that are less than three metres wide may have issues with wave action,” he says.

“Similar to if you are in a bathtub making waves, the container (i.e. the bath or a narrow pool) is not big enough to disperse the wave action and water spills out. To ensure water is not lost there are several ways to disperse the wave energy.

“The easier option [is] to widen the pool [but] if your property, budget or design does not allow [for] a wider pool then there are many other ways to deal with the excess wave energy generated through swimming laps. These ideas can be used in isolation or together to reduce water loss through wave action.

“[First, you can] install the pool with [a] raised coping area. This means an increased freeboard between the water level and base of coping overhang, which will help to restrict the water splashing over the edge. This can be done by incorporating any necessary retaining walls or desired feature walls as a vertical extension of the pool wall.

“[Secondly, you can] install deeper coping pieces. With lamination of tiles becoming commonplace for domestic projects, tile thickness can be increased twice or thrice, creating a much deeper overhang that effectively bounces the water back into the pool.”

“[Thirdly, you can] install flush water grating systems. In this system, the water is allowed to finish flush with the coping top and splash out of the pool then drop into a surrounding gutter system where it is collected and recirculated back to the swimming pool.”

“[Lastly, you can] install an infinity-edge pool. An ‘infinity-’ or ‘wet-edge’ swimming pool allows the wave action to spill out of the swimming pool where the water falls into a tank that then acts as a balance tank and recirculates into the swimming pool.”

Other considerations Storch highlights include ensuring your lap pool is well-designed so it doesn’t absorb too much of your garden space; bearing in mind if you have lanes painted in your pool they will require repainting every few years; and that lap pools won’t necessarily increase your property’s value if you plan to sell, because “lap pools don’t suit everyone”.

That said, he foresees the popularity of lap pools in New South Wales will continue.

“With the tendency towards higher-density living [and] tougher authority development controls, [plus] private exterior spaces becoming smaller and more people expecting these areas to be utilised in many different ways, laps pools are allowing more room for the inclusion of other uses such as alfresco areas, outdoor rooms and external kitchenettes – which are also becoming a must-have trend,” says Storch.

Ultimately, a lap pool can provide a range of benefits. Apart from the obvious fitness use, a lap pool can enhance the visual appeal of your yard and, thanks to the ability to integrate a lap pool with a family pool, won’t eliminate space for entertaining or for children to play.

Before committing to any type of pool though, it’s important to engage an experienced and knowledgeable designer, to prevent the issues listed in this article.

Once all the practicalities are taken care of, there’ll be nothing left to do but jump in your pool … and lap it up!

Images courtesy of A Total Concept Landscape Architects & Pool Designers

Thursday, 19 December 2013 02:35

Just My Type

Deciding on whether to have a geometric, freeform or natural pool is one of the biggest – and earliest – decisions to make in the design process. Lara Bailey compares and contrasts the different types of pools available to help you narrow the field.

Deciding on a type of pool design and shape requires more thought than what style you most like and the space you have available.

Among the considerations that will need your attention are: the intended use of your pool; your budget; the architectural style and character of your house, and any council requirements that may affect your decision.

Things like whether your pool will be for fitness and/or relaxing; for entertaining or for keeping children occupied, and whether you want your pool to be an aesthetic addition to your outdoor space as well as a practical one will impact the type of pool you choose.

While there are different shapes and features to various pool types, pools are often characterised as being geometric or a ‘traditional’ style, freeform, or natural. Here, Sydney Pool + Outdoor Design looks at a range of pool types to help shed light on the benefits of a range of different pools and the types of backyards and lifestyles for which they are most appropriate.

TRADITIONAL VALUES

Geometric-shaped pools are also referred to as traditional pools, as the simple yet sophisticated straight edges and clearly-defined corners of geometric pools represent a classic and longadmired aesthetic.

While the most common geometric shape is the timeless rectangle, there are other options for geometric pools. Other geometric shapes can include square pools, triangle-shaped pools, L-shaped pools, and T-shaped pools.

Another design is the Roman pool. The enduring popularity of this design is a testament to the longevity of traditional pool shapes,  and the style naturally lends itself to Tuscan-inspired properties and sweeping rural abodes.

Geometric design is practical, but by no means dull. A geometric pool can be designed to fit into the space you have available, and there are plenty of options for beautifying your pool and its surrounds.

If the sleek symmetry of a geometric pool isn’t adding enough visual interest to your backyard, you could opt for special touches like an infinity edge (in which the water level on at least one side of the pool is flush with the pool’s edge, providing the illusion that the edge of the pool stretches into infinity), or you could include a spa either at one end (to create an L-shape) or off the centre of one side of the pool, creating a T-shape.

The depth, angles, shape and size of a geometric pool can be adapted to suit your tastes, needs and the nature of your property. If you have the space and budget to create a unique design with jutting angles that packs a visual punch, you can embrace your imagination and create a one-of-a-kind geometric design.

Geometric pools – particularly rectangular ones – offer the space to swim laps and are ideal for keeping fit. They can also provide space for children to play, and are large enough for relaxing on a floating lounge on a hot summer’s day.

Due to their typically straightforward design, geometric pools can blend seamlessly with houses with varying architectural features.

Whether your home is a stylish and minimalistic contemporary one that calls for an understated and elegant pool, or a lavish and authentic traditional homestead, a geometric pool can be a desirable option. In addition to the design details listed above, geometric pools can benefit from embellishments such as water features and statues.

The beauty of the geometric pool lies within its flexibility. Whether you seek a chic modern pool that incongruously blends with the landscape or a statement design that enhances your backyard, there is a geometric pool design to suit you. Custom designs will take into account the intended use of the pool, the land available and your budget to help you achieve an outstanding pool.

FREE YOURSELF

At the other end of the design scale is the freeform pool. Unlike the simple, structured style of a geometric design, just about anything goes with a freeform pool. Natural-looking, freeform pools are defined by flowing curves and lines, and more closely resemble a naturally occurring body of water than the clean-lines and straight edges of a geometric pool.

Freeform pools – also referred to as ‘natural’ or ‘non-traditional’ pools – can be designed to suit the style of home and yard in which they will be situated, and this unique tailoring can result in a beautiful one-of-a-kind pool. A talented and experienced designer will be able to ensure your freeform pool works with the visual and geographical features of your block to make the pool fit in effortlessly and look as though it is part of the natural landscape.

Often surrounded by natural stone and/or plants, freeform pools - not to be confused with swim ponds, which are also referred to as ‘natural’ pools - can add a touch of the tropical and exotic to the everyday. Like geometric pools, they are versatile and adaptable. Also, if you like the free-flowing features but aren’t a fan of the tropical look, you can choose to have subtle, neutral paving and understated landscaping surrounding the pool.

Freeform pools can be ideal for small and large spaces. Perfect for relaxing; larger models can also be used for exercise. Freeform designs are suitable for odd-shaped or asymmetrical spaces as they can be designed to fit the area and do not require the symmetry of a more formal design.

The curves of freeform pools can be utilised creatively, really enabling your imagination to run wild. They can be used to house plants, statues, or water features, and can be designed to blend beautifully with the pool.

Freeform pools can accommodate beach entries, which enhance the holiday-feel of the design and make access and exit safer for young children.

Freeform pools can also feature swim-up bars, in-pool seating and umbrellas for that added touch of luxury. Kidney-shaped and figure-8 pools can technically be classified as freeform pools as they do not follow straight geometric lines, however due to the ebb and flow in popularity of these shapes over the years, they are not ‘non-traditional’ in the same way unique freeform pool designs are.

If you’re keen on a freeform design but not ready to jump in the deep end, these tried and tested styles could be just what you’re looking for.

As with geometric pools, a spa can be included in a freeform pool. Often located off one side or made to resemble a smaller version of the pool, this helps ensure the pool can be used yearround and enjoyed in the cooler months.

Because the surrounds (i.e. coping, landscaping, paving, etc) of a freeform pool can vary greatly, freeform can be a great option for homes at both ends of the scale – those sprawling estates with room for a spacious lagoon-like swimming pool – right through to more modest abodes with space for a stylish and unique pool on a smaller scale.

Whether you engage a company to take care of the design for you or have your own ideas for your unique freeform pool, you’ll be able to reflect on and enjoy having a one-off tailored design for years to come.

THE FAST LANE

A truly timeless and perfectly practical pool is the lap pool. Suitable for narrow blocks and those short on space, lap pools provide seamless elegance and offer an excellent avenue for exercise.

A lap pool can be positioned alongside a home, maximising the available space without encroaching on the backyard.

Typically simplistic in nature, lap pools can retain an understated elegance when complemented by minimal landscaping and hardscaping, or take on a more glamorous and luxurious feel if accompanied by a sprawling alfresco space, seating and a spa.

Sydney Pool + Outdoor Design takes an in-depth look at lap pools on page 34.

BACK TO NATURE

A less common type of pool is the swim pond – which can also be referred to as a natural pool – and is characterised by two connected pools. One of these pools is used for swimming, while the other is a shallow pool that is home to a range of aquatic plants.

The plants are used to manage contaminants such as bacteria, and therefore negate the need for a chemical maintenance regime to keep the water clean, healthy and safe for use.

Swim ponds can provide spectacular visual impact in a backyard and are notable for their ecofriendliness, low level of required maintenance and gentleness on the skin, but are at this stage a niche option rather than a mainstream design.

COMMITMENT ISSUES

Before committing to a pool design, do your research and look into what you like best. If you have your heart set on something, discuss it with your designer to find out what is doable with the size, shape and slope of your block – and what will work with your budget.

Consider the practical as well as the aesthetic benefits of your preferred options and make sure you’re aware of any technical difficulties or potential issues before making any big decisions.

If you simply can’t make your mind up whether to go for a traditional or contemporary pool design, you could look at a style that offers the best of both worlds. For example, traditional rectangular pools with one curved long edge, or with rounded corners. When you enlist an experienced and capable designer and builder, the possibilities for personalising and tailoring a design truly are vast.

Deciding on a pool design is exciting, so take the time to consider your options and once you’re happy, you can dive right in!

Monday, 09 December 2013 00:48

Freedom Pools

A PICTURESQUE HAVEN

WATERFRONT ENTERTAINING

Located on the waterfront, this picturesque property houses a world-class swimming pool, spa and a spacious deck and outdoor entertaining area that can be enjoyed year-round.

When the homeowners approached Freedom Pools they had three requests. Most importantly, they wanted a functional space that could be utilised by the whole family, secondly, they wanted a space that would make regular entertaining achievable, and thirdly, they wanted their outdoor area to be absolutely breathtaking!

The pool was designed by the homeowners, and they worked in collaboration with Freedom Pools to determine the ultimate finishes, and to bring their dream space to life. The property’s finished backyard perfectly complements the house, with the timber used on the deck matching the wood used in the home’s design, while the bluestone tiles were used to break-up the timber, and creates a beautiful contrast between materials.

Established in 1978, Freedom Pools is a family-owned and -operated business that prides itself on the personal touch the team brings to each project. The company builds about 90 pools in Sydney and the Central Coast each year, and specialises in challenging projects.

Freedom Pools is a multi-award winning company that is consistently recognised by some of New South Wales’ most prestigious award committees.

As well as designing and building pools, the Freedom Pools team can also help with landscape design.

 

LOW-MAINTENANCE LIVING

A STUNNING OUTDOOR CENTREPIECE

Corey Fox Landscaping has created a useable entertaining space perfect for family living. Modern materials and an open-plan pool surrounding ensure the area will be enjoyed for years to come.

Corey Fox worked with the clients to design the project, meaning the final product meets their needs for a spacious, low-maintenance yard suited to entertaining and relaxed living.

The company breathed new life into the property by updating the existing pool with new pipe work, hydrostatic valves, and LED lighting.

The pool surrounding features ‘Classic Stone’ travertine tiles in a stretcher bond pattern contrasted with 136mm x 19mm Australian spotted gum hardwood decking. Corey Fox Landscaping has incorporated low-maintenance, hardwearing plants including Magnolia ‘Little Gem’, Lomandra ‘Little Con’, Bromeliads, Agave, and Cordyline rubra, which give the garden a tropical appearance.

Corey Fox Landscaping can create a pool that will be the centrepiece of your backyard. The team specialises in pool coping, waterline tiles, modern pool surrounds, and all aspects of structural landscaping. With a sound knowledge of modern materials and a creative eye for detail, Corey Fox Landscaping can design and construct an attractive pool area that suits your needs and landscape.

Established in 2009, Corey Fox Landscaping is based in Cronulla and works throughout Sydney. The company offers services including turf establishment, garden maintenance, irrigation, decking and boardwalks, pool surrounds, retaining walls, paving, and excavation.

As Australian families spend so much time in the outdoors, Corey Fox Landscaping understands that it is essential to have a practical and aesthetically pleasing entertaining area that can be enjoyed all year-round.

 

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