Have A Seat
Pools and outdoor living areas aren’t just a place to play – they’re also a place to unwind, relax and spend time with family and friends. Here, Kirrily Ireland sits down with Gavin Bazley, director of Aquastone Pools and Landscapes, to find out how pool owners can incorporate seating into their pool area and backyard to maximise entertaining potential.
Whether you have a pool, thinking of installing one, or simply working with a backyard area that needs a bit of TLC, taking comfort levels into consideration is vital if you want to boost your home’s value and ensure it’s a welcoming place for yourself and guests. Through innovation and clever solutions, pool and outdoor seating options are at a premium, allowing homeowners to transform their outdoor spaces into true oases.
ON THE LEDGE OF GLORY
Aquastone Pools and Landscapes specialises in inground concrete swimming pools, and “with concrete pools the options are [a]plenty”. Bazley says, “Pools can be designed and constructed to have many customised seating areas … the most common and popular [option is] in-built pool seating areas that are formed when building the pool. They can be large ‘shelf’ areas where people can sit and kids can play, or they can be seats built into the deep end of a pool where people can sit and [relax].” Essentially, the pool’s internal surface is moulded to form the seat, without any additional furniture or features required.
The easiest way to incorporate these shelf or ledge areas into your pool is to work them into the initial plans. At the bare minimum, having a bench along the deep end is a great way to cater to swimmers of all ages, providing a place of refuge for a brave tyke paddling their way from the shallow end to depths unknown, or a place of rest for the enthusiastic lap swimmer. “It’s always great to have lots of areas in and around a pool to suit everyone when entertaining – steps, shallow ledges, in-built seats, and alfresco shade structures all add areas where people of all ages can sit and enjoy!” Bazley says. “From personal experience, ledge areas are the most used areas of the pool.”
Not only will these seating areas accommodate family and guests, but they’ll also give your pool dimension and points of interest, transforming it from a simple hole of water in the ground into a lively entertainment zone all on its own. There are no limits, even if you believe you’re dealing with limited space. “We recently did a small plunge pool with a large seating area,” Bazley explains. “… This same pool has a beautiful spa integrated into it with more seating – so this small and compact pool really is built to maximise entertaining options.”
DIVE RIGHT IN
While in-built pool seating and ledges can certainly be appreciated on their own, to utilise these features fully you might consider adding in-pool furniture for extra comfort and versatility, such as a lounger that sits on the ledge. This is a particularly appealing option for the pool owner who wishes to use their ledge as a place to relax, but finds reclining on hard concrete and tiles less than ideal. “To have the in-pool loungers, you need a shallow area for them to sit,” Bazley says. “They can be pulled in and out of the pool, so the shallow area can double as a play area for small children! The water needs to be a certain depth, so this needs to be considered during the construction phase if the client is wanting to have in-pool loungers.”
The comfort doesn’t have to stop in the shallow end, either. For those keen to brave the deeper end, today’s in-pool seating products have come a long way from inflatable lilos – although these have also evolved into fun shapes and colours, livening up pool parties and even the more mellow of backyard activities. Bazley says, “We have done a couple of jobs recently where we installed stainless steel bar stools – these are great for entertaining and create a real resort feel.”
In-pool barstools open up a world of outdoor entertaining possibilities, and can be installed into an existing pool, perfect for those who missed out on inbuilt pool seating during the initial build. Your guests won’t have to put down their drink as they take a dunk, and summertime will be made even cooler as you sit submerged in your pool all day long. You could even turn your pool edge into a swim-up bar, “the perfect drawcard for poolside entertaining”. Best of all, “stainless steel barstools are great as they shouldn’t rust if manufactured and installed properly”, so you won’t have to worry about any strenuous maintenance.
AN ALLURING ALFRESCO
Using outdoor seating to bring indoor comforts to the outside world has become a popular trend, whether you have a pool or not. “People love to have areas to sit outside of the pool as well,” Bazley agrees, “and we have seen a lot of clients doing shade structures with outdoor furniture to give a place to relax out of the harsh sun! Poolside beanbags and daybed lounges are also very popular for the resort feel.”
There are a number of ways to achieve an alfresco living space. Just like pools, bench seating can be built into the bones of your backyard, including a deck or paved area, which “can be custom designed to suit [your family’s] requirements”. You could work a bench around a certain focal point, such as a barbecue or firepit, or along the edges of a garden bed, for seamless inclusion.
Alternatively, purchasing loose furniture “that can be moved around creates flexibility and options”. “You can move things around to suit the number of people you are entertaining,” Bazley elaborates. “You can [also] mix and match, and you can update [your outdoor look] with ease.”
Whether you’re improving your entertaining space out on the back deck, or want to take a more leisurely approach to pool time, outdoor seating is a must-have. Speak to your pool builder about the myriad options, or research furniture suppliers to get the most enjoyment out of your pool and alfresco.