When we talk about pool landscaping in New Zealand, we must consider the whole ambience of the area, including all the features that surround it.
Great landscape design will not only upgrade the functionality of the area but can effectively change the whole feel of your outdoor space. Even simple changes can really add to the 'wow factor' of your home to make it the inviting area that you've always wanted to use and show off.
Whether you are looking for an amazing space to entertain friends and family, a decadent oasis or anything in between then great pool landscaping is the key.
Whatever you wish to do with your outdoor space, it will benefit from well constructed and attractive features. Creative ideas can bring it all together to make the whole outside area feel well-coordinated and welcoming.
There are huge benefits to upgrading your pool area. Effectively done, it can easily be what takes your garden from good to breathtaking.
Taken from our pool design experience, here are some tips and tricks to get started:
1 / Have A Plan
Design the whole area at once so that all the landscaping features complement each other. When you take the time to plan & pull together all the aspects you want, the final landscape will feel cohesive & unified.
A pool is a noticeable feature in itself so it's important to maximise the impact the whole area has and make it an awesome first impression.
Landscape design around your pool ultimately aims to make it more than just a swimming pool. By adding features such as decking, furniture, paving, lighting, and plants and ensuring the safety features such as fencing and gates are not intrusive, it is entirely possible to make a beautiful, safe and enjoyable space.
For more detail about pool decking, I recommend the blog 'Pool Decking: A Guide to Decking Out Your Swimming Pool' https://poolonomics.com/pool-decking/
2 / Focus on Function
Everybody is different so it's important to consider how you want to enjoy the pool area. Your favourite activities can flow easily with smart decisions for functionality. A successful landscape design will optimise the space to your needs whilst also being visually stunning.
To get you thinking, ask yourself some basic questions about how the pool area will be used:
- Do you need to supervise your children comfortably whilst they swim?
- Is it all about your BBQ days? Will you want to be cooking and entertaining close to the pool area?
- Do you need a table & chairs or are you happiest lazing back on deckchairs, maybe a soft lounger - maybe you need both?
- Do you need to comfortably cater for a larger crowd when you want more party central vibes?
3 / Choose Materials Wisely
What do you want under your feet? Choose a medium that ties in with your home and any existing surfaces you may have in your outdoor area.
- Poured concrete is very durable and easy to walk on and keep clean. It can be finished in a number of ways by brushing, stamping or colouring to change the effect.
- Pavers or tiles are a very versatile option, with differing colours & textures available. You can play with shapes & patterns, changing as you move through different zones.
- Wooden decking is the go-to option for permanently installed raised pools. Available in varying durability & finishes, it can be a striking and natural addition
- Composite decking gives you the natural timber look without the splinters & leaching. It is scratch, fade and mould resistant and you don't need to stain, oil or paint.
- For a smaller pool area or in-ground spa pool, you could consider a retractable deck that slides over the water, sturdy enough to withstand foot traffic.
It is highly likely that you will need fencing around some or all areas of your pool. Fencing options fall into these 3 main categories:
Aluminium - the cheapest most functional and easy care option. Low planting can soften its look and make it blend into the surroundings.
Glass - more expensive than aluminium but enables you to look through to the pool from the house so is visually appealing.
Custom made. You can be creative using different materials such as timber and aluminium to style your pool area with aluminium tubes or wooden batons. The openings must not be wider than a 100mm sphere pass through and the gap below the fence must be less than 100mm.
4 / Plant Perfection
Take inspiration from the existing planting you already have on your property, so the pool area ties in with its surroundings.
Try to limit your pool maintenance by using evergreen varieties and trees that don't shed so many leaves.
Increase your privacy by choosing larger columnar trees or hedging such as the very popular Ficus Tuffy. For a more tropical look add palms with Hibiscus and Giant Bird of Paradise.
5 / Safety
Make sure you are well informed about the local rules and regulations as you develop your ideas.
Below is a brief summary of the main NZ regulations around pool safety:
- Pool fencing needs to be at least 1.2m high with no possibility of being climbed over.
- Openings and gaps beneath and between the fencing must not be wider than 100mm.
- The entrance gate needs to open outwards - towards you and be at least 1.2m high.
- The pool needs to be set back off the boundaries of your property by the correct distance. This is normally 1m in rear gardens or 3m in a front garden. Check your local zoning restrictions.
- Boundary fencing which is being used as the pool barrier needs to be 1.8m tall with no potential
- of being climbed over on either side.
- Pool fencing needs to be at least 1m away from the pool edge.
- There is nothing climbable 900mm inside or outside of the fenced pool area. This includes pots/planters, bench seats, furniture, or established trees.
Learn more from the Auckland Council Pool Area Safety Checklist
6 / Pool Lighting
Tasteful and functional lighting is very important. There are many options but think about what activities you need the lighting for. Is it to create a relaxed mood or clearly direct people to and from the house and up and downstairs.
If you prefer single colour illumination, that is easily achieved. You could also consider colour changing in any number of variations or patterns, all controlled from your smartphone or a separate remote control.
7 / Shade & Sun
A pool is best positioned in the full sun, however, it's also great to have the option to get out of the sun.
Think about shade options, so you can be outside supervising & enjoying the pool atmosphere without worrying about burning and overheating.
Observe your area throughout the day, check to see where any natural shade falls. This can be enhanced by well-placed foliage in the planting process.
A gazebo or pergola can be an excellent addition providing both shade and a central feature to work around.
Consider umbrellas as a more flexible option.
8 / Add value
If you are considering putting your home on the market in the future then a well planned and executed landscape project for your pool area will add value to your home.
Working on first impressions, a well-landscaped pool area gives your home an extra sense of luxury. Prospective buyers will appreciate, directly or indirectly, the time and care that you've put into the planning and maintenance of your property. This perception is extremely important for potential buyers as they see they will need to do minimal work to have the house up to scratch.
With these ideas, you've got some starting pointers on planning your pool landscaping project.
If you’d love some assistance bringing your landscaping project to life, you can organise a FREE initial consultation with our expert team HERE!