A veranda rebuild was needed to make room for the additional features


A pair of seamlessly integrated outdoor rooms enhance the lifestyle of a young family of four

John Storch, a landscape architect and principal of A Total Concept, was commissioned to design the swimming pool, cabana, outdoor entertaining room and gardens for this Lower North Shore Sydney property, which is home to a young family of four.

“The cabana was set adjacent to the pool to the rear of the property to visually maximise the lawn and garden, and to allow views from the cabana backward towards the home and outdoor entertaining room,” says John. “This, in turn, allowed us to take advantage of the level changes across the property to develop an elevated lawn area adjacent to the residence to create transitional zones between the home and rear spaces, adding interest to the design.

“The existing veranda area was too small for comfortable entertaining so our client decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and have the area rebuilt and extended. We also added generous steps around the space to visually integrate the area leading out to the surrounding lawns and paved area designed for a basketball hoop.”

The poolside cabana services the swimmers of the family and allows parents to closely supervise their children. It is designed so that as the children get older it can double as a rumpus and sleepover room that is far enough away from the home so loud music and electronic games can’t be heard but is still close enough for parents to keep a watchful eye on teenagers.

The cabana is flanked by feature mirrored wing walls. On one side, the wall hides a utility area; on the other, the pool filter and storage area. Wisteria sinensis is draped around the feature mirrors that reflect the vibrant blue of the pool and the rich greens of the gardens to integrate and seat the height of the cabana into the garden.

The traditional style and colours of the poolside cabana tie back to the design of the home. The cabana’s skillion roof has skylights and a very high ceiling, great for light, airflow and to make the cabana seem more spacious.

“The outdoor entertaining room adjacent to the residence complements the new work and a large kitchen has been incorporated to one side allowing for extended family entertaining,” says John. “The built-in cabinetry, incorporating a Caesarstone benchtop, under-mounted sink, stainless steel fridge, dishwasher and barbecue, is complemented with large skylights and adjustable louvred windows that allow light in and create privacy to the adjoining property.”


The understated glass tile used in the pool contrasts beautifully with the blond limestone paving of the paved areas and the timber floor of the outdoor entertaining room matches the home’s timber flooring.

The lush surrounding gardens include formal hedges of Syzygium ‘Cascade’, Buxus sempervirens and Agapanthus orientalis ‘Blue’ together with Cerastium tomentosum, Gardenia ‘Florida’ and Clivea miniata. Then there are specimen plantings of Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ and potted Fortunella hindsi along with the formal tree planting of Magnolia ‘Exmouth’ — this provides a heady mix of perfumed flowers at various times of the year.

The end result is a pair of beautifully integrated outdoor rooms that add enormously to the quality of life enjoyed by the happy homeowners and their children. The visual simplicity of the design and subtle use of quality materials unifies the project and sets the components well into the surrounding landscaped gardens to create what John calls “two rooms for one”.


For more information, 

A Total Concept 

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