Easy elegance: a relaxed pool and garden area

Easy elegance: a relaxed pool and garden area


Boasting a fluid design and an elegant ambience, these spaces are the ideal complement to the home’s striking architecture

There are two keys to creating a successful garden: a clearly defined, well balanced structure and the generous use of a select number of materials, shapes and colours. The proof of this philosophy can be found in the pleasingly proportioned outdoor spaces that wrap around this newly built home on Sydney’s Upper North Shore.

The design brief given to Justin Dibble at Fluid Design was to create a modern yet classic, stylish yet relaxed vibe for the pool and garden areas. Equally important was establishing a seamless transition between interior and exterior spaces. Justin’s clean-lined, contemporary design is both stylish and family friendly. Throughout, the emphasis is on quality finishes and the use of greenery to soften the hard scaping elements.

With the design finalised, the exterior works were undertaken by Jason Chapman and the team at Elegant Landscapes, except for the pool which was built by Construction By Design, the same company that designed and built the house.

Working to Justin’s design, Elegant Landscapes continued the monochrome palette of the house into the landscape by laying soft grey concrete-look porcelain tiles. To deliver on the owners’ requirement for the effortless integration of indoor-outdoor spaces, the team built a covered alfresco area onto which the interior lounge room opens.

The outdoor kitchen in this area features a built-in BeefEater barbecue and a concrete benchtop, designed to match the internal finishes of the house; also a sink and a glass-door bar fridge. To keep the area light and bright, skylight windows were incorporated into the roof. Downlights make the space inviting at night while ceiling fans keep things cool in summer and ceiling heaters warm things up in winter.

Additional outdoor room-style spaces were also created, including a central courtyard with a waterwall clad in teal mosaic tile and a cantilevered spotted gum timber bench where the family can simply sit and relax. Then there’s a cosy, plant-embraced fire pit area. For this space, an EcoSmart Arc ethanol fire pit with a Graphite finish was chosen and the Elegant Landscapes team constructed, on-site, a sleek, polished concrete bench.

Outdoor styling and decor were important components of the design with the inclusion of a Rivas Design mirror on the wall adjacent to the pool, feature pots from The Balcony Garden and lanterns from West Elm. This adds panache to the landscape and the use of black accents, which extends to the water feature in the front garden and the finish of the garden lights from Cosmo Lighting, reference the home’s black aluminium windows and doors.

The planting is largely formal in design and integral to the success of the project. Starting in the front garden, Elegant Landscapes planted Snow Pear trees along the front fence for privacy from the street; for privacy from neighbours, they planted ‘Natchez’ crepe myrtle along the driveway and quandong along the other side of the garden. Several Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ were used as feature trees while Buxus was used for low hedges bordering pathways and garden beds.

In the courtyard there is a feature Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’) in the raised planter, lilly pilly hedges and strips of mini mondo grass between tiled pads. Moving to the rear garden, the central feature is an olive tree. Here you will also find more Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’ (along the pool wall) and Snow Pears (along the boundary), creating a link between front and rear gardens.

As for the pool, this was located against the house providing a beautiful view from the home’s internal living space. At the far end of the pool there is a large, shallow ledge where young children can safely play and this is also a great spot for the parents to chill out in while watching their kids swim. Deep charcoal-coloured pool tiles were used to complement the dark features of the home and landscape, ensuring a look of complete cohesion and a sense of easy elegance throughout.

For more information

Elegant Landscapes

Fluid Design