Chic Retreat in the Inner West: Urban Escape’s Stylish Plunge Pool and Spa Oasis


Despite difficult access and a small block, this chic plunge pool and spa have become a retreat for an inner-west family where they can relax, entertain and exercise.

Sydney’s inner west, specifically the suburb of Balmain, is notorious for its compact blocks with tight access and unfortunately, this property was no exception. Although the limited size of this site would not allow for an overly large pool, a geometric-shaped plunge pool and spa proved to be the perfect match.

a geometric-shaped plunge pool and spa

Nick McCarthy, of Urban Escape Landscapes and Pools, explains that the homeowners had several requirements when it came to the design and build of their pool and spa. “The brief called for a pool that was not only ideal for entertaining and relaxing, but could also be used for aqua therapy,” reveals Nick. “Basically, a lot was to be fitted into a small space, without it looking too busy or cramped.”

As the block and resulting backyard were small, the 4.2m-long pool and spa that dominate the outdoor space also needed to essentially be a large water feature that looks aesthetically pleasing when viewed from inside the house. Urban Escape achieved this with a mix of spotted gum decking; bluestone paving and coping; and a mosaic-tiled interior — all enhanced with plantings such as elephant ears, ginger and hibiscus.

the 4.2m-long pool and spa

As the client uses the pool most days for exercise, spa jets and a gas heater were incorporated into the project. A water feature was also added into the fully tiled pool feature wall, plus an in-floor cleaning system, automation and spa jets. The filter box has been cleverly hidden below ground and behind the pool feature wall.

Overall, Urban Escape was responsible for the landscape design, council design documentation, swimming pool/landscape construction and all post-construction documentation.

Urban Escape was responsible for the landscape design

Urban Escape began as a structural landscape company with a clear but simple vision of creating quality and stylish gardens to suit its clients’ needs. Owner Nick McCarthy holds a science degree in horticulture and landscape design, and shortly after starting a landscaping business he was inspired to become a licensed pool builder.

“There was a tendency to put pools where the client said without thinking it through, or even
to just put it where it was easiest for the builder, rather than best for the outcome,” explains Nick. “That is essentially why I got into building pools — so I could be sure our pool was put in the best location. Sometimes an architect just draws a rectangle and that’s it. A swimming pool is a
big item and needs to be integrated and thought through so it works with the landscape.”

A swimming pool is a
big item and needs to be integrated

This boutique company has now been an integral part of Sydney’s landscaping and pool industry for more than 25 years. Urban Escape offers a holistic approach to outdoor design, from consultation and design to council submissions, landscaping construction as well as pool/spa construction, resulting in a seamless and stress-free process for clients.

The company prides itself on its personalised service, limiting its clientele to those in the Sydney metropolitan area, creating and renovating between 10 and 15 pools per year and going through a lengthy consultation process to achieve a comprehensive brief prior to design work. Urban Escape has been recognised for its quality workmanship and has received many awards, both local and national, for its pools and gardens.

The company prides itself on its personalised service

For more information

Urban Escape Landscapes and Pools

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