This amazing multi-level entertaining compound makes optimum use of the available space
Words Karen Booth Photos Tim Turner
A sunken outdoor kitchen and bar set beside a spacious pool … sounds like the ultimate indulgence, doesn’t it? Well, add in an elevated alfresco dining space just steps away, a children’s play space, an elegant water feature and some funky wall art and you have an outdoor entertaining compound to die for. The design for this entertainer’s paradise is functional, flexible and fresh. The overall space is divided into several zones, each one visually linked through the use of complementary colours and materials. It’s the sunken poolside pavilion, though, that is the hub of the family’s outdoor activities — and the area that guests always make a beeline for.
The pavilion is fitted with glass bi-fold doors that can be opened or closed, according to the weather, and there are glass bi-fold windows along one wall. These windows push back to create a space that can be used as a servery, a place for a casual meal or an outdoor bar. Tucked beneath the benchtop on this side of the pavilion are two glass-fronted bar fridges.
To one side of the windows, bottles and glasses are lined up so when the owners decide to turn into bar staff everything is at their fingertips. The bar fridges are part of the fully equipped kitchen, which comprises a barbecue and rangehood, dual sink, a full-sized fridge and storage cupboards and drawers aplenty. For winter warmth and extra ambience when entertaining, there’s a gas log fire built into one wall.
Above this sits a wall-mounted 50- inch plasma television. The television is oriented so it can be seen from the bar area or the dining zone nestled between the pavilion and the home. The dining area is a cosy nook with a contemporary look. To maximise the space, there is built-in bench seating on two sides. This is supplemented by cubeshaped black stools. To create the effect of being in an outdoor room, a feature wall clad in stacked stone and corner planter boxes help to define the space.
To create a coordinated overall look, the fabric used for the seat and scatter cushions in the dining area has been used for the cushions that grace the long and wide bench seating at the far end of the pool. Made of the same timber as the feature wall above it, this bench has two lift-up lids so it can be used as storage space. Above the bench sits a major feature of the landscape, an incredible metal wall sculpture set against a white background and framed by the timber screening.
This stunning artwork casts some truly spectacular shadows when illuminated at night. In fact, the entire backyard looks amazing come nightfall thanks to the extensive lighting installed throughout the garden. Other decorative touches abound, including the water feature beside the pool and the earthy pots chosen for the feature plantings. This is a garden that has been designed and constructed with the utmost care and attention to detail by Steve Blencowe and Matt Seymour of Apex Landscapes.
Essential to the success of the garden is the use of high-quality materials. This includes the solid sandblasted black granite used for the pool surrounds and the spotted gum decking. Spotted gum in a premium native hardwood is often used in high-end projects. Ensuring every need was met — for example, there is also a conveniently located outdoor bathroom so guests need not venture inside the house, a real boon when entertaining — was also critical to the project’s success.
Throughout the garden you can see how clever, space-maximising ideas have made what is a relatively small backyard look larger and feel more spacious, leaving the owners with an ideal outdoor setting in which to relax and unwind.