…More beautiful, more lived in, more loved.

RenovatingMaking HOME Episode 1: Alfresco, Pool and Spa

Grab a drink and come on through our beautiful Alfresco, Pool and Spa area!

We are so excited to share the first space in our Making HOME Renovation Series. Our goal was to transform one family’s tired backyard into a Modern Classic Farmhouse oasis that delivers form and function all year round.

“We really wanted it to be a year round space where the family could live – so whether it’s summertime or the cooler winter months, you can just switch it up a tiny bit and it will perform beautifully.”

Nikki from the Making HOME team

In Episode One, we walk you through the three main areas of the outdoor zone: the deck, outdoor dining and the pool. See how the team navigated challenges and selected the perfect products to achieve a showstopping result.

Love what we used? Scroll down for all the details and shop the products we used in this magnificent backyard makeover.

Shop The Space

It takes more than good looks to make an outdoor space truly liveable, so below, we step you through the quality products that make the alfresco, pool and spa area truly shine.


Making HOME pool house with padded navy seating.
Axon™ Cladding was the perfect finish to the poolhouse.

With its irresistible vertical grooves, Axon™ Cladding was perfect for delivering a modern and texturally rich exterior to the pool house and patio. We opted for the 133mm spacing between grooves in the outdoor spaces. Made using Scyon™ fibre cement, it resists warping, shrinking and swelling and is even resistant to fire.

Visit Hardware & General to check out the different widths and heights for Axon™ Cladding.

Outdoor entertainment area of a Modern Farmhouse.
The exterior of the house features a combination of 200mm and 300m Hardie™ Oblique™ Cladding

What sold us on Hardie™ Oblique™ Cladding was its bespoke design capabilities. By alternating the 200mm and 300mm cladding and running them vertically, we offset the symmetry of the pool house cladding and created a truly unique facade with distinctive square-angled grooves. We love how beautifully this product spoke to our Modern Classic Farmhouse vision. We also love that these boards can be installed over timber stud walls or existing brick … the perfect solution to tie the old house in with the extension. But looks aside, the best thing about James Hardie cladding products is that they arrive pre-primed and ready to paint. This means less work for trades and faster installation.

We worked closely with the team at Hardware & General to order everything we needed for a perfectly clad extension.

Paving & Tiles

Omnistone rectangular pavers in a pool area.
OmniStone ticks every box for poolside living

While we immediately loved the versatile ‘tan’ hue, strength and textured finish of OmniStone, it was its slip-resistance that won us over. Using innovative technology, the Microtec finish feels smooth underfoot but activates when wet to prevent slips and keep the whole family safe. Like other quality porcelain tiles, it’s also super durable and a cinch to clean, meaning less scrubbing and more lounging!

Modern swimming pool with spa.
Riverstone White Textured Pavers and Coping Tiles gave us a natural look with slip-resistance

In keeping with the light, bright aesthetic of the pool area and tying in beautifully with the patio tiles, we selected the Riverstone White Textured Paver and Coping Tile. Together, these beauties provide the large-scale impact we were after, with the perfect amount of textural intrigue and modern style. But best of all, these pavers deliver high slip resistance to keep the pool zone safe for everyone.

Covered alfresco area with armchairs, and an outdoor fireplace.
The feature wall for the fireplace uses Limestone Cladding

Beaumont’s visually rich Limestone Cladding was the textural boost the space needed. But good looks aside, the true beauty of this cladding lies in just how quick and easy it is to install; there’s no need for stonemasons as they go on just like tiles, cut easily on a wet saw and at 400mm x 200mm they’re a really easy size to work with. Our tilers had this fireplace clad in less than a day. Talk about efficiency.

An outdoor spa with the jets running.
Ignite Finger Tiles in Sky Gloss create stunning reflections in the pool.

Creating striking linear reflections in the water, the Ignite Finger Tiles deliver a rustic feel with loads of casual elegance. Laid horizontally, they make the small pool appear larger and the subtle blue tone evokes the tranquil ‘vacay’ vibe we aimed for. To keep costs down (but still get the visual wow), we ran these beauties around the water line of the pool and spa and on the spa overflow. Silky to the touch and sexy to the eye. We can’t get enough of these finger tiles!


A wall-mounted outdoor fireplace in an alfresco area.
The Jetmaster Patio Horizon Panoramic Fireplace requires no flue

Although we were tempted to install an open fireplace in this area, we wanted low maintenance and instant glamour without the mess of real logs and an open fire. The gas Patio Horizon Panoramic by Jetmaster was the perfect option for maximising the living space. Expertly designed specifically for use in alfresco areas, it requires no flue, fires up at the touch of a button and even comes with logs.

Skylights with Solar Blinds

Three skylights above an alfresco area.
We achieved perfect light control with Velux Solar Blinds

While sheltered outdoor spaces are a must for enjoying a home’s exterior year-round, they often limit natural light to the house. To avoid this, we used three skylights directly above the alfresco zone, each fitted with Velux Solar Blinds. At the touch of a remote button, the blinds open or close or stop halfway – giving you complete control over how much light you let in. These groundbreaking blinds are entirely solar-powered and help control the amount of heat, sun and light that flows into the area, and ultimately to the house.

Concrete Blocks

Swimming pool walls in construction using Versaloc concrete blocks.
Versaloc® Interlocking Blocks from Adbri Masonry make quick work of building walls

The structural walls for this renovation went up during the wettest season ever, so we were over the moon to be using Adbri Masonry’s Versaloc® Interlocking Blocks. The fact that these blocks simply stack together without mortar between every joint means they can go up in any weather … and fast! They still need to be core-filled with concrete but there’s no downtime for the tradies which means no lost time when the weather is not on your side. Perfect for all kinds of walls in all kinds of projects.

Pool Minerals

A bag of MagnaPool minerals sitting on the edge of a pool.
MagnaPool® Minerals create perfect swimming conditions; less irritation, silky smooth, amazing for sensitive skin and SO relaxing!

It’s easy to get caught up in equipment when it comes to pools, but the water is arguably the most important thing. Using MagnaPool® Minerals, this modern swimming pool is beautiful to look at and a dream to swim in. The salt-free formula of potassium chloride and magnesium chloride makes the water silky smooth, crystal clear, non-irritating AND eco-conscious.

Pool Surface

The beadcrete surface of a modern swimming pool.
Beadcrete provided the perfect colour with a sparkling finish

Flair and function were equally important to us in designing this pool, and beadcrete delivered both. Made up of thousands of glass spheres, beadcrete pool surfaces are highly durable, low-maintenance and smooth underfoot. It also offers unmatched clarity and a diamond-like finish, on point for the modern pool we envisioned.

Pool Equipment

A modern swimming pool with a view to an outdoor dining area.
The right equipment from Astral keeps this pool ship-shape all year round

Knowing that reliable equipment is the key to making a pool sing, we worked closely with our pool plumber to pick the right products. In keeping with the tranquil ambience of the outdoor zone, we chose a whisper-quiet Spa Blower for beautiful bubbles and the ultimate massage. The pump system includes a high-performance CTX Jet Pump and Viron XT Variable Speed Pump, which work alongside an efficient Fibreglass Media Filter to keep the water crystal clear and squeaky clean.

Embracing the latest pool care technology, we also installed the award-winning Halo Chlorinator in conjunction with the WiFi-enabled Halo Doser & Sensors for monitoring water chemistry. Finally, we installed the Viron Connect, which integrates and automates all of the pool equipment and delivers fuss-free touch-screen management.

Pool Cleaner

Polaris pressure cleaner on the surface of a backyard pool.
The Polaris 280 Pressure Cleaner even climbs walls!

A grubby pool would simply never do for this Modern Farmhouse, so a premium pool cleaning system was a must. After much research, we selected the Polaris 280 Pressure Cleaner by Zodiac for its patented three-wheel design and premium tyres that climb walls like a pro. This particular cleaner also features dual vacuum jets and picks up any large debris that the sea winds blow in.

Solar Heating

Solar panels on the roof of a family home.
Solahart provided reliable renewal energy for the entire home

It’s no secret that heating pools and spas can be expensive, so we needed a super energy-efficient system to facilitate year-round use. The Solahart Silhouette Power System and GoodWe Lynx Battery ticked every box for us! By investing in solar power this family has constant, reliable and eco-conscious energy to heat the pool, power the equipment and store energy. A stand-out inclusion is the Solahart Powerstore, Australia’s first smart electric water heater. It provides an affordable way to store energy for later instead of returning it to the grid. That’s clever.

Outdoor Lighting

A silver barn light mounted on the side of a modern home.
The Bridgewater barn light is the perfect fit for this Modern Farmhouse

Lighting isn’t just functional, it’s also an opportunity to add visual interest outdoors. We fell head over heels for Emac & Lawton’s Bridgewater barn light for the pool house and the pergola. In silver, this light hit the brief perfectly for our Modern Farmhouse style – and best of all, it’s specifically built for outdoor living and all the weather that comes with it!

Ask your local Hardware & General lighting specialist to order it for you.

Alfresco Benchtops

Kaboodle benchtop in alfresco area of a house.
Kaboodle’s American Oak Benchtop gives the alfresco area a new level of functionality

With important new rules coming into play about engineered stone during this reno, we had to choose a different material – fast! A Kaboodle American Oak Benchtop was the answer for our undercover alfresco zone. Aside from being the perfect look and feel for the Modern Farmhouse aesthetic, it’s visually interesting, hardy and eco-friendly. It’s easy to work with too. Two coats of Kaboodle Clear Hardwax Oil bring out the grain and create a water-resistant finish.

Asphalt Shingle Roof

A modern pool house with a barn light mounted at the top.
Timberline Lifetime Shingles epitomise the Modern Farmhouse style

To dial up the Modern Classic Farmhouse feels, we opted for an asphalt shingle roof from All American Roofing available through Hardware & General. The beauty of this shingle roofing system is that the team at Hardware & General can take your plans and get you everything you’ll need, and then your carpenters install it! This means the roof can be installed in stages and there’s no waiting for the roofers to arrive.

We used Timberline Lifetime shingles which look amazing and will perform brilliantly for years to come no matter what the weather throws at them.

Cafe Blinds

A modern pool and spa next to a covered alfresco area.
TUISS Blinds Online Cafe Blinds block all kinds of weather without cramping the home’s style

Being able to bring these blinds down while still having a full view makes this area work so hard: keep the bugs at bay in the summer and keep the chill out during winter. TUISS Blinds Online Cafe Blinds are designed using Japanese PVC to look fabulous while blocking weather, so they were a match made in heaven for the alfresco space. They’re easy to clean, too – a huge plus for busy families.

Outdoor Patio Blind

A covered alfresco area with weather-proof blinds.
These Shade IT Black Patio Blinds add so much style without hampering vision

Working in harmony with the Cafe Blinds, the Shade IT Black Patio Blinds provide adjustable sun protection and privacy without blocking views. The weather-resistant screen fabric diffuses the light rather, so this family can enjoy the view and light without glare.

In winter, these blinds will help create a cocoon on the patio … especially cosy with the fireplace flickering away!

Outdoor Speaker

A Samsung Tower Speaker in a covered alfresco area.
Play it louder! The Samsung Sound Tower MX-ST90B is the perfect finishing touch!

What brings an outdoor space to life? Music! We chose the Samsung Sound Tower MX-ST90B because it produces next-level bi-directional sound and has an IPX5 rating, making it resistant to accidental sprays of fresh water. Equipped with built-in wheels, you can even plug in a couple of microphones if karaoke is on the cards!

Indoor/Outdoor Rug

A covered alfresco area with working fireplace.
The Pavilion Sisal-Look Rug ties this space together perfectly!

We grounded the lounges and created a cosy spot in front of the fireplace by adding an organic and durable Pavilion Sisal-Look Rug. From Isla Design, these rugs work overtime every day and continue to look brand new for years. They are soft underfoot, come in a range of sizes and come clean with a quick sweep or a hose down. We loved these rugs so much that we also popped one down by the spa.

We’re delighted with the result of this incredible space, which would not have been possible without our sponsors.

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