These days, owning a pool is not just about being able to cool off in the privacy of your own backyard, it’s also an opportunity to create a complete outdoor living zone. All you need is the right equipment and some great ideas to bring perfect pool landscaping to life.
In Australia, pool landscaping possibilities are endless. Some homeowners opt for a tranquil, green oasis with plants, rocks and waterfalls. Others prefer to add a pergola to protect against the elements. And other Aussies love a poolside alfresco zone for entertaining from dawn till dusk – and beyond.
But if landscaping around your pool feels daunting, you’re certainly not alone. Costs for outsourcing landscaping projects can quickly tally up, but with a little elbow grease and the right gear, DIY pool landscaping is not only possible, but it’s also cost-effective and infinitely rewarding.
DIY Pool Landscaping Ideas For Australian Homes
We’ve teamed up with Kennards Hire to gather the top tips and ideas when it comes to DIY pool landscaping. Find out what kinds of features are possible to take on yourself and the gear you’ll need for the job.
First, Have A Clear Plan
When you start planning your project, ensure you have a clear idea of how you want to use your pool area. Are you after some gentle landscaping for a lap or exercise pool? Or do you want your pool to be a major feature of your entertaining area, complete with an outdoor dining table, barbecue and pool house?
Once you are clear on how you intend to use your poolside area, the next step is to create a diagram of your vision and mark out where all the elements will go. This includes marking out fencing, pavers, lighting, decking, rocks, plants, and irrigation systems. You’ll also want to make sure utilities (water, gas and electricity) will be available where they are needed.
Add Slopes To Your Pool Landscaping
Natural bodies of water, like lakes and rivers, often have natural slopes down to the water’s edge. You can mimic this natural look in your pool landscaping by building a slope down the pool, planting native shrubs and adding rockery around the area. And if you want to go one step further, consider adding a waterfall that cascades over rocks into the pool. This is a spectacular addition to magnesium pools.
To create a slope or to move large rocks into place, you’ll need equipment such as a mini loader or a skid steer (bobcat). Both of these handy helpers are brilliant when it comes to earth-moving landscaping, digging trenches and levelling the ground and you can operate them yourself without any special training. Check out the video to find out how to use a skid steer.
Remember, before operating a skid steer, it is imperative that you lodge a Before You Dig enquiry, to ensure you are not going to hit any underground pipes, scaffolding or powerlines.
Plants make a huge difference to the overall feel of a pool area, and the hardest part of adding more greenery is knowing which plants are best.
Kennards advise looking for non-deciduous plants (plants that don’t lose their leaves annually). If you don’t, you could be spending most of your swimming time fishing leaves, cones, needles and sticks from your pool filter.
Recommended plants include native shrubs and grasses, hardy succulents, evergreen ferns and palm trees. Of course, you’ll also need to take into account whether your plants will be exposed to frost, wind, direct sun and shade when you make your final choice.
Fence Your Pool Area
Not only does a fence offer privacy, look great and give your pool a dedicated area, but it’s a legal requirement in Australia too.
By law, your pool will need an appropriate safety fence to be compliant. Australian regulations stipulate a barrier of at least 1.2m high around a pool, so you’ll need to factor this into your landscape plan.
If budget permits, you could outsource your fencing to a licensed builder. Or, if you have the time, hire a fence post digger and build your own timber fence in as little as a few days!
Add Decking Or Paving To Complete The Picture
One of the most critical things to keep in mind when planning decking for a pool is the maintenance factor and heat of the surface. Composite is a great option for the minimal effort required to maintain it and its lovely smooth surface.
Paving or concrete is another flooring option for your pool zone – and both are available in a huge range of colours and textures. (If you do opt for paving, familiarise yourself with how to maintain pavers the right way – it all starts with installation!)
Solid ground coverings like these provide the right surface for adding other features like a nearby safe backyard fire pit or outdoor dining area.
Your local Kennards Hire branch is the best place to start for equipment and advice on getting your summer pool planning underway!
Looking for more outdoor inspiration for summer living? Take a peek at our shortlist of Australia’s coolest outdoor bean bags!