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Inner City Oasis

Many Melbourne homeowners are often lacking space, especially when it comes to outdoor areas. Here, Tristan Lott speaks with Tim Sprague, co-owner and director of Kiama Pools & Landscapes, about the company’s impressive McCarthy project, which proves that you can create an enviable outdoor entertaining area even when space is at a premium.

Kiama Pools & Landscapes

It often feels as though you can’t have everything you want when searching for your dream home, and for Melburnians a convenient location tends to supersede space. It can be hard to know how best to rise to the challenge of a small backyard in an urban setting, and with many homeowners struggling to maintain a worklife balance, adding backyard maintenance to the mix is an unappealing concept.

Thankfully, Kiama Pools & Landscapes have proven that it’s easier than you think to create a beautiful, low maintenance backyard oasis in a small area. With extensive pool building and landscaping experience, Kiama Pools & Landscapes design and build beautiful, sustainable and functional outdoor living spaces to suit an array of outdoor areas. Read on to learn more about how Tim Sprague and his team created this luxurious urban retreat and gain insight into how you can employ these clever design strategies in your own backyard.

Aquastone Pools & Landscapes

How does building a pool on a small lot differ to a backyard with a lot of space?

TS: Clever design and construction are crucial in a smaller backyard. Amazing gardens can come in all shapes and sizes, but we have created many fabulous outdoor spaces on a limited footprint. [The key is to] create the illusion of space whilst delivering all the
features our clients require in their outdoor area.

What should homeowners and builders keep in mind when considering how to balance a pool and
landscaping on a small lot?

Maximise the space, carefully consider the dimensions, the garden and positioning for practicality and functionality. We listen to the client brief and incorporate their requirements into the garden, mindful of [the view from] every angle inside and outside the home. At Kiama Pools & Landscapes we custom design and construct outdoor living spaces, swimming pools and spas, giving us the flexibility to build in even the smallest yard.

What is the typical process when designing/building a pool and outdoor space to fit a client’s brief?

This varies for each project depending on the scope and the garden features or if there is an outdoor room to be included. Size and position of the swimming pool is generally one of the first considerations, we then decide on the style of swimming pool or spa. The design process accommodates our client’s lifestyle, their home and outdoor space.

How long did the McCarthy project take to complete? Did the process differ from your usual approach in any way?

This project encompassed the front, rear and side of the property fulfilling the clients brief to create a beautiful, sustainable [and] low-maintenance garden. Our qualified team constructed this outdoor space over a period of three months, their expert workmanship delivering a fantastic result. We carefully selected plants and trees to feature throughout this project, with climbers to establish and create a magnificent backdrop to showcase this garden. All the garden beds have been installed with automatic irrigation systems to minimise maintenance. Classic travertine paving features in the alfresco dining area and frames the beautiful pool area, complemented by a timber sundeck and lawn area.

What are the benefits of a small pool and spa versus a
larger project?

Plunge pools and spas are ideal for a smaller sized yard or if you have a long narrow garden or sideway, a lap style pool could be an option. A larger area has more scope for resort style living but as we custom build your outdoor living area and swimming pool we can create a poolside entertaining area to suit any space.

How did you balance the pool and spa with the
entertaining space and greenery in a tight space?

Positioning the entertaining area adjacent to the house with the swimming pool and spa to the rear of the garden allowed for the inclusion of garden beds and a lawn area. We then created a stunning backdrop to showcase the garden with a stone feature wall and planted creepers to extend the vertical gardens and soften the outdoor space.

What additional features does the McCarthy project showcase? Was sustainability or easy maintenance a main concern?

Sustainability and easy maintenance have been considered throughout the entire outdoor space. Careful selection of plants and installing irrigation ensured we delivered a sustainable, easily maintained garden.



What style of pool/spa and design elements would you recommend for a backyard where space is at a
premium? Are there any features you included in the McCarthy design that work especially well in limited space?

[The McCarthy Project utilised] quality stonework, timber decking, clever plant selection and positioning. With a small footprint, design is crucial to optimise the space, custom built swimming pools, spas and vertical gardens are highly effective. The options are endless!

When coupled with AI technology, variable-speed pumps can reduce speed to the minimum system requirement at any given time.

Modern sanitation systems can achieve the same results in far less run-time than older models, and the same goes for heaters. Further, “covers and blankets (both physical and chemical) have had advancements over the years, saving energy and water”, Hartwig says.

Artesian Pools

You can even take the opportunity to replace or augment older heating systems with solar panels!

The latest automation systems, such as AstralPool’s Viron Connect 10, can run most of these systems from your home, or even your phone. “They offer the opportunity to remotely control, activate, and preheat your spa on the way home from work so that it’s ready for use upon your arrival,” Hartwig adds.

Images courtesy of Kiama Pools & Landscapes