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Taking It Up A Notch

The Aussie backyard has come a long way from the typical deck, barbecue, cubby house and Hills Hoist. Nowadays, it’s considered a second living space with room to entertain and spaces for all ages to play and relax. Kirrily Ireland catches up with Scott Tymkin, owner and construction manager of Enkipools, to discover how you can luxe-up your backyard.

If you’re thinking it’s time to improve your outdoor space with a few – or many – new features, giving it that fresh spark to create an inviting area where you can spend your leisure time, there’s good news: whether your backyard is big or small, with existing features or a blank canvas, adding a couple of special attractions is now easier than ever.

Dive Into Delight

With a growing number of options out there to take your backyard to the next level, it may be difficult to know where to start. Consider what you already have and how all the add-ons will tie into this.

When asked what the most luxurious extra feature a person could have in their backyard is, Tymkin’s answer is, of course, “a swimming pool!” But even if you already have a pool, the luxury doesn’t have to end there.


“Pools can have so many features too,” Tymkin elaborates, “[such as] infinity edges, acrylic windows, spas, beaches, wet decks, water features, or maybe just a really special tile or an unusual shape.”

If the size of your budget is limited or your backyard doesn’t leave much room for a pool, you might instead look towards a smaller plunge pool, a 

spa or an outdoor lounge area with ready-to-go in-built seating. Tymkin’s advice is that custom built-in features are better than freestanding ones. “I will always advocate for a custom spa, either as part of a pool or by itself, over a jacuzzi or other prefabricated option because aesthetically they look much better so they will give your outdoor area a sense of luxury.” However, this doesn’t always apply to everything, for instance, “Some people prefer to have a freestanding firepit so that they have flexibility about where to light it depending on the occasion. It’s nice to have spaces that are purpose built though, so maybe the firepit is freestanding but there is an area of the garden that has been designed with seating and a heat-resistant base where it makes sense for the firepit to go.”

Whatever lavish extra you opt for, Tymkin cautions that less is more, and for good reason. “Your wish list might have 10 features on it, but trying to fit a pool, spa, infinity edge, water slide, water feature, cabana, firepit, pizza oven, outdoor kitchen and lounge into your garden is probably overdoing it,” he says. “Definitely choosing two or three features and throwing everything at them to do them really well… [will give] you a better outcome [rather than] trying to do it all.”


Outdoor Fun For Everyone

These backyard delights aren’t just for the grown-ups to enjoy. Encourage the whole family to spend more time outside by including some child-friendly elements into the space.

“If you have young kids, it’s a great idea to include shallow beaches, swim-out ledges and even a water feature into the design of your swimming pool,” Tymkin recommends. “Beaches are great fun for littlies as the water is often warmer than the deep sections of the pool, and these areas are a great way to introduce babies and toddlers to the water at home – under close supervision of course. Swim-out ledges give kids who are learning to swim confidence to swim abbreviated laps, knowing they have a spot to rest even in the deep end.”

The best part is that your children will love a lot of the same fun features that you do. “Kids love water features of all kinds, whether it’s a sheer curtain, waterspouts or deck jets – any opportunity to get the water moving is really popular,” Tymkin says. You can relax against the massaging jets while your children splash and play, or dare to cross the water curtain together for endless fun.


Leave It To The Professionals

Whether you’re taking the entire backyard to the next level, or just including one or two new installations, Tymkin’s main take away is to get assistance from an experienced designer, who will have the knowledge and expertise to incorporate these features seamlessly.

“[Designers] will be skilled at identifying the major features, materials and finishes of your existing home and use them as cues to design additions or extensions,” Tymkin elaborates. “At a basic level, matching colours,
materials and finishes will help make the transition from existing to new more seamless, but sometimes it may not be possible to match a material such as paving perfectly, and in these cases, you will benefit from professional design advice for ways to link old to new in a holistic way.”

Hiring a professional designer will be particularly helpful for those working with a modest outdoor area, who may feel hindered by the lack of space.

“Sometimes people think because they don’t have much space that their garden doesn’t justify or qualify for a design, but the opposite is true. It is even more important to design small spaces because everything is on show and efficient use of space is so important for good outcomes.”

It’s essential to seek assistance when it comes to the actual installation of your outdoor extras. Registered builders will not only help with major projects but also with meeting council regulations and safety compliances. “There are some features like pizza ovens that come as kits, which a handy homeowner could do themselves, but I strongly recommend seeking professional advice for most major outdoor features,” Tymkin says

With a touch of creativity, a splash of indulgence and bit of help, any backyard can be transformed into a luxurious retreat the whole family can enjoy.

Images Courtesy of Enkipools