Bush Pool

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A swimming pool and its surrounding landscape can fulfil your fantasy. Don recently visited a pool area which was jointly designed by Brad Baxter of Award Pools & Landscapes, Ty Armstrong the owner and John Storch, Landscape Architect. This particular pool could have stepped straight from the pages of ‘The Man from Snowy River’.

Echoing its rural surrounds, this swimming pool has as its centrepiece a gazebo styled to resemble an old shed. As well a barbecue has been nestled into a wishing well. These structures are built out of recycled timber and corrugated iron from demolition sites, which gives them rustic appeal. An iron pump, old-style iron collectibles and traditional post and rail fence add to the rural look. A timber farm dray was lifted into its position by a crane yet because of its surrounding planting it has the appearance of being left after the horse has walked away from it.

There was significant backfilling and building of retaining walls when building this pool, however the fill was used to create the single level to support the gazebo and surrounding area. It is easier and more economical if you can reuse the fill as the dumping cost of fill can range from $1000 to $3000. Because of the permanent water frontage of the nearby creek, council does not require pool fencing that is normally applicable on most suburban blocks.

Plant materials for your landscape should also complement the design and style of surrounding buildings. Brad has used feathery native grasses (Pennisetum alopecuroides and P. setaceum) and black boys (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii) in this project to echo the Australian feel. There is a cottage-style garden closer to the house which features agapanthus and gardenias but planting around the pool looks purely rural.

These tips from Brad gave the project that authentic look:
– look for roughly hewn and recycled materials if you are trying to simulate a bushcraft fantasy.

– to add to the charm use a chainsaw to cut the timber. A bush carpenter is ideal for this type of project.

– keep pathways looking natural but functional. Brad has installed walkways of compacted decomposed granite mixed with off-white cement. You can buy premixed stabilised decomposed granite (this costs approximately $48 per tonne) or you can mix your own with 1 bag of offwhite cement to a tonne of unstabilised decomposed granite. The premixed granite is usually mixed by the supplier. Once mixed it must be despatched and laid the same day as it would set hard if it is stockpiled during rainy periods.

For more information regarding planting natives in your garden contact your local specialist native nursery or your local branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants. Their head office may be contacted on (02) 9621 3437.


Brad Baxter from Award Pools & Landscapes at Kellyville, NSW can be contacted on (02) 9629 3639. (This pool recently won the 1997 award for Pool Surrounds over $20,000 from the Landscape Contractors Association of NSW).
John Storch, Landscape Architect. Phone: (02) 9959 5965.