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Pool area makeover

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New fencing, paint, landscaping and planting transformed this backyard pool area.




The project


We are currently undergoing a major renovation of our 1915 Queenslander. While we are busy trying to create liveable spaces, this summer we prioritised the pool area so our three kids could enjoy it over the hot months in Queensland. 


We aimed to install a new fence along the back wall, extend the exterior wood fence along the side and build a gate, add landscaping, and paint the house which surrounds the pool, which is part of the new extension.


The original wooden fence was joined with chain link fence. To remain budget-friendly, we kept the fence to the side of the pool. It was looking a little ordinary but was in good condition. To ensure compliance, we needed to extend the fence and add a return from the new fence to the house.


man_with_fence.jpgwith fence.jpg 


We ran a string line to ensure the new fence was in line with the existing fence and bolted the new timber posts to the existing chain link fence posts, as these had been concreted in place previously. We installed three fence rails overlapping the existing wooden post. We set the stringline on the top of the fence pickets to ensure they remain at the same height of the existing fence.


We installed the fence pickets using a coil nailer with galvanised ring shank nails (two nails at each rail - each picket had six nails). We raised each picket to touch the string line, using a level at the side of each picket to ensure it was straight. 




For privacy and consistency, we installed a Colorbond fence along the backwall. It ended up taking a few days to measure and build the frames. The frame came unassembled and in standard lengths. Each post was cut to length using a grinder. 


We built the frames on the ground, then carried them over and installed them. The posts outside of the pool area were concreted into place. Once the frames were in place it was smooth sailing, and the fencing sheets were slotted into place and the cap readjusted.




We have a 10m x 1.2m garden strip that gets full sun for most of the day. We wanted to add a low maintenance garden that didn’t shed into the pool (we have enough cleaning with three kids and three dogs).  Privacy was also paramount as our neighbour's deck overlooks our pool area. For that reason, we chose to plant Heliconia Rauliniana. They grow up to 4.5m tall and thicken at the base without taking over. To stick to our budget, we chose to purchase young heliconias. They more mature they are, the more expensive they are, so we saved a lot of money by deciding to be patient and let them grow.


Due to the size they will grow, they needed to be spaced a minimum of 1.5m apart and approximately 0.75m from the fence. Usually, I’m a relatively haphazard planter but as this area is a focal point, I wanted to be precise to avoid any gaps.


After mapping out the garden and dividing the space, we could space them 1.6m apart to ensure consistency across the garden. Using a tape measure, I measured from centre to centre of the heliconias and measured from the tile to the centre of the plant to ensure it was centre of the garden. (I chose not to measure from the fence in case there was a variation).


I then planted Cordylines slightly in front and centre of the line of heliconias, to allow the heliconias more space to grow and add a pop of colour. 




Although I love to garden, I have a relatively brown thumb, so I needed to add irrigation to keep the garden alive. We used a soaker hose and ran it the length of the garden. One end connects to the garden hose, it’s a straightforward system. The soaker hose holes are on one side of the hose, so we used landscaping pegs to secure the hose in place with the holes facing down. 


Here's a tip about backfill. As we recently raised our house, we kept a lot of the backfill that was taken out prior to the new slab going down. We knew we would need it, and we have a few gardens to backfill. You can also add a listing on the marketplace looking for free backfill or search listings. Many pool companies and builders need to remove the backfill, and we have had loads for free using this method. You just need to ensure it’s clean.


We added hardwood mulch over the garden to finish it off.




The final step in this pool area makeover was paint. Initially, we couldn’t decide what colour to paint the house. The original Queenslander, the top floor, we decided to paint with Dulux Vivid White.


We could have played it safe and painted the whole house white to make it look and feel larger. However, I wanted the ground floor to effectively disappear, allowing the Queenslander to take centre stage. So, we chose to paint the ground floor with Dulux Weathershield Night Sky Low Sheen. We painted the fence, the fascia and gutters the same colour.




Here's a part of what it looks like at night.


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This is the first area in the house that is now finished. We can’t wait to get back inside and get our kids rooms renovated. After living in a renovation that's been incomplete for nearly two years, it's so nice to have one space finished. You can relax and enjoy it and dream up new projects rather than stare at an old fence.


Tips for updating an outdoor entertainment area


Whenever you design a space always consider future use, don’t be shortsighted and regret it later. Spend the money where it counts.


We could have saved money by only tiling up to the original pool pour, however we knew that taking the time and extending the concrete to create a larger sitting and entertaining area in the pool area would pay off.


We have 3 kids and know as they get older they will have friends over and we want the pool area to be comfortable for parents and grandparents as well as them. By taking the extra time and money and creating a larger tiled area we now have the space so we can build a pavilion at a later date. This will provide permanent shade and sitting area by the pool. I am currently designing this but expect we won’t be building until next year. 


Also consider landscaping in your pool area. We chose heliconias to provide privacy screening from neighbours. They don’t create a mess or shed into the pool and are low maintenance. 


We saved money by painting the existing fence black and then added new black fencing to the remaining side. We also saved money by installing the glass pool fence and gate ourselves.


Before and after





Making a Splash

Magnificent! Those heliconias and cordylines will look better and better over time. I've had a bit of grief with cordylines in full sun (even though they're meant to be fine in full sun), but that garden bed looks super nice running alongside the pool.

Growing in Experience

Nice 👍 job such a transformation!! 

Home Improvement Guru

Afternoon @Renowayoflife 

Your effort has paid off :), it looks great. It makes the area yours and brings a cosiness to it.



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