Why choose a Mediterranean style for poolside landscaping in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs? Although the so-called Mediterranean climate exists in many parts of the world outside of the Mediterranean Basin – for example, parts of California, South Africa, or southwestern Australia – Sydney’s climate doesn’t exactly classify as Mediterranean. Nevertheless, plants originating from these regions can make a perfect choice for planting around swimming pools.
Due to evaporation, swimming pools with some wind protection create their own unique microclimate. The characteristics that make Mediterranean plants so useful for pool landscaping are their tolerance of salt and sandy soils. These plants evolved to resist the salt-loaded winds near seashores. Conveniently, this also makes them resistant to commonly used pool chemicals. Combine this with a range of attractive colours and shapes and you have perfect plants for pool landscaping.
Apart from adding attractive plants, the owners of this property also wanted to improve other parts of the backyard. The level next to the pool sloped steeply, which didn’t leave much space for lounging near the pool. To make things worse, once the pool safety legislation came into effect, the new safety fence separated the pool from its surroundings even further.
To fix this problem, we came up with a deck which extends the area around the pool and addresses the slope. We also altered the safety fence around the pool.
This design was a balancing act to meet the softscape to hardscape ratio while also providing more amenity. Remember that swimming pools requiring structural work will also require development consent. Also, any alteration to a swimming pool safety fence beyond the necessary maintenance requires certification. You can learn more about the relevant pool legislation and standards from the NSW Pool Register’s website.
Swimming pool safety fence and landscaping
Plants around a swimming pool present an additional challenge. Designs need to make sure that children can’t step on these and use them for climbing. Therefore, only soft leaf and soft stem species could be used. There are some variations to this rule depending on the distances and height of boundaries.
Trees around pools also need to be chosen carefully. The branches might grow too close to the fence and allow children to climb them and thus enter to the pool area.
Last but not least, all swimming pools have to comply with relevant legislation, building codes and standards. They also need to be registered and certified.
If you would like to add a Mediterranean feel to your pool landscape, I suggest trying some of these plants. Most of them originate from the Mediterranean Sea region, but a few other plants were added for foliage and colour contrast.
|Common Name||Botanical Name|
|Mediterranean Spurge||Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii|
|Pride of Madeira||Echium fastuosum|
|Golden Cane Palm||Dypsis lutescens|
|Colorama Dracaena||Dracaena marginata ‘Colorama’|
|Blue Chalksticks||Senacio serpense|
|Jerusalem Sage||Phlomis fruticosa|
|Bush Germander||Teucrium fruticans|
Member of the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM)