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With its inviting recliners, umbrellas and large, open fireplace, this poolside setting is a landscape for all seasons


Country homesteads often sit amid several hectares of rolling hills and trees. With such an expansive landscape, there's a need to create more intimate outdoor living areas.

Landscape designer Louise Bailey was commissioned to design the project featured on these pages for one such property – Otahuna Lodge. The owners, Greg and Julie Leniston, wanted a large, heated pool, a hot tub, outdoor fireplace and barbecue, and enough room to entertain up to 60 guests at any one time.

"The first challenge was siting the pool within the overall landscape," says Bailey. "After plenty of consideration, we eventually opted to place the new pool where a smaller, existing pool had been. This area, tucked in front of several large trees, has its own micro-climate. Not only does it receive all-day sun, it also has protection from the prevailing winds, thanks to the surrounding trees and shrubs."

Bailey says the size of the pool and the surrounding poolscape was kept large, so it would be in proportion with the overall landscape and the large homestead. Creating plenty of hard landscaping also ensures there is room for several sun recliners and tables, allowing more than one group to occupy the space at any one time.

"It also means there is enough room to hold functions, and guests can spill out across the swathe of lawn between the house and the pool."


Two, solid, freestanding walls within the pool area accommodate the fireplace and barbecue, respectively. The walls and raised planter boxes help to enclose the pool space, providing a sense of intimacy.

As the area is frequently used for entertaining, the barbecue facilities include plenty of counter space and two undercounter refrigerators. A gate beside the barbecue area is used by catering staff.

Large rocks within the pool area were sourced locally and are surrounded by the soft green of Scleranthus biflorus and the more spiky Astelia chatamica or silver spear. Around the fence line, softer garden planting has been established.

"We kept the garden color scheme to a minimum, opting for mainly green and white shades, with small touches of blue," says Bailey. "It was important that the garden didn't overpower the beauty of the country setting."

Camellia hedges planted along both sides of the pool fence will eventually camouflage the fencing. These include the cream-toned Brushfields yellow and the white Setsugekka camellia.

First published date: 08 October 2004

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Credit List

Landscape architect Louise Bailey, Outer Space Landscape Architects
Pool designer Louise Bailey
Outdoor furniture Dedon
Paving Coem Stonehenge Black porcelain tile
Pool filtration Waterco
Pool heating Carrier heat pump
Spa pool Hotspring Vanguard
Fencing Galvanized steel, powdercoated
Lighting Moonscape
Barbecue Rinnai
Undercounter fridge Fisher & Paykel
Umbrellas Sola Series from Shademakers
Fire surround Basalt