Small but perfectly formed

Containing a swimming pool, barbecue, fireplace and alfresco dining area, this courtyard has every occasion covered

View of the landscape design plans. area, design, floor plan, flora, grass, green, leaf, line, pattern, plant, tree, white
View of the landscape design plans.

A small back garden need not cause plans for a great indoor-outdoor entertainment area to be scuppered. With careful planning, it's possible to find space to fit all that's required.

When Mike Jack of Natural Habitats was asked to redesign the back garden featured on these pages, it was poorly connected to the house and looked far too small to take much more than a table and chairs.

"We grappled with the concept of putting a pool, as well as seating, a barbecue and fireplace, into such a tight space," says the designer.

"We decided that the best way to deal with the small space and fit all these elements in was by avoiding the need for fencing between the pool and rest of the courtyard," he says.

View of outdoor entertaining area which features a backyard, house, outdoor structure, property, real estate, roof, gray
View of outdoor entertaining area which features a barbeque, outdoor seating, plantings, lighting and pine decking.

In the garden there was enough space to built an 8m x 2m plunge pool across the width of the property.

"By raising the pool 1.2m above the level of the deck and locating it at the back of the courtyard along the rear boundary wall, we didn't have to include a fence on the courtyard side to comply with fencing regulations," Jack says.

On the side of the patio by the kitchen door and sheltered by a timber pergola, a barbecue is set into a honed concrete benchtop. Directly opposite is a built-in fireplace, which creates a sense of symmetry within the courtyard. There's space between the two for a dining table and chairs, and sliding doors ensure an easy flow between this area and the living room.

Access into the pool is via external steps behind the fire, which creates a partial screen from the house. To finish the pool fencing, glass gates were installed between the fireplace and the pool wall, and between the rear of the fire and the side boundary fence. At the other end of the pool, behind the barbecue, a 1.2m-high planter box completes the subtle design.

View of outdoor entertaining area and pool which apartment, architecture, building, condominium, estate, facade, home, house, property, real estate, swimming pool, villa, window
View of outdoor entertaining area and pool which features a a barbeque, outdoor seating, plantings, lighting, pine decking.

Decking timber clads the side of the pool and the face of the boundary fence behind the pool, and ensures the view of the courtyard from the house isn't compromised by the long, 1.2m-high concrete pool wall.

A limited palette of concrete, timber and lime chips continues the minimalist theme, and planting is restricted to bromeliads and bungalow palms, both underplanted with mondo grass.

Credit list

Pool designer and builder
Custom made in polished concrete by Natural Habitats
Fires by Design
Danske Mobler
Custom built by

Story by: Trendsideas

28 Aug, 2009