Pools and Alfresco


Australia and Adelaide in particular has a wonderful climate that is ideally suited to outdoor activities. Block sizes are decreasing and unplanned garden areas are now a waste of valuable real-estate. Alfresco spaces are an obvious choice….Read More

Hard landscape Architecture such as pools, conservatories, pool enclosures, decks, patios, verandahs, pergolas, gazebos, outdoor kitchens and dining areas is all about utilising those alfresco spaces and enlarging the size of your livable space in the warmer months.

The trick is to visually tie the Architecture together with planned plantings and hard landscaping that blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, making it all one space.

Deck and Garden Room:

This addition to a 1960’s cream brick Jennings home showcases how a twinwall polycarbonate roofed alfresco area and garden when designed together blurs the boundaries between inside and outside. The whole back yard becomes one large “Garden room”

New Living area Extension with Landscaping and Alfreco: Adelaide Residential Architect Grant Lucas

New Living area Extension and renovation to 19 60's Cream Brick house with Landscaping and Alfresco: Adelaide Residential Architect Grant Lucas

Hard and soft landscaping designed to suit new alfresco area: Adelaide Residential Architect Grant Lucas


Adelaide’s hot summer makes it ideally suited to having a pool in the backyard. Concrete pools with a tiled finish may be the most expensive to build but they also are unparalleled in design choice, looks and quality. A pool enclosure will mean that you extend your swimming season as well as reducing leaf litter in the pool.  An Architecturally designed pool to suit your site will enhance your garden and become a lifestyle choice as well as a landscape feature. In order to be fully utilized the pool, garden and house should be well connected. One Designer in charge of all three areas ensures the best outcome.


This elevated pool in the Adelaide hills integrates a spa at one end and features a raised tiled hob. A raked opal twin-wall polycarbonate roofed breezeway connects pool and house. Garden and pool integrate and merge into bush-land beyond.

FEATURES: Spa, Split level pool with 2.1m deep water along entire back edge. Swim-jets, solar heating, Enviroswim ioniser, tiled waterline with Q-quartz render below, large format pavers. Widened and thickened self supporting band-beam with elevated back and side edges .

New swimming pool and Alfresco area with raked opal polycarbonate roof: Adelaide Architect Grant Lucas

New elevated concrete pool : Adelaide Foot-Hills: Architect Grant Lucas

POOL (and Pool-house) ON A CLIFF:

This Infinity edge pool and Pool-house at Marino began construction in Nov 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2018.  The pool was designed with an infinity edge to maximise the impact of the 180 degree sea views.The pool-house (with bar) adjoins the main residences living areas, enlarging their party space and providing additional accommodation for overnight guests and family.
The plant-room is in a soundproof plant-room under the deck with provision for storage for 20kl of  rainwater. Heating is provided by the 160 sqm “Tractile” photo-voltaic roof of the pool-house. The photo-voltaic cell system is also the cladding, there is no separate roof underneath.  The cells are encased in water jackets to improve their efficiency.  This byproduct of warm water will provide heating for the pool. The roof is sufficient to run both the main house and the pool house. Two Tesla walls will store the power for night time use and excess power will be pumped back into the grid. As this is a world first for this kind of technology I have documented it in a blog of this projects progress as well as a google plus collection of posts and a photo album documenting the build process.

Plan for an Infinity edge pool with patio, deck, alfresco area and Pool house

 Plan of Infinity Edge Pool with Patio, Deck, Alfresco Area and Pool-house

New Infinity edge pool with deck, alfresco and poolhouse, Marino Adelaide: West elevation: Architect Grant Lucas

3d sketch of Solar Powered Pool and Pool-house: West elevation

New Infinity edge pool with deck, alfresco and poolhouse, Marino Adelaide: Sea view from deck: Architect Grant Luca

3d sketch of Solar Powered Pool and Pool-house: View from Pool-house to sea

Solar Powered Pool and Poolhouse at Marino, Adelaide:  Concrete for Shell and Deck completed Feb. 2018


This pool and Spa at Glen Osmond currently is still at Planning Approval stage and is due for final documentation in 2018. It was designed to be integrated with a new Sun-room/Conservatory. The Conservatory roof extends over the pool to provide shade. This pool is all about the view and borrowed landscape.

New Conservatiory/sunroom and pool with undercover spa and deck: Glen Osmond, Adelaide: West Perspective: Architect Grant Lucas

New Conservatiory/sunroom and pool with undercover spa and deck: Glen Osmond, Adelaide: East Perspective: Architect Grant Lucas

The Outdoor Room: Integration of Landscape and Architecture

A garden and house should be in harmony. The best result is when they are both designed with the other in mind.

In Adelaide, South Australia we have the perfect weather for outdoor living.  A well designed garden enhances the Alfresco experience. These outdoor rooms provide entertaining areas that connect you with the seasons.

Budget conscious garden design is easy if you do the work yourself. This garden is one example. The backbone of the garden is Australian native trees and bushes. The under-plantings have been chosen for hardiness. Most plant material (including the eucalyptus) has been grown from seed or cuttings and the paving is mainly recycled bricks, gravel and bark. This has left more money to spend on the feature areas such as the swimming pool.

Significant site-works were needed as the garden is on a 30 degree slope.  Much of the garden uses permapine logs as retaining walls and edges to beds. They have been used as they are cheap and quick to install. The aim has been to cover these and produce a naturalistic setting

Bark path. A simple and cheap solution to lead visitors around the garden. Pine-bark has the added advantage of adding acidity to Adelaide’s alkaline soils
Brick retaining wall doubles as planter-box. Hardy plants have been chosen to minimise watering. Spring stars provide late winter colour and Wandering Dew trails over the bricks softening the edges
This brick retaining wall steps down in a regular rythmn providing access to the garden below. The vertical face has been rendered with plasterers sand to soften the impact of the concrete. The organic curve to the wall is not just for aesthetics it adds strength to the structure
An old sewing machine base is used as a focal point among the orchid display. The table-top was made from second hand hardwood roofing battens spaced 5mm apart by galvanized washers and held together by 3 threaded rods. The table is ideal for a shallow birdbath. An old terracotta pot-plant saucer is perfect
10mm Gravel on crushed quarry rubble base forms this stepped garden path. Permapine logs spiked together with reo bar form the risers of the steps
Recycled brick paving looks like it has been there a hundred years after only a couple of seasons. This garden bed at the edge of a small brick patio is ideal for a herb garden. Succulents have also been used in this bed to provide a backbone planting when the annual herbs are out of season
Orchids provide winter colour. Cymbidiums are tough as nails and provide a spectacular display
A glimpse of the swimming pool behind leads the eye to the borrowed view of the hill behind making the garden appear larger than it is. This technique was used in traditional European and Japanese garden design
Potted colour provides a focal point and ties these three paving materials together
The galvanized rainwater tank is an Australian icon and is part of our garden vernacular. A traditional cone top tank was chosen to act as water storage for the swimming pool
Two small brick patios are joined by stairs. A permapine log retaining wall with a 300 mm wide planing strip at the edge of the top patio provides room for a hardy perennial planting of wallflower and lemon scented Pelargonium. A smaller retaining wall aligning with the front edge of the stair retains a meter wide garden bed filled with Arum lillies and Tradescanthia. The effect is a cascade of leaf textures and colour that soften the stair and patio edges
This permapine tiered garden consists of a mono-culture of African daisy ground-cover with Algerian iris as a feature plant to add some definition and contrast half way up the slope. The thin gravel path which provides access to the row of espaliered Shiraz grapes behind is hidden from view by the iris. In summer the grapes provide some welcome shade. An added bonus is that the fresh vine leaves can be picked and stuffed and the grapes can be picked green to make veure juice or left to ripen and make a nice drop of home-made red
A Mandevilla vine growing up the verandah post flowers for 9 months of the year. A random cluster of potted cyclamen at the base of the post adds some colour for the months when the vine is dormant