Outdoor Backyard Ideas

A family’s dream backyard comes to life to resemble a luxe resort

A laidback outdoor zone incorporating a granny flat, plunge pool and cabana while celebrating native, water-wise plants.
granny flat backyard showerJody D'Arcy

Who needs a weekend away when your backyard has vacation vibes to rival a luxe resort? This glorious outdoor sanctuary in East Fremantle, WA, was designed for a blended family with five teenagers by designer Jen Burgess of Texture Studio. “I had a blank canvas with some basic plants and a brick granny flat, which we renovated using weatherboard to mirror the house,” Jen says. Central to the homeowners’ dream was a multi-purpose space with a holiday feel. “With five teenagers, we wanted spaces that allowed us to relax and entertain separately but also congregate with family and friends,” explains owner Emily.

Outdoor pool and deck
A sago palm takes centrestage in the pool planter, alongside lower-lying plants such 
as blue star fern, blue chalk sticks, blue flax lily and silver falls. (Credit: Jody D’Arcy )

Providing year-round enjoyment, the final design includes a plunge pool, a heated cabana, a cosy firepit area and L-shaped pond. Jen worked with Emily to create a “fuss-free, lush and low-maintenance” landscape. The family is thrilled with their new outdoor space: “We work hard so love to just chill on the weekends and this is the perfect place to do it.”

outdoor lounge area with rugs
“We wanted a more contemporary cabana to match the renovation of the home,” explains Jen, who used Dulux Colorbond Monument and Terrace White for the exterior’s scheme. (Credit: Jody D’Arcy )

“We love the cabana and the outdoor movie experience. it’s also wonderful with the fire in winter”

Emily, Homeowner

In contrast to all the stone, ‘Pacific Teak’ decking from Subiaco Restoration softly leads the way to the vinyl wrap plunge pool by Poolscape Pools. “The rendered concrete structure and vinyl lining is a cost-effective option,” says Jen. Choosing an above-ground pool also minimised fencing and allowed for a larger lawn, which meant more room for the family’s dog.

outdoor brass showerhead
There’s beauty in contrasting shapes and hues with the olive tree, Elijah blue grass and African satin bush. (Credit: Jody D’Arcy )

Bringing a decorative flourish and softer edge, the poolside planter box is bursting with colourful plants, including spreading succulents, such as blue chalk sticks and fire and ice with its plump green leaves and pink ruffled edges. Cassa Blue and ipomoea sweet light green add to the pretty palette while the striking sago palms add height and tropical luxe. In the garden bed behind, fast-growing tiger grass will over time hide the fence, creating a lush backdrop.

outdoor area with firepit
“The architectural elements are quite striking: the roof line, pool edges and all the different angles make it feel luxurious and dramatic.” The rough Corten steel edge adds to this,” says designer Jen Burgess. (Credit: Jody D’Arcy )

“The idea of building a cabana was to create a separate living room for the children to use when the adults are inside and vice versa,” explains Jen. Complete with movie projector and screen, a suspended fireplace from Zen Fireplaces and furniture from Cosh Living, the cabana is the perfect comfort zone. Bringing the resort look home is a custom daybed and an Armadillo rug. The polished concrete floor is both “practical and comfortable” says Jen. “It’s easily hosed down and the honed finish feels lovely and smooth underfoot.” Creating a lush backdrop, an old lemon tree provides shade for tropical tiger grass and elephant ears

granny flat backyard shower
Hugging the weatherboard granny flat, water-wise plants create relaxed and textural garden beds that thrive in full sun. “The colours and height variation of the plants make it interesting, natural and quintessentially Australian,” says designer Jen Burgess. (Credit: Jody D’Arcy )

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