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Outdoor Living

Santa I want a pool house! No, not a collapsible gazebo from a DIY hovering precariously over a paddling pool; I want a purpose-built pool house. One I can use year round with the air heated to a nice temperature in the winter, and large doors that roll back in summer … and maybe a retractable roof.

Yes, that should do it. Now, about the pool; I’m not wanting anything too big – just a nice usable size. A simple rectangular shape, heated, and at least three

times my height in length so I can get a good workout swimming against the current. Please, please, Santa… I’ll be really good!

My own facility with a never-ending pool would be like having all my Christmases come at once! American company Endless Pools have just what I’m after, a never-ending pool that provides all the benefits of a full size lap pool in a fraction of the space. Simple to maintain and economical to run, it can be installed inside or out, and provides a smooth current produced by a propeller inside a protective acrylic case, driven by a hydraulic motor.

It’s adjustable to any speed or swim ability, and is ideal for both exercise and fun. Components are delivered in kitset form and it’s easy to DIY install with the help of a plumber and electrician (an experienced installer can be recommended). For those with existing pools, or who prefer the look of a traditional freeform pool, Endless Pools have developed the Fastlane®, a separate current unit that can be retrofitted, attaching to the deck like a pool ladder.

In new constructions it can be fitted at the waterline. New Zealand agent, The Swim Clinic, says that since Endless Pools Inc. was founded in 1988 they have sold over 11,000 pools to destinations across the globe, including the Grand Princess, reported to be the largest cruise liner.

There’s plenty of variety when it comes to pool styles … from above-ground semi-temporary versions that provide hours of fun for not a lot of money, to architecturally-designed and custom-built creations that require deep pockets. Concrete or concrete-based pools provide the most flexibility in design, are individual, and sit aesthetically in the environment. Companies like Frontier Pools provide a one-stop-shop. They can put you in touch with a landscape designer who can design the best pool for your lifestyle, style of your home and garden, and is designed to overcome and work around existing obstacles like boundary lines, public drains and sewer pipes, cliff faces and unstable land.

They’ll submit the construction plans to local authorities and are able oversee the construction work, carried out by their own teams. The ultimate would be to have a valet come round once a week to keep the pool crystal clear. However, if you like to maintain your pool yourself, there are many companies who offer a free water analysis service to help keep your pool up to scratch.

Many people enjoy spa pools; I believe you either like them or you don’t. Personally I’ve never found them appealing. Friends recently invited me around for a barbeque and a dip their new spa. As excited as they were about their new purchase, I conveniently forgot my swimming suit that night and hoped they didn’t have a spare. To me it’s like having a bath with friends! But many people do enjoy a good soak in a spa pool, finding it therapeutic and relaxing.

Hot Spring Spas are well known for their portable spas. Their wide variety of jets and jet systems allow you to customise your hot tub hydro-massage experience. Their spas are engineered and built for the realities of daily use, using the highest quality materials and state of the art components, and are widely known for their extremely low energy costs being fully insulated. While many spas claim to be fully foamed, they often use only low density foam. Hot Spring Spas employ multiple layers of high-density, closed cell polyurethane foam, the same material used to insulate commercial freezers. In addition, their pumps and heaters are designed to deliver maximum performance using minimum energy.

We spend a great deal of time in the outdoors, especially through the summer months, so it makes good sense to make your outdoor living areas as comfortable and stylish as your interiors. Once you own a pool, you tend to accumulate accessories – pool cover, cleaning equipment, outdoor furniture, barbeque, outdoor fireplace, sunshade, a vast array of swim suits, a blow-up lilo… and, hopefully, the regular attendance of a valet service. Then there’s the never ending stream of friends and family who pop around for a dip but stay the afternoon.

Yes, it’s quite a business owning a pool. It pays to do your homework when it comes to accessories. For instance, The Boat Cover Company manufactures a large stunning Bedouin tent which can be used on its own or over a spa pool. This company literally has the outdoors “covered”, from custom made bean bags of any shape and size to re-upholstery of existing furniture such as squabs for outdoor seating, recovery of umbrellas, spa pool covers or even gazebos. You can read more about them in the separate feature in this issue.

To set the scene poolside, you need the right furniture. Coastal Design Co’s inspiration for their ranges comes directly from New Zealanders’ attitude and love of the great outdoors. New to their collection for 2009 is their exclusive Cavalli rattan outdoor furniture setting. This contemporary design incorporates a large single armchair, 3-seater sofa and matching table. Clean square lines provide the ultimate in modern comfort. Scotch-guarded for extra durability, the furniture is entirely weatherproof and designed for full time outdoor use. Their Noosa Round Daybed, is the ultimate poolside lounger. The rattan canopy hood provides privacy and shade, but can recline back. It is supplied with 140cm width Sunbrella® mattress and matching scatter cushions with covers that can be zipped off for machine washing. Every piece of Coastal Design Co’s furniture is backed by a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Long regarded as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of outdoor furniture, Triconfort was originally a French-owned company and is now part of the Spanish-based Kettal Group who now offer an extensive collection of solid resin, aluminium, teak and woven hularo. This collection is seen in the finest homes, private yachts and resorts around the world. Cavit and Co represent the brand locally. It’s always refreshing to find durable folding chairs that are compact, but aren’t heavy timber. These chairs are compact and lightweight and, what’s best, they can withstand the harsh marine environment. The chair base is available in a staggering array of 20 powder coated colours and 20 mesh upholstery fabrics. This is a refined classic that will grace your
outdoor living areas.

If sleek, simple contemporary outdoor furniture fits with your ideals, look no further than the Bontempi range. This Italian company has been designing and manufacturing furniture for 32 years. Their designs are seen worldwide – durable, colour-fast, stylish, functional and affordable. The Hidra chair is a fine example of function and beauty combining. Constructed entirely from resin, the chair casts a sleek and elegant silhouette.

Another component for my ideal outdoor setting would include De Castelli outdoor pots and planters. Parent company Celato Srl has a family history of blacksmiths and steelworkers. This combination of traditional and modern has helped developed the De Castelli collection which now takes outdoor pots and planters to an entirely new level.

Best described as garden art, the beautifully proportioned stainless steel pots are available in an array of sizes and shapes.

Shade is an important component to enjoying our outdoor areas. Outdoor Concepts offer the Tuuci range of umbrellas from Miami. Interesting shapes and innovative design, the umbrellas are artful as well as practical. The Manta is inspired by the graceful Manta Ray; sweeping lines evoke an image of effortless strength, setting a new benchmark in functional shade. The Tuuci Zero Horizon is a clever design – it maximises overhead shade with a zero vertical canopy
profile. It does not block out the view, rather placing the umbrella in harmony with its environment. The patented Ocean Master frame features 100% corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware, aluminium construction, and a 15-year commercial warranty. It’s guaranteed to provide years of shade in the most demanding environments. There’s something about a hammock that shouts South Pacific paradise. Many of us don’t have the backyard trees to string one up, though. Lujo have conquered this problem by designing a hammock with it’s very own stand. With a focus on quality, comfort and form, they have combined the best materials to create a modern, padded double hammock to complement any setting. The Kwila stand, stainless components and Sunbrella® marine canvas (with a 5-year guarantee against fading) ensures you’ll enjoy years of tranquil outdoor living. The Lujo Lounger is a durable, all-weather beanbag sun lounger. Unlike traditional rigid loungers, this version shapes itself to your body, sending comfort levels through the roof! Also made from Sunbrella® fabric and waterproof inner liner, it can be left outside in all weather conditions.

The latest in outdoor barbeques, and the last on my ‘what’s hot’ list this summer, is the Neil Perry T-Grill, available from Outdoor Concepts. Using Crossray® technology, it has an infrared grill that offers restaurant-style searing from its revolutionary burner design – great for those who enjoy succulent, finely seared beef (and other dishes). Used and endorsed by celebrity chef, Neil Perry, the T-Grill is compact; ideal for townhouse or apartment entertaining.

Well, it seems I’ve got a long way to go and a long list of purchases to make before my outdoor area is ready for summer … but who knows what Santa might bring?