Melbourne Pool Retreat with Clever Rooftop: Ivanhoe by OFTB

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A streamlined wood architectural pool “roof” that’s open to the sky, a privacy fence that screens without blocking light, and red tile in a pool: those are only a few of the unique touches brought to this Ivanhoe back yard by OFTB Landscape Architecture. This 2011 project uses a few clever ruses to great natural effect, among them steel columns with marine-grade plywood cladding to create the “wood” structure you see soaring over the L-shaped pool. And that beautiful green lawn you see next to the privacy fence will keep its good looks no matter how much traffic it gets, because it’s actually synthetic grass! However, one aspect of this layout is just what it appears to be: great outdoor space that segues from the contemporary house in a seamless blend that makes outdoor entertaining a breeze.

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There’s no skimping on quality natural materials here, either. The raised pool wall is ceramic tile, the seats are concrete, and garden beds (filled with real, not synthetic trees and plants!) make this more than just a bare pool and deck; they help turn it into a welcoming garden that offers a great escape day or night. One “fence” is little more than vertical poles that screen without blocking access — but there’s no lack of seclusion or privacy here, either, with a pristine white concrete wall ornamented with a lush profusion of shrubs, trees, and other native greenery. At twilight, this back yard “gem” shines most brightly: with up-lighting in the wood “shelter” as well as interspersed among the ornamental trees, it creates an ambience that’s irresistible…and easy to live with, thanks to OFTB.

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