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Floating in the hills

16 May 2022
With their property overlooking the city and the nearby Port Hills, Dave and Sharon Bailey were keen to enjoy the view poolside.

When your home overlooks both the city and hills, you want to enjoy these views poolside too. Having overcome muddy slopes and limited-access challenges, this pool project is now up for an award. Words Anna Wallace Photos Val Moreno & Otto Schuhmacher-Albrecht

Worsleys Road is well known for being the doorstep to adventure in a highly desirable pocket of
Christchurch’s hillside suburb of Cashmere. Overlooking the city, and with the nearby Port Hills as an enduring backdrop, residents Dave and Sharon Bailey were keen to ensure their property’s new pool was situated to enjoy both these vistas.

The pool was also intended to be used as an entertainment space, with the design including built-in
heating and seating, as well as a sunken ethanol fire pit. Before these benefits could be realised, the installers had to deal with the positioning of the pool, which was to be below the house – on a hillside. This presented a number of challenges for appointed supplier, Goom, which owns Compass Pools Christchurch and Goom Landscapes.

“It was a difficult hillside site with limitations of access,” recalls Val Moreno, senior landscape architect and
project manager.

“The site dig out was significant; the installation required a foundation to be constructed during last year’s chilling and wet Christchurch winter. Our team worked in very difficult conditions – there was a lot of mud!”

How did they manage it?

To cater for the engineering requirements of a difficult sloping site, the team “built out of the hill” to create a flat usable space – upon which a concrete foundation was then constructed. Using Maxi Rib technology, the rib-like structure provided the necessary support to enable the pool to be installed above ground.

Moving the pool from the road to the site would have been an interesting exercise to spectate. The pool was lifted up the driveway on its side using a franna crane, to ensure it could be moved past the house. It was then transferred to a crane to lift down the hill for installation.

Other design features

Working in conjunction, the pool and landscaping teams made sure the pool is easily accessible from the house. Floating concrete steps lead down the hill to the pool and the sunken entertainment space – a unique feature as the steps are engineered and precast before being lifted onto site.

As always, with pool installations, safety fencing is a crucial aspect of the plan. In this project, the incline of the landscape and the client’s desire to showcase the sights had to be catered for.

“The tiered fencing used meets safety requirements and provides uninterrupted views across the city – without requiring more expensive glass,” explains Val.

Again with the hill’s slope in mind, tiered planting and retaining was used to minimise erosion.

The entertainment area includes plenty of space for relaxing by the 8.2 x 4.2m Bi-luminate ceramic fibreglass pool.

No need to go away

With the outdoor living space transformed and expanded, the clients were thrilled with the results.
The Baileys didn’t even go away for their usual family holiday, instead spending the entire summer
around their new pool and landscaped area with friends and family.

They’re not alone in investing in their property. Compass Pools Christchurch has seen a 50 per cent
increase in demand for pools throughout the two-year pandemic period.

Up for an industry nod

This Worsleys Road pool has been entered into the 2022 SPASA NZ Awards of Excellence. Compass Pools Christchurch won two prizes at last year’s awards, where achievers in the swimming pool and spa industry are recognised. In 2021, the company received a Gold award for their Display Pool at Sawyers Arms Road in Harewood, and they won Gold in the category of Pool Landscape Design for a Fendalton project.

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