1. Keep it simple

A complicated landscape will only confuse the eye and make the space seem smaller than it really is. Minimise the number of finishes you use: Excluding the actual pool, 3 is good, 2 is better, and 1 is ideal.

2. The colour blue

Work with colours that are a shade or tone of blue, such as royal blue, aquamarine and turquoise. Shades of green are also good though avoid anything that resembles algae! Remember also that water reflects what is around it so your choice of waterline tiles is just as important. Brown tiles, for example, tend to kill the water colour.

3. Pick your plants

A flourishing garden is always a wonder to behold so choose plants, trees and flowers that will thrive, not just survive. Colour blocking is more effective than a medley so group plants that have the same colour when in bloom. Choose species endemic to your area, as they are already adapted to the local microclimate. Work with change, not against it!

4. Location, location

The frequency of a pool's usage is inversely proportionate to its distance from house, i.e. the further you are away from your pool; the less you are inclined to use it.

5. Size matters

We typically spend around 20% of our time in the pool - the remaining 80% is spent around the pool deck, reclining on deck chairs and daybeds, and socialising in the spa. Consequently, make sure your pool doesn't consume your entire backyard.

6. Ground levels

Sometimes a simple step in the landscape that elevates a pergola or sitting area can make the poolscape more inviting. A raised platform has a cubby house feel to it, especially if it commands a view. Just remember that a drop off of over 1-metre requires a more substantial balustrade.

7. Visual design features

Most poolscapes only need one major visual focus and, while it is often the pool, it can also be the view or backdrop. However, when an outlook is unavailable, a garden sculpture, illuminated tree or water feature can easily fit the bill.

8. Pool fencing

All pool fencing needs to comply with Australian Standards and local government regulations. The fence also needs to be passed by the project certifier prior to filling your pool up with water. A clever designer can help minimise your fencing impact without contravening any laws. Remember also, there are some differences in NSW compared to the rest of Australia so something that can be done in Queensland or Victoria may not be possible in NSW.

Be careful when mixing fencing styles to prevent from the landscape from looking cluttered. Darker colours usually work best if glass is not an option while a cluey designer can offer suggestions on how to overcome changes in levels.

9. Outdoor lighting

Spending as little as 5% of your total budget on landscape lighting can create an exotic resort effect. Here are a few tips: underwater lighting alone can create ample illumination to get around your pool at night; avoid floodlights as they're usually too intense to create an atmosphere; and install lighting so that you cannot see any fittings.

10. Imagine and research

The sky really is the limit so imagine yourself in a luxury resort and think how you would use it, and whether it is feasible to recreate those facilities and features in your own backyard. Just ensure the poolscape accounts for everyone's needs - not just the children's.