Plan a tropical escape without having to step outside – a lush indoor oasis means you can enjoy your own slice of paradise.


1. Tropical plants
For a lush atmosphere, you can’t go past hardy plants that will cope well with the moisture of pool areas. This indoor courtyard garden was designed by landscape designer Simon Howard of Secret Gardens (, who chose the long leafy form of Philodendron cannifolium (flask philodendron) to set the scene and provide a frame of greenery next to the barbecue area. Try garden centres such as Flower Power, which sells philodendron for $39.99/250mm pot

2.  Barbecue area
The custom-made timber and stainless-steel barbecue unit with rangehood was designed by Secret Gardens and fabricated by Art Of Kitchens. Large wall mirrors behind enhance the sense of space in the area. Similar barbecue and servery units can be created from $16,000 (including rangehood) by Art Of Kitchens

3. Lounge chair
A feature furniture piece continues the outdoor living theme. This teak and leather lounge chair by Gloster has a Scandi sensibility and its inviting curves make it ideal for relaxing with a cocktail or book. Gloster ‘Dansk’ lounge chair, $2268, Cosh Living

4. Hanging plants
To offer a point of difference to the large plants around the pool, Simon has chosen smaller hanging plants to add another dimension to the garden. The fine tendrils of this Rhipsalis baccifera (mistletoe cactus) offer a counterbalance to the fig below. Try mistletoe cactus, from $18.94/130mm pot, Bunnings Warehouse

5. Fiddle leaf fig
The Ficus lyrata is the plant du jour, and works well confined to a pot. Here, its large curved leaves provide an anchor point for the other plants. Fiddle leaf figs can be hard to find, due to their popularity.
Try Garden Life for figs ranging from $60/200mm pot and 50cm high to a two metre-high plant from $550

6.  Concrete planters
While they may be expensive, cement pots are long-lasting and age well. Choose a variety of sizes with similar profiles and cluster together in odd numbers for an informal look. Consider the ‘Essential’ range, from $95/400mm x 420mm pot in the ‘Cone’ series, Garden Life, as before. 7/ Variegated plants A good way of adding depth of colour and variety in mixed plantings without the distraction of bright florals is to go with variegated foliage. Simon chose easy-care species for the pool surround, including Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother In Law’s tongue) which is ideally suited to pots. Try Sansevieria trifasciata, $99/250mm pot, Flower Power

8. Pavers
Granite combines practicality and beauty as a pool surround. These low-maintenance mottled pavers are made from Torino granite, a premium blue grey material from Italy. Here, they’ve been sealed and look stunning by the poolside and as a feature floor in the surrounding garden area. The pavers have a smooth texture underfoot. ‘Torino’ granite pavers, from $130/sqm, Eco Outdoor

9. Mosaic tiles
A perfect choice for pools, mosaic tiles are available in a variety of rich colours and are generally non-slip due to the amount of grout needed. Glass versions in particular add a touch of iridescence and the deep blue of these designs create a resort-style mood in this internal courtyard. Try Bisazza ‘Palma’ glass mosaic tiles, $133/sqm, Perini Tiles

*Prices may vary on application. look into your local council regulations and requirements before starting any renovation work


For more indoor/outdoor ideas and inspiration try:
>> small-space garden case study
>> ideas from landscape designer Peter Fudge’s own garden
>> 6 luxury pools with jaw-dropping views
>> tips on how to create an outdoor room

Be inspired #sharemystyle