Who would have thought that backyard week on The Block would end up being such a jungle? But that's exactly what it has been this week, jungle rules and all.
The curly question about how much pools actually add value to a property has never felt more relevant, especially when you have to pay to use the air space above your neighbours' property.
Ronnie and Georgia have managed, come hell or high-water, to get their round pool in. It's glamorous and it's black. Classic R&G. However, I was left feeling their garden comes up short with no outdoor dining space. Incredible shame and I think a major oversight for what is shaping up to be an amazing property.
Was it worth it? The pool is so close to the back door that it feels almost intrusive to me.
Clint and Hannah are heading back to the '80s in my mind with putting that spa in. I just don't understand why they think it's necessary. These are not big gardens: with having to have fencing around the spa and all the paraphernalia that goes with it, everything feels squashed and undercooked. It's not the right move in my opinion. It's more bachelor pad style that looks completely out of place with some of their beautiful and elegant bedrooms inside.
But it's not all bad. I do love their oversized and really gorgeous (and practical) stepping stones that lead out from the garage to the house.
Sticks and Wombat, in a not-so-ironic twist, plump up for a shipping container pool. It's actually rather clever and more affordable and I think we'll start to see a lot more of them in gardens around in Australia. I have reservations that they intend to plant bamboo around their pool ... there will be leaves galore unless they whisper to the eventual buyers that it will need a haircut every six weeks.
And my other gripe, the bus stop in the middle of the back garden? I don't understand at all, but yet, these sorts of funny little quirks are often what children gravitate to, so who knows, maybe it will be a hit among the buyers in the under eight years old category?
Sarah and Jason seem to be on track to conjuring up something really great. I'm not sure how they do it, given all the time they seem to spend pontificating each week, but they're on course to deliver a lovely garden. It feels big without a pool, great decking and a terrific and low-maintenance space that I can only imagine will get better and better in time. Wonders never cease.
But Josh and Elyse won it for me this week. Their pool is sublime; the colour will pop and I love that it ties in the colours inside. And the decking and the vastness of it is just terrific. They have created an outdoor area that really works harmoniously with the inside.
And you know what it has all come down to? Really exceptional and skilled planning and execution. The positioning of the pool, the beautiful northern orientation of the garden and the consideration that went on weeks ago in the kitchen to blend the inside with the outside has paid off in spades. Good for them.
And to answer that vexed question about how much value pools add; it all depends on the buyer. But consider this: it's easier to put a pool in that it is to take one out. Though maybe not for poor Ronnie and Georgia this week.