How to bring a cool vintage vibe to your poolside style

Create a nostalgic backyard oasis inspired by 1970s poolside style

How to bring a cool vintage vibe to your poolside style

While I wasn’t lucky enough to have a pool growing up, I had a lot of fun hanging out at other people’s pools. Both my neighbours and grandparents built pools in the 1970s, classic oval and jellybean shapes with floral sun umbrellas and loungers arranged alongside. As well as swimming and splashing around, I enjoyed reclining on the enviable pool furniture, pretending I owned my own fabulous pool.

Now, looking at images by the photographer Slim Aarons, renowned for his shots of socialites lounging poolside in the ’70s, I’m inspired by the same aesthetic. Luckily, the retro sun loungers and umbrellas are making a comeback. Even if you don’t have a pool, you can still create a poolside vibe with vintage furniture, a drinks table or trolley and a whole lot of plants. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Vintage backyard ideas 

  1. Retro-style sun umbrellas are having a moment. Hunt around in secondhand shops and on Trade Me for authentic vintage versions – bonus points for fringed or floral numbers.
  2. Purchase a secondhand caravan (or inherit one if you can) and put it at the bottom of your garden – give it some love before using it as a studio, bar or sleepout.
  3. Vintage lawn chairs and loungers look great and many vintage ones are still in good condition. Look for aluminium or wrought-iron frames, weatherproof cushions and bucket-shaped Acapulco chairs.
  4. An old bar cart or trolley will make a cute stand for pot plants – it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit worn.
  5. If you have space in your garden grow some flowers or plants. Look for those that have a vintage feel – think palms, cacti, roses and hydrangeas.

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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