If you are already a pool owner, you understand that although it’s well worth it, there is already mandatory maintenance which your outdoor oasis requires.
There are a few rules of thumb (green thumb that is!) to consider if you are just starting out with a fresh landscape design for around your pool or are planning a vegetation renovation! You want plants and trees that:
- Suit the ambiance you wish to create.
- Will thrive in your local climate.
- Don’t create a mess.
- Won’t generate a lot of pollen.
- Do not attract bees or wasps.
Simplicity is beauty. Simplicity also takes time and thought. If you are hiring a professional, that’s great. You should trust one you received via referral and expect a comprehensive consultation to review what you are trying to achieve and, of course, if what you envision is a practical and affordable solution.
As with any contractor, a contract that includes scope of work and defined payment increments is ideal. Inquire too about any warranties they will give you on the plants/trees themselves if you are purchasing those through them. Bottom line, whatever is agreed to should be in writing.
What You Want vs. What You Need
If you are going it on your own, you will find a backyard makeover a gratifying project. Just arm yourself with the research so you can proceed with confidence.
You can always start with a site like Pinterest or Instagram to see how different types of foliage bring a space to life. It will also help you get a sense of balance – how certain plants work with others for the most aesthetically pleasing look. (For example, some grow at a faster rate, so you’ll want to place those in the back of an arrangement.)
However, what you want may not be what you really need. It sounds luxurious to have your pool surrounded in rose bushes of all hues. From buds to blooms they are easily the most beautiful flowers of all, not to mention the aromatherapy benefits! They are also very high maintenance flowers. High maintenance flowers that can start to look pretty scraggily if not consistently tended. DIY Network showcases some stunning ways to frame that refreshing expanse of water in colorful ways.
Start with a Map
You first need to assess what you have:
- Create as detailed a map as possible that outlines what elements will remain such as your pool, patio, shrubbery, and existing trees.
- Add the sun/shade details to understand where those exposures are, so your new plants are placed properly.
- Your map’s vantage point should be how it will be seen when you enter the yard. That way you can design for the biggest impact.
- Is this your opportunity to add some hardscaping like rock gardens and pathways?
- Account for the plants you will potentially be removing so you can consider those areas as new planting space.
- Take measurements of the available lots for planting so you will eventually purchase enough plants/trees to fill the space while leaving room for growth.
- Take note of how your land slopes as you’ll – of course – want drainage to move away from your home.
- Make decisions about how everything will get watered if you don’t already have an underground sprinkler system.
Make Good Choices
A trip to your local nursery or home improvement store will then be the most excellent use of your time. Besides picking the brains of horticulture experts, you can snap photos of the plants as well as their care tags to remember the ones you like and also to have the specs on how far they should be planted from one another, etc. This method will build your catalog of your selections.
However, the right plant is everything. Unless you have landscaping professionals who do more than lawn mowing and edging, strive for low maintenance plants. A border of glorious evergreen trees provides privacy and are extravagantly lush, but those needles will be in and around your pool in no time. It will become your part-time job ridding the space of them.
The Spruce serves up a short list of mess-free plants that includes: angelina stonecrop, lantana, sky pencil holly, geum, blue fescue grass, mexican bird of paradise shrub, agave, yucca filamentosa, aloe vera, autumn joy sedum, hardy hibiscus shrub, purple ice plant, elephant ears (colocasia), mountain laurel shrub, papyrus, zebra grass, and, inkberry shrub.
They do note that although a plant appears on their list, “that does not mean that you can install it just anywhere near a pool. Most notably, a couple of plants with thorns are included on the list, simply because they are relatively mess-free. But avoid growing thorny plants in areas where you will be walking (for example, spots where you will be entering or exiting from the pool), so that you will not have to worry about getting jabbed by sharp thorns. Instead, grow them on a side of a large pool where human activity is kept at a minimum. They are not suitable for small pools (where space is at a premium).”
While you want hardy plants that will flourish in the rich soil, you need to stay away from those with invasive root systems. Over time they can and will damage your pool. You’ll want to seek shrubbery that helps your pool integrate into its environment. Since your pool is essentially a concrete block boasting pumps and other equipment, use shrubbery that will help camouflage the less aesthetic aspects of your pool but will not encroach on it.
Vegetation Evaporation and Privacy
Besides the artistic appeal of backyard landscaping, there’s the practical side.
Swim University offers a great tip about the role plants play in reduced evaporation of pool water, “Replacing water and chemicals lost due to evaporation is a part of regular pool maintenance. Pool water evaporates no matter what you do. You can’t stop it, but you can reduce it. Wind accelerates evaporation. By placing plants, shrubs, or other barriers around your pool, you can reduce the amount of wind that skims across the surface of your pool, thereby slowing the rate of evaporation. You’ll save water, chemicals, and money.”
Further, when you’re relaxing poolside, you want to avoid prying eyes. Your local professional can recommend the best solutions to attain your privacy. Lattice work, some hedging, and artfully woven ivy create a natural curtain that is also beautiful to look at. Ah, the tranquility of a backyard pool!
Providing pool and home improvement loans since 1979, Lyon Financial loves backyard pools. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information.