by Guest Blogger Brent Pittman July 12, 2013
Poolside Gardening for Your Poolscape
Depending where you live, a backyard pool can be a nice luxury or a near necessity. It’s a pleasant way for you and your family to beat the heat on warm days, a place for kids to play and boost their swimming skills, and an easy way to stay fit if you’re so inclined.
Pool owners know that having one does require some degree of extra effort, such as regular cleaning and maintenance.
But pools can also create an ideal opportunities for those who enjoy great landscaping. Instead of just wood or concrete around the pool area, you can make the pool a centerpiece of a lush garden. Various plants and flowers along the edges, matching certain colors palettes will make the setting even more tranquil and oasis-like.
You can also plant a garden patch nearby so you can enjoy the view while enjoying your pool or sunroom. Guests who arrive for pool parties will be amazed not just by your pool, but also by the beautiful pool landscaping.
The final look is up to you, but there are plenty of examples of designs that work incorporating your pool into your entire backyard design – there’s even a term for it: poolscaping. A poolscape includes everything from tile, items to sit or lounge on like chair or benches, lighting options, even the design and placement of pool fountains. waterfalls or grottos.
Getting Started with Gardening for your Poolscape
Like any landscaping project, creating a plan for your pool and spa garden is critical.
- Do you want beautiful flowers all through the year or just plants that bloom once in a while?
- Do you desire landscaping that requires only a small amount of maintenance?
- Would you prefer a peaceful Zen garden or a more rustic landscaping?
- Do you have a large pool that can benefit from landscaping or a hot tub, in a small space?
- Are you less interested in specific types of plants vs. ways to add privacy and shade?
- Are water features or fish ponds in your plans?
- Will your poolscape have an edible garden component?
Once these basic types of questions are answered, you have to determine which kinds of plants can work for your particular climate zone. If you already have an existing garden you may already be familiar with foliage choices for where you live.
Adding plants near a standard pool shouldn’t drastically change the balance or your yard’s moisture and soil all that much. There are some types of plants that may work fine in a garden, but not as well around high walking traffic areas (sticky, thorny rose bushes, for instance).
Knowing your available space and gardening goals will help in the plant selection process.
Planters or Ground-level
Catriona Tudor Erler, author of 'Poolscaping' said that some owners prefer planter boxes or hanging baskets, while others enjoy working in a designated patch of ground.
Erler suggests that plants that grow close to the water may lead to an increase in debris washing into the pool during watering or rain, and creating many more maintenance challenges.
If you use planters, raised beds or hanging baskets, your plants will be nicely contained, easy to reach and have very little possibility of soil spilling into the pool, bringing phosphates and nitrates into the pool. Planters or baskets will also be easy to arrange or re-arrange to take advantage of sunlight or aesthetics.
Poolscape Gardening Suggestions and Warnings
In the Times-Union’s Life@Home blog, author Wendy Page offers some suggestions and warnings when planting a poolside garden. These include:
- Avoid plants that can attract bees and wasps. You may already have visits from a small number of these unwelcome yellow and black critters because of the presence of your pool or maybe a nearby barbecue area. Certain aromatic plants will bring even more of them, even an entire hive if you put in shrubs. Since bees and wasps are known to be territorial, they may also regard people walking near the pool as threats and attack.
- Avoid plants and trees that can send out deep roots. These can eventually grow through the concrete and patio area and cause it to buckle, or worse, get into the pool’s plumbing. Both are unpleasant, expensive problems to fix.
- Don’t plant plants with prickles, thorns or something that sheds. You or a guest may accidently slip or stumble into the prickly area when walking along wet tile. Heavy shedding plants may also fall into your pool and cause greater maintenance needs.
If you’re going to incorporate an edible garden component, ensure the plants are protected from chemicals and salt water. An edible garden will also attract pests, so proper planning for an edible component is crucial. Consider talking to an expert or a friend who has a poolside edible garden.
Start Your Poolscape Engines
After reading all the considerations and warnings, don’t be intimidated. Do the research, talk to experts, form a plan, and take action.
A poolside garden will give your family hours of enjoyment both in creating the new environment and reaping the fruits of your poolscape garden.
Start your poolscape engines and get started today!
Do you have a poolside garden? What tips do you have? Share them below!