Landscape planting and other features around your backyard swimming pool can make or break the fun of having a pool in your yard. Do it correctly and you subtly enhance the beauty of your pool area while making it more functional. If you do pool landscaping wrong, you invite maintenance issues and other problems that take the fun out of splashing in the water on a hot summer day.
Planting Around Your Pool
Unless you have an elegantly designed, modernist landscape, your pool will look uninviting in a barren yard with nothing around it. Carefully placed plants soften pool areas while providing some privacy and a sense of enclosure. Most want their pool area to be colorful and fun. Using a variety of plant sizes, shapes and colors is a good approach – as long as you don’t overdo it!
It’s nice to provide some shade close to the pool. One or two medium to large trees can provide shaded seating areas for those that want to minimize sun exposure. At the same time, you need some sunny spaces. Pay attention to the sun pattern in your yard before you plant. Try and keep the pool itself in full sun, especially for the morning hours.
Make sure that at least some of your ornamental plants flower in the summer. You want pool landscaping to look its best during the times of year you will be spending poolside. Given the brightness of sun reflecting on pool water, select flower colours other than white.
Things to Avoid With Your Pool Landscaping
Steer away from prickly plants with thorns or stiff needles. There are lots of bare legs and feet around pools that won’t appreciate scratchy plants. While oak trees are wonderful in most situations, you don’t want to step on acorns while walking around your pool deck or have to scoop them out of the water every fall.
Cleaning leaves out of your backyard pool is a given, but don’t make the situation worse. Even though breezes shift and change, every place has a prevailing wind direction. Local topography and elevation may affect the wind in your yard; pay attention to the patterns. If possible, have larger trees downwind from your pool; don’t plant trees with lots of very small leaves.
Be careful not to have standing water near your pool due to poor drainage. Even saucers for potted plants can end up with stagnant water that attracts mosquitoes. Low, dense groundcovers such as English ivy and periwinkle also tend to be mosquito breeding grounds.
The Best Mulch for Pool Landscaping
Use shredded hardwood bark mulch for your pool area landscape. It compacts well and tends to stay in place. Pine bark is lighter weight and more likely to wash onto your pool deck. Above all, avoid gravel mulch. You’ll be fishing it out of the bottom of the pool and stepping on it when it spills onto the surrounding walks and patios.
These few simple guidelines will make your pool a pleasant place to spend time. Consult with a landscape architect if you are not sure about the best approach to your pool landscape design. Your pool will be more enjoyable if you make sure the surrounding landscape complements your pool and lifestyle.