What to Consider When Landscaping for a Swimming Pool
When you are ready to take the plunge and install a new swimming pool in your backyard, don’t forget to leave room in your budget for landscaping. A swimming pool by itself is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors, making our Texas summer heat enjoyable…rather than just bearable. However, the right landscape design plans for your pool can enhance everything. Your selection of plants can be used to offer privacy and set a theme for your new outdoor space: a tropical island or a wooded oasis. Your hardscaping (stone, concrete, rock, etc.) can be used to control foot (and paw) traffic around your pool. Here are a few helpful things to consider when landscaping your backyard for a swimming pool.
Pool Landscaping for Privacy
Now that most visitors in your backyard will be in bathing suits, privacy is the first order of business for a swimming pool landscape design. Our suburban neighbors can usually be found on 3 sides of our backyard, making privacy a consideration all around the pool. Consider using tall screening shrubs or small, ornamental trees in strategic locations. Make sure you understand the growth habits of your chosen plant and plan for their mature size. If planting areas around your pool are narrow, making trees or large-trunked shrubs unwise choices, consider installing arbors or narrow screens and planting vines. Make sure to install the screen away from the fence line so as not to encroach on your neighbors yard.
Pool Landscaping Plants
In addition to planning for the size of your plants, you should know their sun requirements, bloom cycles and their type: evergreen, deciduous, perennial or annual.
Evergreen: these plants maintain their leaves year round
Deciduous: these plants will lose their leaves late fall/early winter and grow them back in the spring
Perennial: these plants will die back each year and return
Annual: these plants die off after 1-2 seasons
Most trees and a good number of small shrubs are deciduous, meaning that they will lose their leaves each year. Chose these plants carefully as their leaves (and blooms) will inevitably land in your new swimming pool. Use perennials in conjunction with evergreen plants so that when the perennials die back each year, you still have something to look at.
Landscaping Around Pool with Rocks
Most new swimming pool designs have very elaborate stonework throughout the backyard, leaving only small bits of grass or turf in the side yard areas. Unless you have a dog who might still need a place “to go”, consider giving up the mowing maintenance and installing a smooth gravel or river rock with some well chosen stepping stones in these side yard areas (or consider artificial turf). In addition, consider using a rock for your landscape garden bed areas as well. There is nothing wrong with continuing to use mulch in these garden bed areas, but mulch can easily be tracked into your pool, making it a bit of a cleaning nightmare. Practically speaking, mulch is also a repeat cost and can be difficult to install in hard to reach areas behind your pool. Rock costs more to install, but it only needs to be done once.
While your pool company likely provided you with some basic landscaping accents in the pool design, with so many factors, consider using a separate, professional landscape designer to help you put the finishing touches on your new backyard. The cost of a landscape designer can range between $200-$2000, depending on the scope of the design. Many landscaping companies offer a rebate program, refunding you the cost of the design when you hire them to do the installation work. It’s worth your time and money to have a professional do the thinking and the planning for you.