Ideas for Designing Landscaping Around a Swimming Pool

Pool with mature landscaping providing a screen from the street. image by Photo by Donald Farris.

Overview

A swimming pool is an exciting addition for the whole family. It is also a relatively expensive investment that you will want to protect. You can enhance that investment with well-designed landscaping. Planning the landscape carefully can create the ambiance you desire and make the pool a major focal point in your yard.

Talk to your building department

Before you start your plan, talk to your city's building department and determine any rules they have concerning the installation of a pool. Most require a fence of a certain height and most will require a locking gate. If so, these elements will have to be considered in the landscaping design.

Hardscape

The fence you choose can provide privacy or can be ornamental and your plantings can provide the privacy you need. The fence should keep with the design of the house and should not be out of place in the neighborhood. Some pools have amazing hard-scape elements incorporated into the design such as waterfalls or grottoes. Most just include some type of pavement around the pool. This is a way to introduce a design element. Even if the pool is the standard rectangle, the pavement around the pool doesn't need to be. Create an interesting shape in the pavement, allowing enough room for sunbathing. You may also want to create a space for shade. The pavement around the pool can be any number of materials, but you want it to be something that isn't slippery with wet feet. Concrete, stamped and/or colored concrete, pavers, brick, flagstone or blue stone are all possible options. Recycled rubber tiles that come in a variety of colors and designs such as brick, cobblestone and pavers may be a good option, as well.

Landscape

Depending on the fence selected, you may want some screening in your landscape design. Evergreen trees work very and they don't shed their leaves into the pool. Deciduous trees are very nice for shade, but don't plant ones that have an excess of debris associated with them. It is also a good idea to try to find a deciduous tree that drops all of their leaves at the same time, so there is only once that you have to clean up. Bushes are also a helpful plant to include as they provide screening as well. A trick is to plant items with showy flowers, which are designed to attract birds or butterflies. This also means that they do not have seeds that are transferred by wind, so they will have less litter. Tall ornamental grasses work well and can also be used to hide the mechanics of the pool. Many recommend bamboo as a wonderful screen and it is. However, bamboo can get out of control easily. Add additional color with flowers in front of your bushes. Angle beds away from the pool so that water from the plantings runs away from the pool not into it, avoiding dirt and fertilizers contaminating the pool. Also consider raised planters or pots as ornamental devices in the landscape.

Lighting

Since you most likely will want to utilize your pool in the evening hours, lighting is critical. Consider a variety of low voltage ornamental landscape lights. Include some up lights angled at trees to create interesting shadows. Add down lights at any step or trip hazard in the landscaping. Additionally, look for any dark spots in the landscape and add lighting there. You can complement the standard, low-voltage landscape lights with Tiki torches or other lantern types of lights in the pool area. These should be lit only when you are outside to monitor them.

Keywords: landscape design, pool landscaping, hardscape around pools

About this Author

Lynn Farris has been conducting management studies, writing technical articles and contributing to local newspapers since 1984. Having traveled throughout the world, Farris now lives in Costa Rica, teaches English and writes a column for the "National Examiner" on Costa Rica. Farris holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and psychology from Case Western Reserve University.

Photo by: Photo by Donald Farris.

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