Ken Muellers, CNLP
Senior Landscape Designer
Whether you have an existing pool you are looking to upgrade, or are thinking about adding a new one, now that summer is here you will want to consider some details to maximize your poolscape.
Basic Pool Design
Whether it is a vinyl liner pool or a gunite pool, many of the basic design principles are the same.
You want to consider how the pool will be used to get the most out of it. Is it for doing laps for exercise, for the kids to play, or for just cooling off? Do you need a deep end for diving? Do you want added features such as a slide, spa or waterfall? The answers to these questions will help determine the design. Keep in mind the shallow area of the pool and the area around the steps is where most of the activity takes place so make sure they are generous enough.
The location of the pool should consider sun angles, views from the home and yard, and of course building code restrictions such as setbacks from the property lines. And don’t forget to consider where necessities such as fencing and filters will go.
What goes around the pool will not only provide space for activities such as entertaining and lounging, it also creates the look, be it formal, naturalistic, or contemporary. This space should also be designed with function in mind. Walkways and lounge areas should be generous so you don’t feel like you are going to fall in the pool. (At least 5’ for walks and 12’ for lounge areas works well.) You also want to make sure the surface you choose is comfortable under bare feet in the hot sun so your guests are not jumping around like hot coal walkers!
Plantings around a pool usually serve one of two purposes- Privacy and color. For privacy screen plantings should be far enough away from the pool to not limit the space. The screen planting may not need to be evergreen plants since deciduous plants will provide coverage during the months the pool is in use.
For color around your pool area you may want to skip the azaleas and other spring blooming plants, since they will be long done flowering by the time pool season starts. Concentrate on summer blooming plants such as some of the following:
Summer Blooming Shrubs:
Hypericum (St. Johnswort)
Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)
Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon)
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
Vitex (Chaste tree)
Summer Blooming & Sun Loving Perennials:
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
You can supplement this color by planting annual flowers and tropical plants for the summer months for an extra pop of color. Ornamental grasses also work great around a pool area and look their best in the late summer.
Many people worry about flowers around the pool attracting bees (which they will) but for the most part, bees are much more interested in the flowers than they are in you.
If all this seems overwhelming, allow our expert designers at Hicks Landscapes to help you though all the details from design to installation!