HOW TO CREATE THE ULTIMATE BACKYARD POOL OASIS

The installation guys are gone. Sparkling water has replaced the dirt and noise, and you’re dying to take a dip in your new pool. But before you dive in, there’s just one more thing to think about: landscaping. Think of your pool as the star of your backyard show, with the landscaping as the supporting cast, the final touch that will take your backyard from good to award-winning.

Pick an Aesthetic

When you pick an aesthetic for your landscaping, you’re limited only by your imagination… and your geography. What thrives in Florida or Southern California might struggle in New England, and vice versa. If a tropical paradise is your thing, you can still pull it off in the colder parts of the country. Just leave the palm trees and hot-weather flowers out of it. Instead, look for natural materials and bright colors that mirror what you’d find at a tropical resort.. You may consider other elements that say “tropical,” such as tiki torches or hammocks. Ditto for any other popular poolside aesthetic. You can pull off an elegant spa atmosphere, or serene Grecian look by choosing the right materials, and plants appropriate for your climate zone.

Break It Down by Zones

Every room in your house has a purpose: The kitchen is for cooking and the bedroom is for sleeping. Think of your backyard and landscape around the pool the same way. Develop zones based on what you’ll be doing in each zone, like lounging or eating. You may decide to add an outdoor kitchen and party area away from the pool, while the lounge chairs are a few steps down a walkway next to the pool.

Use different materials in different zones. If you have a concrete pool deck, consider patio pavers or tile in the outdoor kitchen and dining area. Or use stone for walkways and retaining walls, but another material for the deck. This is an easy way to visually separate your zones, and signal to family, friends, and guests what the function is for each zone of your landscaping.

Hardscaping Makes It Easy

Do you have a concrete patio surrounding your pool, or are you looking for a wooden deck to give it a resort-like feel? What about walkways, walls, hedges, and flower beds to section off each zone? Patio pavers or flagstone are also attractive options to consider.

Green Is Good

Green is good for your mental health. Research shows getting outside in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. You can turn your backyard pool into a calm oasis by adding lots of green. If you want to spend more time in the pool, instead of doing yard work around it, native plants are always a good choice. Since native plants are already adapted to your weather, they need less water and less attention and you have more time to enjoy the pool.

All pools need maintenance. But you can cut down on the amount of maintenance by remembering a few simple tips.

  • Keep plants at least 4 feet away, to help prevent stormwater runoff from sending debris and dirt into your pool.
  • Make sure there’s enough room to walk around the pool and to and from the house.
  • Don’t plant trees or any plants with big, aggressive root structures too close to the pool or you could be looking at repairs in a couple of years.
  • Both pools and plants increase humidity. Think of your poolside area as a microenvironment, where the humidity is a little higher, when choosing plants.
  • Avoid blooming trees such as crape myrtle, magnolia, or crabapple. The flowers create a mess, and the crabapples will pelt swimmers all season long. The same goes for trees that dump their leaves in the autumn. The fall colors are not so pretty when you have to clean them out of your pool.
Light It Up

Lighting is key to enjoying your pool at night. You have several options, from Edison lights strung near the pool to dramatic uplighting for trees or tall plants. Neon-colored LED lighting installed in the pool is a nice touch. The lighting sets the mood. A firepit works in this category too as a fantastic, mood-setting source of light. A firepit can also extend your pool season earlier in the spring, through the summer and into the fall, by providing a source of heat.

It will take some time to create the oasis of your dreams. Stay organized. Take notes of design elements you like, and make lists of things to buy. Plan out an itinerary of when and how you’re going to get everything done. Turning your pool into the centerpiece of your landscaping can be hard work, but the reward is worth it. Take it one step at a time, and these tips can make you and your guests say, “WOW!”

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