Even before you plant a single bloom or bush, there are several important questions to ask. The answers will guide your landscaping decisions. According to Nick Williams of Nick Williams Design, these are the first questions you should ask yourself: “For anybody who's thinking of redesigning their outdoor space, first of all look at it in terms of the sun exposure, whether it’s an area that you're going to be spending time in the morning, in the afternoon? How many people do you see using the space? What kind of views do you have from the space? What kind of privacy do you have from neighbors and other buildings that are around?”
Who Will Be Using the Space and How?
If the space will be mainly used by just you and your spouse and close friends, then you don’t need to put too much thought into making it safe for children. If you will mostly be having your morning coffee or afternoon dip, then you won’t need to worry much about how to use the space for parties. If you never grill outside, then a full outdoor kitchen would be unnecessary. However, if you regularly host large events at your home, then a tiny patio with a bistro table for two will not suffice. Think realistically about your lifestyle and the kinds of activities that will take place in and around the pool when planning your pool landscaping and design.
What’s Your Style?
If you’re not sure what your style is, simply look at your house and how you’ve decorated it. Think of your backyard as your biggest room, and it will become easier to imagine how to extend your indoor style and space into the outdoors. Your landscaping and pool should complement and suit the house, not compete with it. It should all work together to create a cohesive design experience.
Mitchell Knapp of Tapestry Landscape Architecture and Scenic Landscapes clarifies, “Your pool and your backyard need to be tied together with a complete landscape design. We work on incorporating a patio space, and the appropriate surrounding landscaping. A patio provides a way to blend the outside of your home to the pool.”
What are the Views?
Every homeowner dreams of making their home into a private oasis. If the current view from your pool is your neighbor’s pool, you’ll want to create some privacy (for both of you). This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Clumping bamboo
- Tall plants
- Small trees
- Potted plants/trees
“Evergreens are a key component of any privacy planting,” explains David Marciniak of Revolutionary Gardens. “I just prefer to use them singly or in small groupings. The idea is to strategically locate the evergreens to address your biggest problems. If you feel like the neighbors’ kitchen window turns your pool deck into an amphitheatre, start there. Similarly, maybe you want to block the shed, or the neighboring patio, or the cars at the stop sign.”
Also consider what you do want to see. If there is a lake behind your house, make sure the plants you choose don’t block that view. In fact, David goes on to suggest that you may even want to bring attention to a particular view. “If I plant two columnar trees with space between, you’re naturally going to want to look between them. We call that framing a view.”
Keep Things Low-Maintenance
Some plants need full sun, some like part shade, and some have low light needs. Some need a lot of water and some are drought-resistant. Some prefer morning sun and some prefer afternoon sun. Look at the space around your pool (or where your pool will be) throughout the day to determine how much sun exposure it gets at different times of day. Also be sure to choose plants that do well in your Plant Hardiness Zone.
Having pool landscaping that suits your style and needs are equally important, and so is having plants that are well-suited to your particular weather, lighting, and soil conditions. Plants will thrive in the right conditions, which means they’ll need less of your attention, time, and money. Beautiful pool landscaping also adds value to your property, creating a win for you — both now and in the future.