In hot climates, adding an inground pool with a pool screen enclosure can add value to your home. However, building them can be very disruptive to your lawn, shrubs, and garden. These strategies for landscaping around an inground pool will help you reconstruct and improve your outdoor area.
Include Landscaping in the Plan From the Start
When you install an inground pool or construct a pool screen enclosure, you should include landscaping as part of the plan from the beginning. Work with your contractor to minimize the amount of disruption to your yard whenever possible. If your builder must use heavy equipment, be conscious of the impact it may have on your soil. Once the trucks and excavators are gone, your soil may be compacted wherever the heavy machines rolled across it.
Before you begin selecting plants, shrubs, flowers, and grasses for the area outside your pool enclosure, take steps to amend the soil and prepare the ground for planting. Enlist the help of a landscape designer to provide ideas about what the area outside your enclosure could look like when construction is done. You’ll also need to make a realistic budget to restore or add landscape features.
Be careful about selecting plants and hardscaping materials. Fussy plants that require a lot of pruning or special care will just add to the responsibility of owning a pool. Pea gravel likes to travel; if you’ll be using rocks for hardscaping or to transition between the pool enclosure and the lawn, consider corralling larger river rock with edging or a border that anchors in the ground.
Your pool deck will slope gently toward its outer edges to allow water to drain away. Think about where that water will go. Some enclosures feature drain openings where you can hose or sweep water out. With others, you must guide the water through the door of the enclosure. Drainage will impact the landscape surrounding your pool enclosure. Highly chlorinated pool water can harm or kill plants, and standing water attracts pests.
Make a Sun Map of Your Yard
Depending on how tall your house is and which direction it faces, parts of your yard will receive full sun, while others may be in the shade for several hours. This will affect which plants will thrive in each part of your landscape. Consider how the change in seasons affects the amount of sunlight your yard receives. Plan landscaping around to work with sun and shade by placing plants that prefer one area or the other in the right location in your yard.
Use Native Plants
Plants that grow naturally in your area are best for use around your pool. They’re used to the climate and hardy for the temperature zone you’re in. Floridians are fortunate that many beautiful, flowering tropical plants enjoy the warmth, sun, and humidity of Florida’s climate.
Avoid Thorny and Messy Plants
Roses are lovely, but we pay a price for appreciating them. Even when planted outside the pool enclosure, pool guests may encounter them on their way in and out of the pool cage. Left unpruned, some roses will spread or climb, threatening to poke your screening with their thorns, which could require repair or even pool cage rescreening in cases of extensive damage. The pool screen will keep leaves and petals out of the pool, but they’ll still fall around the perimeter of your pool enclosure. Find plants that keep their leaves, or put those that shed in areas where the petals and leaves can drop directly into the soil to act as compost or mulch for other plants.
Another strategy for landscaping around an inground pool is to use fragrant plants. These can waft pleasant scents on the breeze that comes through your pool enclosure screen. Gardenias, jasmine, lemongrass, and herbs are all good options. Plants and herbs that provide fragrance will break up an excessive display of flowers and add a calming touch to your pool environment.
Mind the Roots
It’s tempting to plant trees near the pool to provide shade, but you should do plenty of research about the root systems of the trees you’re considering first. Many trees that grow large enough to provide shade and ornamentation also have intrusive roots that could invade pipes and damage the underground structure of your pool.
You can select plants and shrubs to surround or complement your pool enclosure for the privacy they could provide. As part of your pool and enclosure installation plan, think about the view out and the view into your enclosure. One wall of your enclosure may be more exposed to streets or neighbors than another. Plan to use foliage to provide privacy in this area.
Don’t Forget Inside of the Enclosure
Your poolside landscaping doesn’t all have to take place outside the enclosure. You can use potted trees, flowering shrubs, and container gardens effectively within the enclosure to bring a little nature into your hardscaped pool deck area. Sun will be a factor, especially if you are using screening that is sun-resistant and reduces UV light. Work with your pool designer to determine if you’d like to add raised bed areas within the pool cage. Use materials that won’t rot in the humid environment of your pool cage, such as natural stone, cement block, or concrete with tile. Remember to keep messy plants out and research how tall any potted trees you may use will grow.
Lighting and furnishing can add ambiance to your pool area. Solar garden lights add a gentle glow to your garden beds and pathways outside, while pool lights make it possible to use the pool at night.
“Up lighting” highlights trees in the landscape by shining a light up into them. Twinkly string lights can give the effect of fireflies lighting up your landscape beyond the pool. Just make sure there is no source of electrical current running anywhere near the water! Consult a licensed, professional electrician to ensure the safety of any lighting installed around your pool to keep everyone safe from electrocution.
Furnishing your pool enclosure offers the opportunity to add style and personality to the area. You’re creating a resort-like retreat for your household. Choose comfortable, durable seating that reflects the style of your pool, whether rustic and natural or modern and sleek. Poolscaping with plants, hardscapes, lighting, and furnishings will make you feel like you’re on vacation every time you use your pool.