Swimming Pool Landscaping Design Basics

by Pool Builders on 03-07-2007 in Articles

Swimming pool landscaping design may require a little more planning than landscaping your backyard, but it's still something a non-professional can handle. And it's worth doing. Get your swimming pool landscaping design right and you can create a little piece of paradise right outside your door. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Planning Your Design

When you first start collecting ideas for your swimming pool landscaping design, take note of the colors, textures, and patterns of straight lines and curves in your house and any nearby garden structures. Working with these same colors and patterns, or ones that are compatible with them, will lend a feeling of continuity to your landscape that makes it look well organized.

Plant Choices for Swimming Pools

Plantings soften the lines of swimming pool equipment, provide privacy, and help the pool area blend in with the rest of your home's landscape. For a low-maintenance swimming pool landscaping design, broad-leafed evergreens, ornamental grasses, and ground covers are the best choices. One or more trees on the south side of the pool can provide shade on hot days without blocking the sun on cooler days. When you're looking for swimming pool plants, avoid deciduous trees, plants that attract bees, bear fruit, have thorns or prickles, or develop invasive root systems that could damage the pool.

Fences for Safety and Privacy

If you're going to have small children or curious pets around, a fence is vital for safety reasons. Being able to lock up the entire pool area gives you peace of mind and could save lives. The right fence design can also provide privacy. A full privacy fence is usually six feet or higher, with boards arranged in an overlapping, shadow box, or tongue-and-groove pattern. If you prefer semi-privacy that lets air and light pass through, consider a lattice or basket-weave fence.

Windbreaks and Baffles

Even a light breeze can steal warmth from a pool area. Fortunately, you can redirect chilly air currents by building a windbreak or baffle. First, start by identifying the wind currents in your yard and then use this information to decide where you'll need to place the fence/baffle for greatest efficiency. You don't have to use a solid wall or fence for this; dense shrubbery can also provide good protection.

Swimming Pool Lighting

Outdoor lighting is another safety feature every swimming pool landscaping design needs. At a minimum, lights should be added to the pool's deep end, on the steps, and around the perimeter. While incandescent and halogen quartz pool lights of both 120-volt (at 300 or 500 watts) and 12-volt (at 100 or 200 watts) are still on the market, fiber optics last longer and provide better lighting.

Patios and Decks

The right paving and decking assures a safe, slip-resistant surface that's easy on bare feet. Pavers may cost more than bricks and concrete, but they're a better option for a swimming pool landscaping design. Not only do they allow for different patterns and colors, but they also move, rather than crack, with the ground's movements, so they'll last longer. Ordinary brick can work, but make sure the bricks you choose have somewhat rough surfaces, so they provide some traction. In any case, avoid using wood. When exposed to water, wood can splinter and warp over time and it's slippery for bare feet.

If you're just starting to plan your swimming landscaping design, take some time to browse through photos and pictures either in landscaping books or online. That way you can get a good idea of what's possible and you won't be thinking, "Oh, I should have done this instead," after you've already finished your pool landscaping.

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