Swimming-pool landscaping: pretty with a minimum of debris

Landscaping around an outdoor swimming pool requires no-muss, no-fuss plant selections. The pool can be a flowery focal point, but don’t open it to litter from leaves and limbs.

“Both in- and above-ground pools offer unique design challenges and opportunities,” said Tim Moloney, an instructor in landscape design at the University of Missouri. “In-ground pools offer the ability to provide screening with lower height plants” but may have more issues with litter falling into the pool.

“Above-ground pools are somewhat sheltered from ground debris, but are more of a challenge for visually softening the walls of the pool and (adding) privacy from outside viewers,” Moloney said.

Start by considering plant needs — sun or shade. Then decide what you want your poolside landscaping to achieve.

“Privacy screening versus sun exposure is typically the strongest pool-owner concern,” Moloney said. “This is followed closely by litter and tracking of grass clippings and mulch materials.

“After function is addressed, we focus on form,” he said. “Making the space as enjoyable as possible.”

Brightly colored flowers attract pollinators, and that could mean bee stings. Some of the most attractive ornamental plants have thorns. Both are obviously annoying to thinly clad and barefoot bathers.

“Typically, I have found that insects will generally ignore us if we ignore them,” Moloney said. “Just the mere presence of bees in the landscape does not initiate attack. However, if severe allergies or phobias of bees exist, I recommend concentrating on other ways to brighten up the landscape — brightly colored foliage, for example.”

Or turn to marigolds, chrysanthemums, mint, foxglove, geraniums and zinnias whose blooms don’t typically attract stinging insects.

And thorns?

“Cacti are very climate specific, but can offer huge esthetic benefits for arid environments,” Moloney said. “Roses offer us what few other plants can — an entire summer of repeat blooms. In my opinion, the benefits of these plants outweigh the hazards as long as the plants are positioned an appropriate distance from well-trafficked areas.”

Some other poolside gardening do’s and don’ts:

— Watch where you stockpile organic materials such as pine straw or bark. “They can blow or be tracked into the pool by wet feet on pool decking,” Moloney said.

— Select plants for year-round interest, even in cold weather when the pool is closed. Think evergreens.

— Choose trees and shrubs that produce a minimum of litter. “Almost any organic material that falls from trees — needles, leaves, spent blooms, fruit — has the potential to stain hardscape elements like pool decks and patios,” Moloney said. “I simply try to balance the benefits with the concerns, and reach a compromise we can all live with.”

— Think about both day and night use. “Evenings can be accented by soft peripheral lighting or featuring tree trunks with up-lights,” said Robert Brzuszek, a landscape architecture professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

— Eliminate the use of dark-colored pavement around the pool; it adds reflected heat to plants, especially in hotter, dryer climates. “Plants that have smaller or waxy leaves will also lose less water than large thin leaves which dry out quickly,” he said.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read