The landscaping around a pool and spa area is critically important for your design vision of the area, how it functions to provide shade and privacy, and the long-term value of the pool and spa to your home. Landscaping should be planned and installed at the same time as the pool, so infrastructure costs like irrigation systems can be minimized. Careful planning for infrastructure, use of water resources, long-term maintenance, and plant selection suggest a professional should be consulted for the landscape design.
The homeowner brings the vision of the completed pool and spa area to the planning table. But with so many variables, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some design considerations for the homeowner in planning the pool and spa landscape.
Water use if a critical first planning element. A Xeriscape design uses native plants and grasses that are drought tolerant to provide a regional, high desert landscape design that incorporates wood and stone. Many municipalities are restricting or regulating landscape design for water use. A tropical planting can be maintained by a drip irrigation system, or small areas of tropical plantings can be added to the design in containers.
Trees are an important design element, as they provide both privacy and noise reduction. They are a long-term commitment–the mature size of a tree should be considered, as well as the need for summer shade and winter light. Trees that drop leaves, flowers, or seed pods should be placed away from the pool and spa.
Many landscape designs have a changing seasonal look. Plants can add autumn color and interesting winter textures. Wood and stone elements have both textural design appeal and function. Surfaces should be rough enough that splashing water doesn’t create a slip hazard, but smooth enough that the paving doesn’t cause tripping. Placement of trees with large roots need to be away from paved walkways, as do plants with thorns or stickers, such as cactus.
Working with a professional landscape and pool designer can help give your space the gorgeous design and vision you want, while incorporating infrastructure planning to reduce water use, cost and long-term maintenance.