Whether you recently installed a new pool or hot tub, or are simply looking to rejuvenate your backyard space, here are some handy tips on summer landscaping around a backyard water feature.
1. Plan and prepare in advance
If you haven’t yet installed your new pool or hot tub, you’re in luck. Now is a great time to begin planning out exactly where you want everything to go. The time before your pool or hot tub is installed is a great time to block out–ideally on paper–a rough idea of how you would like to plan your landscape.
If you are already working around a pool or hot tub, it may be slightly more difficult to mow and trim, but also slightly easier in that you will have an actual idea of what your project will look like when it is finished. Regardless of your current status, make sure you block out your ideas ahead of time so that your backyard does not become a haphazard mess.
Purchase all of your tools and build your beds before you purchase or seed plants. Figure out whether you want to plant in pots, raised beds, or existing beds. Make sure you mulch on top of soil to keep out weeds and help retain moisture, and plan out planting areas based on the soil and light requirements of each plant.
2. Design with your tastes and environment in mind
When planning out your new oasis, consider your own personal tastes and existing landscape. Don’t try to fit a Pinterest-worthy design into an already-full backyard, or one with which it doesn’t match. If you prefer a more informal setting, do not utilize a formal design. If you’re working with a blank slate, consider your aesthetics inside your home. This is often a good indication of what you might like to see outside as well.
Similarly, don’t plan a garden or ornamental plants that will require tons of upkeep if you don’t have the time or budget to devote to it. Plan ahead, and keep in mind that as you get older, you may have less time to devote to maintenance.
3. Don’t plant right next to your pool
Make sure you leave plenty of room for you to perform maintenance as needed. If you’re unsure about planting near the pool, consider planting in a pot or planter so that you can move them around later. You can plant closer to hot tubs, as these don’t need a lot of room for regular access.
That being said, when landscaping around a hot tub, try to avoid leaving all four sides of your hot tub completely exposed. You can use planters, walls, or railings to help mask some of the hot tub’s edges, or even consider placing it under a partial enclosure. This same theory can be applied to an above-ground pool.
4. Use nature to create organic privacy
Plant tall hedges or shrubs to provide a natural screen around your pool or hot tub. Integrate plants that will blend with your existing landscaping plan, but also provide good concealment.
5. Consider shade and shedding
While shade might be a factor in where you place your hot tub, and although the water is warm, you don’t necessarily want to be baking. Keep in mind that too many trees around your hot tub or pool will create additional upkeep.
Trees can shed needles, leaves, and pitch into the water, so while trees can provide natural shade, you may have to do more cleaning. However, well-positioned trees can provide shade, shelter, and ornament, making them a good option for many settings.
6. Use a variety of plants
Keep in mind the light and soil conditions in your backyard, but if you can, plant a variety of plants. Flowering shrubs and ornamental grasses are easy to care for, add color and texture, and adapt to most spaces. Perennials, too, are a good choice, because they come back every season and can save you some time and money in doing so.
7. Make it safe
Ornate woodwork or rough stone may provide for beautiful, luxurious-looking landscapes, but they can also be a hazard. Consider implementing gates or drying mats when coming out of the water.
Rachael Baihn is an avid gardener, both indoors and in her backyard sanctuary. She can often be found exploring the Austin greenbelt or enjoying the company of neighbourhood dogs.