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Thread: Mulch or Grass

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    Mulch or Grass

    Trying to finally finish the landscaping (cold, rainy weather has been a **Insert profanity** ). Anyway, I am in a bit of a disagreement with my landscaper and wife regarding weather to grass the area around the pool (which involves about 20 yards of topsoil being brought in) or starting with just mulch around the area.

    There is concern that mulch will be tracked into the pool and grass would likely not be as prone. Any thoughts. I can tell you the cost difference between mulch and topsoil/grass is somewhere around $400 cheaper to do mulch.
    Grant and Jerri
    Liberty, NC
    New 18x36 vinyl liner pool with lighting and fountain

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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    Is there deck around the entire pool? How far is the grass/mulch area from the edge of the pool? Plants in the area? Pictures would really help.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    TimS's Avatar
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    One thing to keep in mind about grass - if you have mown the lawn within the past couple of days, the clippings (even with a bagger) are going to get tracked into the pool. My kids are always throwing the toys into the yard, and when they get back in, invariably bring grass clippings with them. (I might be able to stop this with a foot rinse tub, but they are kids.)
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    True that it would be cheaper to do mulch in the beginning, but you have to re-mulch at least every couple of years. At least with grass once it's done, you just have to cut it. No real large year after year investment.
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    Re: Mulch or Grass



    Concrete deck all the way around. This picture is a little old (we have added a fence around the pool and a wooden fence on 2 sides of the equipment.
    Grant and Jerri
    Liberty, NC
    New 18x36 vinyl liner pool with lighting and fountain

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    Re: Mulch or Grass


    Another view (sans the fence) looking from rear of house.
    Grant and Jerri
    Liberty, NC
    New 18x36 vinyl liner pool with lighting and fountain

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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    I would do grass.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    Same here. Grass.
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    Another vote for grass.

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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    Are you talking about the entire area that is now dirt going to grass? I can't imagine a worthwhile landscaper filling that entire area with mulch. Regardless, i will offer some advice from experience.

    1. Grass: The closer you get grass to the edge of the concrete the more likely you will have grass wind up in your pool. If you bag the grass with the mower things are better, but the weedeater if you edge will find a way to coat your water surface with water no matter how hard you try to avoid. Not a BIG deal but again something to think about.

    If you mulch and don't bag, i would suggest making a perimeter of river rock/plantings etc. around the concrete and between the grass. This dissuades kids and even adults from wanting to walk out into the lawn (rocks don't feel good on bare feet) barefooted and then jump back into the pool. There will be a LOT of grass clippings laying on the lawn if you don't bag, which will stick to the bottoms of wet feet. EDIT> I reread your post and see you now have a fence to accomplish this. Hard to say without seeing the new pic but still like my idea.

    2. Mulch: that is too big an area for mulch only IMHO. Also mulch can also get displaced and wind up in the pool but it is not as likely as with grass unless you have big dogs, ornery kids or something of the sort.

    In conclusion i would add that nothing looks better than lush green grass. Use as much as you can but give careful thought to trying to keep it out of your pool. If you don't it will get there and be an ongoing aggravation.

    Forgive my crude drawing but here is the general idea. Make a river rock planting bed as a buffer between the lawn and the pool. That is what i have and it works great to do all the things i mentioned above.

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    My friends with an IG and concrete deck similar in size to yours have grass and dislike it. It gets soggy and muddy very quickly. They're now planning a border of small, smooth rocks between the concrete and the lawn. That might be an option for your place.
    AnnaK

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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaK
    My friends with an IG and concrete deck similar in size to yours have grass and dislike it. It gets soggy and muddy very quickly. They're now planning a border of small, smooth rocks between the concrete and the lawn. That might be an option for your place.
    My vote similar to Anna's. I have 2'" or so river rocks on two sides of pool inside the fence and another side between decking and house. They won't get tracked into the pool like pea gravel does. Make sure they are large enough that they won't get stuck in any hose line for vacuum, or picked up and wedged in the bottom opening by a cleaner such as Polaris suction or pressure. Make sure they are bigger than the skimmer pipe opening; kids will be kids. My dogs drop the river rocks into the pool, among many other things.

    I have a cut out in deck where there once were large trees. One edge of it is < 30" from edge of pool. This is along the way to and from the yard. I've tried many things in there including mulch and various sizes of rocks. Mulch does get tracked into pools by dogs so probably by little feet too. I have yet to decide on a permanent solution but for past three summers I've covered that area with rubber mulch. It's only been about 20 years since the trees came out. At HD there were only two color choices brick red or dark brown. I don't like either but chose the dark brown. The rubber mulch feels good under foot, doesn't blow around as other mulches and doesn't track around as much as other mulches. The doggies like to lie there when it is shady. But the dogs do stir it up and on to the deck when they run over it. It doesn't usually get into the pool even in high winds. I just use the small battery powered leaf blower to blow them back into the cut out. That works better than broom as they don't slide as easily as other mulches. If the rubber mulch ends up in pool it floats so you don't have to worry about it going down a main drain.

    My big, wide railroad tie steps, more like landings, going down the hill to under deck, to wild areas, and path to a small barn way on down the hill, are filled with pea gravel. The steps start about 10' from pool edge with the largest part of pool decking between steps and pool. The pea gravel gets shuffled up onto the decking and carried by doggie feet onto decking with some of it occasionaly ending up in the pool. And it hurts when you step on one, on Kool Decking, while barefooted.

    Even with our high winds (20 mph is a gentle breeze) we don't have much problem with cut grass in the pool. The doggies are in and out of the pool all day romping in between in the grass and silt. The day the mowers come I make sure the pump is running, skimmer sock in and a cleaner running. By the end of the day the grass is in the skimmers. The grass-in-pool issue might be very related to what type of grass you have.

    I don't want white rocks around our pool as our setting is "woodsie" but the river rocks are a great disguise for the snakes and darker than I would prefer. I'm looking into tumbled glass rocks in colors that offer less disguise for the snakes in the area between the decking and house. Purchased in large quantities brings the prices down considerably. If you want to go with colors there are many, many choices.

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    TimS's Avatar
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    Re: Mulch or Grass

    One thing I notice about the existing pictures is that there is no sidewalk or path between the pool and the house. No matter what you choose to use around the pool, mulch, grass, pebbles, etc., if you have kids, a lot is going to get tracked into the pool and into the house.

    That is a large area to fill. I agree with using grass also. (My previous post was more a "don't forget" than an admonishment against grass.)
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  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Mulch or Grass

    I agree. Can't see the exact outlay of your yard behind your house but it is apparent there is no solid surface to the pool deck. That would be a big red flag for me. If you remember kiddie pools when were young you will remember how quickly you can fill one up with grass.

    Same thing applies with an IG pool. You spend a lot of time trying to keep your pool clean and a lot of the things you are fighting landing in your pool you can't control. The grass clippings and other debris deposited from your lawn to the pool via wet feet is easily controlled if all viable entrances to the pool deck are a clean solid surface.
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