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Thread: Landscaping ideas

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Landscaping ideas

    Edited and split to form new topic (a new thread would have been more appropriate).

    I'm struggling with what to do in our yard as well, so I'm trolling for before/afters.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: got mess, want oasis, help me get there?!

    Set a budget for what you want to spend. Then, get a plan. Best $300-$400 you will ever spend. Soft scape (plants, grass) is pretty reasonable. Hardscape runs many many dollars depending on what you want to do. dont skimp on the quality of the hardscape. Pay a bit more for less of it to get it done right.

    And..if you ar going to buy rock, stone, etc, dont buy it in small bags at home depot. Call a lanscaper and have them deliver it by the yard. Pea stone, for instance is 12 bucks a ton. Buy it at HD, you will spend that much on 5 bags!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: got mess, want oasis, help me get there?!

    Fro several years I did landscape designs, so let me help you get started. First, get the survey of your property that you got when you bought it. Do your best to get it blown up to a size of 8' or 10' per inch, if you have an office copier that will adjust magnification or can do that online. Otherwise, carefully draw lines every 10' on a copy of the survey and hand draw a larger version to work on onto graph paper. You can work with the original survey but it is a pain to work that small, usually something like 20' or 30' to the inch.

    On this working plan, lightly pencil in traffic patterns, utility areas, fences, hose bibs, electrical outlets, windows, doors, and where there are views you like or don't like, and sources of noise. Then, add in where the sun is in the summer and winter. Be sure to leave room for the dog to run along the fence, for the mower to get from here to there, for the grill and for storage of pool toys and tools. Best to just indicate vague circles for these areas and get specific later on.

    One of the most important things to consider is "Water in, Water out" so mark on the base plan the direction that water flows from the property as well as how you water the grass and how you will water the beds. You do not want to build over the swales that may exist that carry water from the back yard to the front, they may be subtle and easy to overlook.

    Also consider directions of prevaling winds in winter or summer. You may want to channel soft breezes that may come from the southeast and beware of deciduous trees that will blow leaves into the pool on winter winds.

    You ought to have a firm plan in mind for all the hardscape at the start, even if it takes several years to get it all in place. The order that things should be done is, plan, electrical, water system, hardscape, trees, beds, shrubs, flowers. Trees and shrubs are best to put in in late fall if possible, selection of shrubs and flowers are best in spring however.

    Be sure to work on the soil before putting in plants, you may need to add lots of ammendments and treat for weeds, all that is easier before the plants go in. It is actually best to put in watering system and beds, then mulch, then wait several weeks for it all to settle before adding plants.

    I would stay away from loose rock (any sort) as I find that it does not actually stop weeds unless you are in an arid area. Weed mats are mostly useless as weeds still grow in the dirt/mulch on top and some weeds like nutgrass can push right through. Weed mat either deteriorates too soon or not at all and is a bear to get past once it is under tree roots if it is still intact. Pavestone pavers with sand dusted in between is nice, flagstone with crushed granite is nicer, concrete can be stamped or stained or pressed lightly with leaves for an interesting look.

    As for exactly what to plant, that depends on what is successful in your area. Some parts of Texas have alkaline soil that is difficult. Tour some of the better neighborhoods and take photos of the plants you like, then go to the local nursery or Home Depot or Lowes. Even the hardware stores tend to have a specialist in the gardern area that knows the plants well.

    In general, keep flowers well away from the pool, deciduous trees as well. If you have raised planters, be sure they do not allow mulch to run toward the pool and beware of where the water drains. Know where the pool overflow goes and where splash occurs, some plants will not tolerate the chlorine and salt so well.

    On the plan, find out the mature height and width of each plant you like and draw a circle of that mature size on a sheet of tracing paper. Try to allow for 3 plants deep, but if the bed gets deeper than 5' you may need a path into it to do maintainence. Mix and match shrubs to fill the proposed beds, with some thought to what it will do in the winter, as well as mixing color and texture. Concentrate on shrubs, leave the flowers for last and in small doses of concentrated areas. Be very aware of what you will see from windows in the house and frame those views well while screening others as needed.

    I may be able to direct you to some good books on plants, but the more important part is the hardscaping which will depend on how you will use this area. So, concentrate on that first, as you are getting the pool into shape.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: got mess, want oasis, help me get there?!

    Wow - - thanks for the speedy and informative posts. I had just thought I'd get yet another photo showing something unattainable for my space/budget.

    Basically, I have a regular suburban lot with a somewhat shallow but wide backyard. Currently we have a long skinny patio, half of which is covered. It is really too shallow for more than one small 4 table to seat four. We know we'll tear off the current cover and replace it with some sort of roof that covers the whole back of the house - either a four-season room or just a larger covered patio. From an "I want a bigger house" perspective, I would love an actual room; but then I have a really difficult time envisioning where an outdoor living space goes. We definitely want to end up with a bunch of concrete as a patio, and if that can be done and still add the room, all withing budget, we'd like to do that -- just aren't very able to visualize the options ourselves. Maybe tomorrow I'll snap some photos and post them -- would love to see what your experience would tell you we should consider. Too many options when you are basically tearing down what's there and open to anything.

    In addition to figuring out whether it will be a room or covered patio we need to figure out what part of the yard will house our next pool -- which will likely be a 15 x 42" Intex, which in turn will be replaced by some other Intex-type pool but bigger and deeper when the three year old twins get tall enough for greater depths. I had not thought of the drainage passageways you mentioned steering clear of -- makes sense, but sounds like I need to get a professional in to assess that. When I looked up landscape designer in the yellow pages, all that was listed was architects. Sounds like that would be more than $300 to $500. I'm assuming the nursery type designers more do placement of flora, as opposed to coming up with deck/patio/outdoor entertaining spaces -- anonapersona, does that sound right? Is that less important when you consider we will likely always have the type we take down 8 months a year?



    Thanks again, and hopefully I'll post some shots of the space soon for input. I have a couple quotes for the construction part (one for actual room and one for covered patio) but can't continue til I sketch out what I want in terms of grading to accommodate future pools, etc. Hoping to commit to something soon so this will still get done this year. At least we have our budget determined, so that has made some decisions easy.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: got mess, want oasis, help me get there?!

    Quote Originally Posted by crek31
    Wow - - thanks for the speedy and informative posts. I had just thought I'd get yet another photo showing something unattainable for my space/budget.

    Basically, I have a regular suburban lot with a somewhat shallow but wide backyard.
    So you will want to screen the views the neighbors have of your pool to some extent. Consider adding some evergreen shrubs to the fence line that will grow more tall than wide, place them so they will block windows of the neighbors home but don't line the entire fence for you will constrict your own yard and whatever breezes you might get.

    Currently we have a long skinny patio, half of which is covered. It is really too shallow for more than one small 4 table to seat four. We know we'll tear off the current cover and replace it with some sort of roof that covers the whole back of the house - either a four-season room or just a larger covered patio.
    Can you double the patio? Add edging to the existing part, then around the new part to tie it together. Stain or paint to hide the color difference if you can't wait for the green concrete to cure to look the same.

    From an "I want a bigger house" perspective, I would love an actual room; but then I have a really difficult time envisioning where an outdoor living space goes. We definitely want to end up with a bunch of concrete as a patio, and if that can be done and still add the room, all withing budget, we'd like to do that -- just aren't very able to visualize the options ourselves.
    I saw a room that was built with a glassed garage door as one wall, I thought that was pretty cool. Kinda like an Ice House here in Texas, a bar that is open air most of the time. Not sure if that would work in your climate... I thought we were talking about Texas not Nebraska? I also saw a vendor selling roll down screens, like a windowshade in tracks to turn an open patio to a screen porch.
    Maybe tomorrow I'll snap some photos and post them -- would love to see what your experience would tell you we should consider. Too many options when you are basically tearing down what's there and open to anything.
    That is why you need to do the area planning, but the time you sketch in the views and the neighbors and the trash cans and the BBQ grill and where the mower gets to the garage, it all starts to take shape. In general, the smaller the area, the more intensely you want to decorate it. Divide areas into specific uses. Go online to Fine Gardening magazine and read some of the design articles, one in particular about how to divide narrow yards into meaningful 'rooms'.

    In addition to figuring out whether it will be a room or covered patio we need to figure out what part of the yard will house our next pool -- which will likely be a 15 x 42" Intex, which in turn will be replaced by some other Intex-type pool but bigger and deeper when the three year old twins get tall enough for greater depths.
    I suggest just knowing the ultimate footprint of the last pool and keeping every one in nearly the same spot, so you can keep an eye on the kids in the pool at all times. Safety.

    I had not thought of the drainage passageways you mentioned steering clear of -- makes sense, but sounds like I need to get a professional in to assess that.
    Go out in a Big Rain and watch where it goes. Just remember that with water, if you add dirt somewhere, the water will just go to the path of least resistance, even if that is in your back door. It is more work to dig, but then at least you can be more sure of where the water will go.

    When I looked up landscape designer in the yellow pages, all that was listed was architects. Sounds like that would be more than $300 to $500. I'm assuming the nursery type designers more do placement of flora, as opposed to coming up with deck/patio/outdoor entertaining spaces -- anonapersona, does that sound right? Is that less important when you consider we will likely always have the type we take down 8 months a year?
    Call the nurseries, call the county horticultural extension service, call the local community college for references. I worked with a small nursery, when the owner's son didn't take the job. They could do flagstones but really did not do concrete or patio covers, but that sort of person could be a place to begin to get help with the rough sketch of where such things would go. You'd probably have to contract the rest out yourself. I worked by the hour. Dunno what an architect would charge or if they would do a small job in the $300 to $500 range, maybe, can't hurt to call. They may have suggestions for other persons as well. Small time guys, like me, don't advertise, costs too much.

    Thanks again, and hopefully I'll post some shots of the space soon for input. I have a couple quotes for the construction part (one for actual room and one for covered patio) but can't continue til I sketch out what I want in terms of grading to accommodate future pools, etc. Hoping to commit to something soon so this will still get done this year. At least we have our budget determined, so that has made some decisions easy.
    Good luck.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Anona and others -- I took your advice and in the off-season have "finalized" what the hardscape will be. Have contractors coming out in the next two weeks to look at everything before putting in a bid. Hopefully someone will be able to start on it right away so we can have it completely done before the heat of summer in Nebraska. We plan to tear off the existing covered patio and replace both the patio and erect a new, bigger roof. We will have the contractors bid it to enclose it as a three-season room (no HVAC) and also as an open, covered patio. I've attached the current "final" plan drawn up by a landscape architect, as well as some photos of the "before" and concept drawings of the "after" (although the concept drawings are somewhat dated and don't show some of the changes that are reflected in the plan. Also, the architect indicated "pavers" but my guess is I go a cheaper route with perhaps just dyed concrete or perhaps stamped and dyed, depending on how the cost estimates look. For the built in bar, I'm thinking just an L-shaped bar with counter seating on both sides and a spot for grill. Thoughts welcome, even if someone wants to tell me to make big changes -- I'd rather hear it now when I still have a chance to make changes.

    The top view in the concept drawings is the "after" (with some changes as shown in the plan). The bottom part of the concept drawings is the space as it is today.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Well, I guess I couldn't figure out how to attach photos yet -- will work on it tomorrow.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Here's another effort at putting photos in.



    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Can anyone tell from the pictures posted above if I can locate the pool heater (gas) and pump near the air conditioner - or does it need to be right next to the pool? It will be for a seasonal pool (take down in off-season) with the equipment on a poured pad - just need help knowing where the pad needs to be. Thanks.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Landscaping ideas

    I don't see any reason it can't be near the A/C. It might cut down the size of your garden a little.

    If you did it right, you could install valve boxes flush with the ground at the pool site and when you took it down there wouldn't even be any piping sticking out of the ground.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Thanks, Bama. I suppose I need to get a pool installer out there (even though I don't want the pool itself). I'm sure my contractor guy won't know how to do that, and I certainly don't. Anyone have any pictures of a similar application -- ie, plumbed or whatever to a pool site from another area of the yard in such a way as when the pool is removed there is nothing sticking up above ground??
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  12. Back To Top    #12
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Not exactly what you are looking for Crek but You can check out Adam's intex set up here:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/post56224.html#p56224

    He has since added a spa to his set up.

    Very cool renderings....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    FPM - thanks, that is helpful. I wonder if on Adam's the white pvc stuff out by the pool remain sticking up in the off-season.

    So, if I put the pump/heater/filter near the air conditioner, I would have pipes going under the cement out to the pool area? How do you winterize? Just unhook everything, and then I assume you need to somehow blow or suck the water out of the pipes under the cement? Or would it be better for any reason (ie, is there maintenance of the underground part) if I have them route the pipes around where the new cement will be and keep it all under grass. Are these questions for a pool store guy if he'll come look at it?
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Landscaping ideas

    As soon as my plumbing is hooked up in a couple of days I'll show you our valve that we use to close our bottom drain - it's got a hookup for an air pump so we can blow out the lines.

    Obviously with lines under cement you have the potential for having to dig it up to reach buried lines. I guess that's up to you but you also have to calculate your flow rate, etc. and the more piping I imagine that would be affected (but I by NO means understand all that stuff! LOL)

    Adam checks in now and then maybe he can offer some ideas too... you could PM him if you like.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Thanks, FPM. I will ask the pool store guy to come look at it and give advice as to pump size and stuff based on placement of pool and patio.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    No time to really consider this but I can post some quick thoughts.

    If you have bugs you may want to consider planning for that to be a screen porch. One of the things I notice is that the grill is under the roof. You may regret that when you get greasy smoke stains on the ceiling. Our small screen porch has the last little bit of roof cut away and only screen roof installed so the cook can be on the screen porch while cooking. Given where summer breezes come from, you may want the grill near the open peak of the roof line for that reason, think about that.

    It seems that the paved area is really large. Consider why you need that much square footage. Table needs area of table plus 2 - 3 ' all around for chairs to move, plus 2' for walking space where needed for travel paths. Sketch in that table for 4 or 6 and check if you have enough or too much. I assume that parents watch kids in the pool and grilling is eaten outside, need seating for that many. Looks like you have room for table both inside and out and down below, may be too much area, unless you host 12+ at a time.

    You are correct about the large roof on the porch darkening the adjacent rooms. I had a porch like that in one house and the room was always gloomy, north facing and roof was only about 10' deep but not so high as yours appears. So review your needs for seating and total footage there.

    Steps off porch need to be about 3' - 4' wide, no more. I'd try to match materials to house if possible. I don't see the point in that lower area the steps go toward. Leads you to what? No point in a stairway to nothing. Path to gazebo is OK, not necessary to be so big and bold, 2' is sufficient for one person to walk at a time, 3' if ground is not level and steps are needed. 4' is for two persons side by side, not right for back yard. Path to gazebo should be small and charming.

    Given your northern location, I might want to plan for clear plastic that can be rolled up for screening windows to move plants and furniture onto porch for winter storage, if that would work in your climate (I know nothing of your weather). I'd probably plan to screen the whole thing as well, I really hate mosquitoes.

    As for the pool area, I know nothing about above ground pools, but I'd expect there to be a smushy mess where the kids get in and out. Can you lay temporary pavers to connect that ladder to paved area? Or is that why deck goes out so far?
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Thanks, anona, for your input. I will certainly talk to the contractor about moving the grill, and the other points you've made. The lower patio is included for a few reasons -- first, the upper patio is very "on display" to our neighbor, whose backyard backs to our side yard. Thus it is almost awkward for both of us to entertain on our patios at the same time -- we each feel like we are intruding on the other. The lower patio will behind the privacy fence and will just be a more intimate place to gather at times. Also, that portion of the yard does not grow grass well and we basically don't use it for any purpose - so we figured we would pave (or paver) it so it can be a separate sitting area and perhaps house a portable fire pit. There is no path to the gazebo - that may have been drainage lines or something that looked like it. In fact, the gazebo will be a future project.

    I am still most anxious to get a pool installer guy out here to tell me where pool stuff needs to be -- pad; pump; heater; pipes. Hopefully the guy will think outside the box a little and humor me on buying that stuff for a removable pool.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Join Date
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    Re: Landscaping ideas

    WOW, anonapersona. What great advice. I certainly hope you don't mind me asking for some advice a little later.

    Our soil is very alkaline and does make growing a lot of things difficult or even impossible. One of my pretty close by neighbors has a HUGE pile of special "dirt" delivered every spring up close to the front of his property. (I don't think the dump truck can make it back through the curvy wooded drive like as is for many of us.) Anyway he is the neighborhood's MOST MAJOR GREEN THUMB!!!! He can grow anything out here. He has a Live Oak (fairly slow grower) pretty near his pool that he hand planted himself, when the house and pool were built about 10 years ago. When I saw it, at about five years after the build, it looked to be well over 100 years old. Very few Live Oaks are large out here and most trees are younger than 150 yrs old here because the whole hill burned about 130-150 years ago. There are a few old guys that did survive.

    I'm planning on putting down some good amended top soil this summer, after the lawn crew does some loosing up of the soil (90% rock/10% soil), before I sod a large area of Bermuda where the dogs have compressed the soil till rock hard and grasses are getting too much shade from a tree, near the pool, that I'm cutting down soon. Rather, I'm having someone cut it down. I hand planted it in '88 and it is now about 40 X 40 ft. That's the Aristocrat Pear that almost killed my Jake Mastiff puppy last year when he ate the little "fake pears" that constantly drop into the pool for 2-3 months during summer, sinking immediately to the bottom and then staining instantly. Otherwise is is beautiful and gives great shade to the house.

    So, anyone interested, please do your homework before planting anything near the pool.

    I have a cutout in my pool decking about 24" from the edge of the pool where trees were kept when the pool was built. they died from Ash blight. One edge of it has a concrete bowl that has a drain in it; rest is soil. I've planted various things there but the space is so tight as the other side of it towards the house is only about 24" of walkway before the big river rocks that continue to the house. Can't walk on the big river rocks. Anyway I'm thinking about doing a ferro concrete of some kind except for the very center. I'm going to sink a large plastic (or other material) pot in the center, top level with concrete, bottom solid, with drain holes on sides and up a few inches. Then I can place a large planter in the hole with (my choice for this year) a good sized flowering tropical. Going with an exotic tropical Hibiscus this summer, maybe. In winter bring the tropical to greenhouse and put a big step stone block over the hole. The reason for the solid bottom and drain holes up the side some is to keep the potted plant from forming roots down into the base hole. I haven't done this yet but lots of people on some garden forums have great success especially with delicate non-hardy plants for their climates. And a great advantage is that you can change out the plants from year to year.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by crek31
    The lower patio is included for a few reasons -- first, the upper patio is very "on display" to our neighbor, whose backyard backs to our side yard.
    Yes, well good fences make good neighbors. I had a deck built once that went up a step, then up a step, then up a step. Didn't realize until it was done how high I was above the fence and it was uncomfortable. So, I recall the feeling. I put some quick growing shrubs in and we were both happier. Even faster than shrubs would be to add a wooden trellis to the top of the fence. Please, not the store bought ones, just add an attractive extension to the fence posts and use 1" slats with 2" spacing to train some appropriate vines on. Something that flowers all during the swim season, probably deciduous so you do not catch too much wind in winter. Maybe a Clematis, or some fast growing annual vine from seed.


    The lower patio will behind the privacy fence and will just be a more intimate place to gather at times. Also, that portion of the yard does not grow grass well and we basically don't use it for any purpose - so we figured we would pave (or paver) it so it can be a separate sitting area and perhaps house a portable fire pit.
    That works. Does the grass not grow due to shade or is there something about the site that is wrong, too wet or too dry? Shade makes for a nice sitting area but fire is not great if trees are too close. If that is to be a second seating area, again look at the total area and be sure that you get it sized right.

    Trying to use all these different seating areas can turn into a lot of outdoor furniture that needs to be taken care of in the winter (store or cover?), as well as spring (rust, dust, or critters that moved in). Bar stools here, dining set there, fire pit set down the steps. As I note that I realize that I need to beat the pollen out of the cushions on the screen porch, tend to the raccoon paw prints on the sofa and chairs out on the flagstone patio, and I think I noticed a bit of rust on the table by the pool -- sigh.

    There is no path to the gazebo - that may have been drainage lines or something that looked like it. In fact, the gazebo will be a future project.
    If that will be, then be sure to have it included in the total plan for now. It will be a focal point and where it is sited and how it looks from the windows of the house will be important. Might be a nice spot to sit and watch kids in the pool from if it is sited for that purpose.

    I am still most anxious to get a pool installer guy out here to tell me where pool stuff needs to be -- pad; pump; heater; pipes. Hopefully the guy will think outside the box a little and humor me on buying that stuff for a removable pool.
    That part is out of my league, so good luck with that.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Landscaping ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by geekgranny
    WOW, anonapersona. What great advice. I certainly hope you don't mind me asking for some advice a little later.
    Anytime. But I am not experienced with alkaline soil and so my help will be only marginally useful, I'm afraid.

    I have a cutout in my pool decking about 24" from the edge of the pool where trees were kept when the pool was built. they died from Ash blight. One edge of it has a concrete bowl that has a drain in it; rest is soil.
    That sounds almost like you could use it for a small waterfall as well, depending on which way the basin faces. If sealed, the concrete might hold water if the drain were plugged. Then you could use a pump that could recirculate water to a small statue that spits into the basin. Or if the basin faces away from the house or sitting area, then put in a mesh cover to hold rocks that hide the basin of water and pump and have an overflowing urn that spills into the rocks. Only works if there is a viewing or sitting area nearby.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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