Rain Garden near pool equipment?

blazin

Bronze Supporter
Jul 29, 2017
271
Franklin, MA
Our equipment sits above our patio/pool by about 1-2 feet, we have a corresponding retaining wall in front of the equipment and then a low dirt area maybe about 40 sq ft directly next to our patio. When it rains this area has flooded in the past. Nothing that stands longer than 1/2 a day or so, but it's enough that we'd like to convert this space to a rain garden.

Not a finished picture, but shows what's hiding under the patio and my concern.


The proposed garden would traverse across those pipes, I'm not entirely sure if it would be past the glued junctions or if just over the solid sections, but either way with plants I don't think I can guarantee where the roots will go.

I was thinking of doing Butterfly Milkweed and maybe Swamp Milkweed 2-3 of each. It would give a cascading effect up to the pool equipment which we'll eventually hide with some screening.

Any thoughts? I'm sure I'm right to be concerned, is there a better plant type to go with? Shallow roots? Avoid planting anything? We'll be "mulching" the area with river rock to prevent mulch from getting in the pool.

TIA
 

Texas Splash

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We'll be "mulching" the area with river rock to prevent mulch from getting in the pool.
While ideally you hope to never have to dig under there for repairs, anything you do place there I would keep it relatively simple. I wouldn't invest too much in effort or $$$ that may get destroyed if you ever did have to go back underground. Your note about mulch and water run-off towards the pool would be a very good issue of concern. Maybe a few simple low-lying items of ground cover (i.e. ground ivy?) coupled with some small river pebbles or stone to help contain everything?
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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My view might be slightly different from Pat’s only because my heart is a plant/landscape person. I wouldn’t mind putting some effort into the area for the reward of a cool and well suited garden bed.

Should it have to be ripped out for access? Oh well, that’s an opportunity to redo as desired it when replanting. The interim work required is just the price of being a gardener.

But yes, main thing would be to stay with perennials versus anything that tends towards a shrub (and it’s related thicker/deeper root system).
 

DorsalSpine

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Jul 8, 2013
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Columbus, Ohio
Plan for how you are going to protect and mark the location of the lines. My landscaping includes my pool equipment just like you intend to do. I changed some of the plants years later and "found" a line with a shovel. I had an immediate "pond" in the hole I was digging when I cracked a line. I added some pavers and rock features once the line was repaired so I would remember where it's at the next time I move/replace plantings.
 

bmoreswim

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Plan for how you are going to protect and mark the location of the lines. My landscaping includes my pool equipment just like you intend to do. I changed some of the plants years later and "found" a line with a shovel. I had an immediate "pond" in the hole I was digging when I cracked a line. I added some pavers and rock features once the line was repaired so I would remember where it's at the next time I move/replace plantings.
Agreed. What soil depth will you have above the pipes?
 

blazin

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Jul 29, 2017
271
Franklin, MA
Agreed. What soil depth will you have above the pipes?
Well, it's really obvious where the plumbing lines are, the pool equipment is about 8 feet from the edge of the patio and the piping runs straight off it. The entire triangular shaped area is under 50 square feet, so I'm not that concerned about spearing a pipe later, more about if root systems will hunt for the water, entangle the pipes and shift/crack/damage them in anyway.

Anyways, soil depth is ~ 4-6 inches. I can build it up a bit with some top soil, but plant on planting and then putting 1.5" rock over top as mulch.



Inspiration:





Through my searching, I've learned that I should target plants that love wet/damp soil (rain garden duh) but also, herbaceous perennials are a must over a woody perennial. Lastly, the down select on sun/shade is partial as there is a large evergreen tree that sits behind the equipment and blocks direct sun. I'm sure the reflected light off the water/patio probably pushes the area up a bit, but it's still pretty shaded.

Looking for pops of color, tropical feeling all while living in Zone 6.

Thoughts?
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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Hostas - a million to choose from
Coral Bells - Purple Palace or Amber Waves
Ferns are fun - Japanese painted fern, Ghost fern
False Spirea - look for some that bloom later. Mine blooms in May so I don’t have it by the pool because it’s too early. And it’s too sunny.
Bleeding Hearts - Spectabile or Alba

I don’t have much shade, but all of those varieties work well for me in my shade garden. I’m high 6 low 7 so any will be safe for you. None of those roots will affect PVC. Many of which are pictured in your inspiration photos.
 

blazin

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Jul 29, 2017
271
Franklin, MA
Thanks!! Thinking hostas, butterfly weed, and switch grass to keep it lush and match our other plants:

Japanese maple
Sand cherry
Red Fountain Grass
Japanese Silver Grass
Coral Bells
Sedum
Silver Mound
Hibiscus Moscheutos - Vintage Wine
Gayfeather
Blue Pompon Japanese Iris
 

bmoreswim

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I have a red switch grass named Shenandoah. It is really pretty. Though it gets a late start. Just starting to grow here now.
 

blazin

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Jul 29, 2017
271
Franklin, MA
Well the wife decide on hosta, monkey grass, and blue arrows.

We'll be adding more after we build our equipment screen, picture tomorrow after we plant.
 

bmoreswim

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Take a photo before with just the dirt for a whole series from pipes to bed to garden.

I’m sure it will look great and so much fun the watch it grow and evolve.
 

blazin

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Jul 29, 2017
271
Franklin, MA
Take a photo before with just the dirt for a whole series from pipes to bed to garden.

I’m sure it will look great and so much fun the watch it grow and evolve.
Will do, it's already in an "after" state since we have the patio and retaining wall I put in last season, but pipes-> current -> plants -> rock garden -> equipment screen will be quite a transformation!
 
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YippeeSkippy

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Jan 17, 2012
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I'm just wondering if next year those hosta will have any trouble to push up thru those rocks?

One of my joys is when I see the first tips of my hosta peeking up and out, then you blink and its 3 feet wide! Love it!

Maddie :flower: