Building a pool is a big enough undertaking in its own right, add backyard landscaping to the equation and you’ve got a lot of planning to do. Fortunately, a little foresight is all it takes to ensure your outdoor vision comes to life.
We've compiled some of the common landscaping mistakes below so that you can avoid them in order for your dream backyard planning to go swimmingly.
1. Not accounting for seasons
Pool owners naturally gravitate toward summer-friendly plants, however, there are many landscaping options that incorporate various plants and growth schedules. Especially in desert climates where pool time is enjoyed year-round, you want to be cognizant of planting for fall and winter months. By mixing plant materials that complement each other in color and style, you can enjoy the beauty of lush landscaping any time. What good is building a pool if your backyard is only visually appealing a few months out of the year?
2. Failing to think long-term
In short, plants grow. If you fail to consider how your plants will mature in terms of size and appearance, you could be facing a maintenance nightmare down the line. Shrubs are particularly problematic when they aren’t given enough room to grow. Plant overcrowding will lead to constant pruning, which is costly if you’re hiring a gardener—and time-consuming if you do it yourself. Furthermore, overgrowth might necessitate the removal of beautiful flowers and leaves or even a complete removal of the plant altogether. Consider where your mature plants will be—not only in relation to each other but in regard to important pool features like a fountain, deck, or safety gate. You don’t want to worry about a large tree or bush blocking entryways or windows.
3. Lacking a common theme
Choose plants that visually complement the colors, styles, and overall atmosphere of your space. Landscaping design professionals caution against choosing too many colors which can make the backyard look tacky and unorganized. To create a beautiful, effortless look, try combining two to three different colors that work well with the existing structures like your house, fence—even other plants in the area that Mother Nature has provided. Don’t rule out other design aspects such as symmetry (or asymmetry depending on your theme), plant textures and shapes, and non-living landscape features such as rocks and pathways.
4. Not having a comprehensive strategy
Think about the completed project before you begin. What do you envision? By planning your landscape in conjunction with pool building, you will have a better understanding of your timeline, strategy, budget, and comprehensive outcome. Contractors will be able to work more easily with each other so that no one component becomes an afterthought. By building a pool and landscape together, your dreams of the perfect backyard are much more likely to be actualized in terms of beauty and functionality alike.
For many homeowners, the home and yard are a source of great responsibility and pride. Whether you’re redecorating the kitchen, planting a flower bed, or building a pool, the smallest decisions can make the difference between a mediocre and stunning outcome. The extra attention to design concepts will pay off on a much larger scale than you could ever imagine.
Editor's note: Originally posted 1/2016. Updated for relevance.