A well thought out design can help transform your pool garden into an oasis. The goal of any garden design is to create an outdoor living space which is both useful and visually striking. Ultimately, gardens should be designed to meet the needs of the people who will use and maintain it.
Only after a thorough site analysis should you begin plant selection and design. When planning a pool garden, thought must be given to the shape of the lot, the existing landscape, the terrain and sun exposure. Other considerations include lifestyle, entertainment uses, safety and budget.
Pool garden designs should provide ease of movement through the space. They should also blend aesthetically with its natural surroundings and their planting plans should be compatible with existing environmental conditions. Designs should also enhance the quality of life for the garden user. Successful garden designs are usually those which incorporate all or most plant characteristics, including size, form, texture, fragrance and color.
Simple designs are often the most successful. Keep your palette of plants limited to avoid the "one of everything" look. Select your plants for an obvious purpose. For example, you may want them to provide four season beauty and year-round or for texture.
For maintenance reasons, its recommended that deciduous shrubs and trees (those plants which drop their leafs in fall) be placed in areas away from the pool. They do, however, play an important role in pool garden. While it is true that most people prefer sun in the pool garden, deciduous trees provide shade and a respite from the sun on the hottest summer days. They also allow the sun to filter through during the cooler times of year, when its needed most. Plants with abundant blooms should also be placed at distance from the water, otherwise, spent petals will litter the pool.
Plants with unique features or interesting texture, such as variegated shrubs and dwarf evergreens, are great for the pool garden. For instance, the variegated boxleaf euonymus (Euonymus japonicus 'Microphylla Variegatus'), can light up the landscape and add splashes of white to the garden.
Ornamental grasses, treasured for their easy care, wide variety of colors, textures and sizes and year-round interest, are ideal for the pool garden. The flower heads of many grasses are very showy while colorful seed heads provide interest through the winter. Ornamental grasses are available in a wide range textures and colors. Their form may be softly arching or firmly upright. Many grasses have good fall color, changing to yellow, orange, red or purple before fading to tan or straw colors for winter.
In addition to ornamental grasses, both perennial flowers and evergreen shrubs and trees add year-round interest to the garden. Perennials, those flowers which return and flower year after year, bloom in either early, mid or late season. Plant a few varieties of each to have color all season long. Interestingly shaped evergreens keep their foliage all year and provide the garden with color though the winter.