What on earth can you do with this?
Turf grass is definitely not the most suitable planting to have by a pool. Its health depends on good drainage, and will respond badly to chemicals splashing on it.
I recommend a paved area close to the pool, to act as a splash guard to the rest of your plantings, and then use rock mulch to provide an area to protect other plants in the landscape. Many plants are harmed by chlorine and other pool cleaners, especially the roots. My suggestion is to give enough room between the pool and the landscape, and use some kind of barrier planting to buffer the adjacent plantings in the rest of the yard.
Use these tips to add more value to your above ground pool:
Excavate to a depth of six to eight inches before installing pavers or concrete patio blocks. These should be on a bed of gravel and sand to make sure the whole area drains well. This is particularly important in climates where the ground will freeze in the winter.
Around the patio area, using regular garden soil mixed with 50% small gravel, make a raised berm or bed. Plant the sides and top with many of the hardy succulents that are available mail order or in many garden centers. Use a rock or pebble mulch for even more easy care.The plants I most recommend for growing in challenging situations for their drought tolerance, hardiness and texture are Sempervivum, or the Hens and Chicks plant – did you know there are over 1000 named varieties, all different, and in all sizes, colours and shapes?
Other less common but equally lovely planted in groups are the Jovibarba – a closely related plant to Sempervivum, with a few notable differences. They form chicks on the top of the adult rosette, which then can roll away to form new colonies – this is where the name of ‘rollers’ comes from.
I highly recommend some of my favorite Sedum or stonecrop varieties for more colour and texture.
These come in all colors from green to blue, mahogany and red, and that’s just the foliage. They bloom throughout the summer with butterfly attracting flowers of pink, yellow and white.
Some of the most widely used stonecrops are the Sedum spectabile or telephium species, which are taller, up to 18” and flower in the late summer with broccoli type flowers in dark red, pink or bronze. These combine extremely well with other hardy perennials like ornamental grasses, Rudbeckia and Perovskia, the Russian Sage in a new style called the New American Landscape.
Grow these plants in groups and drifts to make a landscape that will be low maintenance and easy to care for, leaving you with more time to enjoy your lovely above ground pool.
This article contributed by Jacki Cammidge, Owner, Certified Horticulturist and Webmaster Drought Smart Plants