It's time to open the backyard pools and get them ready for summer fun and that includes making them aesthetically inviting as well as serviceable. If you have a pool, then most are aware of what to do with the water to make it clean, sparkling and inviting. What gives some folks a challenge is the landscaping so here are a few hints that might help.

As you make choices think in terms of a color scheme or a theme for flowers that will compliment things already in place such as lawn furniture, awnings or perennials you want to keep. Try to stay away from plants that could cause a problem. You may really love the red barberry bushes however having them around a pool could be painful for a swimmer who stepped on a thorn or brushed up against it and came away with scratches. So, avoid thorny and messy shrubs - though we love magnolia trees they constantly shed and that debris could end up in the pool.

Choose plants that are easy maintenance. Who wants to spend their summer dead heading geraniums when you could be relaxing on a float? Think about ornamental grasses - there are some beautiful varieties out there. Shrubs such as slow growing boxwoods that need a trim once a year would also be a good choice. Choose some long blooming perennials such phlox, black eyed susans and lavender so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias will give a nice showing through the summer as well.

When it comes to mulch and gravel choose mulch and choose the organic. Gravel, tumbled glass or recycled tire pebbles will eventually find their way into the pool and just cause work for the pool keeper. Organic mulch will break down and enrich the soil so it works two-fold for the gardener. Time can be saved by weeding the garden area and putting a weed deterrent down prior to the mulching taking place. This step could prevent lots of weeding though out the summer.

As you put together your landscape keep in mind the focal point is the pool and your plants are just to add color and interest. Fencing should be in place for security and privacy purposes however it can add to the landscape as well. Keep in mind your goals are going to be low maintenance, privacy and presentation. Many folks have found using large pots for their flowers works well in that it doesn't overcrowd the pool area but softens the hardscape around the water.

Finally - light it up! Nothing is more pleasing than a well-lit pool area at night if done well. There are loads of choices out there and advice on every aspect - in fact there are folks who specialize in outdoor lighting that can advise and sell you what you need. On the other end something like Pinterest can offer some sage advice as well and the cost is minimal.


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