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Need help with planning landscaping around pool area

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I live in Central Florida, and need help planning the landscaping for around our pool. It will be on the west side of our home, and will receive much sun. However, the area immediately around the pool will be within a screen enclosure. We have two large triangular built-in planters on both of the back ends of the pool, and also a two foot high raised planter directly in back of the pool at the water’s edge. The raised planter is a little over one foot deep and twelve feet long, and has a stone finish, and there is a three foot water curtain in the middle of the wall and just under the planter area (the water will not hit the plants). We are planning on planting a couple of large (13’-16’) queen palms on the south and west sides of the screen enclosure to help provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day. I hope to put my Zanadu (5’ wide dwarf) philodendron in the left hand triangular planter, and some crotons in the right hand triangular planter. I need suggestions for the stone planter, keeping in mind that we do not wish to plant anything that will cause a lot of debris so near the water’s edge. I also plan on landscaping all around the outside of the enclosure, and next to our house, so I also need suggestions for those areas, but nothing that is toxic to dogs. We also wish to add to the landscaping along our back yard fence (which is white vinyl), which already has a combination of Majestic Beauty Indian Hawthornes (in tree form) and Little Gem Magnolia trees, each spaced a little over nine feet apart. We live in zone 8B (for winter temps) and 9A (for summer temps). Any suggestions?

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Before you start on the project, it might be an idea to step back from your pool and look at the whole area from several different angles. It may sound silly but stoop down to take a look, and then stand on some steps to get a high view. Stand well back and then stand close to the edge.Take some photos with a camera as this will help as well. The reason for recommending this approach is to see the area or vista from differing heights and angles. The next consideration is where is the pool located - in sun or shade?
You will need to select plants that will be happy in the conditions surrounding the pond. Is the area in baking sun for most of the day or is it partly shaded. Is the area hit by winds or is the area sheltered? Is the area totally frost free in the winter?
What type of theme or mood do you want around the pool. For example Exotic, tropical, classical, modern etc?
Do you want evergreen plants or seasonal colour?
Do you want low or high maintenance plants?
You have mentioned that you will use palms in one area. You could add seasonal colour by choosing annuals that are easy to maintain or keep everything lusious and green.
You can then alter the colour combinations each year, and change the mood of your pond setting.
It sounds like you already have a good idea of the plants you will use to give height and structure and provide shade.
Phormiums can also add texture and height. If you want to add colour as well I think I would choose colour themed annuals that will be easy to maintain, but carefully limit the colour theme so that the green of the palms and other architectural plants is not overpowered by too many vibrant colours.
Hope this helps,
Best wishes,

26 Apr, 2008

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