Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pool rules!



I have been lucky enough to get to work on several outdoor projects over the years. These are often times my favorite projects because I love the feel of the sunshine, but I also love the natural beauty and energy that surrounds us outdoors.
 
This summer I have had the opportunity to work on a pool and landscaping project which has been nothing short of exciting. Installing a pool is a daunting project and there is so much to take into consideration. Take a look at these before pictures and wait 'til you discover how we transformed this yard into an oasis!
 
Pool project "before" pictures:
 
Because of the pool construction and prior home construction, the soil was seriously depleted, so something I was equally excited about was bringing back nutrients to the soil. We brought in 14 yards of loam and organic compost and spread that under the sod and tiled it into all the beds.
 
 
I then hand fertilized all the plants and used root stimulator to help with the shock of some of the transplanted items. It was important for us to use what was already in the garden both with plants and boulders first and then augment from there. This helps cut down on costs and one can presume if it's there and it's alive, it must like it. 
 
Beautiful stone work at our recent pool project
I'm a little obsessive about the stone work. I believe that everything has an energy, especially stone due to it's ancestry. I spend a long time working with my clients to choose the stonework for a garden. I love to start with what exists on the land and then work outward, trying to mimic what might be found on the site. In this way we marry the old with, well, the old, but you get the idea.
 
We used a variety of plants in this design that add both visual interest, seasonal interest and year around color and texture. Two of my favorites are the Pinus densiflora 'Occulus Draconis' Dragon's Eye Pine

Dragon's Eye Pine
and the Maple Sango Kaku
 





Maple Sango Kaku
 
Always take into consideration your soil, your site. This site had more all day sun than I have seen in a long time. Add to that a nearly flat grade and it was just begging for a pool, drainage, and native opportunities.
 

 

Pool project "after" pictures:

Also, don't overestimate your interest. If gardening really isn't your thing, stick with the basics. Both you and the flora will thank you.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I've worked on several landscape and pool projects and am often asked about how to keep the plantings around the pool looking lovely longer. For that, I always recommend that you ask an expert, which is what I always do!

So, I have tapped into one of my favorite local garden centers, Churchill's Gardens.  If you live near Exeter and haven't yet visited them, you absolutely need to get there!

Here is some fantastic advice from Linda at Churchill's Gardens:

Now that it is later summer, people are often thinking that their gardens are looking tired. Often they are, but there are some things that you can do to keep them looking fresher. 

Tips for Perennials
  • Make sure they are watered if we do not get steady rain. When you water perennials, or trees and shrubs you want to make sure you are deeply watering so that the roots are really getting wet. This year we have had steadier rains and not the extreme heat, so plants are not so stressed as some years, but some rain has come down so hard and fast this year, that it has not soaked in. 
  • You do not want to be fertilizing perennials, roses, or shrubs at this point, as you do not want to push lush new growth that will not be hardy for the winter. 
  • What you can do though is go through your gardens and deadhead any gone by blooms, remove those gone by daylily stalks, etc. by cleaning up your garden it will not look so tired.
 Tips for Annuals

  • As far as annuals go, keep regularly watering them and most importantly feeding them. There is plenty of summer left and you will be surprised that they often make a resurgence as the days get cooler if you are still feeding them.
  • Use a liquid fertilizer at least once a week for plants in containers, and it does not hurt to feed several times a week.
  • Keep them deadheaded and cleaned up and they will keep going for many more weeks.
    Keep in mind that even if we have been a bit cooler, we have had some 100% sunny days that are just as drying for the soil and plants, so they need water and fertilizer to keep looking happy.

    Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, before school starts and fall brings us new energy. Soak in the sunshine and enjoy your yard!

    Best,

    Renee