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Shawn and the crew have been very busy dodging rain drops this year! We recently went back to replace a dead Star Jasmine and check on a job we finished up in January. We have been working on this backyard in stages. When we first got to the site there was a pool surrounded by dirt! The pool is situated low on the property which added to the challenges. Because we can not raise the pool we had to bring the landscaping down to it. In the end we decided to run a french drain across the face of the pool to move any standing water from the decking off of the property.pool surrounded by dirtThe owners wanted more privacy, more seating area around the pool and to hide the pool equipment. They also wanted something to hide the A/C units that are under the deck right off the house. deck off house with A/CIn addition they desired more green and shade surrounding the pool and less fence to look at which added to the sense of desolation. Under the porch we used hog panel so the vines, that were already there and doing quite well in the planters, could grow up and form a green screen. That didn’t mask the nose enough so we  added wood slats which matched the surround we made for the pool equipment. Additionally, the solid wall helps keep the heat from the condenser units from pummeling the family as they sit on the lower patio.wood and hog wire panels On the north side of the yard is a corner where they wanted to put the barbeque that needed just a bit of help. We added wire panels there to mask the fence up to the bed were we planted a pomegranate and a lemon tree to go with the lone grapefruit tree that survived the pool construction.under used corner



After, you can just see the edge of the cement pads that the BBQ sits on.

I should mention there is still dirt between the pool and the deck because the homeowner are going to seed with Bermuda grass this spring. With all the rain and cool temperatures it hasn’t taken yet. We did add drainage and soil. Hre you can see a few new citrus trees and the lone large tree with the pool equipment behind a nice slat screen.

Here you can see a new pomegranate tree and the lone large tree with the pool equipment behind a nice slat screen.

Cedar inclosure for pool equipment.

Cedar inclosure for pool equipment. Before the clients stained it to match the fence.

My first idea for the cut outs by the pool was to build small retaining walls and install artificial turf. This didn’t appeal to the homeowners. The one thing I felt was important, when considering solutions, was a surface that would not retain the heat the way cement does. This area is going to get full sun all day long. As we had been repeating the materials we used throughout the space to help tie it together and make it appear as if it was all planned when the pool was installed, I went back to thinking about using cedar to create little decks. Now that I see them installed they are the better choice. cedar deck by poolAlong the back fence we used more welded wire and Star Jasmine. It is a very narrow bed, with a sewer line as well as the pool’s plumbing, so no room for shrubs or plants with big roots. The homeowners did want to be surrounded by flowering plants. So along with the jasmine we added Louisiana Iris, bulbine and day lilies. We irrigated all the beds with drip tubing that will save on water and not flood these plants in their narrow space.These flowers have only been in a few months and they are already giving us a show!

These flowers have only been in a few months and they are already giving us a show! When it warms up the bulbine will bloom all summer long.

Sinfonietta Louisiana iris happy in their new home!

Sinfonietta Louisiana iris happy in their new home!

On the southern fence we has a bit more room, so we put in a row of Savannah Holly trees. They do well in narrow spaces and take hedging very well. They also attract birds in the winter with their little red berries. Here you see them with their new bright green leaves. As the years goes on the leaves turn to dark green.Savannah Holly hedge

Savannah Holly hedge

To add more shade to the back garden we placed a red maple to the south west of the pool area. It will take several years but someday it will bring some shade and a lovely place to sit out of the sun. Drummond Red MapleI wish I could show you this with the nice green lawn. If we get back there I will add it later! All in all I think we pulled it off and met all the criteria of the homeowners including a modest budget.

Happy Gardening!