Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Certified Landscape Designer, chop-stone raised bed, Dura Heat River Birch, flagstone path, flagstone patio, herb bed, Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah', polinator garden, Purple Montrose Vitex, Saucer magnolia, Savannah Holly, spool spa pool
Out in the Dairy Ashford area of Houston, where lot sizes are bigger, we had plenty of room to create a naturalist back yard retreat. You may have wondered if we do larger gardens. We do but often we just do the design and not the install. This project was in the design phase when the young couple decided they wanted a pool. The utility easement constrained where they could build. In the end they went with a spa/pool called a “spool”, a new word in my vocabulary. Here are a couple of before shots of the blank slate we started with.
We consulted during the pool planning phase on size, shape and placement of the pool while the couple also got ideas from various pool companies. I suggested a rectangle nestled up to the house similar to the original design. In the end the water-feature was eliminated and fountains added to the pool itself.
We do not install pools so we left that part to another company. We came back when the spool was completed. We started with the irrigation and then installed the hardscape and plantings, etc.. Here it is! The blue ice chest was left out daily during the installation, full of water for the crew, by the very considerate homeowner.
Tucked up next to the house and easily available from the back door means this pool, that can be warmed in winter and refreshing in summer, is going to get plenty of use. There are two waterfalls that will help block out the noise of surrounding environment and sooth their souls after a long day at work!
The plants are designed to attracted wildlife and give a sense of being out in nature. Mixed in are roses a favorite of the client and a special one from her Grandmother. The couple’s desire is to attract birds, bees and butterflies to their garden. We installed a large patio to the west of the pool and right off the little covered area outside the back door. There are windows across the back of the house and over time as the plants grow in you will be able to see several layers of green. (Scroll to end for a complete plant list).
We got a text the other day saying they found a baby cotton tail hiding in the garden. I guess the word is out that wildlife are welcome here. Beside the large patio we planted a row of Savannah hollies, Ilex x attenuata ‘Savannah’. These trees are very hardy and grow moderately fast with adequate sun light. Here they will create more privacy as they get taller. They are drought tolerant, take shearing, mostly allergy free, native to the southern USA and the berries will attract birds.
We created matching screens to hide the pool equipment and A/C units on the side yard and the telecommunications in this corner. You might be wondering why we left one post very tall. That is for installing string lights.
Here are a couple of shots looking back to the west from the small patio. The Dura Heat® River Birch, Betula nigra ‘BNMTF’ is the biggest tree we planted; or will be. This variety does very well in Houston. Sadly we often see them planted in flower beds hitting the roof soffit. They really do need room to spread out and grow tall. I used it here to add to the woodland feel. I also enjoy the sound its leaves make when they sway in the breeze.
Taken from the path looking west. Between us and the screen is a Weeping Yaupon Holly and closer to us a Texas Mountain Laurel. These are both considered small trees that are attractive with seasonal changes but will never out grow the space.
In this far corner we placed pollinator attracting plants in mass surrounding a focal tree. Originally it was going to be a Natchez Crape myrtle, until the homeowner saw a Saucer magnolia in bloom : ) Saucer Magnolia, Tulip Tree,Magnolia x soulangeana.
There are several grasses. The grass in the background is Miscanthus “Adagio” Maiden grass that will fill in and obscure the fence. Around the tree we have Purple and White Trailing lantana that will be in bloom for nearly 9 months here in Houston.
Another view from the veggie garden/ utility area. On the right is a Purple Montrose Vitex. We have one in our garden that is a favorite of our Cardinals. For more photos check out Treesearch Farms FB page.