As the saying goes: “Good fences make good neighbors.” This is especially true when you have a pool in your yard. A little privacy goes a long way in making your yard and pool an oasis. But you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for utility. With some thought and planning, you can make privacy a part of your landscape design. Here are some ideas for landscaping in Dallas around your pool for privacy.
Fences and Walls
The easiest answer is a fence or a wall — and these can be attractive options as well. Whether you install a durable metal fence or a wooden one, both can be low-cost and low maintenance. A wall can be a lovely addition to any hardscaping you have installed — like the deck of the pool, a stone or concrete walkway, or a patio. Fences and walls will also help keep your family safe. They are among the top safety recommendations from the Consumer Protection Safety Commission to prevent child drownings. They may also lower the rate on your homeowners insurance.
Layered Flower Beds
Think of a layered flower bed as a privacy wall made up of your favorite garden plants. Start with the smallest and shortest in the front, to the tallest ornamental grasses or bushes in the back of the bed. It keeps nosy neighbors from checking up on your pool and adds dimension and texture to your yard. You won’t get that from a wall or fence. To keep your flower bed low maintenance, use native Texas plants and flowers. Dr. Barron Rector is an extension agent with Texas A&M, who teaches the biological interrelationships of ecosystems. “Native plants and flowers will require little work to keep them alive, whereas invasive plant species will interfere with your native plants and could impact the entire garden.”
Consider planting Princess Caroline napier grass, which grows 4-6 feet tall and makes an excellent back row. Plant it behind the globe amaranth (1-4 feet tall). In front, add the Laura Bush petunia (2 feet tall), and so on.
Think of a privacy screen as the cousin of the privacy fence or wall. It won’t prevent anyone from entering your pool, but it will block the view, and they can be charming additions to your landscape design. You can place lattices around your pool or hot tub for a little privacy and shade, without completely blocking the view. You’ll find privacy screens almost anywhere you can buy outdoor furniture. And you aren’t limited by wood latticework. Many privacy screens offer different designs. The screen that gives you a little seclusion can also invoke a Zen garden or a tropical getaway, depending on the materials. A privacy screen is the least permanent choice, and you can go in another direction if you don’t like them. You can also use them as a temporary fence until your shrubs or plants grow tall enough!
Plants that conceal your yard from prying eyes — or cover ugly views — are trending. It’s not just the privacy factor, but because they enhance your landscape design with softening lines. Some plants like star jasmine produce lots of fragrant blooms. Consider planting vines such as fig ivy, or a gorgeous wisteria to climb up your fences and walls and block prying eyes. Hedges are coming back into style, especially as homeowners crave more privacy. Medium-sized hedges that grow anywhere from five to ten feet tall are perfect for the job. Consider the glossy abelia or the eastern snowball viburnum. Both are on Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Top 100 Plants For North Texas list. Boxwood walls, in particular, are now trending. With its glossy, bright green leaves, the boxwood is an easy addition to many landscape plans. Strategically planting and maintaining boxwood hedges will give your yard a current vibe, as well as shield your patio or yard from curious eyes. One thing to think about with hedges — they need more maintenance than a wall or fence. You will have to water, prune, and keep them free of disease.
Keep in mind, proper pruning of shrubs and bushes is more than just whacking off branches that get in the way. Douglas F. Welsh, the retired Texas A&M Extension horticulturist once said, “The old idea that anyone with a chainsaw or a pruning saw can be a landscape pruner is far from the truth. More trees are killed or ruined each year from improper pruning than by pests.” Make sure you have the right tools and some guidance before you prune a hedge on your own, or hire a pro to do it.
Sometimes it’s not strangers at street level that are the problem. You could be trying to block the view from the second floor of the house next door.
If your privacy concern is above your pool, a privacy roof may be what you need. It does double duty and protects you from the harsh Texas sun too. If you don’t have construction or landscaping experience, you should consider seeking professional help in building a privacy roof. You want seclusion and shade, not stuff falling in the pool — or even worse, falling on people in the pool.
You may be thinking about privacy because you have a new pool, or because you have new neighbors. Privacy and safety can be camouflaged as landscaping, making your pool feel like an exclusive resort or a deserted island.