Landscaping for Pool and Outdoor Living Spaces: Balancing Beauty and Functionality

In the sprawling metropolis of Houston, landscaping isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an oasis that thrives despite the challenges of our unique soil and climate. With mild winters and scorching summers, our outdoor spaces require thoughtful planning and strategic choices to achieve the perfect balance of beauty and functionality.

1. Raised Beds for Thriving Plants

In Houston’s hardpan clay soil, traditional gardening methods won’t cut it. Raised beds offer a solution by providing oxygen and essential nutrients to plant roots while preventing them from baking in the summer heat. However, integrating raised beds with pool areas requires careful drainage planning to prevent water and garden debris from flowing into the pool. A smart approach involves removing clay and replacing it with a nutrient-rich mix of two parts rose soil and one part compost.

Pro Tip: To maintain healthy soil, consider using organic fertilizers like MicroLife to nourish your plants and promote long-term growth. MicroLife products can be found at most area Ace Hardware stores and Locally Sourced Garden Centers.

2. Strategic Tree Planting

Trees are not only a source of shade and beauty but also play a crucial role in enhancing the outdoor experience. When selecting trees for your space, consider the purpose they serve – whether for shade, aesthetics, or fruit production. Native trees like the Mexican Olive and Texas Mountain Laurel thrive in our climate while attracting pollinators and hummingbirds with their fragrant flowers.

Avoid fruit trees.  There are very few fruit trees that thrive in the Houston area.  In addition, they attract vermin and other unwanted guests (snakes, frogs, bugs, etc). 

Pro Tip: For shade trees, prioritize deep root feeding for the first few years to establish healthy growth. NEVER use “fertilizer spikes”. Instead, auger eight inch holes into the ground and fill them with a cup of high quality organic matter: mulch, Micro Life fertilizer or even leaves.  Verdant Tree Farms, a veteran-owned business, can provide expert guidance on tree selection and care.

3. Vibrant Texas Natives for Color

When it comes to adding pops of color to your landscape, Texas native plants are your best bet. These resilient plants not only survive but thrive in our climate with minimal maintenance. From vibrant wildflowers to aromatic herbs, native plants offer beauty, fragrance, and ecological benefits by attracting pollinators and wildlife.

When feeding your plants, you have to be vigilant about where fertilizer goes.  Chemical fertilizers can wreck pool water balance in a heart beat!  Be aware of how and how much you apply. Even liquid based fertilizers can cause a problem.

4. Potting for Versatility

Don’t overlook the potential of potted plants in your outdoor space. Pots offer flexibility, allowing you to change up your landscape design effortlessly. Consider growing herbs in pots for both aesthetic appeal and practicality – they not only add fragrance to your space but also provide fresh ingredients for cooking.

Pro Tip: For optimal protection against occasional freezes in the Houston Area, tropical plants thrive best when planted in pots. This allows for easy relocation when needed, ensuring their health and longevity.

With thoughtful planning and strategic choices, you can create an outdoor living space that not only withstands the Houston elements but flourishes in them. Contact Custom Outdoors today to bring your landscaping dreams to life. Our vetted providers not only ensure success, they share our same values. At Custom Outdoors, your not a customer, your family.

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