Thoughts re grass only (no pavers/patio) around pool?

sotoesqMay 2, 2013

Hi all, we are putting in an IG pool this summer. We are located in New York. We are onsidering a design like the one shown in the picture attached to this posting. I love the clean, minimalist look, but our pool contractor warns that the grass around the pool will die and/or puddles form, and that the pool will be harder to keep clean of dirt and clippings. I am not sure that I agree, as this look is now very popular, especially in "high end" neighborhoods. Would hate to basically end up with large sections of pavers or patio around the new pool and ruin the look of the pretty green backyard. Anyone have experience with a design like this and willing to give some feedback? Note that placement of a grill/chairs/lawn furniture is not an issue (we have a separate deck), we will allow for appropriate space on all sides for a lawn mower, and we will have no diving board, nor children running in and out of the pool constantly. Thanks in advance, any thoughts are appreciated!

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Lori B

I love that look also. We have a toddler, and I just thought it would be a bit impractical. But we are planning to do a geometric pool with one side with coping only. We are thinking this will give us more yard. We definitely don't want to feel like our entire yard is concrete or hardsurface!!

I really considered something along that line as well -- oversized square pavers with mondo grass in between, etc. But I ultimately decided that was more suited for middle-aged / retired people who use it more as an exercise pool and don't plan to do much entertaining. We are hoping to get a lot of use out of a pool. But they sure are beautiful with all the grass!!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 4:15PM
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I love that look and seriously considered it. This look isn't just 'becoming' very popular, this is classic, old style European. Look at many of the high end pools in the Hamptons, for instance, and this is what you see. Elizabeth Taylor's home had this kind of treatment back in the early 60s. When considering this design, I heard all the arguments about grass/dirt in the pool, yada, yada. I didn't care. I'm the one that vacuums. It's my therapy. However, my husband vetoed the idea because he's the one that mows the grass and didnt' want to have to move the lounge chairs and such. Didn't want chairs killing his beloved lawn. He also mentioned how squishy the grass would get from spill over. I suppose if one didn't have crazy children and had a more tranquil poolside nature, the splash out wouldn't be too bad. Also, how would salt water affect the grass.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:54PM
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It would work, but you will tend to walk on the grass around the pool more than you think. I would use a grass that can handle above normal foot traffic... a few are...

Perennial Ryegrass: (cool season and overseeding in warm season areas) medium texture, handles traffic, handles drought conditions without a lot of additional watering or fertilizer. Does not do well in shade. Mixes well with other grass types.

Kentucky Bluegrass: (cool season) most common cool season grass and the hardiest for cold weather. Fine texture, fills in bare spots quickly, requires more mowing, does not do well in shady areas and does not tolerate salt. Standout varieties include Adelphi, Award, Baron, Midnight, Nu Destiny and Touchdown.

Bermuda Grass: (warm season) fine texture that tolerates traffic. Vigorous and tolerates drought and salt. Does not do well in shade and tends to build up thatch. Standout varieties include: Cheyenne, Patriot, Tifgreen, and Tifway II.

Zoysiagrass: (warm season/transition zone) slow-growing, dense grass, drought tolerant. Does better with frequent watering. Builds up thatch. Standout varieties include: El Toro, Emerald, and Meyer.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Thanks everyone for your input and thoughts. Much appreciated. @banana_fanna, what pool design did you ultimately choose (since you said your husband vetoed the minimalist idea)? Just curious.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I love the simple, stark look of a rectangular pool surrounded by grass, too. It seems timeless. That look, however, was not right for our yard nor was it right for the way our pool will be used.

I thought I'd share a few of my simple pool "inspiration" pictures, though. These pools have a bit more patio around them.

I think I can only put in one picture per post, so here is personal favorite.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:31PM
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    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Yet another...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Last one!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:36PM
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I don't have any experience with this design but I know that this look is very popular in the Hamptons. When I look at the real estate magazines I often see this look there. It's very pretty!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Just one comment, a pool chemical guy just left our house and told us a story about a pool just like the first one show with just grass around it. The owner accidentally got grass fertilizer in the pool and it stained it. He wanted him to fix it, It was so bad, he said he could not touch it after they did a test on one olf the spots. This house was in a very expensive area, oceanfront.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:39PM
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I wanted my simple rectangle pool plopped right into the ground and only wanted a few inches of coping but my DH did mention grass clippings in the pool might be a problem so we went with a 2ft surround with grass all around and the furniture is on the grass. With children under six this is actually ideal. Grass is softer and not as slippery as patio turfs. My grass is thick and beautiful most of the spring and summer after five years of pool water splashing it and I am very happy with its simple look:). These pics are from July in ct during a heat wave and this is the worse my grass ever looks:)

This post was edited by roarah on Sat, May 18, 13 at 10:24

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I have done a weekly maintenance for several years on the design of the first pic in the post and I will tell you the homeowner would never do the no decking thing again. Grass in the pool as well as mud and staining of the plaster is a battle and not too mention pets making deposits .....

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:55PM
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I love the look of a pool with minimal concrete, too. Our 1975 pool floats in a veritable sea of concrete, and yet there is still not really enough space to put out picnic tables, chaise lounges, etc. When we reno the pool, we plan to push back retaining walls from the edges on two sides of our pool to create more "decking" space, but I'd like to do something that isn't a hard material, so not concrete, pavers, etc. We've tossed around the idea of using a synthetic grass at pool-level (goes from coping straight to the synthetic grass) then when the retaining wall steps up, have real grass in the rest of the yard since it's far enough away (approx 8 feet) that it won't blow in when DH is mowing. I have a friend that put in a new pool last year, with the synthetic grass interspersed with concrete blocks as pavers. I want to see how it works for him for a while before committing.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Our gardener just told us that this is a very popular new look. I think it's a great idea, especially if you have a small yard.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:02PM
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Great feedback and ideas, everyone, thanks so much! @NH_pool, thanks for the additional photos and @roarah, love your pool, so glad you are enjoying the design!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Hi, sotoesq,

If you have a chance, please let us know what you end up deciding to do and post a picture! Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:33AM
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I am buying sod to do most of my pool this way as I type. Hopefully I like it!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 10:10AM
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hello we are starting to dig on monday Feb 3 2014. We are thinking of going with a 16 inch coping and then grass is this a good idea or bad?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:33PM
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hello we are starting to dig on monday Feb 3 2014. We are thinking of going with a 16 inch coping and then grass is this a good idea or bad?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:08AM
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Lori B

I don't know if I can say if it's a good idea or bad idea without knowing a little more on how you plan on using the pool or more info.

I really loved the look of coping only, and wanted to save my grass. I think it's a scary thing to look at your nice yard of grass and know that so much will be torn up. But after it's all over, everything will go back together, and it will look nice -- even with decking!

I just posted some pics of my finished pool last night. We opted for one side of coping only. We have not yet played volleyball in our pool or any type of game. (We have a toddler.) But I expect that side of the pool will be annoying when the ball gets out of bounds and tracks mulch into the pool. I'm glad that we went ahead and did a large deck on the one side to tie into our existing patio. It just made sense with our layout. But it gives us a chance to set up a lot of tables and chairs for a large group or party. Which we did make use of on 2 occasions last year alone.

Our coping side only is not grass. But I can't understand how you don't end up with a lot of grass clippings in your pool when mowing. I tried to plant ground cover plants like potato vine that cover the mulch.

If you are "in love" with the look of grass surrounding, then nothing may change your mind. I would do what you love, and you think you will enjoy looking at so it's your peaceful oasis in your backyard. If you are doing it to save money on decking or just a whim, then I think it's a bad idea.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:32AM
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