Protecting Our Children With A Fence

Fences, Foliage & Flowers: Handsome Landscaping For A Backyard Pool Enclosure

Little or large, a swimming pool installed in your back yard can quickly become the center of warm-weather activities for family and friends. The chance to splash, bask in the sun or simply swim for exercise just steps from your own back door are some of the enticing reasons to invest in this outdoor feature. But along with the fun comes responsibility, and keeping the pool safe requires installing a sturdy, secure barrier. The area doesn't have to look like a fort, though. A professionally installed fence by a fence contractor and pretty plants can make the area a beautiful, integral part of your overall landscape design.

Which Fence Style Fits Your Yard Best?

Chain link gets a bad rap – and it's true that the old-style fences made of galvanized, woven metal strands look more industrial than family-friendly.

But modern chain link fence materials remove that stigma. Color-coated in green, black or brown, the linked metal and posts have much more appeal in a residential setting.

USE: When the pool area takes up only a portion of the yard, install see-through chain link around its perimeter. You'll have visual access to the whole landscape, even though the pool is effectively protected from unauthorized or unsupervised use.

TIP: Add color-matched round or tapered finials on top of the posts to give the fence a more formal appearance.

Vertical slat fencing made of wood or fiberglass is an attractive backdrop for shrubbery and flowers inside the pool area. Ornamental iron fencing with vertical poles has similar appeal, but you can place the plants on the outside of the fence and still enjoy seeing their beauty through the spaces between the upright poles.

USE: Slat fences work well for a pool area that takes up a significant portion of the backyard. They can double as the perimeter fence for a property, but it must have small enough spaces between the slats that little kids can't easily climb over.

Brick or concrete block walls serve as a solid barrier to the outside world. Graced by an attractive gate with a sturdy lock that's placed too high for small children to fuss with, a solid fence creates an excellent micro-climate for warm-weather, drought-tolerant plants.

USE: Brick and block-wall fences are particularly attractive to homeowners in neighborhoods where the houses are close to each other and there's lots of foot traffic.

Coordinating With the Contractors to Create the Pool Landscape

Timing is everything – and no more so than when you're putting in the pool, fence and plants. The order of installation is dictated by the equipment and amount of space needed to accomplish each task.

1.  Swimming Pool Installers. For an above ground pool, the initial work involves making sure the ground is level and that there are no obstacles in the way. An in-ground pool installation is more complicated, requiring extensive excavation, soil removal, and setting the pool in place.

All this work must be done prior to enclosing the area behind a barrier.

2.  Fence Installation: The fence contractor should be scheduled to start work as soon as the pool installation is complete. Don't fill the pool with water until the safety barrier is in place and the locked gate is secure.

Coordinate with fence contractor in advance if there are any trees or other plants that you plan to keep as part of your overall landscape design. The installers may be able to adjust the fence line to accommodate the request, or suggest alternative options.

3.  Plant Installation: When the equipment and installers have completed their work, and the dust has settled, it's time to add the greenery to your poolside layout.

Position larger evergreens and shrubs first. Then fill in the spaces with flowering perennial plants. Add clusters of spring-blooming bulbs to the setting for colorful accents that will brighten the area even before you're ready to open the pool for the summer season.