Caring For Your Lawn Without Damaging Your Pool

two lounge chairs beside a below-ground swimming pool with decorative landscaping and trees all around

It’s pool season, which means it’s also lawn maintenance season. So, how do you make sure your lawn care — DIY or professional — doesn’t do harm to your pool? And, what chance is there that your pool chemicals may harm your lawn? Here are some basic tips to ensure your summer pool season isn’t adversely affected by lawn care.

Avoid the “Mow and Blow” Problem

Summer means pool time, but it also means the grass will start growing once again, and you’ll either have to cut it yourself or pay a service to do it. One challenge pool owners must address is the “mow and blow” phenomenon.

Don’t be part of the “blower brigade” that just blows cuttings and everything else around without picking it up. A tool thought of as an instrument of the fall has become a three-season mainstay for crews who equate a speck-free lawn, patio, and flower bed with a job well done.

If this is the approach you or your lawn care crew takes, plenty of organic material is bound to end up in the pool. And, that can cause some major problems.

If a blower is used, make sure to use caution. Use it infrequently and throttled down. The airflow will be sufficient to move debris but not blow it out of control. If you have fallen leaves on a newly seeded lawn, the blower can be used to clear the new lawn gently without disturbing the grass seedlings in a way that a rake would.

Keep Grass From Blowing Into Your Pool

green grass surrounding a below-ground swimming pool with decroative landscaping all around

When grass is cut near a pool, it is not uncommon for grass clippings to be blown into the water. A few hours after it gets in the pool, it sinks to the bottom and begins to oxidize and decompose. If the grass has been recently fertilized, the clippings will introduce phosphates and other chemicals to the pool water.

Phosphates fuel algae growth, and algae consumes chlorine. Something as simple as grass clippings can introduce a whole bundle of pool problems. Your crystal clear pool can turn into a green, cloudy cocktail of algae, grass clippings, and lawn chemicals just a few days after the grass is cut.

Whatever lawn care service you choose, don’t be afraid to tell them how you normally manage the grass and other lawn features around or near your pool. Speak to your lawn care provider to make sure they blow clippings away from the pool. Gardeners who don’t own pools may never have realized it was an issue.

Ask the landscaper to use a bagging mower. This will reduce the potential for grass blowing into the pool. Ask if they can skim grass clippings from the pool with a net after mowing. Also, run the pool skimmer for several hours after mowing is completed.

Use Walkways or Flowerbeds as Buffer Between Lawn

There are other things you can do to help keep yard waste out of your pool when a lawn service comes in. The best thing is to make sure any grass or lawn is about two to three feet away from the pool.

Lay a border around the pool to create a physical boundary between the swimming space and the yard. Install cool deck, a material that is known for remaining cool even during sunny days and warm temperatures, for comfortable use.

Replace grass around your pool with low-maintenance ground covers that need little or no mowing, or install generous walkways around the entire perimeter of the pool. This will help avoid grass clippings being tracked into the pool on swimmers’ feet.

Plant a hedge or flower garden around the pool to shield the pool from blowing grass clippings. If you opt for a flower garden, take note of the hardiest flowers for central Oklahoma, flowers that can bear the Oklahoma summer heat and thrive in full sun.

When summer heat kicks in, rely on these drought-tolerant plants to hold their own — and still look beautiful. These include angelonia, canna, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, coreopsis, daylily, gaillardia, and lantana. All these flowers can bear the Oklahoma summer heat and thrive in full sun.

It takes some planning, but having a generous walkway or flower garden buffer around your pool area will help a great deal in keeping grass clippings from blowing into your pool.

Do Pool Chemicals Harm Your Grass?

standing person cleaning a below-ground swimming pool with a net

Believe it or not, chlorine is not known to have a damaging effect on grass. The resiliency of the soil is fixed so that it can withstand chlorine at high acid levels. Grass blades are selective about the nutrients they allow into their systems. In fact, using your excess pool water on your lawn is one of the best ways you can help conserve water in your neighborhood.

Now, of course, flooding your grass with pool water is never a good idea. If you have excess pool water, give a good coating to your lawn, and then run the rest down an approved drainage pipe.

However, chemicals used on your lawn can have serious consequences to your pool water. If you have an inground pool, you will want to pay special attention to how much fertilizer your lawn care service uses and how and where they apply fertilizer.

Excess fertilizer causes run-off that finds its way into storm drains, streams, lakes, and often your inground pool. Most fertilizers contain phosphorous and nitrogen, which will wreak havoc on your pool chemical levels and deplete oxygen in your pool water.

When this happens, be prepared for serious battles with cloudy water and algae.

Contact us today for expert advice on landscaping that will ensure your pool can co-exist with  your lawn.