Planning a garden where the pool WAS - Knowledgebase Question

Dallas, PA
Avatar for sallitt
Question by sallitt
May 1, 1999
We just discarded our above-ground pool which was in place for nine years. Now I am left with a 24-foot diameter circle surrounded by daylilies. We put sand under the pool as a base. Any ideas what to do? Should I add lots of compost to the whole area, turn it over, and plant? I have a horse, so we produce lots of manure compost. I was thinking of raised beds in the shape of a wagon wheel. I would love to make it a nifty circular garden of deer-resistent perrenials. Any ideas?

Answer from NGA
May 1, 1999
To some extent the answer to your question depends on how deep the sand layer is and what type of soil you have to begin with. However, if you can add at least several inches of composted or well aged manure and bedding (even six inches or so would not be too much) and make a raised bed it should be a good garden spot. With a little experimentation you will discover which plants do best in your soil mix, but to start I would suggest avoiding those that love extra moisture such as astilbe, Japanese iris and the like.

The wagon wheel motif is actually a traditional herb garden design, and I can envision an attractive perennial garden, too. Since most perennials are low you might want to incorporate a taller central element or perhaps center a small tree with a bench beneath it for some height and winter structural interest.

Unfortunately, there is no "deer resistant" list to give you; deer are very adaptable and learn to eat new plants all the time. The best approach would be to check with your neighbors and experiment to see what your deer haven't learned to eat yet. (Daylily buds are "deer candy" at my house, for instance.) In my sad experience, the best long term solution was a fence.

Good luck with your project!

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