Where Barbara does tolerate high maintenance, however, is with her swimming pool (which Bryan installed with the help of friends). In another testament to Barbara’s love of the informal, naturally derived look, the diving platform is made entirely of boulders and flat limestone.
Huge, mature cedar hedges (there are more than 20 on the property—Barbara says they grow well in her chilly clime) edge the pool and the northeast side of the garden and ensure privacy.
Even for her garden’s utilitarian structures, such as the storage shed at the northeast corner of the pool and sauna at the southeast end, Barbara never lets practicality trump playfulness. Decked out in black-eyed Susans and white, orange and pink annuals such as impatiens and bacopa, petunias and verbena, the sauna provides a floriferous feast for the eyes. The storage shed has unique touches that take it beyond the ordinary as well: the crowd-pleaser being the faux fireplace mantel adorning its front facade.
Anne Marie Van Nest's top plants for poolsides:
These plants can tolerate the chlorine found around most pools.
Yarrow (Achillea cvs.) Zone 2
Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens cvs.) Zone 2
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Zone 3
Hosta (Hosta cvs.) Zone 2
Juniper (Juniperus cvs.) Zone 2
Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis cvs.) Zone 4
Catmint (Nepeta spp.) Zone 3
Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) Zone 4
Moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora) annual
Sage (Salvia cvs.) Zone 3