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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reuse and Reinvent Those Old Pool Covers

If you have an above ground pool then most likely you'll be taking off that pool cover around Memorial Day. Since nothing lasts forever you may have had to replace that cover and felt the pangs of guilt adding these tarps to the landfill.
We've found a few ways to reuse them.

When we put in our little pond in the front yard we wanted to make the area around it into a mulched perennial garden utilizing the trees already there.

What we did to cover such a large area was cut the pool cover as needed to lay in the shape we desired. We put it right over the grass eliminating the need to pull up the sod.

Then using a box cutter we cut large X's in the spots we intended to add the chosen perennials. Fold under the cut plastic so you have a square about 12 - 18 inches across. Once the plants were in the ground we covered the pool tarp with mulch. Be sure to cut slits here and there across the tarp to allow for drainage before covering with the mulch.

You can save a lot of money if you can get word to the tree trimmers when they pass through your area that you would appreciate a load of mulch dumped onto your property. They are glad to have convenient locations to unload a full truck.
Just be aware that this type of mulch isn't going to be your fine, broken down mulch you buy from a nursery. There will be twigs and larger pieces and it will be fresh and not aged. For our purposes this didn't matter. We did put the nicer, finer mulch around the benches where there will be the most foot traffic (especially if people are barefoot). Keep it from being too close to your plantings since the mulch isn't aged yet.

These picturesque scenes let you see how seasonal change brings continuous beauty to this setting.

Many of us have backyard septic systems in the middle of the yard and their location can be made into a more attractive area. We used another pool tarp to create a large circular herb garden. We left this one as is in a round shape and laid it right over the grass. We held down the edges with garden staples (those things you use to hold down floating row covers or you can use tent stakes), cut out X's for the herb plants and septic PVC pipes, and again covered the whole thing with mulch. The mulch does break down so has to be replenished at least every other year depending how thick you lay it.

Below are spring and summer pictures of this herb garden in its third year of growth. Perennials need 2 - 3 years for their root systems to get established before their above ground display really takes off.

Finally, for the vegetable garden these tarps can be cut to lay as your walking foot paths. You will need to weigh them down with garden staples or small rocks to hold the paths in place.

No matter what size area you have to work with, these old tarps can be cut to size and utilized in a number of different ways.