Houston TX, pool filled in. Now what?

Our short winter is over. Now in the process of getting quotes for loam; also for some veg. gardening soil (probably a couple of raised beds). Had the great team from G. Pruitt & Sons set the old bathtub in & would like to make a water feature out of it (do not want fish!) I have a lemon tree to put in as well as all the potted plants in the picture. Would like to have them congregated around the tub once the water feature is going. The rest will probably be grass. Concrete in photos in the process of being broken up. Yard on north side of house with a good deal of shade. Any low maintenance suggestions would be much appreciated. Tub water feature suggestions also needed. Budget is extremely limited! Recycling ideas welcome! Thank you in advance to all you wonderfully magnificent creative minds!
houston tx pool filled in now what, gardening, landscape, Panorama view but not sure if it will display as such
Panorama view but not sure if it will display as such
houston tx pool filled in now what, gardening, landscape, total area about 38 x 39
total area about 38' x 39'
houston tx pool filled in now what, gardening, landscape, Old tub to be used for water feature Potted plants to be eventually planted around it
Old tub to be used for water feature. Potted plants to be eventually planted around it.
  9 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Feb 19, 2014
    You have a lot of work under way! I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a north-facing garden with a good deal of shade is not an ideal location for a lemon tree, vegetables or turf grass, all of which basically want as much sun as they can get. However, there is a great deal that you can do in a shady area, and Texas Cooperative Extension has suggestions for a Houston shade garden here: http://harris.agrilife.org/files/2011/05/shadegardening.pdf Look for plant sales by groups like your local Master Gardeners. They are great spots to get plants for good prices.

  • Art House Art House on Feb 19, 2014

  • Lynn Lynn on Feb 20, 2014
    Just sayin............I agree with Douglas. BUT, I have lots of shade in my Houston yard and there are many things that grow and do well in shade. Most are not, however, food plants. (I've tried many) Go talk to Buchannan's on 11th in the Heights, or someone else closer to you about what your limitations/advantages are. Go NATIVE for low maintenance, but be careful with some as even a native can be invasive i.e. ruella. You can have BEAUTIFUL without alot of sun. Let us know what you come up with.

  • Art House Art House on Feb 20, 2014
    I've wanted to go to Buchannan's but always forget about it. Thanks for the reminder. Actually about 1/2 the pool area will get sun, so plenty of sun for a small container garden. There's another place up off 290 about which a friend raves. Guess I will make a day outing of the 2 nurseries & maybe the garden pond place around Brookshire!

  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Feb 20, 2014
    my mom & dad put a bathtub in the ground like that many yrs ago but afterwards she didnt like it and out it came.... however I see in my minds eye setting a "well pump fixture at the head of the tub, connecting a tube from the filter up thru the well pump to make a continuous flow of water from the pump into the tub. Water lilies or water hyasanth (SP) floating in the tub.. cannas would be nice around the well pump or elephant ears either are hardy... then caladiums and hostas around the tub very shade friendly... and colorful then you could do your lemon tree and container garden out in the sunnier area. just thoughts

  • Art House Art House on Feb 20, 2014
    Thanks Buster. Just so happens I have a bright red well pump purchased at Canton Flea Market a few years ago because I had the vision of putting the two together (tub & pump). Water lilies were also part of the vision. As for the cannas, I have been trying to get them out of my yard for several years as they are just too messy for my taste, after they bloom here. The tub is located in a full sun area but thanks for the suggestion of hostas for some of the shaded area. I like them & I think they are low maintenance.

  • Val Roche Val Roche on Feb 20, 2014
    What was the pool constructed of ? We filled in a concrete pool after we'd smashed a good supply of holes in the base . but it still slowly filled up when it rained . We ended up using the pool pump and a piece of poly pipe to make a bore out of it , so the water then went on the grass . This was my only choice on a low income . However everything grew well , from roses to veg. Different country and climate of course. However beware concrete if doing on the cheap

  • Art House Art House on Feb 20, 2014
    Thank you Val. This gunite pool was filled in professionally & according to all city codes with city inspections done along the way. We have gumbo soil here in this part of Houston which expands & contracts according to the seasons. For this reason 'select fill' dirt is required to be used in this situation.

  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Feb 21, 2014
    While you study and plan your strategy, may I suggest that you first begin to amend your soil? No matter what you end up planting you will want the best soil possible. Do you have a compost area? That's really easy to do. Add organic materials like; compost, bark chips, maple leaves, sawdust, newspapers cardboard and add as high of a quality of soil as you can afford. Worms too if you can get them. I live in SW Michigan on what was originally sand soil. When we moved here our soil was virtually dead; gray lifeless, no worms, no minerals and 0 nutrition. I always spend at least two years preparing the soli in a bed BEFORE I plant. I have access to free bark chips (perhaps your municipality has free bark chips you can haul away?) and I pile that on about 6" to 8" (or more) first to help my soil get going (and while I am planning my beds.) Those bark chips sit for about two years and break down and then I begin to plant. Over and over it has been proven to me that soil amendment is a critical first stage. I lose fewer plants and have to fertilize much less and things actually live! Do you have a garden club or a Wild Ones in your area? Garden clubs can be a good source of plant exchanges for those on a low budget. I have a very low budget too and I also scrounge rocks along the roadside and from farmers fields (with permission of course!) Feel free to visit my blog for lots of gardens ideas. Have fun!