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Throwback Thursday: Pool and Alpine Garden Tips from May 1983

Western Living mines the pages of its 80s issue for advice gold.

For this special edition of Throwback Thursday, we’re throwing way back to Western Living’s May 1983 issue for retro tips, tricks and inspiration.

Western Living May 1983
Left: A romantic pool scene for the ages! Right: Architect Rob Way of Downs-Archambault wanted the house, pool and view beyond to make one continuous visual statement. (Photo by John Sherlock.)

1. Pool design tips from Western Living, May 1983:

Do the math. When you stare at a pool 365 days a year but swim in it only 150, good looks should be one of your top three design considerations.

For a backyard that doesn’t scream POOL. If your living room windows look out over the pool (and you don’t want to stare down constantly at vivid aquamarine), finish it with subtle shades of grey to give it the tranquil feeling of an ornamental reflecting pond.

Expense sense. Have pool’s walls follow the contours of the rocks beneath to eliminate the need for costly blasting.

Shelter without compromising the view. Shelter the pool from cool breezes with a see-through acrylic railing.

Blending in. Build a raised edge on the length of a long pool so that plants can be installed close to the water’s edge to better integrate the pool with its landscape.

 

western living alpine garden
Bringing the beauty of the high country to the home landscape—from Western Living, May 1983. (Photo by Ian Crawford.)

2. What you need to know about Alpine Gardens (in ’83):

Save yourself from embarrassment. You would never find a large florist’s carnation in a rock garden, but you might find its wild ancestor, the dianthus, one of the more popular plants in an alpine garden.

Rocking out is optional. It is a misconception to think that all alpine plants must be grown in proximity to rocks. With many species, proper soil and drainage are the only requirements.

A fragile flower’s foil. The larger rocks are there to set off the plants and to show a harmonious relationship between dissimilar textures. Solid rock is the perfect foil for even the most fragile flower.

Location, location, location. The West Coast is better suited to rock gardening (B.C.’s coast in particular) than the central portion of the continent, where temperature swings are more radical.

Why an alpine garden? Alpine gardens are popular because of the challenge it presents to the gardener.

3. And May 1983’s Special Treat: Al Fresco Chic

Back in the day Western Living had a topical Fashion feature. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

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