Tips And Ideas For Landscaping Your Pool Areas

Written by Lisa Hallett Taylor and published on

While the right landscape design poolside can make a big splash, the wrong choices can have just the opposite effect. Instead of enjoying your pool retreat you might be spending extra time cleaning up the high-maintenance or messy trees and shrubs that you chose. Or maybe you’re feeling exposed to all of the neighbors’ prying eyes since you didn’t choose the best privacy screening plants.

Landscaping Ideas for Pool Areas

pool and yard with landscaping

Carefully choose the plants that will go near a swimming pool or hot tub. Something that is attractive at 2 feet tall can grow quickly and drop leaves and debris into your pool in just a couple of years. Research the best plants, shrubs, trees and ornamentals that will survive and even thrive when planted next to a pool, and also blend in well with the rest of your landscaping.

What to Look for:

When selecting plants for landscaping your pool, consider:

  • Ease of maintenance
  • Safety
  • Privacy
  • Design and theme of your home, yard, and existing landscaping
  • Climate and microclimates
  • Size and shape of the area to be landscaped
  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Unity
  • Variety
  • Color and texture
  • Scent
  • 01of 09Succulents Near PoolsA set of succulents near modern home

    Succulents are increasing in popularity and are integrated with other plants in both front and back yards. That means they can be found growing poolside, where they can be foundation plants that are evergreen (or whatever color they are), sculptural in form, and hardy. Just make sure succulents planted near pools and spas don’t have spines (thorns or needles). Why? Children and pool-goers are running around in swimsuits, with skin exposed.Many succulents don’t have spines, or if they do, they can be small. Larger succulents with spines can be planted at the back of a border or raised bed. The best succulents for pool landscaping include:
    • Aeonium
    • Agave attenuata
    • Aptenia cordifolia
    • Cotyledon
    • Crassula
    • Dudleya
    • Echeveria (some)
    • Euphorbia (some)
    • Kalanchoe
    • Plumeria (yes, it’s considered a succulent)
    • Portulacaria afra
    • Sedum
    • Sempervivum
    • Senecio
  • 02of 09Ornamental Grasses to Plant Near PoolsZebra grass near pool

    Ornamental grasses can be low maintenance and visually striking near pools. These types of grasses are not the lawn grasses with which you may be familia—ornamental grasses include sedges, rushes, and bamboo.The best grasses to plant near pools include:
    • Yellow foxtail grass (Alopecurus pratensis ‘Aureus’)
    • Giant reed (Arundo donax)
    • Bamboo (some types; can be invasive)
    • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
    • Blue fescue (Festuca glauca)
    • Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’)
    • Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’)
    • Feather grass (Stipa)
    • Rush (Juncus)
    • Korean grass (Zoysia)
    • Phormium
    • Zebra grass
  • 03of 09Vines to Plant Near Pools and SpasMediterranean landscaping around a pool

    Vines climb over walls and weave their way through fences and trellises. Most are fast growers and can quickly help to form a sort of privacy screen around pool areas, or can be trained as living roofs on arbors and pergolas.Vines we recommend:
    • Passionflower
    • Carolina Jessamine
    • Jasmine
    • Honeysuckle
    • Trumpet vine
    • Lady Banks rose
  • 04of 09The Best Trees to Plant Near PoolsPool

    Carefully choose trees that will grow near a swimming pool, keeping in mind ultimate growth height and width. While considering potential trees, look for ones that won’t make a mess as they drop their leaves, flowers, or fruit.
  • 05of 09Drought Tolerant Plants for Pool Areassucculent plant

    If you live in a dry climate or region experiencing drought, then landscape with watering needs in mind. Many plants are drought tolerant, especially after roots have been established in the grounds for a year or so with regular watering.
  • 06of 09Container Gardens for Pool and Spa AreasPlanters near a swimming pool Blend Images/Getty ImagesContainer gardens can be beautifully arranged with plants that have similar care needs. They can also be moved around, depending on the time of year, occasion, etc. Choose hardy plants that follow the thriller, filler and spiller design technique, or plant just one type in tall containers.
  • 07of 09Sweet-Smelling Plants for Pool GardensThe beautiful poolside of a waterfall with rocks 
    Nothing smells better than the lovely fragrance that comes from nature itself, specifically sweet-scented vines, shrubs, and trees. Plant a few near the pool, patio, along a path, or where you dine outdoors. Some plants become more fragrant during the evening hours.What Smells So Good?Many flowering shrubs, vines, and even cactus have scents that you can’t capture in a perfume or candle. That’s why nothing can beat the real thing in a garden.
  • 08of 09Tropical Plants for a Poolside ParadiseTropical landscaping by a pool 
    A pool surrounded by tropical landscaping is many homeowners’ ideal for a private backyard retreat. If the climate permits, a pool area can appear more tropical with the addition of tropical plants like palms, bird of paradise, ginger, or other exotics. Exotic-looking plants for pool-scaping include:
    • Bird of paradise
    • Hibiscus
    • Canna
    • Palms
    • Papyrus

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