Well done – your new pool is nearing completion and it’s time to buy some plants for around the pool. Before you head for the plant nursery or landscape supplier, eager to snap up everything that takes your fancy, there are a few things to consider when selecting plants for poolside landscaping.
OK, let’s get started with the basics. First of all, pool installations tend to fall into two categories – those that have partial shade from established trees and structures and those that don’t. Which category your pool falls into can have a major influence on the plantings you choose. Poolside areas with some shade will provide more scope for a wider range of plantings, especially in hot and sub tropical areas. If there is any evidence of major root activity anywhere near to the pool, now would be a good time to trim them back before the sides of the pool are in-filled. Trees are very hardy and the tap, or primary, roots tend to run deep. Roots can be very destructive over time, even to thick, reinforced concrete. Consult with a tree surgeon if in doubt.
If you are landscaping from scratch it’s worth considering incorporating some plant containing structures close to the pool perimeter. If you have kids, or anticipate large amounts of water splashing around, it would be wise to keep plantings close to the water to a minimum. Most poolside landscaping provides for a wet area, usually
paved, adjoining the pool and perimeter plantings set further back for this reason. Access to your pool for cleaning, relaxing and just plain having fun, should also be considered in the planning stage.
Research your local plant options carefully if you are in a hot climate with little or no shade as this is critical to the long term success of your poolside garden.
Plants To Use Carefully
Trees that produce large amounts of litter are, unfortunately, some of the most beautiful trees in the world and, just maybe, worth the extra work in some cases. With a few exceptions, deciduous trees shed within about a 4 to 6 week period and evergreens shed much more slowly throughout the year. This basically means that you can have a major clean-up challenge over a shorter period of time or a light clean-up for most of the year.
Plants that can spike you when you least expect it and in places that can really hurt should be located away from traffic areas! The cacti family are the main offenders here but certain grasses and broad leaf plants can also be a problem as they mature and become harder. Be sure to plant these spiky specimens where you can look but they cannot touch.
Flowering, nectar producing shrubs and flowers can attract bees and some of the more aggressive varieties seem to like swimmers for dessert.
Plants with excessive water requirements can be demanding of your time when you should be cleaning the pool.
Plants For Around The Pool
The first choice of many pool owners selecting plants for around the pool should come as no surprise. The many different types of palm, both large and small, have been a long-standing favorite for their association with water and the sea. Mature palm trees can provide a shady canopy and an ideal environment for under-planting with smaller palms, cycads and succulents. Ultimately, when mature, a palm themed poolside landscape can provide privacy and a lush oasis like getaway. A word of caution – some palms, especially the Cocos palm from Brazil, can be very messy and attract bats and rats. Be sure to do your research.
Sub Tropical & Temperate Climate Plants
Black Bamboo is a striking plant and a member of the grass family. Black bamboo is excellent for privacy screening, grows very quickly and does not produce much litter. Black Bamboo can reach heights of 30 feet or more and is usually contained within a planting structure.
Succulents like Agave and Jade plants are a wonderful way of providing texture and color. Succulents come in all shapes and sizes and require very little water and are slow growing. Although extremely hardy, succulents can be broken very easily so they are not recommended for areas where there will be physical contact with people, dogs, balls etc.
Elephants ears, as the name suggests, have some of the largest leaves of any common plant and are a wonderful way of adding some texture and drama to a semi shaded area around your pool. Banana plants and giant Bird of Paradise (strelitzia) are other broad-leaf plants that are low maintenance and provide a warm tropical atmosphere with intense splashes of color. There are many plants from the Ginger family which also provide
stunning flowers which are set against intensely green broad leafs.
Perimeter hedging set back from the pool can provide good structure and act as a contrasting back-drop to foreground mass plantings. Consult with your local plant nursery for suitable plants for hedging which can also include flowering varieties. Hedging can add a formal structure to your poolside especially when integrated with some sculpture or artworks. Many pools have a focal point, often incorporating a water feature, where topiary hedging forms provide an artwork in themselves.
Potted or Container Plants
Because of the large areas of paving usually found around pools, container planting can really work well to break up the space and define different areas. Feature pots and urns can provide focal points with feature plants. Smaller containers can provide for mass plantings of texture or color and soften what can otherwise appear to be a barren expanse of concrete. As with other landscaping ideas, you may want to consider a theme to tie everything together.
There are many other plants for around the pool to be found at your local plant nursery or landscaping supplier which are suitable for landscaping poolside. Be sure to ask about lilacs and the many other hardy plants suitable for your local area.
Should your plants or grass get a drenching with pool water be sure to hose and rinse with fresh clean water as no plants will tolerate even occasional exposure to chlorine and salts. If it’s just a splash of pool water on your plants just give them a light spray with the hose. They will thank you for it by giving you many years of pleasure.
Backyard Decorating Ideas