Planting Around a Pool: The Best and Worst Plants for a Pool Area

Here is a look at what plants you should – and shouldn’t – install around a pool area.

When we say we want a tropical oasis, what are we really envisioning? Maybe we see a tranquil water feature, warm breeze and, of course, lush and colorful foliage.  This vision can be brought to life by installing the right variety of plants. The right foliage can really transform a pool area. But with so many plant choices, where do you start?

There are some varieties that are better suited for pools because of features like their colors and planting requirements. And there are others that will cause more problems for the pool area than they are worth.

Pools and the surrounding landscape should create a relaxing luxurious space where you can relax and entertain. You need the right plants in your design to achieve that tropical feel.

Different types of flowers and foliage can be used to create a variety of looks, whether that’s tropical oasis, pool or modern retreat or you own design ideas. It’s important to choose the right plants to accommodate your lifestyle and vision.

We use plants that have these three traits:

  1. Bring color
  2. Create privacy
  3. Add texture

Colorful, lush plants will really transform the pool area into an oasis. There are a variety of full-sun perennials that will provide color, such as wildflowers and day lilies. Perennials won’t die after flowering, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up after them.

Beyond adding color, you can also use plants to create a sense of privacy around the pool.

Plants like bamboo, palm trees and hedges can create a natural fence to enclose the space and even create some shade.

You also want to use a mix of plants to add texture to the landscape around the pool. Combining ornamental grasses, cactuses, flowering plants and other foliage will really help the design too.

To add the most texture to the beds, create layers with different sizes and styles of plants. Install a variety of plant types, like combining grasses with leafy and flowering varieties. Place the taller plants in the back of middle of the bed, and tier the plants forward in height toward the edges of the bed. Stagger the plants – instead of putting them in rows – to create more intriguing, textured appearance. You should use at least three of each plant, unless its’ a large focal point like a tree, and group them in odd numbers.

You will want to use plants that are native to your zone.

Choose plants that add visual interest to the space – not unwanted leaves and materials that can get in the pool. Leaves, pine needles and dead flowers can create extra work for pool maintenance. Plus, they can clog filters. Stay away from plants that drop leaves or seed heads.
Here are a few plants to avoid using around pools because of the debris they cause:

  • Acacia
  • Azalea
  • Crape Myrtle
  • Dwarf Arborvitae
  • Honeysuckle
  • Ash Trees
  • Evergreen Elm
  • Mesquite

A good pool and landscape design not only looks good, it also incorporates practical, low-maintenance materials. So when you are adding plants around the pool, make sure they are the perfect finishing touches to the oasis experience – and not something that will cause you headaches later on.

Make sure the plants you choose match the site’s conditions. Most pools are installed in spaces with direct sun, so the plants you use in the design should be suited for the sunlight. The space around a pool is almost like a microclimate, and the plants you use need to handle it.

Plants for Poolside Pots

One of the best ways to manage plant care is by using large containers or pots. This allows you to bring in several interesting colors and textures all in one container. The mixes create brilliant shows with plenty of variety. Plants for poolside pots will additional watering, as containers tend to dry out more quickly than garden beds. Trailing plants like creeping Jenny or Desert Broom can cascade over the edges of the planter. Then fill in with other flowering or uniquely foliaged species such as:

  • Lantana
  • Blue Euphorbia
  • Tufted Evening Primrose
  • Germander
  • Penstemon
  • Salvia
  • Verbena

The plants around the pool must be able to withstand the high light reflection off the water. The area around the pool may be tiled or concrete, but either way it gets super-hot. Plants will need more frequent irrigation and should be heat loving and drought tolerant. Raise container plants off the hot surface with rollers or saucers. When you do plant, leave plenty of room in the pot for air circulation.

Poolside gardens enhance the area and create an inviting ambiance that your friends and family will love to share with you.

Plant with a purpose!

SpotLight Pools can help you test out different plant combinations and locations using our 3D pool and landscape designs. We can help you as much or as little as you need. Just ask us!

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