Nothing beats a hot summer day at the pool for beauty and relaxation. And it’s not just the refreshing water that makes a pool picturesque. Landscaping around a pool can enhance its crystalline beauty and give a spa-like feeling to your backyard. It can also provide privacy. Check out these recommendations for landscaping around a pool.
Climate zone considerations
To choose the most appropriate plants for your poolside oasis, first, determine the plant hardiness zone where you live. That will guide you on which plants will thrive around your pool. For example, if you live in the deep South, you should plant species of trees, grasses and bedding plants that are heat- and drought-resistant. In cooler northern climates, winter hardiness is important. Know your zone, and the grasses, bedding flowers, shrubs and trees around your pool will flourish.
Plants and pool maintenance
When choosing trees especially, avoid those that shed lots of leaves and seed or pollen pods such as oak or maple trees. This debris can clog your pool filtration system. Also, keep in mind that grasses that require frequent mowing will require extra work to keep clippings out of the pool. Low-maintenance grasses that do not produce runners or other alternative ground covers are preferred.
Design a setting that enhances rather than competes with your pool’s beauty. The landscape should flow around the pool, making it your backyard’s focal point.
Trees can offer shady retreats from sunshine when required, but don’t let them dominate the poolside. Depending on your planting zone, palms and false cypress can be good choices.
Trees can provide privacy, and so can shrubs. Consider boxwoods or other evergreen shrubs that you can manicure to provide a privacy screen from neighbors. A border of ornamental grasses such as bamboo or feather grass can provide privacy and beauty. Another avenue to privacy is to grow a vine such as honeysuckle or a trumpet vine on a fence or pergola. A vine’s flowers provide the added benefit of beautiful color to the landscaping around your swimming pool.
Low flowering plants can also add color to the foreground of beds growing around a pool. Phlox, for example, provides riotous color when it peeks around landscape rocks and stone steps. Lantana comes in various colors, spreads low through a flower bed and is resilient in drought-prone areas.
Not all your poolside plants have to be in the ground. Thoughtfully arranged planters and large pots can accentuate the lines and contours of your pool’s design.
Don’t forget: If you have a saltwater pool, keep plants far enough from the pool’s edge to avoid regular splashing. Over time the salt content of the water will harm plants if they’re too close.
Alternatives to traditional landscaping
Hardscaping or xeriscaping are alternatives if you live in hot, dry climates such as the Southwest. When water is precious, keeping your pool filled already uses plenty of it. Keep your landscape’s water needs to a minimum.
That doesn’t mean you must surround your pool with nothing but rocks and sand. Various cacti and other succulents, sago palms, olive trees, oleander, purple sage, California poppy, lantana and lavender are great plants for xeriscaping, and many provide color.
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