Creative Landscaping Concepts for Poolside Areas

You can transform your pool into an oasis of luxury by surrounding it in lush plants. You’ll need to choose carefully the plants you want near your hot tub or swimming pool. In just two years, a plant that looks attractive when it is only 2 feet high can quickly grow and begin to drop debris and leaves into your pool. You can find out which plants, trees, shrubs and ornamentals will thrive and survive near a pool that is full of chlorinated water or saltwater. There are three important factors to consider when selecting plants for your pool area, whether you’re looking for privacy or ornamentation.

Your landscaping and home should be harmonious, balanced, and unified.
It should be easy and safe to maintain, and suitable for both children and pets.
You should choose plants that will thrive in the climate of your home or any microclimates you have on your property.
You can choose from 16 different plants to decorate your pool. They will add color, texture and fragrance.


The succulents in front of a modern home

Succulents have become more popular and are being used in front and backyard gardens. They can grow poolside as foundation plants, which are hardy, evergreen, or any color. Make sure that succulents near spas and pools do not have thorns, needles or spines which can injure swimmers and children in bathing suit.

Many succulents are spineless or, if they have them, they may be very small. Plant larger succulents with spines at the rear of a raised bed or border.

The following are the best succulents to use for pool landscaping:

Agave attenuata
Aptenia cordifolia
Plumeria is considered a succulent
Portulacaria afra (dwarf jade)


Ornamental Grasses
Zebra grass near pool

Low maintenance ornamental grasses are a great choice for pools. Ornamental grasses do not include the grasses you are familiar with. They can be sedges and rushes as well as bamboo.

Planting grasses near swimming pools is best done with:

Yellow foxtail (Alopecurus Pratensis “Aureus”)
Giant reed (Arundo donax)
Bamboo (some species; 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).
Zebra grass


Mediterranean landscaping around a swimming pool

Vines can climb walls, weave through fences, and grow up trellises. The majority of vines are fast-growing and can form a privacy screen around swimming pools or be trained to grow on pergolas and arbors as living roofs.

We recommend the following varieties:

Carolina Jessamine
Trumpet vine
Lady Banks rose



Choose trees carefully that will grow close to a pool. Keep in mind the ultimate height and width of the tree. Avoid any trees with buds. They will make a mess when they drop their flowers, leaves or fruits. A fruitless olive is the perfect tree.


Drought-Tolerant plants
succulent plant

Landscape with the watering requirements in mind if you live in an area experiencing drought or a climate that is dry. Many plants are drought tolerant, particularly after the roots have been established for about a year with regular watering.


Container Gardens
Planters by a swimming pool

You can create beautiful container gardens by combining plants with similar needs. You can move them around depending on the season, weather and special occasions. Choose plants that are hardy and follow the thriller design, with filler, spiller, or a plant that will stand tall in a container.


Fragrant Plants
Beautiful poolside rocks of a waterfall

There is nothing better than the sweet fragrance of nature, especially from vines, trees, and shrubs. Plant some near your pool, patio or along a pathway. You can also plant them where you eat outside. Some plants are more fragrant in the evening.


Tropical Plants
Tropical landscaping around a pool

Many pool owners imagine a private retreat in their backyard with a tropical pool. Tropical plants can make a pool look more tropical if the climate allows it.

Some of the exotic-looking plants that you can use to decorate your pool include:

Bird of Paradise
Banana trees
Continue to 9 below.


Hot tubs with cactus landscaping

Cactus in desert areas can look striking and natural. While you don’t want your guests to touch the spines, they are a great addition. Plant them in raised containers or beds far enough from the pool.


Ground Covers
The pool is surrounded by stones and ground cover.

Ground coverings are a great option for those who want a little more color and texture around their pool. The majority of ground covers aren’t considered to be fancy or temperamental and are designed to be trampled. You can use the beautiful and elegant creeping Jenny to cover your ground. It grows quickly, and you can even use it as a trellis climber. Scotch Moss is a soft ground cover that looks beautiful between pavers or around a path.


Evergreens and Hedges
Hedges around a swimming pool

Hedges and evergreens aren’t only for the front yard. Landscape your pool area with evergreens and hedges to enjoy many benefits. Boxwoods are easy to care for, and they can be trimmed into fun shapes. False cypress or other evergreen conifers can provide shade when they reach a larger size. Most evergreens, hedges, and trees won’t pollute your pool water. However, some arborvitae may shed needles before the pool cover is put on.


Wildflower bed with a view of a swimming-pool

Wildflower gardens are a great option for those who want a more casual look to the landscape around their pool. These perennial flowers will add a cottage-style charm to your backyard. These blooms can also attract hummingbirds and butterflies as well as beneficial insects like ladybugs. Plant perennials that are popular with bees (such as blue vervain and Joe Pye Weed) away from poolside and lounge chairs. Wildflowers are beautiful planted along the horizon line of a landscape. You can also plant them around the pool or at the edge of the pool to allow you to float in your pool and enjoy the view.


Rock Gardens
A rock garden around a swimming pool

Consider landscaping your pool with fragrant and colorful flowers like creeping phlox. They can be planted in cracks and crevices. Around a rock garden, succulents like hens and chickens look great. Plants that can tolerate drought and heat are best, as the rocks around the pool may get hot.


Moon Garden Plants
White flower beds near a swimming pool

Consider planting a moon-garden if you enjoy nighttime swimming or entertaining. It will shine brightly with flowers in the darkness. The moonlight will reflect off of white, yellow and other pale plants, giving the illusion that the garden is glowing. Choose plants that bloom in the middle to late summer. Try tropical red or white night-blooming water lilies called ‘Antares’. Moonflower and foamflower are also popular night bloomers.


Lawn Grasses
The pool is surrounded by lush green grass

It’s refreshing to walk barefoot on soft, lush grass in summer to reach a pool with crystal clear water. You can landscape a traditional square or rectangle pool by simply surrounding it with large areas of lawn. If you have children who like to run around the pool, a lawn provides a cool and soft place for them to fall.

To thrive in the summer heat, lawn grass needs a lot more maintenance and water. Choose tough, drought-tolerant grasses such as Bermuda and Korean grass.

Artificial sod is a great option for landscaping around a pool.


Insect-Repelling Plants
Lavender around a pool

You can also plant natural pest-repelling herbs around your pool to enjoy pest-free enjoyment. You may not want too much mint near your pool, unless you love the smell. Try these other aromatic favorites instead:

Ornamental Onion (a beautiful flower with a faint onion smell if bruised).