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The Top 10 Plants to Plant around a Pool (and What not to Plant)

Poolside landscaping is tricky. The plants chosen need to align with the style and also be able to withstand the unique environment that surrounds a pool. The size of your family, the way you entertain and how you use the pool itself are all taken into account by an experienced landscape designer, leaving each client with a pool that truly reflects their unique lifestyle, while also remaining low maintenance and functional.

patio pool2

A pool design and installation differs from a standard landscape design, due to the amount of hardscaping, mechanicals and chemicals involved. Homeowners need to make sure that the plants that are chosen will hold up to the elements associated with in-ground pools as well as look beautiful for the entire season.

In this article two of our designers, Tom & Dinka, provide a list of plants they love to use around pools, and don't recommend, along with design tips to make your backyard pool functional and beautiful.

Dinka's Top Plants for Poolside Landscaping

Typically, pools are located in the sunniest spot on the property, thus the deck around the pool tends to pool landscapingaccumulate a lot of heat. Due to this, look for plants that like full sun and can tolerate drought.  Some of my favorites include perennials, ornamental grasses, and evergreen shrubs.

Depending on the style of the home and pool, I would suggest grasses and native plants for more natural looking pools and perennials and evergreen shrubs are ideal for a traditional style pool.

For pools with a Mediterranean style, I recommend vines and flowering shrubs. Some of my favorites are trumpet shrubs, climbing roses, Rose of Sharon and love the look of palms in planters.

My Favorite Ornamental Grasses for Poolside Landscaping

Bluestem grasses

Festuca spices

Purple Love Grass

Prairie Dropseed

My Favorite Perennials for Poolside Landscaping
Any variety of Coneflower

Black Eyed Susan

Helenium (Sneezeweed)

Coreopsis (Tickseed)

Day Lily

One last tip:
I would try also to use plants that are a natural insect repellent, like Lavender, Mint, Rosemary, Ornamental onion, and basil.

Tom's Top Plants for Poolside Landscaping
Swimming pools are most utilized in the summer, so my number one tip is to use plants that bloom in high summer, maximizing the impact. Here are some of my favorites:
Paniculata Hydrangea: My favorite varieties are Little Lime and Vanilla Strawberry.  These are easy to care for and bloom from mid-summer through to frost.
Annuals: I like begonias near a pool. They are easy to grow and bloom all summer.
Steppables: Look for creeping thyme and sedum groundcovers
Compact ornamentals: Small trees like Kousa dogwood, Paperbark maple and Redbuds will not get large and dump a lot of debris around the pool but give privacy from the neighbors.
A couple extra tips for landscaping around a pool:
  1. Creating wind breaks with evergreens around the perimeter of the pool will allow you to use the pool on cooler spring or fall days.
  2. Think about shade. A pergola with wisteria or clematis will get the job done without the mess of large shade tree or root system that could affect the pool deck and patio.
Plant Not Recommended for Swimming Pool Landscapes
-Plants that attract bees like Nepeta, Calamintha and Russian Sage
-Prickly plants like roses and barberry. It's not fun to dig a beach ball out of those.
-Messy trees that will have debris blowing into the pool
This is just a small selection of ideas for landscaping a new pool or freshening up an outdated pool design. If you need more assistance, our Landscape Design team can help. Give us a call at 847-658-3883 to schedule a consultation about a custom pool design and installation, or contact us below.
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