The garden area around your pool has many uses. Not only can you use pool landscaping to look good, it can be developed to provide shade and privacy from your neighbours too. However you cannot just plant any tall or wide trees, bushy shrubs or pretty flowers poolside. There are many things to consider when planting and landscaping around your swimming pool.
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What Factors Are Most Important to You and Your Family?
Is it shade and sun protection that is driving your plan? Things to consider would be where does the sun rise and then set, so that you can set out a ‘plant plan’ to ensure that you have the trees or shrubs in the right locations as the sun moves across the sky during the day.
Making sure your beautiful plants will withstand the climate will avoid disappointment. If you simply choose plants by looks, they may not survive very long. Or you may have an additional chore of cleaning up the messy foliage dropped by deciduous plants.
Consider what climate you live in, because the climate will impact the range of different plants available to you. Hotter and drier climates will require more watering for maintenance if you choose thirsty plants!
If you are attempting to screen your pool from the neighbours prying eyes, or minimising noise, fast growing evergreens may be a good choice for one or two sides of the swimming pool. Pittosporum tenuifolium offers a wide range of varieties, such as Silver Sheen, Green Pillar, James Stirling, and Screen Master, which are excellent choices for creating dense and rapidly growing privacy screens. However, these bushes are not so hardy and sometimes a hedge will end up with a hole in it from a plant that’s died. These are quite cost effective, and replaceable.
What Should I Plant?
Here is some information about the best and worst plants to plant around your pool! Firstly it is important to ascertain whether you are looking to provide a garden around a saltwater or chlorinated swimming pool.
I have a Saltwater Pool!
Make sure you choose salt tolerant coastal species, because saltwater from pools can poison some plants. Silvery, furry or waxy leaves are generally a tell tale sign that they are salt tolerant. Several notable examples of plants that provide excellent shade include Agave attenuata, Bromeliads, Echiums, Cycads, and a blend of palm varieties. Additionally, Westringia, Coastal Banksia, Chinese Hibiscus, Olive trees, and Rosemary are also highly effective choices.
I Have a Chlorinated Pool!
Chlorine is a corrosive chemical that is used to balance the hygiene levels and prevent the spread of bacteria and algae growth. That corrosive agent can unfortunately affect your plant leaves if the water splashes onto them. In general, plants with resilient and leathery foliage tend to have a higher tolerance for chemical damage, such as chlorine exposure. Consider options like Mondo grass, Cordyline, or Star Jasmine, as they are better equipped to withstand such conditions.
Hardy Options to Plant Around Your Pool:
By using a selection of sturdy and robust plants by your poolside, water from the pool splashed onto them from normal pool use, should not affect them too much. Meaning you can spend less time worrying about your garden and more time enjoying your swimming pool.
Daylilies and Sedums: These are visually pleasing, but still low maintenance
Succulents: they’re low maintenance, drought-tolerant, sun-loving and beautiful. For prominent and larger features, explore different Crassula varieties such as Jade plants. To add intricate and vibrant highlights, consider Sedum and Aeonium varieties.
Aloes and agaves: When it comes to resilience, few plants can match the toughness of aloes and agaves. Aloes and agaves are low maintenance, can grow quite large (to up to 1.5m tall), they are heat and sun-tolerant, and they don’t shed leaves.
Shrubs: Look for hydrangeas or tropical hibiscus varieties – they love the sun, have beautiful blooms and have large enough leaves to make the clean up quite easy.
Trees: Palm trees work well, with minimal leaf shedding and thin root systems. They can create shade and privacy by planting them in clusters around the pool. However, they need a partially shaded position, as full sun can burn and dry out their leaves. Frangipanis can also be an ideal poolside tree. They flower through summer and autumn, and have a beautiful fragrance and can work well in a pot or in the ground. Keep in mind that they are deciduous so do require a bit of clean up maintenance.
What Not to Plant:
Plants Which Drop Leaves
No matter if you have a chlorinated or saltwater pool, it is important to remember the ongoing plant/litter maintenance. Deciduous plants, like the frangipani, might best be avoided, but if you decide to have the beautiful frangipani by your pool- the foliage it can drop into your pool is generally quite large, so it makes it easier to scoop up and remove. However, plants with fine foliage that drop leaves or flower petals can really play havoc with pool cleaners and pool filters.
Plants Which Cause Structural Damage
Plants like running bamboos, the taller melaleucas, the Umbrella Tree or the Rubber Tree Ficus elastica all have incredibly intense root systems. The root systems can push and damage the pool wall and cause all sorts of expensive problems with the structure or pump and filtration equipment.
Planning for Success:
Taking time to properly plan your poolside oasis will make sure you are prepared for the ongoing maintenance, and are not disappointed for a failing flower that has been drenched in salt water. Before you start digging holes and buying plants from the nursery, grab a piece of paper and draw each plant within your garden around the pool. Make sure you understand the current available shade, the sunrise and the sun setting direction so you can ensure each plant has the required amount of sun or shade it desires. Enjoy your poolside oasis!