Landscape IDEAS for Pool Area
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Pool Landscaping

Landscape IDEAS for Pool Area

For many homeowners, a swimming pool is a “must have” item for the backyard. I happen to be one of those homeowners. But when it comes to landscaping ideas for the pool area, many of these same homeowners come up short.

What plants should I use? Where should I place them? What types of plants should I avoid? The questions go on and on.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about pool landscaping through trial and error. So in this article, I’ll share with you all of the ideas and techniques I’ve used over the years for landscaping my backyard pool areas. Hopefully you’ll find something useful in all of this, and perhaps even come up with some ideas of your own.

Considerations When Landscaping a Pool

On its own, landscape design is fairly straightforward. But when you add in a swimming pool, there is much more to consider. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind, as you draw up the landscaping plans for your backyard oasis:

  • Water damage – Do you have a saltwater pool? If so, you should consider the fact that most plants can be harmed by saltwater flooding their roots on a regular basis. The same goes for regular chlorine pools, to a certain extent. As you draw out the design for your landscaping, try to place the plants in a way that minimizes their exposure to pool runoff. Another solution to this problem is to use elevated plant beds. Otherwise, you may find yourself replacing your plants on a regular basis.
  • Plants that attract bees – You’ve gotta love bees. They help plants pollinate and propagate, and they give us honey. They are marvels of nature. But you probably don’t want them buzzing around your pool at all hours of the day. As you work on the landscape design for your pool, you need to research the insect factor. For example: zinnias and foxglove are both attractive, but they are known to be a magnet for bees. That’s okay is you’re making honey, but it’s not so great for an outdoor barbeque. Choose plants wisely when landscaping the area around your pool.
  • Plants that shed – Try to avoid using plants and trees that are known to be heavy shedders. All plants drop leaves, petals, buds and other ‘parts’ once in a while. But some shed a lot more than others. As you develop the landscaping design around your pool, spend some time researching the shedding aspect of each plant. Avoid those that make a big mess, or at least place them further from the pool itself.
  • Plants that stay green – Unless you live in say, Phoenix, there will be certain times of the year when it’s too cold to take a dip. But your pool can still be a nice landscaping feature in your yard. With this in mind, try to integrate some plants that stay green for most of the year, or all year. Many shrubs fall into this category. Azalea, boxwood, lavender and holly are good examples. Research the different types of evergreen shrubs that can tolerate your regional climate. Consider incorporating some of these into your pool landscaping idea.
  • Above vs. below ground – Do you have an in-ground or an above-ground pool? This is another key consideration when it comes to your landscape design, plant ideas and placement. For example, an above-ground pool gives you fewer options for putting plants into the ground. You’ll either have to (A) choose trees and shrubs with a certain amount of height, or (B) construct an elevated deck around the pool with planters and/or hanging pots. You’ll have more landscaping choices and options with an in-ground pool, because the edge is flush with the earth. For instance, you could easily install plant beds inside the contours of a freeform pool, or along one or more sides of a geometric pool.

Landscape design is all about choosing the right types of plants, based on the location and the desired effect. As you think about the area around your swimming pool (and, for that matter, your yard in general), consider the points I’ve raised above. Make smart choices based on plenty of research, and you’ll be better off in the long run.

Choosing Plants for Your Pool Project

As for plant choices, you need to figure out what types of shrubs, flowers and trees fare well in your particular climate. Many people think ‘tropical’ when it comes to landscaping a pool area. But if you live in the Midatlantic region or northward, tropical plants probably wouldn’t make it through the winter. The ice and frost would kill them off. This is just one example of choosing the right plants for your climate. I cannot list all of the possible choices in this article, because it varies significantly from one part of the country to the next.