The Best Pool Landscaping Tips and Ideas

lap pool in desert
A lap pool with desert landscaping. George Gutenberg/Getty Images
  • 01 of 09

    What to Consider Before Landscaping Around a Swimming Pool

    pool with beautiful garden
    Pool with beautiful garden. Natasha Nicholson/Getty Imagaes

    Choosing plants that will go near a swimming pool should take a certain amount of time, research and consideration. It's not just a matter of simply planting what you think will look good next to a pool. Some plants, especially trees, can shed into the pool, making a big mess. Others may have thorns or spines that can hurt swimmers. Certain plants may have invasive roots or fast growth—which may not be a good thing next to your pool.

    Follow our tips and advice for making the smartest choices 

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  • 02 of 09

    Poolscaping: Things to Think About

    leaves in pool
    Leaves floating in swimming pool. Mikio Carrasco / EyeEm / Getty Images

    While living in a warm climate offers a wider variety of plant choices than many areas, those faced with the job of landscaping near a swimming pool still have the basic considerations pool owners in any region must confront. 

    Before making an impulsive trip to the nursery for whatever strikes your fancy, do some research.

    Plants That Shed

    Those fruit and flower-bearing trees and shrubs may be beauties, but they make a big mess when their leaves, needles, fruits, flowers, nuts or catkins fall in...MORE and around your pool. Fruit and flowers = extra work for the pool cleaner—either you or the person you hire.

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  • 03 of 09

    Pool Area Landscaing: The Ouch Factor

    cactus thorns or spines
    Cactus spines or thorns. Francisco Alcala Torreslanda / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You don't want to be playing a game of thorns, especially with swimmers and their exposed flesh near the swimming pool. Lovely roses have thorns or stickers, as do colorful bougainvillea, barberry, pyracantha and luscious blackberry bushes. Add cactus and succulents to the list. Can you imagine your child accidentally sliding into a rose bush?

    Gardening with Cacti: What You Need to Know

    The Best Books About Gardening With Cacti and Succulents

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  • 04 of 09

    Low-Maintenance Landscaping: Plants Near Pools

    succulents growing near a pool
    Beautiful poolside succulent landscaping. Getty Images

    The landscaping near your pool should enhance its surroundings and often sets a mood, like an island or oasis. You don’t want to be spending the bulk of your free time trimming and fertilizing your poolscaping, especially if it’s hard to access. Keep it simple. With the right plant selections, you can relax in your swimming pool and enjoy the scenery.

    The Best Drought-Tolerant Lawn Substitutes

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  • 05 of 09

    Landscaping Near Pools: Deciduous vs. Evergreen

    tropical landscaping by pool
    Evergreen, tropical landscaping near pool. Blend Images/Trinette Reed/Getty Images

    Let’s see—would you want the striking liquidamber tree that changes colors and sheds, or the evergreen Italian Cypress next to your pool? That means lots of pool sweeping vs. not so much. Hmmm—that's a tough one.

    Consult your local nursery, arboretum, or master gardener program to become familiar with plants that are deciduous (will shed its leaves annually) or evergreen (keeps its leaves) for your region.

    The Top Trees to Plant Near Your Pool

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  • 06 of 09

    Pool and Spa Landscaping: Invasive Roots

    Photo of Green Pool With Crack in Concrete Sidewalk
    Pool with crack in concrete surround. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Over the years, trees and plants with invasive roots can damage the pool’s structure, its surrounding area, and its plumbing system. This list includes ficus, elm and oak trees. Do your research!

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  • 07 of 09

    Plants That are Bee Magnets: Poolside Landscaping

    bees salvia
    Bees pollinating salvia. Danita Delimont/Getty Images

    While the whole bee / hummingbird / ecosystem thing can be an amazing happening in your garden, you don’t want any pollinators mistaking your pool guests for an enticing honeysuckle or bottlebrush. Other bee-lovin' plants include:

    • Columbine
    • Cosmos
    • Delphinium
    • Larkspur
    • Oregano
    • Queen Anne's lace
    • Salvias
    • Sweet clovers
    • Wisteria
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  • 08 of 09

    Swimming Pool Landscaping: Think About Ultimate Size

    woman at nursery
    Woman shopping at nursery. Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

    When buying plants, I go by the “smaller is better” philosophy, and try to find specimens in one-gallon, 4-ounce or 6-pack containers. Be forewarned: just because a plant starts out in a 4-ounce pot doesn’t mean it will stay relatively small. Check the label—I’ve bought plants in 4-ounce containers that can reach a height and width of 10 feet. By knowing what I'm getting, I also have gotten some great deals on plants that often are only sold in 5-gallon-or-larger containers. With the right...MORE care, the "little guys" catch up quickly to their bigger and often more root-bound siblings.

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  • 09 of 09

    Pool Area Landscaping: Natives vs. Exotics

    Credit: TimAbramowitz
    Native landscaping near pool. Tim Abramowitz/Getty Images

    Nearby nurseries or botanical gardens usually feature plants that are indigenous to your area or will adapt well to your climate. You may be tempted by the idyllic images and order an exotic banana tree off some website, but you might be wasting your dollars if it’s not suitable for your neck of the woods. If in doubt, consult regional charts or your local nurseryfor plants that will survive and thrive in your yard and near the pool or spa.