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Landscaping Ideas for Pool Areas

The Best Shrubs, Plants, Succulents and Trees for Poolside Landscaping

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Carefully choose the plants that will go near a pool or hot tub. Something that is pretty at 2 feet tall can grow quickly and drop leaves and debris into your pool in just a couple of years. We've done some of the work for you by researching the best plants, shrubs, trees and succulents that would make great poolside plants and work well with the rest of your landscaping.

When selecting plants for landscaping your pool, consider:

  • Ease of maintenance
  • Safety
  • Privacy
  • Design and theme
  • Climate and microclimates
  • Size and shape of area to be landscaped
  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Unity
  • Variety
  • Color and texture
  • Scent

Succulents

Pool and hot tub in backyard
Jennifer Cheung/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Succulents planted near swimming pools and spas should not ave stickers, spikes, spines or needles. Why? Children and pool-goers running around in swimsuits, with skin exposed. Ouch!

The best succulents for pool landscaping include:

  • Aeonium
  • Agave attenuata
  • Aptenia cordifolia
  • Cotyledon
  • Crassula
  • Dudleya
  • Echeveria (some)
  • Euphorbia (some)
  • Kalanchoe
  • Plumeria (yes, it's considered a succulent)
  • Portulacaria afra
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivum
  • Senecio

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses can be low maintenance and visually striking near pools. These are not the lawn grasses you may be familiar with -- ornamental grasses include sedges, rushes and bamboo.

Best ornamental grasses near pools include:

  • Yellow foxtail grass (Alopecurus pratensis 'Aureus')
  • Giant reed (Arundo donax)
  • Bamboo (various)
  • Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • Fescue (Festuca glauca)
  • Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')
  • Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra')
  • Feather grass (Stipa)
  • Rush (Juncus)
  • Korean grass (Zoysia)
  • Phormium

Vines

Vines climb over walls and weave ther way through fences and trellises. Most are fast growers and can quickly become a privacy screen around pool areas, or can be trained as living roofs on arbors and pergolas. Vines we recommend:

  • Bougainvillea
  • Carolina Jessamine
  • Jasmine
  • Honeysuckle
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Lady Banks Rose

Shrubs

Trees

Groundcovers

Drought Tolerant

Plants for Scent

Plants for Color

Tropical Plants

Container Gardens for Pool and Spa Areas

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