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Backyard Landscaping: Working The Pool Into Your Plan

by Harvie Simms

Summertime: Sunshine filled days and lush beautiful plants make the season. Life does not get much better unless you add a swimming pool to the mix. Then you have a true oasis literally in your own backyard. Combining stylish landscaping with a swimming pool takes a little planning, but balancing the needs of both is possible.

Pool Maintenance

Swimming pools do take constant maintenance. The water has to be a certain pH balance, and the surface must be kept clean of debris. Rust, corrosion, and drainage problems can lead to expensive in ground pool repair. Choosing the wrong type of landscaping plants can add to pool problems and ruin a summer of fun.


Experts recommend planting trees that do not shed near your swimming pool. For instance, the queen palm will give you that tropical look while providing light shade. Most importantly, the tree is clean and will not drop litter into the pool water. In addition to shedding, many trees have invasive root systems that can damage your pool. Oaks are a terrible choice as are most other trees. Only a few, in addition to the palm, work well, such as narrow conifers that have shallow root systems.   


Experts recommend lush and colorful plants for the pool area, but they must be non-shedding or your water will be a mess. You also want to avoid painful plants such as cacti, roses, and anything with thorns or sharp bark. Swimmers going in and out of the pool do not want an unpleasant landscaping experience to mar their summer entertainment and snag their swimsuits. Beautiful tropical looking plants like the Bird of Paradise, Hibiscus, Day Lily, and Heavenly Bamboo are all lovely choices. Remember, before planting, you need to check the USDA Plant Hardiness chart to see which plants will thrive in your location.


You also need to carefully choose the mulch you put around your pool, otherwise you will have debris constantly floating amongst the swimmers. The plants will still need mulch to protect and to retain water for them, so choosing a stone mulch may work best. You will be less likely to track the stones into the pool than you would an organic mulch like wood chips or bark.

You can have a lovely, landscaped backyard that does not interfere with your swimming pool. Your focal point does not have to be the pool itself. You can highlight the trees and plants and protect your pool at the same time, avoiding costly in ground pool repair.