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10 Best Plants to Surround Your Swimming Pool

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Once you’ve added an in-ground pool to your backyard, it’s time to enjoy the water… and think about how you’re going to landscape around your pool, of course. While visual appeal is going to be an important factor when choosing plants to surround your pool, there are several other things you need to think about.

You don’t want to end up with plants that are going to shed leaves, petals, or spikes directly into the pool, forcing you to clean the pool more frequently than you should have to. You also don’t want to choose plants like oak or elm trees, because their invasive roots can damage your new pool, its surrounding area, and its plumbing system. And please—no spiky plants like cacti anywhere near a space where people are going to be in swimsuits and walking around barefoot!

The plants that you use for your landscape will depend in part upon the climate and the space available to you, so be sure to do your research before choosing anything that just won’t thrive in your area (or that will attract unwanted visitors, like bees). Here are 10 plant ideas to get you started.

  1. Hibiscus. This tropical flower is commonly associated with Hawaii, appearing in leis and on that ultimate fashion statement, Hawaiian print shirts. Why not create your own backyard Hawaiian resort by planting hibiscus flowers?
  2. Bird of Paradise. Named because of its resemblance to a colorful bird in flight, this plant offers a great way to add some variety to your pool landscape.
  3. Honeysuckle. This pretty twining vine is sweetly scented and can be trained up a fence surrounding your pool, giving you more privacy without compromising aesthetics.
  4. Japanese blood grass. If you’re looking for an ornamental grass that will contrast nicely with your placid pool, try a border of Japanese blood grass. It can grow to be about 18” tall, and in the summer the tops of its sword-shaped leaves turn red.
  5. Heavenly bamboo. Another option for people who want some red in their landscape, this rust red plant (which isn’t actually bamboo) works nicely to create a border or screen around your pool.
  6. Papyrus. Growing up to 16 feet with bright stems bursting from the top in a firework-like pattern, papyrus is a good choice for a background plant.
  7. Daylily. Daylilies come in many different colors and styles, giving homeowners a lot of room for creativity when including them in landscaping. Daylilies take little maintenance, can typically stand up to drought conditions, and do well in most climates.
  8. Fortnight lilies. Fortnight lilies get their name because they produce several rounds of colorful flowers each summer. They are usually white, yellow, or pink and can survive drought or grow in water, making them another good low maintenance choice.
  9. Queen Palm. If you want a plant that can provide a bit of shade without dropping tons of debris into your pool, try the Queen Palm. Keep in mind that this palm grows quickly and can reach a height of 49 feet, so make sure you have room in your yard before planting it.
  10. Agapanthus. Sometimes called the African Lily, this flower comes in shades of blue, purple, white, and pink and has petals that make it resemble a trumpet. They’re a fairly hardly plant and thrive in well-drained, sunny positions.

Before undertaking any major landscaping around your pool, remember to get a site plan so that you have a good sense of where all your new plants will go.  

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  • Ryan Crownholm
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