Home Exterior decoration 15 Best Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

15 Best Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

by Eva

15 Best Plants for Swimming Pool Landscaping

Whether you have a new pool that needs landscaping, or you want to refresh your current landscaping, the process is pretty much the same. If you have some landscaping already, evaluate the existing plants and decide which you want to stay and which will be removed. Once you remove the plants that are no longer wanted in this area, you can begin planning the new landscape.

Think about the style and mood you want around your pool. Do you want a fun vibe with lots of color from flowering shrubs and other plantings? Maybe the kids are gone, and you want a more elegant look with a peaceful muted palette. A contemporary look may include very few in- ground plants and instead be confined to large and sleek planters or containers. If you live in an arid climate, you might be ready to design a desert plant landscape. Of course, many pool owners want this area to be a tropical getaway with lots of plants and color.

Other factors that need to be considered include fencing, which can be a functional chain link fence for safety or a decorative fence that provides privacy as well as a backdrop for your planting. The size of the pool deck will determine what can be planted close to it. If it is narrow, the plants you choose should not spill onto the deck. You also would not want any plants with thorns or surfaces that could injure the swimmer who inadvertently brushes against it. Is there a pool house and will all the necessary pool equipment fit inside along with kid’s pool toys? Is there a view that you want to maintain?

Now you are ready to choose plants for your pool landscape. There are some general tips to think about. Choose trees and shrubs that are not too messy. Leaves will fall or be blown into the pool. Even evergreens drop needles, and some may get into the pool also. They won’t hurt your pool, but they will cause more work to keep your pool pristine. It is really a trade-off and you will have to decide if the tree you love is worth the extra work. Choose trees with a smaller root system. Trees with large roots or invasive root systems can damage the plumbing for your pool and even the pool itself. Remember that flowers will attract bees. If that is a concern, plant flowers away from the swimmers. Use flowering shrubs in the background and foliage plants next to the deck.

Let’s look at some great plant choices for your pool landscape.


1. Palms

Nothing says tropical garden better than a palm tree. Many palms have a small root ball for their size, and they can grow tall. Plant a grove of palms or just one as a specimen tree to set the mood. Unfortunately, northern gardeners will not be able to grow palms.

2. Banana Tree

This is a good alternative for a palm tree for the northern gardener. This tree does well outdoors, but will have to be brought inside before frost. The banana tree has a tropical look, but its leaves are very susceptible to wind damage. Plant it where there is a wind break.

3. Arborvitae

These evergreen trees will provide privacy and add structure to your landscape with minimal mess.

4. Magnolia

Magnolias are beautiful trees with magnificent blooms in the spring. The leaves are evergreen. They do shed their leaves regularly, so consider planting these in the backdrop of your landscape, away from the pool, to avoid frequent skimming.

 5. Fruitless Olive Tree

This tree has gray-green leaves but no fruit, so there is less cleanup. The roots are noninvasive and this tree is drought-resistant.


6. Roses

If you have an ugly fence that you want to disguise, why not cover it with climbing roses? These rose bushes come in different colors, and even if they have thorns, they will be far enough away that no one will know.

7. Hydrangea vines

These vines will do well in the shade and part shade. They are evergreen so there’s minimal leafy mess. They bloom with lace cap flowers.

8. Jasmine

This is a great vine with lovely, scented flowers.


9. Hibiscus Plants

This is a great tropical-looking flowering shrub that comes in many different colors. The blooms are large and stunning. Northern gardeners will need to bring this plant indoors during the winter.

10. Rose Bush

This is a great shrub for the garden, and there are so many types to choose from. Remember: Your rose bush has thorns so place it where it will not harm the swimmers. Roses come in just about every color and many have intense scents that add to their desirability.

 11. Sambucus Lemony Lace

This shrub will do well in partial shade in the south. In the north, this cold-hardy plant will do best in full sun. This plant has lacy bright yellow leaves with reddish tinged edges. This shrub does have small white flowers, but it puts most of its energy into the showstopping leaves. This is a great colorful shrub to consider for your pool landscape.


12. Canna

If you want color along with a tropical look, cannas will meet the challenge. These beautiful plants come in a multitude of colors from bright red, yellow and orange to mixtures of all the hot colors. Group cannas together for an amazing display.

13. Ornamental Grasses

There are lots of grasses to choose from. Some are very tall and look beautiful swaying in the slightest breeze, while others drape over the edge of the hardscape, softening the edges.


Don’t overlook houseplants. Some will do very well outdoors. Put your pothos into a woven pot and hang in a tree for a trailing tropical look. Bring your fern outdoors, too. Remember that most houseplants are used to low sunlight, so they will do very well in the shady spots in your garden.


Herbs can be very effective growing poolside. They will give off a fresh scent when brushed by a passing swimmer or in the breeze of summer. The herbs will also be a great addition if you are cooking and enjoying meals poolside.

These ideas are sure to help you to design your poolside garden. Any plants or flowers are sure to add to the beauty of your backyard pool no matter what you pick. And if you end up deciding you don’t like something, you can always relocate it to another part of your garden and try something new by the pool.

Images via: Canva

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