Poolside planting beds are challenging ones to fill. Here are a handful of options for tough, largely mess-free and low-maintenance plants, plus a few worth the extra trouble, that not only can thrive in poolside situations but look beautiful.
CLEAN AND GREEN
A combination of fig trees clumping slender weaver’s bamboo and a low-growing ground cover looks effortlessly chic. To get a similar look, choose poolside plantings with interesting forms and foliage, saving colorful flowers for other areas of the garden.
If your pool is sited on a hillside, use the slope to inform the design of the pool and planting beds. The overall effect is one of many layers of cooling blues, greens and purples. The plants all thrive in full sun and with moderate water.
This colorful sloped planting in this garden not only makes a dramatic backdrop for the pool but also supports native birds and insects. All plants pictured grow best in full sun and with low water.
Another opportunity to consider for a poolside planting is how you can use the surface of the water to create a reflection of the plantings. Some plants with structural forms, like agaves and upright ornamental grasses, look particularly dramatic reflected in water.
In this country retreat, a poolside planting heavy on silver foliage and lavender blooms makes a lovely pastel backdrop. Many of the plants chosen are drought-tolerant, such as the olive trees, dusty mille and thyme. All plants thrive in full sun.
TROPICAL COLOR PUNCH
While bougainvillea doesn’t quite hit the low-mess criteria for an ideal poolside plant, it’s worth picking fallen blossoms out of the pool for such a spectacular display of flowers. Try to site it just back enough from the pool to cut down on the mess.
Container gardens can be beautifully arranged with plants that have similar care needs. Choose hardy plants that follow the thriller, filler and spiller design technique, or plant just one type in tall containers.
While their spines are not something you and your guests want to come in contact with, cactus can be striking and natural near a pool in desert regions. Plant them in raised beds or containers far enough away from the pool and center of activity.
Vines climb over walls and weave their way through fences and trellises. Most are fast growers and can quickly help to form a sort of privacy screen around pool areas, or can be trained as living roofs on arbors and pergolas.
SUCCULENTS NEAR POOLS
Succulents are increasing in popularity and are integrated with other plants in both front and back yards. That means they can be found growing poolside, where they can be foundation plants that are evergreen, sculptural in form and hardy.
Carefully choose the plants that will go near a swimming pool or hot tub. Research the best plants, shrubs, trees and ornamentals that will survive and even thrive when planted next to a pool, and also blend in well with the rest of your landscaping.