Landscaping Ideas for Around Your Pool

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time out by the pool this summer make sure that the landscaping adds to the enjoyment. Let’s take a look at what should be considered before beginning a landscaping project around the pool, plants that do well around water and how to add natural shade.

Outdoor Pools

Planning a Landscaping Project Around a Pool

Before breaking ground here are the things to consider when adding a garden around your pool:

  • Keeping debris out of the pool or spa
  • Longevity of the landscaping
  • Ability to easily water as needed
  • Attracting the right type of insects and birds
  • When plants will bloom – ideally you want summer showers that begin to blossom in the spring
  • How plants and features will hold up around moisture – mildew can be a problem for both
  • Keeping walkways clear
  • Potential for injuries – pointy or thorny plants should be avoided in traffic areas
  • How far roots will spread – big trees should be avoided for this reason

Potted Plants

Using potted plants will give you a lot of flexibility, which is important if you plan to buy new outdoor furniture, make addition or remodel the pool area in the near future. Planters that can be moved around as the sunlight shifts will also give you the ability to expand your planting options.

Decide the Overall Look You Want to Achieve

There are a lot of ways to work the landscaping around a pool. Choosing a theme can help you narrow down the selection and create a cohesive look. Popular choices for pool landscaping include tropical, Mediterranean, Japanese and southwestern.

Create a Layout

Plot out your current layout from an overhead perspective. This will help you visualize where plants and landscaping features can go without blocking passageways or becoming overly crowded. The last thing you want is for your carefully planned landscaping to look like a jungle within a few years after the plants have had a little time to grow out. To keep this from happening plot out the space needed for mature versions of each plant.

Plants That Work Perfectly Around the Pool

First and foremost plants need to be suitable for the area that you live in. The USDA Planting Zone will give you guidance on the plants that can survive in your area. The plants below are excellent options for around a pool because they don’t produce a lot of debris, bloom at the right time and can handle the added moisture that’s around water features.


Rather than planting trees with leaves look for ones that are evergreens and palms.

  • Banana Trees
  • Little Gem Magnolias
  • Will Fleming Yaupon
  • Windmill Palm
  • Needle Palm
  • Pindo Palm
  • Queen Palm
  • Heavenly Bamboo


  • Anthony Waterer Spirea
  • Lorapetalum
  • Hop Bush
  • Esperanza


  • Day Lilies
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Hibiscus
  • Lily of the Nile
  • Sea Lavender
  • Alstroemaria
  • Aeonium Rosettes
  • Proteas


  • Purple Fountain Grass
  • New Zealand Flax
  • Porcupine Grass
  • Egyptian Papyrus

How to Add Shade with Plants

Some sunshine is always nice when you’re floating in the pool, but once you hop out shaded areas become the premium spot. Here are ways to naturally create shade.

A vine-covered trellis can block the sun from certain angles, which is particularly helpful at sun up and sun down. It will also provide additional privacy around the pool. Trellises are also affordable and easy to construct in a day.


A pergola is a more involved landscaping project, but it’s a very effective way to add shade over a seating area whether or not you decide to add plants.


Even if they aren’t super tall, which helps to minimize debris getting in the pool, trees and palms that are just 10’ tall can provide significant shade. This is particularly true for palms and trees like the Windmill Palm that are broad on top. Strategic positioning will help you maximize the shade. Consider the sun’s movement across the pool area and how close you can get the tree to the seating area without the roots affecting anything.

Each summer we help many clients add impressive landscaping features around their pool. Give us a call to learn more about how Timbertown Austin can help you transform your backyard into an oasis.

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