Poolside Landscaping Tips

Poolside Landscaping: The Perfect Plants to Use Around Your Pool

Your pool should always be a haven of relaxation and tropical beauty. It is an oasis in your backyard where you can escape the heat and relax with your family and friends. But what if you can transform your pool area and elevate its beauty? This is where poolside landscaping comes in.

The right plants can make your pool area more inviting and beautiful. Choosing the right plants can add texture, color, and privacy to create a resort-like atmosphere in your home. However, with so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming. The trick is to choose plants with vibrant colors, low-maintenance ones, and plants with foliage that thrive in the unique Florida climate.

Fear not! This guide will help you choose the perfect plants to transform your poolside into a paradise, tailored to your style and needs.

Factors to Consider Before Planting

Before you start shopping for plants, consider these essential factors:

  • Sun exposure: How much sun does your pool area get? Choose plants that thrive in the amount of sunlight your space receives.
  • Soil drainage: Good drainage is crucial around pools to prevent waterlogging and mosquito breeding. Opt for plants that tolerate well-draining soil.
  • Chlorine splash: Plants near the pool edge will be exposed to chlorine splash. Select chlorine-tolerant varieties to avoid damage.
  • Maintenance: How much time and effort will you put into caring for your plants? Choose low-maintenance options if you’re short on time.
  • Desired aesthetic: Do you want a tropical paradise, a Zen retreat, or a modern oasis? Choose plants that complement your overall vision.

Plant Choices for Different Poolside Zones

Now that you’ve considered the key factors, let’s explore some perfect plant choices for different areas around your pool:

Poolside Borders

  • Low-growing shrubs: Boxwood, viburnum, and rosemary add structure and definition to pool edges.
  • Colorful perennials: Salvia, daylilies, and lantana provide vibrant pops of color throughout the season.
  • Ornamental grasses: Zebra, maiden, and fountain grass offer movement and texture.

Sunbathing Decks

  • Succulents: Aloe vera, jade plant, and hens and chicks are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, perfect for hot, sunny areas.
  • Groundcovers: Creeping thyme, liriope, and mondo grass create a soft, walkable surface underfoot.

Privacy Screens

  • Fast-growing trees: Leyland cypress, bamboo, and photinia offer quick solutions for privacy and shade.
  • Climbing vines: Bougainvillea, clematis, and honeysuckle add beauty and fragrance while obscuring unwanted views.

Shady Retreats

  • Tropical plants: Bird of paradise, banana trees, and palms create a lush, exotic atmosphere.
  • Ferns: Hostas, maidenhair ferns, and coral bells thrive in shady areas while adding a touch of elegance.
Pool side landscaping for shade
Poolside landscaping for shade

Fragrant Oasis

  • Jasmine: Star jasmine and orange jasmine fill the air with sweet perfume.
  • Lavender: This low-maintenance herb adds a calming scent and attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Gardenia: These elegant shrubs boast large, fragrant white flowers.

Plant Options for Your Preferences

Sun-Kissed Splendor. Florida’s sun reigns supreme, so embrace it with plants that bask in its golden rays. Let’s dive into some dazzling options:

  • Bird of Paradise: A showstopper with vibrant orange blooms and graceful sword-like leaves, this beauty adds a touch of the exotic. Just remember, it grows tall, so find it a spacious corner.
  • Croton: This chameleon of the plant world delivers dazzling variegated foliage in a rainbow of hues. It’s versatile, thriving in sun or partial shade, and adds tropical flair.
  • Bamboo Palm: Create a tranquil oasis with this graceful palm. Its feathery fronds sway gently in the breeze, offering dappled shade and a lush, island vibe. Remember, it loves well-drained soil and regular watering.
  • Jade Plant: Easy to care for and stunningly sculptural, it brings serenity with its thick, fleshy leaves. It tolerates sun and light shade, making it ideal for poolside borders.
  • Ornamental Grasses: Add movement and textural interest with grasses like Mexican Feather Grass or Muhly Grass. Their swaying plumes sway in the breeze, creating a sense of rhythm and movement.

Shady Sanctuary. For those seeking refuge from the midday sun, Florida offers a wealth of shade-loving plants to create a cool and inviting retreat:

  • Florida Spicebush: This native shrub boasts fragrant white flowers and glossy green leaves, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. It thrives in moist soil, perfect for poolside borders.
  • Shell Ginger: Bathe your pool in the delicate fragrance of shell ginger’s lily-like blooms. This shade-loving charmer requires minimal maintenance and adds a touch of elegance to shady corners.
  • Zebra Plant: Don’t let the name fool you; this striking plant features dramatic green leaves striped with creamy white. It’s low-maintenance and tolerant of sun and shade, making it a versatile choice.
  • Hosta: Hostas offer a symphony of shades, from cool blues to vibrant yellows. They thrive in dappled shade and provide a lush backdrop for your poolside paradise.
  • Coleus: Add a splash of color to shady areas with coleus. This vibrant annual offers a kaleidoscope of leaf colors, adding a playful touch to your poolside decor.

Practical Considerations for Poolside Landscaping

While aesthetics are important, it is essential to remember the following:

  • Salt Tolerance: Choose plants that can tolerate chlorine or salt splashes if your pool uses these.
  • Non-Invasive Roots: Avoid trees with aggressive root systems that could damage your pool structure.
  • Maintenance: Opt for low-maintenance plants to enjoy your poolside haven without constant upkeep.
  • Size and Growth Habit: Be mindful of mature plant sizes to avoid future pruning conflicts with pool areas.

Bonus Tips for Poolside Landscaping

  • Use mulch: Mulch helps retain moisture, suppress weeds, and keep your pool area looking tidy.
  • Incorporate rocks and stones: Rocks and stones add visual interest and provide a natural look.
  • Create a focal point: A statement plant, water feature, or sculpture can draw the eye and add personality to your space.
  • Don’t forget the lighting: String lights, lanterns, and solar lamps can create a magical ambiance at night.


Remember, your poolside landscape reflects your style. Don’t be afraid to experiment, mix and match, and create a space that inspires tranquility and joy. With the right plants and a touch of creativity, your Florida pool can become a lush haven of sun-kissed bliss and cool, refreshing shade.

So, dive into the world of poolside landscaping, embrace the vibrant flora of Florida, and transform your poolside into a personal paradise that nourishes the soul and reflects your unique sense of tropical bliss.

Consult your local nursery or landscape designer for local recommendations and expert advice. They can guide you toward the perfect plants for your poolside microclimate and preferences. And if you need professional help, Lawns & Palms has a team of experts who can help with all your landscaping and lawn care needs.

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