Low Maintenance Pool Landscaping Plants

Once your new pool is finished, with its new pool fence, you will want to consider the landscaping around your pool.

One key feature of glass pool fencing is the completely ‘see through’ nature of the fencing, allowing visual enjoyment of the pool and landscaping. The right garden around a pool can help it blend in.
Pool Side Garden in Whale Beach
However, many people with a pool complain the maintenance is the hardest part of having a backyard pool. And a major subject of these complaints is cleaning debris out of the pool. We’ll look at equipment to help you with this in another post. In many cases the success of your pool will depend on what you plant around it.

So what do you need to know about plants for your pool area? How do you choose plants for your pool landscaping so it looks like an oasis and is easy to care for?

Deciduous Plants – big Autumn clean up

A common practise in gardens to ensure winter sunshine is to plant deciduous plants. These drop their leaves in Autumn, letting the winter sun through to the garden or pool. However, these plants can be a problem in pool landscaping as the leaves drop or blow into the pool and then you have to clean them out.

If you really want a deciduous tree (or your neighbours have one) then you will want to invest in quality pool cleaning equipment. A pool cover can be a great investment not only to keep the pool warmer, but keep the autumn leaf drop out of the pool.

Leaf size and blocked filters

Some small leaf plants continually drop leaves, even though they are not deciduous. These tiny leaves can be too small for skimmers and will clog your filter instead.

Choose plants with larger leaves, or long leaf grasses such as Liriope or Agapanthus.

No invasive tree roots around the pool

Some trees are renowned for having roots that get into pipes. The Swimming Pool & Spa Association recommends you do not plant bamboo near your pool or pool equipment. Rubber trees and some ficus, along with umbrella tress are also warned against. Others, like palm trees, just have expanding trunks and roots that can damage your pool or pool fence if planted too close.

Salt and Chlorine tolerant plants

Some splashing from your pool onto the garden is inevitable. So it is best that your poolside garden hardy enough to withstand the typical pool water.
Plants by a salt water pool need some salt tolerance. Salt can build up in gardens so ensure the most salt tolerant plants are closest. Keep the salt sensitive varieties to the front yard, or separate gardens.
Chlorinated pools can also affect plants so again pick hardy varieties for the splash zones.

Glass pool fencing can provide an added barrier to save plants from splashing. But remember runoff will still affect those on the other side of your pool fence.

Non-climbable plants

Always be very careful planting trees or even taller, stronger shrubs too close to your pool fence. You are required to maintain a non-climbable zone around the pool fence. A sturdy shrub too close could assist a child to climb over. So don’t try to hide aluminium pool fencing with too much foliage.

Best Pool Friendly Plants

Murraya - good poolside plantThe best pool friendly plants are low maintenance with minimal pruning needs; have high drought tolerance as well as salt/chlorine. Also remember to consider your local environment such as wind and sun exposure.

Fortunately there are still many beautiful plants you can plant around your pool that wont cause these problems. Depending upon the style of garden generally and pool décor you choose.

Poolside Plant Suggestions

Australian Natives

Babingtonia, Backhousia myrtifolia, Blueberry Ash, Breyniz, Bull Banksia, Grevillea (prostrates) , Holly leaved Grevilea, Lomandra (careful of spiky flower stalks), Mondo grass, Native Fuscia, Syzygium (like but not ficus), waxflowers, and westringias (native rosemary)

Tropical Gardens

Agave, Cannas, Carissa Desert Star, Cordylines, Croton, Hibiscus (evergreen varieties) Liriope, Ixora, philodendron Xanadu, Strelitzia Nicolai, strelitzia Reinae

Formal Gardens

Agaphanthus, buxus, Camellia (although flowers will need cleaning up), Carissa Desert Star, Cupea, Euonumus, Gardenia (flowers ), Loropetalum, Murraya, Michellia, Photina, Star Jasmine, Syzygium species.


These can also be great pool area planting. Make sure they have excellent drainage so they can still dry out periodically.