Select the right varieties for the poolside to create a lush backyard landscape
Plan ahead and leave space for a pool when you lay out the garden
A swimming pool is often on the wish list for the backyard but may not be on the reno budget for several years.
If you’re landscaping from scratch and you would like a pool in your backyard down the track, make space for it as you lay out the garden.
The future pool site should be earmarked for temporary gardens or as a play area, but don’t plant trees or erect any structures that will be difficult or expensive to remove.
Also plan ahead for access to the site, as digging equipment will need to be brought in and soil and rocks removed during the excavation and pool installation process.
TIP Access can be through the garage if there is a door on the garden side.
Choose a location
The ideal place for a swimming pool is an open, sunny spot. It can be any size, from a traditional kidney shape to a narrow lap or small plunge pool where space is limited.
Create the illusion of a larger yard by investing in glass fencing. While still meeting safety requirements, glass panels make the pool a feature and keep the views open.
The fence must be kept free of plants that could assist a child to climb over it, so don’t try to hide pool fencing with shrubs, strongly branched climbers or trees.
Instead, opt for plants with soft stems or foliage like agapanthus or dwarf New Zealand flax.
A tropical planting scheme turns a plain pool into an exotic feature
Prevent leaf drop
Leaves falling into the swimming pool from overhanging or neighbouring trees is a common problem.
Minimising the number of trees around a pool is one solution, but it also eliminates any welcome shade.
Deciduous trees are a great choice for poolside planting. A pool cover can be used to keep the water leaf-free during the cooler months of the year when they drop their leaves.
Shadesails are an alternative to poolside trees. They come in a large range of colours and sizes, and are available at hardware stores or can be custom-made for your site.
Hibiscus are very popular plants to grow by the pool in frost-free, warm to tropical climates.
Featuring brightly coloured flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink and white, they range from a compact 1m high to 3m tall plants. The dwarf varieties bear small flowers over many months.
When selecting hibiscus, choose a variety that will grow to a height and width to suit the space. Spring pruning sets up the plants for good strong growth and a long flowering season.
To keep hibiscus flowering all summer, mulch them with a 70mm deep layer of organic matter. Feed monthly and regularly remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.
When landscaping a pool, use plants that won't drop leaves into the water
Any plants that drop small leaves, are thorny or spiky, or attract a lot of bees are best avoided near swimming pools.
Problem varieties for planting around pools include cacti and succulents, jacarandas, many conifers, roses and silky oaks.
Top poolside plants
Drought-tolerant agapanthus are striking poolside plants, with strappy leaves and showy blue or white flowers on tall stems during summer when the pool is in use.
Drought-tolerant agapanthus are striking poolside plants. Images: Thinkstock
Excellent, no-fuss evergreen screening plants, camellias have the additional benefit of blooming from autumn to winter, providing interest when the pool isn’t being used.
Camellias bloom from autumn to winter. Image: Thinkstock
Add ornamental tubs of cumquats or dwarf lemon for an eye-catching feature in a hot and sunny pool enclosure. Give them well-drained soil and fertilise twice a year.
Add ornamental tubs of cumquats or dwarf lemon for an eye-catching feature in a hot and sunny pool enclosure. Image: Alamy
Massed dietes thrive in the hot, dry conditions and narrow spaces that often surround swimming pools. Expect the flowers to bloom from spring to autumn.
Massed dietes thrive in the hot, dry conditions and narrow spaces that often surround swimming pools. Image: Alamy
With their vibrant colours, geraniums are ideal poolside plants, displayed in pots or hanging baskets, or planted in the ground. Prune them in autumn as the swimming season finishes.
Geraniums are ideal poolside plants displayed in pots or hanging baskets. Image: Thinkstock
Lovers of the sun and heat, cannas add a tropical touch. They come in a range of foliage colours and the taller varieties are great structural additions to beds by the pool.
Lovers of the sun and heat, cannas add a tropical touch. Image: Thinkstock
Smart pool fencing
If you own a backyard swimming pool, you are required by law to have it fenced off to protect people, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look good.
Glass pool fences are sleek and streamlined and are held in place by ground brackets. Their minimalist design complements different pool and landscape styles.
Frameless glass pool fences have no posts or rails that can detract from the look of your outdoor space.
The toughened glass panels are completely transparent, which keeps sightlines open and makes it easy to keep an eye the kids while they are in the pool.
Installing a glass fence DIY is as easy as buying the components, attaching the brackets to the ground and slotting the panels in position.