Whether you are planning new pool construction or remodeling an existing pool area, it can be easy to make landscaping decisions with a general design theme. Once you know if you want to go with sleek and modern or a lusher tropical retreat ambiance, then you are able to come up with a pool design and pool landscaping design that reflects your vision.
When you think about the project, key considerations will be size, maintenance requirements, safety, privacy, and scent. Beyond those basic factors, you can come up with a one-of-a-kind landscaping design that will make your pool memorable.
Before we get into the 15 designs, it helps to think about the greenery, since your garden can bring life to your pool. Blending plants well with other features is what makes backyard pool landscaping designs particularly compelling.
8 Top Backyard Pool Landscaping Plant Options
There are many options in plants when you are conceiving backyard pool landscaping designs. Here are eight top ones to consider:
- Palm trees – When you live in a sunny location, you can benefit from plants that thrive here to create a tropical oasis. One coastal Florida homeowner has an elegant pool backed by a lawn that descends through a few palm trees down to the water. The owners are able to relax and watch the sunset from their private dock or the pool.
- Container garden – You could be uniform or varied with your container garden: either use tall containers and plant a single plant species, or use the “thriller, filler, and spiller” design method. Present a range of hardy types or otherwise ensure that care needs for the plants are consistent. Pool owners appreciate container gardens since they are fundamentally flexible: depending on the event or season, you can move them into different positions.
- Vines – People often like to integrate vines with other features, such as pergolas and arbors, training them to serve as a living roof. They are also commonly seen on trellises, fences, and walls. You can build a privacy screen around your pool in little time with vines since they grow relatively fast.
- Bee-repellent and bee-neutral plants – One safety concern to keep in mind when designing pool landscaping is bee stings. Even if you support pollinators in other areas of your yard, you may want to decide against any ground covers or other plants that attract bees near your backyard pool. In fact, you may even want to introduce bee-repellent species in that area.
- Cacti – The cactus is debatable. A core concern for backyard pool landscaping designs is safety, especially since children are often present. Many people (though not all – see next item) decide against cactus, Miscanthus, yucca, and other plants with sharp, painful blades, spikes, spines, or thorns right next to the pool. However, you can keep them in less-traveled spots a distance from your pool, in containers or raised beds. In that way, you can embrace the cactus’s strength and beauty, without worrying that your grandkids or guests will come in contact with their spines.
- Drought-tolerant plants – Since drought sometimes impacts us in Tampa Bay and also for general sustainability, consider how much water plants will need. The good news is that if you consistently water for a year and plants develop roots, a wide range of species is drought-tolerant.
- Ornamental grasses – Types of ornamental grasses you can consider planting near your pool are bamboo, blue fescue, feather grass, fountain grass, giant reed, Japanese blood grass, Korean grass, lemongrass, phormium, rush, yellow foxtail grass, and zebra grass. These grasses are extraordinarily eye-catching. Plus, they are easy to maintain.
- Scented plants – A swimming pool is all about the experience, so when you introduce some of your garden to the pool, bring fragrance. Since you may particularly want the aroma of flowers after the sun has set, pay special attention to night-scented flowers.
15 Mind-blowing Backyard Pool Landscaping Designs
Without further ado, here are incredible around-your-pool design examples to inspire your landscaping:
1. One homeowner has concrete and brick leading down to their pool from their back porch and patio. On one side is a seating area with comfy chairs. On the other is a pergola, encircled by a garden. It is a romantic setting.
2. A pool owner was not working with a huge yard but made the ambiance tropically inviting with palms and banana trees. The serenity of this backyard pool space is enabled by a blend of one-of-a-kind lawn pavers, earth-toned hardscape, ground-level rectangular planters, and containers.
3. Sometimes it can look amazing to allow nature to define your landscaping. One family wanted a deck and gazebo in their design, but they particularly wanted to create an unusually shaped, pond-like pool surrounded by flowering groundcover and rocks.
4. One homeowner has three fountains at the headwaters of an artificial stream down stone stairs toward the pool. You can hear water sounds across the property, the fountains splashing, and the stream babbling. Since this yard is adjacent to a high-traffic road, they needed backyard pool landscaping designs that prioritized privacy.
5. A couple building a pool wanted a relatively simple, classic, and symmetrical design to their pool, in the shape of a section of a river. Small shrubs form the backdrop for a waterfall coming down from a rock formation. Trees line the periphery.
6. Tropically themed seclusion is made possible with palm trees backing a green pool, approached from a patio lined with pebbles.
7. One family with an interestingly shaped backyard ultimately decided to put a fireplace and seating at one end of the yard. At the opposite end, there is a tree to your left as you walk from the house to the patio area, which is encircled by smaller plants.
8. When it comes to the color scheme in your pool landscaping, you can certainly be dramatic. One pool owner presented purple, green, and silver landscape through flower beds backing the full length of the pool and spa.
9. Do you have a backyard that has such a severe slope, it is effectively unusable? One homeowner decided to turn the slope into a creek with stairs, a slide, and a series of waterfalls leading down to a swimming pool.
10. An infinity pool seems to merge with the natural environment that serves as its backdrop. From a home on a hill, wooden decking and concrete lead to an infinity pool that overlooks pine trees in the valley below. Surrounding the pool are wildflowers and native grasses, deepening the sense of immersion in the environment.
11. One pool owner built a long, thin pool — great for swimming laps — directly adjacent to a natural pond. A line of flowering shrubs extends from the pond to the house.
12. One homeowner commissioned a multilevel design, with a brick patio area connected to a pool. A slide is at one side, and a wall runs along two sides, forming one small and one gigantic waterfall. The upper level extends back to a gazebo.
13. You don’t have to overcomplicate garden and pool integration. One couple decided to place their pool back a distance into their yard, accessed in a gap between wildflowers and hedges. Framed on one side by a pair of deck chairs and the other by a weeping willow, the blue waters of the pool beckon, reflecting a backdrop of shrubs and native grasses.
14. Think about how you can use nature to your advantage. One family incorporated border plantings with native plants, including lilies. These plants form a border between the brick walk along the pool and the lawn.
15. One backyard pool landscaping design is shockingly beautiful, with a pergola and vines falling down from above. The entire space is in a Moroccan style, including ample use of Moroccan tile.
Help With Pool Landscaping Design
Pools can be such great sources of enjoyment, and much of that joy comes from making beautiful choices for new pool construction and remodeling. Beyond the specific design choices you make, it is critical to work with a pool builder who specializes in landscaping and additional features. See our work.