Pool Friendly Gardens

A modern home pool with plants surrounding it

Despite increasingly smaller block sizes, swimming pool ownership continues to rise in WA with 19% of Perth homes having a swimming pool. With the pool taking up a large portion of backyard space it’s important to have the right plants around your pool to make it a real feature.

If you’re looking to landscape a new pool, or you’re sick of pulling leaf litter and other debris out of your pool from existing plantings here’s some useful advise to help you create a pool friendly garden.

There are several principles that need to be followed to ensure your poolside plants enhance the beauty of your garden, without creating too much hard work for you. These include:

  • Choose no mess plants, ideally those with large leaves that don’t often shed to create debris in the water. Some good examples include cannas, evergreen hibiscus, cordylines ad agave.
  • Look for plants that flower during summer so they add beauty when your pool sees most use. Many summer flowerers come from the tropics, including bougainvillea, gardenia, hydrangea, canna, adenium, dipladenia, frangipani, oleander and allamanda.
  • Grass-like plants work well and are very hardy. Some of the best include Philodendron Zanadu, Dianella Little Rev and Little Jess, Lomandra Tanika and Libertia Goldfinger. 
  • Consider whether a plant has an extensive root system, as these plants can cause damage to your pool or poolside paving. Some to avoid include running bamboos, taller melaleucas, the umbrella tree, ficus or rubber trees whose roots often lift paving and walls. On the other hand the root systems of even large palms are very fibrous and thin and generally trouble free by the pool.
  • Saltwater from pools will poison plants that are susceptible to high salt levels, so you will need to choose plants that are salt tolerant. Some good examples include Agave attenuate, Bromeliads, Echiums, Cycads and many palms which provide good shade. Other plants that work well in a saltwater situation are Westringia, Coastal Banksia, Chinese Hibiscus, Olive and Rosemary.
  • For chlorine pools you also need to choose plants that can withstand chlorine splash. Chlorine is a corrosive chemical and that can affect your plant leaves if the water splashes onto them. Generally, plants with tough, leathery leaves can better withstand chlorine, including Mondo grass, Cordyline or Star Jasmine. 

If you use a selection of hardy plants poolside, there should be very little effect from the pool water splashed onto them from normal pool use. By following these simple principles you will have a beautiful poolside garden that is easy to maintain and gives you more time to simply enjoy your pool in the spring and summer months!

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