May 19, 2022

13 Pool Landscaping Plants That Can Make Your Backyard Great Again

If you’re the fortunate owner of a pool in our part of Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth area), you probably find yourself getting pretty popular in the summer. It’s no secret that summers get really hot and humid around here, so having a place to escape is really nice. And having a beautiful backyard around the pool is almost as important as the pool itself!

Why not make the most of your outdoor space this summer by surrounding yourself with perfect pool landscaping plants? We’ll share some of our favorite ideas with you here.

Best Pool Landscaping Plants

In a recent post, we gave “16 Tropical Pool Landscaping Ideas to Transform Your Property Into a Beautiful Oasis.” We talked about how tropical plants, such as palm trees, can really create an exotic “island-like” atmosphere around your pool. So if that’s the look you’re going for, you might want to check that post out, too.

But we also realize that not everyone is interested in turning their backyard into a tropical paradise. You may have different tastes, or that kind of look may not fit well with your neighborhood, the architecture of your home, or the rest of your landscaping.

So here are several poolside plant options that you might enjoy:

Ornamental Grasses

We mentioned these in passing in the post on tropical pool plants, but they’re so versatile they’re worth repeating. Ornamental grasses come in a wide variety of textures, colors, and sizes. Using a mixture throughout your pool landscaping can create some great interest. They can also be used as a very effective privacy screen. Here are some varieties to check out:

  • Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’) – Variegated leaves look great next to a blue pool
  • Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) – 2-3’ clumps of thin green leaves covered in a cloud of pink flowers
  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’) – Grows 6’ tall and makes a great privacy screen
  • Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) – 4’ tall mounding clumps with greenish-blue leaves

Large-leaf Shrubs

One of the frustrating parts of having any kind of trees or plants near a pool is dealing with leaves that fall in the water or clog the filter. Improve that by putting large-leaf shrubs closer to your pool than plants with tiny leaves. While you won’t stop everything from getting blown into your pool, fishing a few larger leaves out is much easier than lots of small ones! Here are a few to consider:

  • Hydrangea – A classic that will be in full bloom during the summer when you’re most likely to be out at the pool. In full sun, consider the ‘Limelight’ or ‘Little Lime’ varieties.
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) – Evergreen with tons of tiny white or pink blooms in late spring and summer.
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) – Give this one room to grow. Mature shrubs can grow up to 12’ tall and 15’ wide. (But you can always prune to size.) Otherwise, it’s a low-maintenance winner that will attract lots of hummingbirds and butterflies.


Succulents make great poolside plants because they provide evergreen interest and don’t litter your pool with leaves. If you plant one that has any kind of thorns on the leaves, just make sure to keep it far enough away from the side of the pool. You don’t want to scratch a leg or snag a swimsuit! Try these:

  • Brakelights Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Perpa’) – 2’ tall and wide with narrow leaves make this almost look like an ornamental grass. Tall stems with bright red clusters of flowers shoot up another 2-3’ to stand out in your flowerbed.
  • Harvard Agave (Agave havardiana) – 2-3’ tall by 3-4’ wide, thick fleshy silver leaves define this plant. Caution: it has exceptionally sharp needles along the edges of its leaves, so plant it away from sidewalks and foot traffic!
  • Whale’s Tongue Yucca (Agave ovatifolia ‘Vanzie’) – A big specimen perfect for a rock garden or xeriscape. Huge smooth powder blue leaves make this one stand out.


A vine will add nice vertical interest to your landscape if you have a fence, pergola, or wall with a trellis near your pool area. Most grow quickly, so you can cover a large area without waiting long. We recommend:

  • Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) – Fragrant yellow flowers cover this excellent climber making it ideal for a living pergola roof or running along the top of a fence where it can drape down.
  • Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea) – There are many plants in the “passion flower” family, but this one is amazing! The flowers are so unique, you have to see them to believe them. Huge 4” blooms cover a stem that can run 20-30’ long. They’ll definitely make a statement in your pool area.
  • Scentsation Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) – Who doesn’t love the smell of honeysuckle in the summer? There are several varieties of honeysuckle, and the wilder versions can be invasive. This one isn’t, though, but smells just as sweet. Hummingbirds and other pollinators will love it too.

These suggestions are just a sample of what is possible when it comes to your poolside landscaping. You can get incredible results with wildflowers and ground cover (like Creeping Jenny). Some people prefer to use potted plants for pool landscaping since it allows them to use more tropical plants that can be moved indoors to be protected from our Zone 7 winters.

Poolside Landscaping Pros Can Make It Happen

If you want a pool area that is beautiful and easy to care for, your best bet is to get the advice of landscaping pros who have been designing poolside landscaping for a while. We’ve got over 20 years of experience creating incredible spaces and providing a wide variety of services in Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding areas.

Partner with a landscaping company dedicated to making you look good and your property even better. Schedule your free estimate today!

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