Taking a dip in the cool water of a pool in the warm afternoon can be refreshing and invigorating. The combination of a pool, pergola and poolside landscape can give you a real stay-cation that may make you never want to leave home.

The friendly shade of a timber frame pergola or pavilion gives powerful protection from the sun enabling you to enjoy a pool even more. Timber is one of the best most effective materials providing more human friendly comfortable shade than cement, steel, vinyl or aluminum can and it will not reflect heat or burn poolside plants.

It is important to choose strong plants that can withstand a poolside climate, is easy to maintain and still look great. Be careful in selecting plants, making sure the plants will not drop leaves, needles, seeds, bark or flowers into the pool. Filters can easily be clogged and cleaning a pool is not an easy job. Also be sure the plants are not ones that release thorns or needles than can be painful if stepped on in a pool area.

(You will find listed here below some suggested time tested proven to be excellent poolside-friendly plants.)


Place plants at least 6 to 8 feet away from the pool to give the maximum sun exposure while minimizing plant litter problems. There are many plants that will tolerate some splashing from the chlorinated water and spa chemicals but it would do well to avoid salt from building up by washing over the soil occasionally.

When planning for your poolside landscape choose plants that can withstand the reflective heat that will glare from the concrete if it is not located close enough to shade structures. A heated pool can raise the level of humidity and combined with the intensity of the sun can burn the nearby landscape.


High water plants such as grass that require heavy irrigation can cause damage to decking and pool equipment. Consider planting ornamental grasses such as Gulf Muhly or Deer Grass. A ground cover would also be an alternative solution rather than more common grasses that need heavier watering. Here are a few ground covering plants suggestions that have proven to work very well into a pool landscape:

Poolside Ground Covers

Blue Euphorbia
Bush Morning Glory
Katie Ruellia
Red Spike Ice Plant
Tufted Evening Primrose
Trailing Desert Bloom
Trailing Gazania
Trailing Lantana
Trailing Rosemary
Yellow Dot

These are choice vines that do well around a pool and can be trained up a pergola, lattice, trellis or fencing as well for great accents.

Poolside Vines

• Grape Ivy
• Pink Tumpet Vine
• Potato Vine
• Queen’s Wreath
• Yellow Orchid Vine
• Yuca Vine

Flowers and accent plants are always a beauty to top off any landscape with wonderful colors. Here are some flower ideas that do well for poolside landscapes:

Poolside Flowers

• Angelita Daisy
• Blackfoot Daisy
• Canyon Penstemon
• Chaparral Sage
• Chocolate Flower
• Coral Penstemon
• Desert Marigold
• Desert Zinnia
• Firecracker Penstemon
• Gaura
• Globe Mallow
• Moss Verbena
• Parry’s Penstemo
• Rain Lilly
• Rock Penstemon

Poolside Accent Plants

• Beargrass
• Cape Aloe
• Candelilla
• Dawe’s Aloe
• Desert Milkweed
• Elephant Bush
• Giant Bird of Paradise
• Giant Hesperaloe
• Smooth Agave
• Weber’s Agave
• Medicinal Aloe
• Octopus Agave
• Ocotillo
• Partridge Breast Aloe
• Red Yucca
• Sago Palm
• Slipper Flower
• Yellow Bulbine

Potted plants are another great way to enjoy greenery around a pool. It also makes a greater range of plant options. In colder climates, warmer more tropical type plants can be enjoyed in a pot that can be moved indoors during freezing temperatures.

Carefully selecting poolside friendly plants that don’t require constant care and clean up and a timber frame shade pergola that is durable and naturally temperature regulating and plant friendly can create a comfortable poolside environment to more fully enjoy for your outdoor summer fun!


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