What are the best plants to put around a pool in Australia?

Whether you are designing a garden for the front yard or wondering what are the best plants to put around a pool in Australia, it goes without saying that plants complete the landscape. Plants are the key element to creating a beautiful, lush and inviting environment.

You can create a tropical getaway around your pool with the proper selection of plants. Like any landscape planning, plants around your pool need to be carefully considered to help you select the right plants for the longevity of your garden and your pool. 

Apart from looking beautiful, the selection of plants around your pool area serves a functional purpose as well. The right plants can offer protection from the wind, adequate shade to help you keep cool on sunny days, and even act as a screen to provide additional privacy from your neighbours.

Important things to consider about plants around your pool

Before you head to the garden centre, it’s a good idea to consider what type of theme you would like to go for. Are you looking to create a cosy Oasis or a luscious Forest feel? Or, are you wanting to create a coastal theme with a selection of tropical plants?

Once you have figured out your preferred theme, there are more considerations to take into account before selecting your plants.

Can pool water affect the plants?

The plants around your pool generally need to be hardy plants that can tolerate various conditions, including wind, salt and sun exposure, and splashes of chemically treated pool water.

If you have a saltwater pool, the plants will need to be tolerant to excessive salt exposure. Usually, coastal varieties are a good choice here. However, it’s worth noting that they also require well-draining sandy soil.

If you have a chlorinated pool, it is critical that the plants you choose are resistant to chemical exposure. They will likely be splashed with chlorinated water more often than you realise. The chemicals in a chlorinated pool are corrosive and may cause damage to the plant’s foliage.

Characteristics of pool friendly plants

Your pool garden plants will need to be low maintenance with a high tolerance to harsh weather conditions. In addition, the plants must be able to tolerate prolonged sun exposure and sometimes partial shade. It is best to select plants that thrive in such conditions to ensure the longevity of your garden.

Plants that are recommended for saltwater pools

When considering plants for saltwater pool gardens, think of foliage that is light green and furry, grasses, and varieties found near the beach. Coastal varieties such as Coastal Banksia, Mondo Grass, palms and any other varieties that you would discover Beachside.

Plants that are recommended for chlorinated pools

In most cases, plants with thick, hardy and waxy leaves are a good choice for chlorinated pools. Waxy leaves resist absorbing the corrosive chemicals in chlorine and make a perfect choice for these types of pools. Try Wax Flower, Native Fuschia and Cannas.

Colour, texture and garden aesthetics

Regarding the theme you are looking for, you can consider a few aesthetic elements when choosing your poolside plants.

Consider the coverage and height that would be appropriate for your space. Palms are incredibly diverse and come in various sizes, from tall Palms to mid-sized. You can create depth and structure with various sizes of plants and ground covers.

Colour is another important element when choosing plants for your poolside area.

When we consider colour, we usually think about flowers. However, foliage contributes an impressive variety of colours and textures to the landscape.

Our favourites for adding colour, depth and texture to your garden are a variety of Banksia, Native Fuschia, Blueberry Ash and Australe Storksbill.

Plants to avoid around the pool

When selecting your plants for your poolside garden, there are things that you will need to avoid for the sake of convenience, maintenance and, more importantly, the structure of your pool.

Overhanging branches

Plants that will grow to have overhanging branches above your pool are never a good idea. Overhanging branches present potential safety hazards where children could try climbing and dropping into the pool space. Read more about Non-climbable zones in our recent article here. The branches could also become dangerous and fall into the pool. On another note, overhanging branches will likely drop debris into your pool that continuously needs to be cleaned out.

Plant matter in the pool

Speaking of maintenance, do yourself a favour and avoid choosing plants that continually drop leaves and debris even if they are not hanging over directly over your pool. Some deciduous varieties will shed only once per year, needing one big clean-up annually. However, some evergreens will continuously drop leaves and seed pods throughout the year, rendering them a pest to maintain.

Excess debris in the pool is annoying, but more importantly, it can interfere with the chemical balance of your pool and clog your pool cleaner and pumps.

Destructive root systems

Regardless of what your pool is made of and where it is located, if you surround it with plants that have vigorous root systems, they are likely to cause havoc for your pool structure. Believe it or not, some root systems will destroy the sides of your pool and create expensive repairs that could be avoided with better planning.

No pool should ever be surrounded by bamboo, rubber trees, or umbrella trees since their root systems will almost certainly create issues at one point or another for your pool.


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