Pools and Plants


The pool is now installed, the builder has departed - it's time to plant. With careful plant selection you can have a low-maintenance, attractive pool area.

In Queensland, there are specific regulations dictating how the pool area is to be fenced, so it is logical to assume that the major planting will probably be outside the fenced area.

Plant Selection

Careful selection of plants, shrubs, or trees is required, as those with invasive root systems must be avoided at all costs as they may be prohibited under the pool builder's warranty, and may also cause damage or blockage in any of the water pipes or plumbing associated with your home, as well as the pool. Bamboo, for example is one that you should steer clear of, even if it is one of the alleged non-running types. Umbrella trees and Rubber trees are well known to cause major problems (whether you have a pool or not) as their root systems are dynamite on drains.

Plant Placement

Careful placement of the plants ensures that pathways, surrounds and the pool shell are not subject to pressure or damage and also ensures that an easy climbing frame is not grown for unauthorised or unsupervised entry into the pool area (particularly adventurous toddlers). Melaleucas, Deciduous trees/plants or any shrubs or trees with fine foliage are not recommended, as the leaf litter plays havoc with the pool filter and the pool cleaner, particularly in Autumn or any dry weather. Leaf litter left on the bottom of the pool may also stain the internal lining.

Palms are synonymous with swimming pools, give a wonderful tropical feel to the area, and are generally OK provided they are not planted too close to the structural shell, fence or walkways. However, don't even think about Cocos palms Traveller's palms or Phoenix palms as these varieties are not the cleanest plants to have in a garden at any time and the phoenix palm has dangerously long, thorny spikes.

Hardy Plants

Plants chosen need to be hardy enough to cope with the odd splash of salt or chlorinated water. Experiment with Cordylines, Murrayas, Agaves, Estringeas and Acalyphas which are ideal hardy plants as are the lower growing, Mondo Grass, Erigeron Daisy or Star Jasmine.

If there is plenty of room inside the pool fence for a safe garden area, any of the above plants would be suitable. If there is limited room for a garden, liven up the area with any of the above in pots or tubs.

To add a bit of colour to the garden, plant some flowering annuals. They will add a bit of pizzazz in tubs, pots or anywhere in the garden.

Also, in tubs or pots, you can also experiment with the use of Dipladenias, thornless Bougainvillea and even Citrus such as Lemon or Cumquat which when fruiting are particularly attractive in pots.