No pool is finished until you have added some greenery (and colour). There are some beautiful, classic ‘pool plants’ that are ideal to put around any swimming pool – either in pots or planted in retaining walls.

Think of these as ‘Pool plant families’:

  • Lush greens: Creepers, love palms, ferns…for the ‘tropical look’. Word-wide, these kinds of plants give a favourite pool plant look. There’s nothing quite like a retaining wall spout or
  • Spiky and fat: In South Africa, as in many hot, arid and semi-arid areas, a waterwise and striking look comes with the use of succulents and cacti as pool plants.
  • Country garden: tea-rose creepers and trimmed rose-bushes – one at each corner
  • Mediterranean: The Mediterranean fan palm is a firm favourite. Use them in pots or dot them around the pool area with ornamental grasses, succulents and perennials to add texture to the garden.

Lush tropical, arid pool retaining wall plants each give your pool and pool area a different look and feeling, but it’s a balanced ‘either / or’ decision on which family of pool plants to go with; both look great with shimmering summer heat and sparkling blue waters.

Potted Pool Plants to make your outdoor area striking

Pool plants as part of an outdoor entertainment area:

Why not go for a ‘hacienda’ look – extend the bougainvillea into pots in the edge of the deck and go wild with a combo of ferns and small palms, in-between potted cacti and succulent beds.

Even if you mix pool plant types – try to maintain a theme from pool side to around the outdoor dining and deck area – partly closing it in.


Pretty garden plants are not all pool-side plants:

  • Annuals like Oak trees. Unless you want your pool full of rotting leaves in autumn.
  • ‘Squishy fruit’ trees like plums and apricot trees. You don’t want those rotting in your pool.
  • Flowering shrubbery – unless its set well back…as petals can become a nuisance and you will spend your life skimming your pool
  • Herbs such as lavender that attract bees
  • Jacarandas
  • Any palm or tree that is a water guzzler, their roots will try to source water in dry times and could affect your pool.

When planning your garden around your pool, take a trip to the nursery with a sketch pad and your poolside garden measurements. Between the nursery and your pool specialist they will assist you in designing the pool side garden of your dreams without the heavy maintenance.

Pool Plants that are easy maintenance

Use evergreen and indigenous plants for your garden and you will be rewarded with a striking and low maintenance pool area.