Pool landscaping design provides some challenges for the horticulturist as for the hard landscaper and landscape designer.
Plant selection pitfalls
The landscape designer should choose plants that will not shed too much material into the pool which would consequently result in a mess in the pool. Garden plants and trees that shed a large amount of material into the swimming pool will consequently create a lot of pool maintenance headaches for the swimming pool owner and may lead to pool pump damage if the skimmer box is blocked. A blocked skimmer box can also result in cavitation at the pump impellers leading to costly repairs. Another important factor to consider is the tree roots. If you need some shape over your pool to escape the hot Melbourne sun, consider a pergola installation or using shade cloth.
Consider the plant root system
The root system will be a similar size to the plant branches and leaves, so fast growing plants could have root systems invading the swimming pool plumbing. For this reason, root barriers should be used between the larger plants and the swimming pool plumbing.
What are the best trees to plant around pools in Australia?
Planting around your Pool. Our top 8 plants.
One of our favourite planting scheme for planting around pools and also for rooftop gardens is the tropical look garden. This landscape design theme will result in a luxuriant exotic look therefore enhancing the feeling of tranquility. The plants for this design theme can be frost resistant hardy plants therefore ideal for the Melbourne climate.
Dicksonia antarctica is an evergreen tree fern that grows naturally in the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne, which also means it is ideal for the Melbourne Garden.
It grows naturally in the damp shady gullies which also means you will need to keep it well watered at the crown. For this reason, we recommend a drip irrigation system. Underplanting with smaller ferns and hostas will also add to an exotic tropical effect in your garden.
The miniature tree fern or Blechnum gibbum usually grows a truck like e tree fern. The fronds can grownup to 1 metre long.
Cycads covered the earth during the time of the dinosaurs. These plants are great for creating the exotic tropical look in your Melbourne garden.
Chinese Windmill Palm
The Trachycarpus Fortunei is a very hardy, frost resistant palm. Also known as the Chusan palm, it is salt tolerant which also makes it a good choice for coastal gardens.
Cordyline are a slow growing palm like tree. The cordyline indivisa will eventually grow to around 3 metres.
The hosta has stunning large spade shaped foliage in an amazing range of colours. For this reason, hosta is a garden favourite the world over with both gardeners and flower arrangers. Hosta will thrive in the moist shady conditions under the ferns or near a pool or pond.
Screening privacy plants like the BANKSIA ROBUR or swamp banksia have large leaves and will therefore help with privacy around your swimming pool. This banksia is an attractive and hardy plant ,suitable for low hedges and pots. Growing to a little over 2 metres, the flower spikes appear usually in autumn and winter initially as bluish green but these will turn to yellow-green brush type flowers as they bloom.
Banksia Robur is also know as the Swamp Banksia
Unsurprisingly, given its name Swamp Banksia, it doesn’t mind badly draining soil. It might be the plant you are looking for to plant in a damp spot in your garden. It has even been used as a root stock for less hardy varieties of Banksia. If you are in one of the frosty suburbs, it will tolerate a little frost now and again. Suitable for sun or part shade it will produce beautiful flowers in both. As an added bonus in your garden it will attract birds, bees and butterflies. Like most Banksias, it is an important source of nectar for both insects and mammals.
Bansia Robur’s Natural Habitat.
The leaves are large and have serrated edges. This Banksia occurs naturally in swampy or sandy conditions along the East coast of Australia from Southern New South Wales all of the way up to Gladstone in Queensland. This makes it an ideal plant for the coastal gardens. Take care not to let it dry out too much, especially when it is first getting established. For this reason, an irrigation dripping system is a good idea.
Another plant to consider is the banksia coccinea or red Banksia.
Kentia Palm (Howea fosteriana) by the pool
If you are looking for swimming pool landscaping ideas, the Kentia Palm (Howea fosteriana) makes a great plant for creating a luxuriant garden by the pool. It also provides a little shade as well as softening the look of the landscape. Amongst the palms, it is one of the easier ones to maintain.
The Kentia Palm from Lord Howe Island can create a tropical look in Melbourne
Also known as the Forster sentry palm or the flat palm, the Kentia Palm has solitary stems bearing large pinnate leaves on long stalks. This evergreen palm is native to Lord Howe island. The Kentia is tolerant to partial shade, and will grow to around 2 metres tall in your poolside garden or pot. This makes it a great plant for creating a little shady spot by the side of your pool. It prefers well drained sandy loam with a neutral to acid PH. It is also a popular indoor plant, so it is a palm you can grow both in an outdoor or indoor pot.
For a splash of colour in your pool garden, why not plant some Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise. This South African native will help to create interest in a tropical look garden.
Pool Plants to avoid
Plants to avoid around swimming pools are fast growing plants with invasive root systems and plants that shed a lot of material into the pool. Plants to avoid include Birch, Wisterias and Figs.
Pool Landscaping Design Project Melbourne
A well designed outdoor space should function as extension of the home itself. For our new pool landscaping design project in the leafy southern suburbs of Melbourne our aim is to make this outdoor space an integral part of the home itself. The design of the swimming pool landscape should be done at an early stage of the pool design rather than tacked on later. This will usually result in a better design outcome.
The pool landscape design features a sunken outdoor eating area with fireplace surrounded by a formal hedge. Tall fences provide a privacy screen whilst still allowing some light through.
The green formal hedge creates a soft border between the sunken eating area and softens the look of the concrete. The cushions in the seating area could be coloured to match the garden plants or left as a neutral grey. Grey will go with most colours in the garden but some coloured cushions would help break up the grey.
How do you build privacy around a pool?
Privacy around a pool can be built with fences, trellises and smart plant selection. Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) the privacy aspects of the design can be checked from any angle and agreed with the client.
By using computer aided design to create a computer model of the bespoke pool design enables the fine details to be worked out in advance. One of the great advantages of this type of landscape design is that the view can be checked from every angle. Privacy can be built around a pool using screening plants, then checked from the viewpoint of your neighbour.
Sunken outdoor entertaining area with fireplace
The sunken outdoor entertaining area helps to improve garden privacy whilst making it easy to keep an eye on kids. This type of design using garden levels as a design feature also makes the garden appear larger. This is also a great design technique for small garden design.
Exposed Aggregate Concrete around your Swimming Pool.
Exposed aggregate is a great choice for swimming pool surrounds but choosing the right mix is important. Larger aggregates will provide better drainage and grip, but will be uncomfortable to walk on. According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association (SPASA) the areas around the pool must be a low slip surface. For exposed aggregate concrete around swimming pools, a 5mm pebble aggregate should be used.
The Outdoor Shower as part of your Swimming Pool Design.
If you are living one of the Melbourne seaside suburbs like Brighton or Elwood, an outdoor shower is a great addition to your Garden Design. The outdoor pictured below features matching pool tiling, copper pipe and brass shower head.
An outdoor pool shower. A practical solution for coastal gardens.
Outdoor pool showers are very practical solution especially in coastal gardens where swimming pools and beach access are part of our Melbourne beach lifestyle. The outdoor pool shower is a good way to avoid having beach sand taken through the house. It is also a handy way to quickly remove salt or pool chlorine and other chemicals from your skin and hair.
Outdoor Pool Shower Design
The design of the outdoor shower involves more than just the part you can see above the ground. Consideration must be given to the appearance of the shower from every possible angle therefore plumbing to and from the shower should be integrated into the initial design.
Plant Selection near your outdoor pool shower
The garden and landscape design in the immediate area of the shower need to be able to cope with the added humidity, water splash and pool chemicals, therefore plants which are prone to fungal diseases should be avoided. For example, the common staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) will also soften the design and create a natural look, but may need regular maintenance to protect it from fungal diseases. Consider using Foxtail Palm trees (Wodyetia bifurcata)
Giant Bromeliads, (Alcantarea), crotons and White Spider Lilies . A well designed outdoor pool shower should also create a feature piece in the garden.
Consideration should also be given to easy access to the shower without having to walk over slippery surfaces. The safety of the customers should always should also always be considered with any garden design. The shower wall itself needs to be well secured into the foundations in order to keep it vertical and ensure safety and design requirements are met.
Red’s Landscaping and Civil
Red’s Landscaping and Civil can provide swimming pool design and build solutions which also includes design with 3D visualisation, construction and landscaping.
Further Reading on Landscaping