Follow these clever tips to create an attractive poolside garden and add value to your property.
Start by assessing the amount of sunshine your pool area gets and when. Baking afternoon sun and harsh light reflected off walls and paving favour tough indigenous plants and succulents, whereas deep shade between buildings is an opportunity to go for a natural look, especially if you add a water feature and create a mountain stream ambience.
Choose a theme and make a list of suitable evergreen plants, starting with your chosen accent plants and adding others to complement them. In a small space, use a single accent plant or, if you have enough space, plant a group of three or five for greater impact.
Poolside Plants to try
1. Desert Rose
Add character by planting desert roses or echeveria in your own choice of quirky container. These lovely form plants readily multiply and put out pretty spikes of flowers in spring.
Plant at least one spekboom to neutralise your household’s carbon emissions.
3. Australian Tree fern
An Australian tree fern will turn a shady corner into an asset; underplant it with graceful arum lilies, asparagus ferns and dainty Cape primroses (Streptocarpus).
4. Cabbage trees
Landscapers love cabbage trees (Cussonia spicata and C. paniculata) and they look fabulous with hardy succulents such as Gasteria and Haworthia – play around contrasting their interesting rosette and spiky shapes, textures and mottled leaves – and add some Kalanchoe or plakkies for colour.
5. Natal Wild Banana
The statuesque Natal wild banana (Strelitzia nicolai) grows to around six metres and is great for screening your pool from neighbours. Underplant it with wild irises (white Dietes grandiflora and yellow Dietes bicolour) and red-hot pokers (Kniphofia) for a low-maintenance, bird-friendly option.
6. Large Aloes
Large aloes such as Aloe ferox are waterwise, love sunshine and will look good on rockeries with the ever-popular vygies, which cascade well over rocks – you can create a dazzling mosaic of colours, from yellow and orange to magenta and purple
7. Pot Plants
No room to plant beds of colour? Don’t worry, a few well-placed pot plants can add style and flair. Try a pair of orange trees in tubs, underplanted with bright annuals such as purple petunias or dianthus. Or a couple of decorative cordyline in attractive ceramic containers.
Plants to avoid by the poolside
- Plants with thorns and spines eg acacia and cactus;
- Plants that shed lots of leaves and litter, for example, deciduous trees such as oaks and white stinkwood;
- Plants that produce loads of small flowers, pollen and seed, for example, Cape may, forest elder (Nuxia floribunda), bottle brush and syringa;
- Plants that have aggressive, invasive roots such as fig, weeping willow, silver maple.
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