How to Landscape Around Your Pool in Fort Worth

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You’ve laid the groundwork, spent the money, and installed a pool to survive Fort Worth’s blistering summers, but a pool without landscaping can leave your lawn looking bare. Get the most out of your new backyard oasis by learning how to landscape around your pool in Fort Worth.

Pool Design

The first thing to consider when thinking about your pool design and outdoor space is what kind of design you want. This might be:

  • Tropical with bright flowers and palm trees.
  • Mediterranean with beautiful hardscapes to match.
  • Southwestern with succulents and sandstone.

These pool landscaping ideas can help homeowners get the most out of their new pool and surrounding landscape.

All of these landscaping techniques work with most pools, even the above-ground variety. If that’s what you have, consider the height of the pool and whether it’s surrounded by a pool deck when you plan your landscape.

Concrete decks around in-ground pools and safety fences should also be considered. If you’re still confused and need direction, call a professional general contractor to help you out.

Privacy

Pool Fencing
Photo Credit: Pexels

It doesn’t matter if you have an in-ground pool or an above-ground pool. Nobody likes being watched. Keep the neighbor’s eyes off of you and your family while you enjoy your backyard pool. Landscaping for privacy around your poolscape adds a layer of seclusion and safety around your family so you don’t have to worry about prying eyes.

Add a fence: The easiest way to add privacy to your yard is through a fence. Try out a vinyl fence, a privacy fence, or a stylish bamboo fence to create a barrier between you and the outside world. Some of your building preparations should involve checking with your city’s rules for fencing in general (and swimming pool fencing in particular).

Plant tall: Make use of large trees, shrubs, and tropical plants to build a backyard oasis that also gives you privacy. These options work well in Fort Worth’s cooler winters (Zone 8a).

  • Crape and wax myrtles
  • Hydrangeas
  • Texas sage
  • Yaupon holly (a native evergreen shrub that makes a great privacy hedge)

You could also add a trellis with climbing vines and flowers.

Hardscape

chairs around pool
Photo Credit: Rawpixel

For your swimming pool landscaping, there are a few ways that you can get creative with hardscaping your living space. 

  • Have a patio put in to make your poolside landscape feel welcoming for you and your guests.
  • Create a pool deck or intricate walkway with pavers.
  • Take advantage of water features and create a backyard oasis when you add a waterfall or fountain to your pool landscape.
  • If traditional landscapes don’t suit you, try adding boulders to lend a natural, earthy feel to your backyard landscape.

Your poolside landscape can be transformed by adding the right hardscaping elements. Consider what you want your ambiance to be, and get creative.

Lighting

Depending on your pool landscape design, your pool lighting can be as straightforward or as complex as you want. When the sun goes down in Fort Worth, that doesn’t always mean the heat goes down. Use a variety of string lights or solar lights to enjoy your pool throughout all hours of the day.

  • Wrap pillars or trees that are around the perimeter of your pool with fairy lights.
  • Take advantage of a pergola by hanging LED lights from the top.
  • Light up the perimeter of your pool or water feature with pathway lights. This adds a professional touch to your poolscape, but it also lets people know where the water is when it’s dark.

Plants

Your pool and backyard landscape isn’t complete without adding some foliage to drive home your aesthetic of choice. Whether you want a tropical paradise or a Mediterranean feel, these various plants are sure to complete your look.

Succulents

Parry agave
Parry agave
Photo Credit: Zeynel Cebeci / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Succulents are a good choice for those going with a Southwestern pool decor. They’re low maintenance and don’t need a lot of water. The different shapes, textures, and colors of these plants make for interesting landscaping. They complement other plants well and are great at filling in the bare spots. Succulents are some of the best plants to place around a pool in Texas.

  • Coral yucca is a great native option that brings the drought resistance of succulents but also produces a bit of color with its tubular flowers (known for attracting hummingbirds).
  • Parry agave is native to the high deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This long-leafed succulent will eventually provide a flowering stalk with yellow flowers and is hardy in zone 8. This agave has small but visible spines. It’s recommended you install your Parry agave in an area away from walkways to avoid injuries.
Steve A. Chaney
Steve A. Chaney

Flowering Plants

Add color and fragrance to your pool landscaping with flowering plants. Home horticulturist and Tarrant County Extension Agent Steve Chaney says, “You need some basic evergreens such as dwarf yaupon, [but don’t forget the flowering plants] that will give you color all year round.”

Other bright, bold pool flowers: 

  • Plains coreopsis
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Texas Bluebells

These native flowers do well in their natural Texas landscape, and also in poolside planters.

Ornamental Grasses

If you want to go for a more neutral, earthy tone of browns and greens, planting ornamental grasses around your poolside is a great way to include foliage that’ll look good in a planter or in-ground. 

Ornamental grasses bring height and movement to your pool landscape. Those that thrive in full sun or partial sun are ideal. 

  • Mexican feathergrass has a feathery, ethereal look to it for a romantic feel.
  • Muhly grass has fine-textured foliage and small purple flowers on the ends of the grass blades. This grass type is a great replacement for non-native grasses.
  • Dwarf pampas grass bursts out in white blooms in the summer. Its high heat tolerance and low need for water make it perfect for North Texas pools.

Trees

Texas madrone
Photo Credit: Pixnio

While falling leaves are something pool owners should avoid, there are some pool-friendly trees Texas residents are sure to love around their pool. 

  • Texas palmettos and dwarf palmettos are slow-growing trees that are robust with a unique look, sure to be conversation pieces. We equate palm trees more with Southern California than Fort Worth, but these palmettos can be a great addition to your Fort Worth landscape design.
  • Texas madrone is a type of evergreen tree native to Texas. A beautiful, big-leafed tree that won’t shed its leaves, Texas madrone is great for a poolside in need of some greenery.

Chlorinated vs. Saltwater Pools

Does it matter if you have a chlorine or saltwater pool? Some pool owners worry about what high levels of chlorine or salt will do to their surrounding landscape. The kind of water you have, salt or chlorine, isn’t likely to harm your foliage, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Chlorine

Small amounts of chlorine are generally not harmful to grass and plants, but some greenery tolerates it better than others in Fort Worth landscapes. Most of the time there may be brown spots on plant leaves from chlorine exposure such as runoff or backsplash. But most homeowners don’t experience a problem during their natural day-to-day routines.

Saltwater

Some homeowners use saltwater in their pools, as it’s easier on your skin and eyes. But, not all plants do well when exposed to it. When the saltwater mixes with the soil (when draining, for example), the salt stops plants from properly absorbing the water. This dehydrates the greenery. 

When it comes time to drain your saltwater pool, drain the water straight to a laundry basin or shower drain in your home rather than a storm drain. Use a submersible pump and a traditional garden hose to move water from your pool to one of the drains in your home.

When it comes to plants, unless you experience a lot of oversplash when draining or drain straight into the soil, you aren’t restricted to salt-tolerant plants. But if you want some ideas, here are a few of the best plants to use near a saltwater pool in Texas.

  • Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides) is hardy and resistant to just about everything, including drought, heat, and salt. Its bright orange and yellow flowers create an attractive backdrop for your pool area that make these flowers a high priority among homeowners.
  • Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora) works great, as well. Also known as the sun rose for its vibrant pink flowers, portulaca is a low-growing heat-, salt-, and drought-tolerant plant that rarely needs watering.
  • Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a great option if you’re looking for shrubs. It is a Texas native and doesn’t shed much, so leaves won’t end up in the pool. If you need a smaller shrub, there are also dwarf varieties.
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander) is another shrub, or small tree, common in Fort Worth that looks great on poolsides. But it is poisonous, so you may want to stay away from it if you have pets. Oleander tolerates intense heat, poor soil, and salt spray. It grows wild in Texas and is often used in landscaping for the beauty of its flowers.

FAQ About Landscaping Around Pools

How Much Does it Cost to Landscape Around a Pool?

On average, and depending on materials and the size of the project, landscaping can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,317.

● Landscape design costs range from $2,204 to $6,182.

● Planting trees and shrubs costs anywhere from $25 to $3,000 per plant.

● Fences cost $1,330 to $5,550, depending on the variety.

How do you Landscape on a Budget?

Decorating and keeping up your dream landscape can be expensive, but if you’re smart with your decisions, it won’t break your budget. Here are a few cheap, easy ways to landscape on a budget:

Mulch: One of the best, most cost-efficient ways to add to your landscape is through mulch. On average, mulch costs $17 to $68 per cubic yard. There are even ways to get free mulch at certain locations.

Lighting: Adding some string lights to your backyard is a great way to create an enchanting atmosphere while keeping money in your account. Outdoor string lights cost anywhere between $15 and $50.

Beach pebbles: One of the cheapest resources you can use for a walkway or for putting around your garden is pea gravel or beach pebbles. These small stones cost about $1 per pound.

What are Some Low-Maintenance Pool Landscaping Ideas?

Pool maintenance is enough of a chore without adding landscaping on top of it. So what are some ways to landscape your pool without adding extensive hours to your workload?

Native perennials are great if you want foliage but don’t want the demanding work of non-native plants. Verbenas, Indian mallows, and succulents like parry agaves are a great place to start for pool owners in Fort Worth.

Hardscapes are a one-time purchase that require next to no maintenance after the initial placement. These include patios, pool decks, fire pits, and pavers. The only maintenance you’ll do semi-frequently is cleaning.

Container plants work well when you don’t want a full flower bed, but still want the colors of summertime annuals. Container gardening is also perfect for around pools as an extra decoration that can be moved if needed.

Bring in the Landscape Pros

We’re lucky to live in Fort Worth when it comes to pool landscaping. The heat can be overwhelming but it allows us to create a tropical paradise around our clean, inviting water when it’s time to cool off!

For additional help with landscaping or picking out the best plants to put around a pool in Texas, call a Fort Worth landscaping professional to get your poolside ready for summer.

Main Image Credit: Lars Plougmann / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0.

Carmen Dexter

Carmen Dexter

Carmen Dexter is a freelance journalist and teacher who enjoys growing her own organic food and recycling as much as possible.