The Q&A Archives: Pool landscapes in lower south

Question: We moved into a house with a gigantic in-ground pool and deck area. We have some room for some shrubs and trees around the backyard, but I don't know what kind to plant. There are some coniferous trees/shrubs alreday planted. Can you give me some ideas of plants to fill in the gaps? The yard is western facing and gets full sun. I am looking for low-maintainace plants that won't drop a lot of leaves or be very messy. Thank you.

Answer: Since you have a large area and there are already some plants there, I would suggest you try to identify the existing plantings. The reason I suggest that is they may still be growing and may fill in the area once they reach their mature sizes. You might be able to have them identified for you by your local professional nursery staff, if you bring them an overall photo and close-up for each plant.

Once you have identified the existing plants, you might opt to add more of the same (if there is enough space to accommodate more once they grow)since this will give a coherent overall look to the area.

If you would prefer to add some variety, you might consider ornamental grasses. These are cut back short in late fall after freezing weather so would be considered low maintenance and virtually mess-free. Another option for hot sun might be daylilies (Hemerocallis), lavender, or sedum. These are low maintenance perennials.

It is difficult to make plant suggestions long distance. In addition to sun, you also need to take into account wind, soil, soil moisture, and the amount of space to be filled. Your local county extension and/or nursery staff should be able to help you with identifying plants that would do well around your pool. Based on a more detailed understanding of the planting site and your overall design goals, they should be able to make specific suggestions. Good luck with your project -- and enjoy your pool this summer!

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