Answer: I share your concern about liquidambar. The roots will extend out about one and a half times the diameter of the canopy so as it matures, the roots will invade the pool area. These trees will drop their leaves in the fall and will probably end up in your pool. You might consider evergreen rather than deciduous plants. Italian cypress would be suitable for the area you describe. They're reasonably litter-free and will grow tall enough to provide a privacy screen with growing too wide for the planting area. A second suggestion is a row of Thuja (arborvitae). These plants have a tall, narrow growth habit and are relatively maintenance free. Ficus is nice but has terribly invasive roots. Ornamental pear is susceptible to fireblight which, as you've experienced, can eventually kill the tree. Wish I had more suggestions for you. Best wishes with your privacy screen!
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