In some areas of the country, January means snow, ice, and staying indoors. For those of us lucky enough to live in a more forgiving winter climate, we still strive to keep our outdoor spaces thriving, welcoming areas to enjoy and entertain. Even for us, winter landscaping for your pool area requires a bit more planning and care, in order to achieve success.
Pool landscaping requires plants to be a bit on the hardier side, able to withstand an environment that sees a lot of traffic, chlorinated water, and frequently wet conditions. In addition, it’s advisable to look for plants that won’t create a lot of debris that can end up in your pool, clogging your filter and leading to poor water quality, damaged equipment, and a less inviting pool. If you still can’t resist those leafy plants, focus on those with larger leaves that will be easier to clean than smaller ones. you’ll still need to be committed to diligent skimming, especially if you don’t employ a pool maintenance person.
Succulents in general are always an excellent choice for pool areas, being much less likely to create debris. Agave, aloe, yucca, haworthia, lithops and sempervivum are examples of plants that require little maintenance, and grow best in full sun in a hot environment. Cactus species are easy plants to care for, but you’ll want these in low traffic areas, to minimize the threat of bodily harm. This will also keep them further from the water source, since they require little water to thrive. Palms can aid in creating an inviting tropical feel. They’ll offer a shady canopy to relax in, and do well either planted in ground, or in pots for easily moving them around. Queen palm, windmill palm, pindo palm, Mexican blue palm and Mediterranean fan palm are some varieties of cold-hardy palms suitable for winter temperatures.
Ferns prefer moist, shady, low traffic areas. Broad-beech ferns, sword ferns and stag-horn are all pool-friendly examples. Ornamental grasses such as horsetails, ornamental blue fescues and Japanese blood grass do well in large pots, which will keep them from spreading, and adding perennial flowers to the mix can provide a colorful focal point.
Birds of Paradise, canna lilies, red Ti, elephant’s ears and some species of bromeliads are all popular tropical plants that do well near pools and provide colorful variety. These will all thrive in the humid micro-climate created by your pool. As a bonus, most tropical flowers aren’t incredibly attractive to bees, which is great for your activity areas.
Many types of cold-hardy bamboo are available, though they should be placed away from the water to avoid excessive debris. Colocasia has large, broad leaves which are easy to clean up, and handle colder temperatures well. Similarly, the cold hardy banana tree called “Musa basjoo” is an alternative to palms if you prefer something less common. Hostas are another easy to care for choice with easier maintenance needs.
Sedum are able to survive both hot summers and cold winters. These drought tolerant ground cover plants are ideal if you live where rainfall is scarce or prefer not to water too frequently. Lily-of-the-valley are especially cold tolerant ground cover plants as well, with a nice fragrance and small white or pink flowers.