2 Low Maintenance Pool Landscape Design Options

backyard pool with little grass and a lot of gray patio

The first thing you think of when designing your backyard pool scape is not usually the maintenance.  You will focus on the beauty of the swimming pool, the layout of the terrace, and the water feature most likely.  Maybe you have a general idea of how you want the landscape to feel. However, until you get further along in the process, you just don’t know.  Well, that time has come and you need to figure it out.  How do you create a low maintenance pool landscape design?

Low Maintenance Pool Landscape Design

If you want a low maintenance pool landscape design, you have many options. Depending on the aesthetic you desire, there are plenty of routes to choose. We’ll explore our two favorite and most widely-adopted designs in this article. These are the synthetic lawn and xeriscaping.

Grass Method: Synthetic Lawn

The first consideration should be whether or not you’re willing to use synthetic materials. Here’s a pool with a synthetic lawn. courtesy of Austin Water Designs.

Luxury white pool with low maintenance pool landscape design surrounding featuring a brown fence and green turf grass

Before you run for the hills and close this article, bear with me.  Artificial grass has come a long way, and if you’re willing to use it in your property it can greatly reduce the maintenance costs and frustration of a lawn. 

Depending on where you live, this may be the difference between a lawn filled with ticks, spiders, and bugs, and a lawn which you don’t feel nervous about walking on in bare feet.  Like all manufactured products, keep in mind synthetic lawns will need replacement every 10-15 years due to wear and tear of being a lawn.

Rock Method: Xeriscaping

Next, there’s the concept of xeriscaping. Here’s an xeriscape pool, courtesy of California Pools.

Desert backyard with brown xeriscaping as a low maintenance pool landscape design

This method of landscape design first became popular in the American southwest and throughout Australia. Instead of an irrigated lawn as the base material in the backyard, sculptural boulders and assorted gravels are used as a surface treatment. 

If irrigation is needed it’s generally drip irrigation at each individual plant, but much of the time native species are used which can withstand dry spells and survive just fine. Xeriscaping can be used anywhere. Although, you’ll need to be conscious of the fact that you’ll have weeds growing wherever you have water and sunlight.

Things To Avoid For A Low Maintenance Pool Landscape Design

When considering a low maintenance pool landscape design, it’s important to avoid plants with a lot of flowers.  Flowering plants like bougainvillea and azaleas are beautiful around pools and in landscapes in general, but the flowers drop constantly and can be a real frustration. Likewise, fruit trees should be avoided for both their flowers in the spring, but also their fruits later on. These not only drop in the pool, but draw in birds and lead to a messy pool deck in need of regular cleaning.

low maintenance pool landscape design in a simple backyard with small brown rock patio and green turf

Understand What’s Unique About Where You Live

When basing your landscape choices on maintenance you also must take into consideration the design elements outside of your control.  In Arizona, you need to be prepared for the sand storm covering your backyard with dust. This is just plain going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. However, if you plan to be able to hose off your landscape with ease by placing hose bibs around your property, it makes life that much easier.  

If you live in Texas, you probably have live oak’s covering your backyard. This means you’re in for a massive load of pollen, leaves, and so on.  Live oaks seem to never stop dropping something. However, you can’t go cutting down live oaks. In fact, they’re protected in most municipalities. You’ll need to coexist with your natural environment. Additionally, do what you can to reduce debris load in your pool.  Sometimes this means hiring an arborist to do some creative pruning. Other times it may mean going through the process to have problem trees removed.

If you live in the northern climate where you close your pool with a winter cover, you also ought to consider when you close your pool.  You should never wait until after the leaves fall. If you do, you’ll have to contend with the massive leaf load of all the surrounding trees dropping into your open swimming pool.  Timing is everything when it comes to avoiding this unnecessary frustration. Perhaps those last few days of fall swimming are that important to you. Trust us we understand, just make sure you invest in a good pool cleaner.

Low Maintenance Pool Landscape Design Summary

Whenever you are planning a low maintenance pool landscape design, take the time to research the plants you hope to use.  Try not to get too attached to any plants until you understand how they drop debris, and what they’re like around a pool.  If you need some input from someone local who will have a good idea what to avoid, try your local pool service company. They will at least be able to tell you what not to plant.