Swimming Pool Landscaping: Grasses
When trying to determine how to landscape swimming pool areas, homeowners often overlook the benefits of grass. This is because most people assume that the term “grass” refers to the turf grass only, and this just isn’t the case. There are several different types of grasses that won’t work for turf but does add some character to the area around the swimming pool (such as those around the patio or the pool edging). Adding grass to the pool landscape provides many benefits - including improving the appearance of the area and even acting as a privacy screen.
Several species of ornamental grasses - including miscanthus, blue fescue, and blood grass - will add color to the pool’s landscape with their brilliant foliage as well as help soften the look of concrete edges. This creates a more inviting appearance improving the look of the concrete lines.
Miscanthus contains about 15 species of ornamental, clumping grasses that grow in our region. Growing between 3- and 12-feet tall, this sun-loving grass produces small, yellow blooms, and tolerates dry soil.
The blue fescue (Festuca glauca) does produce blooms but is generally grown for its stunning blue-green to blue-gray erect blades. The blue fescue grows best when planted in full sun but can handle partial shade and only grows to about 12 inches high.
Another option is Japanese blood grass (Imperata Cylindrical). This attractive plant features green blades that are tinged red along the tips. They grow in full sun to partial shade and reach heights of 2 to 4 feet.
Flowering grasses not only have attractive foliage, they also feature blooms to bring a new level to your swimming pool landscape. Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), for example, is a drought and heat tolerant plant. It reaches 3 feet tall when not in bloom and 5 feet tall when the stiff purple spikes appear. It grows best in full to partial sun, needs only the occasional watering once established, and acts as an effective erosion control.
Pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is another flowering grass that works well around swimming pools. This full sun to part shade-loving plant reaches 2 to 3 feet tall. The wiry dark green leaves give way to masses of airy pink or pinkish red blooms that float above the grass foliage in the fall season.
Related: Planning Your Swimming Pool Design
Any plant you choose for around your swimming pool should be low maintenance and produce little to no litter. There may be nothing more annoying than having to clean the pool more often because the plants growing around it litter the water with blooms, leaves, seeds, and other organic debris.
Image: A Project by Landworx; see more here.