Two brown lounge chairs sit by a poolside, surrounded by lush greenery and plants, with rocks forming a border along the edge of the water.

Low Maintenance Pool Landscape Design

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Owning your own backyard pool is a dream come true. You probably thought about it quite a bit over the course of your life before deciding to make that dream a reality.

But did you know that landscaping can increase the value and enjoyment of that investment without incurring much additional cost?

And that’s not simply in terms of money. You won’t need to strain your back with landscape maintenance either. Just like you made the dream of pool ownership a reality you can have a beautifully landscaped area around it too. And you’re about to find out exactly how to do so in the most labor and cost-effective way possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Plant choice is important, there are a lot of plant options to choose from. If you are looking for low maintenance options you want to stick to certain plant groups.
  • Naturally hardy plants like cacti, succulents, evergreens, wild flowers and ground crawlers are perfect options for making your garden look great while not needing much upkeep.

Plants are a big part of any garden but you can break up the space and create visually appealing features in your backyard that also do not require much ongoing care.

  • Rock Gardens
  • Boulders
  • Walkways
  • Lighting
  • Fire pits
  • Pergolas

Choose the Right Plants

Plants may well be the best possible option when looking for a high return on a modest investment of time, effort, and general pool maintenance chores. In theory, all it takes is some dirt, water, sun, and time. Though on a more practical level, you’re going to need to make sure that you’re using the right plants for your environment. As long as you’re using the right plants you can easily turn your outdoor space into a lush oasis of green plants and beautiful blue water. It can be a natural area perfectly attuned to both the larger environment around you and your own personal tastes. Of course, as with any pool-related cost you’ll also need to calculate your budget and figure out what you can afford. Viking Capital offers affordable pool financing to ensure you can make your dream pool a reality yet keeping it manageable with easy monthly payments.

Ground Crawlers

Ground crawlers are similar to grass in some respects. They don’t typically need a lot of work to maintain. But at the same time, they’re also resilient to foot traffic. That’s not to say that you’ll want people walking through ground crawlers on their way to the pool. But if small children run through them or you need to recover a ball it’s not the end of the world either. And of course, more caution will be needed when handling the plants if they’re flowering. In short, ground crawlers are a nice way to spruce up an area with greenery without making it off-limits for guests.

bee balm in the garden
Able to cover a big area of the ground, a crawler can be an ideal solution for covering certain spaces. All that is needed is trimming to keep them contained.


The humble cactus is the poster child for self-sufficient plants. Anything that can survive in a desert can stand up to a lot. But despite how tough they are, many types of cacti have a unique beauty to them that can act as a perfect complement to your pool area. The beauty is often even enhanced through contrast with the pool itself.

A landscape with both pool and cacti creates a feeling akin to an oasis in the desert. But you can also work with the cacti’s natural theme by implementing other desert-adjacent elements. For example, you might incorporate a cactus into a rock garden or even a boulder-focused design. The only caveat to cacti is that you need to be a little careful about how they’re positioned. You want to make sure that people in bathing suits are nowhere near a plant’s sharp spines.

cactus and rock garden
You can’t get a plant much more low maintenance than one that survives in the desert with little to no water!


Standard lawn grass is an obvious possibility for your pool area. If your pool is in your backyard then there’s a good chance that you’re already making use of it to some extent. But you can take that a step further with ornamental grasses. There’s a tremendous amount of variety to these plants. Though they typically have a somewhat feathery look and feel that can act as a complement to other landscaping options. Ornamental grasses are a great way to add some beauty to an area without needing to put a tremendous amount of work into upkeep.

grass around a pool with tiles surronding it
Probably the most common backyard feature is a lawn, depending on your space these will be either low to moderate in maintenance requirements.

Wild Flowers

Wildflowers are a great way to create a more casual feel in your pool area. The exact look will obviously depend on which wildflowers you go with. But as a general rule, wildflowers will create a calming or even “cottage core” feel. If you’ve ever wanted to recreate the feeling of swimming in a country lake in your own backyard then wildflowers might just be your answer. They’ll often even attract butterflies and hummingbirds for that extra dash of colorful natural appeal.

home garden with wild flowers in bloom
One of the most ‘natural’ options you can go for is a wildflower garden, these are stunning when flowering but can be lowlight areas for the rest of the year which needs to be considered.


Succulents are a type of plant that is extremely good at storing water. As such they’re also quite low maintenance. You’ll find succulents in a variety of different forms. They can range from shrubbery to delicate-looking specimens with long and graceful stems. Succulents are also fairly flexible in terms of how well they can be adapted to fit different size restrictions. This makes them a good match for areas where you need to fill some space but lack options to clear the area any further. However, it should be noted that some succulents do have spines. This is rarer than, for example, with cacti. But it is something to take into account when matching succulent to space.

many varieties of succulents and cacti in a rock garden
Like cacti, succulents are very hardy and take very little care to keep alive.


As their name suggests, evergreen trees provide you with a beautiful view of greenery throughout the year. And on top of all that they’re generally extremely easy to maintain. Those two facts alone would earn them a spot on the list. But the plants also have another important feature that comes free of charge. Evergreens are a great way to implement landscaping for privacy. That beautiful greenery doesn’t just give you a great view of nature. It also creates a natural wall to keep prying eyes from looking in when you’re enjoying your pool. And being ‘evergreen’ means they are low maintenance since they will look the same whether you are well disciplined with a watering schedule or you just water them whenever you remember. 

garden with swimming pool and ornamental trees
Not having to worry about a plant browning or wilting makes it a great choice for a backyard where you can’t always dedicate much time to maintaining it.

Potted Plants

Potted plants can work extremely well in a pool environment thanks to their inherent portability. Most of the options for pool landscaping aren’t easily changed once they’ve been laid down. But you can easily move potted plants around as needed. Whether that’s to suit your mood, add some additional privacy, or just because you wanted a change in scenery.

many potted plants placed around the edge of a swimming pool
This is an extreme example but potted plants around your pool always look good and have the benefit of being portable for swapping in and out any that aren’t doing so well health wise.

Building on a Solid Foundation

Plants are one of the best low-maintenance and generally inexpensive landscaping choices. But there are some other great options out there. Even better, many of the following landscaping options integrate perfectly into the overall aesthetic created by plants.

Rock Gardens

When it comes to low maintenance it’s hard to beat anything that involves landscaping with rocks. Even the most resilient plants need a little extra care to keep them healthy. But rocks can last millions of years while still maintaining their natural beauty. And in the context of landscaping, you can enhance the stone’s picturesque quality with the addition of plant life. A combination of complementary colored plants can create a stunning rock garden that doesn’t require much in the way of cost or maintenance.

small rock garden with plants flowering in it
Rock gardens not only look good, they are easy to look after as they naturally challenge weeds to grow and any that do make it through are easy to spot and pull out.


Smaller rock gardens are great, but boulders have their own unique beauty. And apart from a rock garden setup a boulder is about as hands-off with the maintenance as it gets. But one of the best things about boulders is that they can enhance other features like a smaller rock garden. For example, you might use a boulder as the centerpiece of a rock garden. They’re also a great tool to create walkways.

garden next to a pool with boulders featured in it
You can’t get much more low maintenance than a rock! These are visually appealing and a great landscaping option to add to your backyard.


Walkways are essentially created by just ensuring there’s free space between two other landscape elements. For example, if you have wildflowers in one area you can position some boulders some distance away from them to essentially make a corridor for people to walk through. It’s an element that often comes free of both monetary and maintenance costs when you’re working within the context of a larger landscaping project.

stone path with wooden stepping stones
Adding a path is a way to add something that is both practical and eye-catching, it also creates a space that often requires little maintenance.


Lighting can be used in a number of different ways. Adding lights around a pool is one of the easiest ways to enhance its natural beauty. The sight of moonlight reflecting on a still pond has been an iconic element in art for most of human history. And lights can produce a similar effect. What’s more, they can also be used to enhance the beauty of other landscape design elements. And their overall cost for electricity and maintenance is negligible.

lights hanging from a pergola
Positioning lights around your pool and garden is an easy low maintenance way to dramatically change how it looks.


metal firepit in front of a pool
Even when not in use, a fire pit adds visual appeal to your garden space.

If you’re a seasoned camper you might be surprised to see fire pits described as low maintenance. But poolside fire pits have a huge advantage over campfires. The most popular fire pit ideas take advantage of the fact that you have ample access to fire barriers. In short, fire pits automatically contain the debris that’s normally a problem with standard open fires or fireplaces. The amount of time and effort needed to maintain a firepit is trivial in comparison.

stone firepit with a semi-circle stone bench
A fire pit area is an easy to maintain space in your garden that is still usable even when not having the fire going.


simple wooden pergola next to a pool
Pergolas use relatively little material and require little to no ongoing care. They are perfect for highlighting a space in your backyard.

Pergolas generally act as a support structure for other landscaping ideas. Of course, there’s some inherent beauty to the pergolas themselves. But their magic really comes from enhancing that intrinsic beauty with an optimal choice of companions. You can use many of the previous plant options with pergolas. But Pergolas are typically paired with vines to create a living wall of sorts. One that doesn’t require much work to maintain.

modern metal pergola on a deck next to a pool
Pergolas an affordable and great way to frame a space and create something eye catching.

Make Sure You’re Moving Toward a Design That Really Speaks to You

You now have all the pieces needed to create the perfect pool landscape design. However, that’s somewhat akin to having the paint and an easel in front of you. It’s time to create a greater whole from those tools. Think about how you can organize the landscaping options that sparked your interest within your own pool area. Take notes, sketch out some ideas, and make a solid plan for the perfect landscaping design. And after doing all your homework and you expect your landscaping project to exceed $15K, financing is available, just fill in our online form to get a free consultation from one of our loan specialists.

This blog is based on information available at the time of publishing and for the purpose of sharing information with the public related to swimming pools and projects that can be financed through Viking Capital. Although we strive to be complete and accurate, it is not information that is verified or maintained. It should not be relied upon for making financial decisions. An investment such as a swimming pool is significant. Viking Capital recommends consulting with a financial professional regarding your financing decisions and with pool professionals regarding pool options. To learn what financing options are available for you today, please apply with Viking Capital and you’ll receive your free loan consultation. Click Here to Apply.

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