What to do for groundcover in bed near a pool? Please help!

glitter_and_guns(7)February 16, 2014

I am slowly plodding along in reclaiming the much neglected yard that I bought, but I need some more advice. I have a pool with a retaining wall behind it and a berm above that. I am tackling that as my "fix this area" project for the start of the season. My plan is to section off most of the area along the retaining wall to about a 4ish foot depth and make it all a big bed. Some decorative shrubs (thinking sages) maybe a dwarf tree somewhere. Not much in the line of blooms, mostly texture and color. I need advice about what to do for ground cover. I initially thought I would stone the whole area, but it is really going to be more than I want to spend and is going to be harsher looking than I want. Then I thought about mulch, but I am convinced that it will blow into my pool and make a disaster. I looked at rubber mulch but the cost is pushing me to look something else.

So I am thinking some kind of ground cover. My experience is with Ohio ground cover and it won't help me here. Any ideas for something that will tolerate lots of sun, once established won't need to be watered/babied, bonus points if snakes don't want to live in it. I would like something that will grow quickly. I don't want to be looking at a mess for 3 years waiting for it to come in.

I am attaching some pictures so you can see. I am open for all suggestions. Pool remodel is coming in a few months, so that part will look better. Hopefully I will get the rest of the privacy fencing up before the end of this year.

And one of the area with green grass - a lot of the random past their prime plants have been removed.

Thank you all so much for any suggestion!

This post was edited by glitter_and_guns on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 14:01

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PKponder TX(7b)

You mean behind the retaining wall, right? I cannot recommend mexican feather grass enough. It wants almost no water once it's established, tops out at 18 to 24 inches and would look great with the yuccas and Texas Sage. It's not messy and looks soft. The added bonus is that it readily reseeds and can be divided. The only maintenance for me is to occasionally divide but that is because I want to expand it's area. In late winter when I start to see green, I put on gloves and pull out the dried stuff with my hands.

I've never found snakes in mine! I like to look at what the freeways are landscaped with that looks nice to me when I am looking for drought and heat tolerance.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:30AM
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glitter_and_guns(7)

Thank you so very much! I am going to pick up some to try. I think I am also going to try some sedums (unless someone here tells me not to). That is a great idea about checking out the areas around the highway. I put in a bunch of St. Augustine which I will be babying - I just can't see planting beds that need babied, too. But I have to admit that I do love my St. AUgustine. I should probably hang my head in shame at admitting that, huh? Such a boarding water hogging choice. But it just says "home" to me.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 3:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Around pools the main thing is to have plants with large parts that won't be sucked into filters.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 4:22PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Mondo grass might be an option.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:15PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

My sedums do so well in shade, I wasn't sure how they would fare in hot sun. They may be fine, I just don't have much sun.

This post was edited by pkponder on Tue, Feb 18, 14 at 9:58

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:39PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I forget about this ground cover until I see it's beautiful little blue flowers (blooming right now). You may want to take a look at creeping veronica.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 3:22PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I dunno', but having had a pool I think the practical thing to do is pave the narrow area between the retaining wall and the pool with something like round paving stones and egg rock in between. People are going to be stepping on any ground cover you might plant and breaking stems off.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:02PM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

If the area you're thinking of planting is between the pool and the retaining wall, I'm with Roselee - a ground cover may be trampled.

Carrie has her pool "framed" on one side by Tropical Giant hymenocallis (white spider lily). The leaves are a stunning glossy green all summer, with pretty white blooms (I think in early summer). They do freeze in the winter, but they are a care-free plant that is gorgeous by a pool.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tropical Giant

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:21AM
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realfroggie(z8 TX)

verbena may be a nice flowering option...my thyme has done very well with no care for over a year now...makes a pretty (and useful) edging

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 10:51AM
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alameda/zone 8

I just read a post on the website called Dirt Simple, blog by a landscape designer. Saw a house she did with a beautiful groundcover called pachysandra. I have no idea if it would do well in Texas but it looked great. Might be worth looking into. I might be more inclined to have installed something like cool deck or some other sort of paved material. Plantings that close to the water might get debris in it while being maintained. Paved area would also be good for seating, table with umbrella, lounge chairs. Do large pots of color. Once the paved area is in - you're done. Then do some beds on top of the stone wall with whatever you enjoy gardening with. I probably would do old garden roses, daylilies, annuals and perennials but that's just my taste. A clipped boxwood edging would lend an air of formality - then on the poolside of them, do an edging of white begonias [the kind that like sun] or white periwinkles or angelonia. Lots of possibilities - the pool is lovely.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 1:39AM
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glitter_and_guns(7)

Thank you all - and I should have written more clearly. I mean above the wall on the berm area. I put in St. Augustine last summer around the pool itself and cannot explain how much I love it. The heat here is terrible in the summer and our pool area is so much cooler for having grass instead of cement. We have a large patio area "this side" of the pool, so seating and all that has a place. I am just trying to "pretty up" the area above the wall while not adding any more work for pool maintenance.

So I went to Archies in Ft. Worth and grabbed a couple of trays of Angelina Sedum and I am going to start with that - I am hoping that I got the soil amended enough that they will live in the clay that we have here. If they look positive in a couple of weeks I will go out and buy a bunch more. I think I will end up doing a mix of ground cover up there just because the area is so big. Thinking maybe some silvery lambs ear might look nice against the yellow/green of the Angelina Sedum.

I am taking a look at every single plan that has been mentioned here as I have a HUGE area to deal with up there - I measured it finally - most of the bed will be 6-8 feet deep and it is over 100 feet long. Ugh. I guess I know where you can find me if you need me.

Oh, and a bit of a review for edging. I need to edge at least the back side of all of this area and the metal stuff that would normally be my go-to was just so expensive for this big of a space. I ended up buying Suncast Eco Edge ($20 for 20 feet of it) in brown and got 3 sections of it put in yesterday - It is still new but I am REALLY happy with the way it went in and the look of it. If anyone needs a cheaper edging option, you might look into it.

Again, thank you all so very very much. I am working so hard to learn Texas plants! I should have paid more attention to my great grandmother when I was a child. She could convince a stick to bloom in the middle of the west Texas sun.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:21AM
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