pool with flowing water surrounded by plants, 2 glasses of wine overlooking a pool and lavender-filled landscape, and chaise loung chairs by a pool with beautiful topiary shrubs, roses and bougainvillea

Make a Splash with These Poolside Plant & Décor Ideas

Even before summer has kicked in, the Valley can experience excessive heat warnings. While it's unsafe to be spending too much time outdoors during heat waves, there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy our backyard pools in summer. However, for a space that we spend so much time enjoying, pool areas often get neglected when it comes to decor. Wondering how exactly to plant nearby or ways you can decorate a pool area? We’ve got you covered! Try these poolside plant and decorating ideas.

Luxury pool overlooking desert mountains with potted plants, seating and an umbrella.

Poolside Plants

It goes without saying that plants are needed to help blend the patio and pool area into the rest of the landscape. Container gardens, potted plants, and even in-ground garden areas will help to beautify and naturalize the swimming area. But what are the best plants to put around a pool?

The main factor for whether a plant is suitable for the pool area is whether it will shed a lot of debris that might blow into the water. Any plant that’s fit for a life on the patio can be situated near a swimming area, but avoid those that drop cones or seeds.

We particularly like succulents, like aloe and yucca, as they’re great choices for full-sun areas and they don’t leave behind any debris. Tropical plants, like sago palm and bamboo palm, will contribute to a beachy, paradise feel.

Just remember, plants sitting near the pool are likely sitting in full sun and receiving additional light that’s reflected from the pool. Keep an eye on their irrigation, and protect them during heat waves.

A totem pole cactus growing in the desert near rocks and other plants.

Our Top Picks for Poolside Plants

Accent Plants

  • Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrel cactus)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora varieties
  • Lophocereus schottii (totem pole cactus - pictured)
  • Muhlenbergia rigens (deer grass)
  • Yucca varieties

Low Shrubs and Ground Covers

  • Drosanthemum varieties (ice plant)
  • Lantana montevidensis (trailing lantana)
  • Melampodium leucanthum (blackfoot daisy - pictured)
  • Myoporum parvifolium (prostrate myoporum)

A closeup of white blackfoot daisies and one yellow flower.

  • Rosemary prostatus (prostrate rosemary)
  • Ruellia brittoniana “Katie” (Katie ruellia)


  • Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean fan palm - pictured)
  • Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
  • Phoenix roebelenii (pygmy date palm)

Mediterranean Fan Palm growing near other palms and shrubs.

  • Trachycarpus fortunei (windmill palm)


  • Asclepias linaria (pine leaf milkweed)
  • Calliandra californica (red fairy duster)
  • Carissa grandiflora (boxwood beauty)
  • Convolvulus cneorum (bush morning glory)

Mexican Bush Sage in garden.

  • Dodonaea viscosa (hop bush)
  • Justicia spicigera (Mexican honeysuckle)
  • Lantana dwarf bush varieties
  • Leucophyllum varieties (Texas sage)
  • Rhus ovata (sugar bush)
  • Rosemary officinalis (upright rosemary)
  • Ruellia peninsularis (desert ruellia)
  • Salvia greggii (autumn sage)
  • Salvia leucantha (Mexican bush sage - pictured)
  • Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba)
  • Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)
  • Tecoma stans varieties (Arizona yellow bells)

Red berries growing on the mastic tree.


  • Acacia aneura
  • Acacia salicina (willow acacia)
  • Pistacia lentiscus (mastic tree - pictured)
  • Quercus virginiana (live oak)

For more even more poolside plant suggestions and maintenance tips, check out the University of Arizona’s article on Plants for Poolside Landscapes.

Outdoor Lights

Outdoor lighting is a must-have for pool areas here in Arizona. When it’s far too hot to even be outdoors during the day, nighttime swims are sometimes our best option! For safety reasons, you want your pool area to be well-lit—and the added ambiance is a major bonus. We love the look of solar-powered string lights zig-zagged above the pool or draped along the patio wall. Pot lights or tiki-torch-style lights are also great choices, depending on your style.

A lush desert backyard with lounger and a variety of shrubs and trees, surrounded by lights.

Pool Chairs

With functional poolside seating, this outdoor space can be enjoyed for much more than just swimming. Reclining lounge chairs are perfect for sunbathing, reading, or sipping a cold beverage on a sunny afternoon. Choose a few colorful cushions that match your outdoor design scheme to help pull together the aesthetic. Don’t forget to add a beach umbrella for shade!

Poolside Storage

Although poolside storage is more of a functional addition, it’ll still help to clean up the area and keep it tidy. A weather-proof storage box is perfect for storing toys, floaties, cushions, blankets, and anything else that you don’t want lingering around for someone to trip over! Bonus: place it close to the seating area, and it doubles as a table!

Something else you might want to store by the pool: cold drinks! Incorporate an outdoor cooler or fridge in the deck design for fewer trips to the kitchen and more time lounging poolside.

A table and chairs for poolside outdoor dining.

Outdoor Dining Area

Love dining al fresco? Integrate an entire outdoor eating area with your pool deck for the ultimate outdoor living space! With the barbeque close by, you can grill outdoors while keeping an eye on the kids swimming. Finish the outdoor dining area with a table and chair set to match your lifestyle. Whether it’s an elegant dining set or a simple picnic table, it’ll serve a function and contribute aesthetically to the area.

Add Outdoor Decor

Finally, add in any other decorations that you think will contribute nicely to the poolside area. This could be as simple as sprucing up the deck with an outdoor rug, or as intricate as installing a rock wall. Think about what will really unify the area—for example, an elegant stone feature or accent boulder might complement your patio pavers nicely, while a hammock or hanging egg chair might tie together a relaxing, beachy outdoor oasis.

Two egg chairs hanging near a pool.

When deciding on poolside decor, you want it to be both attractive and functional. Keep in mind that there should be quite a bit of open space around the pool—overcrowding will make the area look too busy, and may become a safety hazard. Still unsure about what plants to put around the patio? Stop into one of our Arizona locations! Our staff would be happy to help you decide what's best for your pool area...

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