If you and your family spend a lot of time in your pool, update the landscaping around it to create an even more pleasant place to relax. Create an area around the pool for entertaining guests and for just hanging out after a tough day. Choose the right plants and landscape features to minimize your maintenance effort. Here are some landscaping ideas to get you started in designing your perfect backyard oasis.

Choose Your Plants Wisely

Look for bushes and container plants that give you a variety of sizes, grow in low sun and shade, and look good in winter months, too. With the right plants, you can have an attractive backyard to look at when the seasons change and you can't use the pool.

These bushes provide good cover for the ground and any eyesores in your yard:

  • Oakleaf hydrangea - This shrub has large oak tree-shaped leaves and large white flowers that turn pink in the fall.
  • Ogon spirea - This is a tall bush with narrow, bright green leaves that keep their color year round.
  • Emerald gaiety ("wintercreeper") - This is a tall groundcover with green and white leaves that form a reddish blush on their edges in winter.

Container plants give you an advantage in that you can move them to change the look around your pool. These low-maintenance potted plants can be used throughout your pool landscaping as highlights or borders:

  • Green mountain - This is a tall bush that looks like an evergreen and keeps its dark green leaves year round.
  • Emerald arborvitae - This is a medium bush with soft, dark green leaves that keep their color in winter.
  • Coneflowers, ferns and coreopsis - These are colorful perennials that contrast against the green bushes.

Add to this list your favorite annual flowering plants in pots for color and you are ready to design your backyard pool area.

Block the Eyesores

Use your plants to conceal mechanical equipment and utility boxes to soften the look of your yard. Hide such items as gas meters, electrical meters, cable boxes, and phone company boxes. Plant shrubs around the pool filtration equipment but leave a small path from behind leading to the area for maintenance.

Create Borders with Plants

A landscaping company can create an attractive stone path from your back door to the pool. Line the path on both sides with a variety of potted plants to create a relaxing stroll on the way to the pool. Consider solar-activated lights along the path for those after-hours trips to the pool.

Use the taller bushes to create a wall between the pool area and other parts of the yard such as kids' playground equipment or your vegetable garden.

Design a Place to Relax and Entertain

Place outdoor benches, tables and chairs in an area between the pool and your deck or backyard. Use the taller bushes to create boundaries and plenty of potted plants to add color to this area. Design a path from this area to the back door making it easy to bring food out to the gathering area.

If you like to entertain at night, install some soft white pole lights in the sitting area and light up the path to the house. Instead of the traditional picnic tables, use small round bistro tables to create a more intimate atmosphere.

Put some thought into the activities you like to do in your backyard and pool. Work with a landscaping company like McDonald Garden Center to make your yard and pool an attractive getaway place for your family and friends.