Plants for privacy in a planter abutting a pool

rayadawnMay 6, 2011

Hello! I would appreciate some opinions on a matter. I am in Zone 9 in Southern California. I have just purchased a house that has a pool in the backyard. It is a long skinny rectangular yard. The pool takes up about 2/3 of the yard and has a planter running all along the back side of it. The planter is in fact, abutting up against the pool itself. They share a wall. The planter is about 5 feet wide and 30 feet long. On the other side of the planter is a 6 foot tall cinderblock fence.

On the other side of the fence is an ugly view that is visible all over my house. I would like to block this view as much as possible with tall, pretty, pool friendly foliage.

I would like suggestions as to what I may be able to plant there that would be the least likely to danage the pool and the most likely to provide much needed privacy.

The pool plumbing is all on the other side so I'm not concerned about roots getting at it. I just want somehting that will not put the pool walls themselves in danger. Looks-wise I would prefer tropicals.

Another note, the pool is at least 30 years old, and the planter currently contains 3 citus trees, a grape arbor, random flowers and weeds. These seem to coexist with the pool just fine, but they don't help at all to improve the view / provide privacy.

Thank you!


Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You might want to look at the listing of plants for planting near pools in the plant selection guide portion of the Sunset Western Garden Book.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:18PM
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Pics from the house of the pool, planter wall and unwanted views would be a big help for others trying to make suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 3:58PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

It would also help to know what direction the planter is from the house: i.e., if adding something tall at the property line, would that shade the trees in the planter, the pool, etc.

Is the 30' of the planter the entire width of the backyard? If not, what's along the rest of the property line, and does that area also have a view that needs to be blocked?

Is 6' the legal limit for fences in your area, or could more be added (for instance, another 2' of lattice)?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 5:10PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Just an FYI, the link to your picture provides access to all your pictures. I don't know if there is a way to put just one photo on here rather than a link to your album. From Photobucket you use the HTML tag, but I don't know your site.

What you probably need to do for your privacy plan is to sketch in your mind the plant shape that would most help to block the view you don't like - a big umbrella, a bamboo-like grove, a spreading shrub... and then learn what plants can be induced to take that shape or will do so naturally, and which of those in turn have the root behaviour that will work for you. Also, as MTO has mentioned, would added height on the fence with some material or other (even fabric has its moments!) do the trick?

What we always say about view blocking, though, is that distracting the eye can be more effective than you'd expect. If you make the planter something you want to look at, even if it's not high, it may make the view beyond that less of an irritant.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 8:16PM
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Thank you for your replies and ideas so far. I will take the pics that you have asked for and post them shortly.

To answer aquestion, the 30ft is on the span of the entire yard. There is another 20ft or so adjacent to the pool that is a patio area. It also has an undesirable view.

Can the fence go higher? Yes, I think it can fo another 6" inches or so and I also have about 2' of lattice on top of the current fence. I plan to rais the fence up too.

Stay tuned for more pics, and THANKS!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 4:47PM
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Hello Again. Thank you all for your feedback. Here is a link that shows the backyard.

Can anyone tell me if palms would be ok here or if they might break the planter / wall?

Here is a link that might be useful: MORE PICS FROM HOUSE TO BACKYARD

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:26PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

USDA zone 9 covers a lot of territory in southern California, and isn't as helpful as knowing your location and Sunset zone. Palms are useful next to pools, because they can be safely used next to pools and walls, if the size of palm is chosen correctly. I'd stick with clumpers for full sun that tend to keep sending up new trunks, for maximum screening, rather than taller growing single trunked species. Clumpers might include Phoenix reclinata, Arenga engleri, or Phoenix roebellenii planted as multi clumps. Schefflera tupidanthus is also very commonly used as a pool side screening plant, but it does have more aggressive roots and only plant this if in the very center of the planter with at least 2 feet clear to each planter wall. Strelitzia nicholai is also very commonly used adjacent pools in southern California, but also needs sufficient root room as it is also aggressively rooting. Stay away from things like Queen palms, which will be all trunk and no privacy too quickly. If your climate will allow planting and growing success of Chamaedorea plumosa, this is another palm that is often grown as multi's and of good scale for gardens, like a mini Queen palm. Slower growing, but a great foliage accent palm, might be Brahea 'Clara' or Butia capitata. These last two palms are also much more drought tolerant and less demanding of fertilizer than the others. Phoenix reclinata in particular, always seems to need a boost of palm fertilizer with micronutrients to keep from looking yellow foliaged, but is a super tropical and dense growing palm with leaning trunks.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:07PM
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