To planter, or not to planter...that is the question

Hi All!

This is my first post on TFP, although I have been reading threads for the past few weeks. I have really enjoyed looking at everyone's projects!

We have already selected our pool builder and we love our design! We are just not sure if we should put in these planters, or if we should take them out of the design.

The original design has a planter on both sides of the steps into the pool. We do like the way they look, but are concerned that the plants in them may block the view looking onto the patio while we're in the pool, even if we put in plants that won't get very tall. We will have seating on the patio and I don't want it to be weird if we're trying to talk to someone on the patio and we can't see them over the plants!

We are slightly concerned about dirt/mulch ending up in the pool, but I think we can put river rocks on top of any dirt/mulch and prevent it from going into the pool.

Last concern, I know the plants will look great in the spring/summer/early fall, but I don't want the planters to look terrible during the cold months! We would try to select plants that are hardy, etc.

Here are some pics of our design and 4 pictures showing planter vs. no planter. The designer took out one of the planters so we could compare with or without.

Please let me know your thoughts! Keep the planters or get rid of them?

Thanks for your help! :D

Pool plan.jpg

Pool views.jpg

planter 3 .jpg

planter 2 .jpg


Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!

I rarely comment on the design items, but I would not want dirt/plants that close to my pool. A hard rain will almost assuredly put dirt/mulch in the pool.

Are you willing to discuss your equipment setup? We are very willing to give you our input on your equipment setup, how you plan to chlorinate, etc.

Take care.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
Grand Rapids, MI
As someone who manages a lot of forest debris in my pool, my vote would also be for independent planters. Use that space as a side table/mini bar, place to set drinks, put the kindle, set your phone, etc ;) Especially since you have a tanning ledge right beside it!


Platinum Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 9, 2014
Houston tx
I would get rid of the planters and extend the steps all the way across. Steps make for good conversation areas for people who might not want to get totally wet. With the planters, I think it makes your pool entrance seem constricted.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
The closest planter to my pool is 4 feet away, and still an alarming amount of dried leaves and flower petals end up in the water. I also vote for no planter.

Use that space to mount the water cannon. :mrgreen:


Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
Houston, Texas
I would get rid of the planters and extend the steps all the way across. Steps make for good conversation areas for people who might not want to get totally wet. With the planters, I think it makes your pool entrance seem constricted.
Welcome to TFP, Baylorbear02!!! :wave: Marla took the words out of my mouth! I agree completely with the others, too, about nearby planters adding debris to the pool. Anyone who knows me, knows I love steps, and Marla gave you the best reasons for extending the steps all the way across. Perfect for function and design.

I can't read your dimensions on my computer, but if you have the room, I would make the rise of those steps at about 6" each. That would probably add a couple of steps, and it would give a lovely dramatic look to the entrance. I never win on this suggestion, but there are lots of reasons for having low rise steps. I have the 6" steps and everyone loves them - young and old, athletic and mobility challenged people, etc.

Feel free to ask for help as mentioned above regarding equipment, and any other question you may have. Even the best builders do a lot of assuming and don't always stop to ask what you prefer. There are a million choices in building a pool, and TFP has experienced advice and opinions for each one of those decisions!

What part of Houston are you in? We're having an early summer this year in Houston! My water temp is already at 84 degrees which I love!

Take care,


Bronze Supporter
Apr 25, 2017
St. Louis, MO
Another "no" vote. In addition to the issue with debris, people sitting on those sunken benches will have the planter wall at eye level on two sides, and will be pretty cut off visually from the pool deck. Plus you can't put an arm on the pool edge while sitting there.


Well-known member
Aug 23, 2017
Manvel, TX (Houston)
I’d vote no planters. If you want plants put them in nice decorative pots in the space instead, but you then won’t be restricted as to always having them. If it’s a salt pool I’d be worried about splash out being next to the stairs and ending up with plant killing salt levels after while.

17.7k gal, 98 ft perimeter, IG quartz, 3HP EcoStar VSP, 1.5HP TriStar Dual Speed, 725 sq ft SwimClear Cartridge, Rainbow chlorinator, Paramount clear O3, Pro Logic controller, 500k BTU heater, AquaVac 500, Spillover Spa, 3 sheer waterfalls, 3 bubblers.


Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 18, 2009
Jacksonville, FL
I vote no planter, however if you really want a planter then put one. The reason I would vote no planter is simply we used to have a few plants around the pool and now we have replaced them with concrete statues. Plants always seem to dirty my beautiful pool water:cheers:


Silver Supporter
Jun 3, 2017
Spring TX
We had a planter bed that was sunk behind a pool in our previous house. Even through it was lower than the pool we’d find mulch and sometimes dirt ended up in the pool.

An an alternative would be plants like hostsa’s that could be planted covered with a weed barrier and then use round stones to top it off if you really want planters

Otherwise I’d 86 the planters.

On our new buuild I kept all dirt and mulch over 5 feet away and used Mexican beach pebble in the buffer zone between the pool deck and grass.


Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
Central MD
I LOVE landscaping around our pool. You can see pics of it in my build thread in my signature. However I am not a fan of planters next to the pool for all the reasons above.

However, I am a big fan of large pots. They can be moved for the off season or even for events. And the planing material can be changed easily too. Not pots necessarily for those spots by the steps, but for general consideration. I prefer large pots because they hold more water and need less watering. I do though live where it rains unlike some. You also need to consider how the water running from the bottom of a pot will look running across your deck. Our are near drains though in fact I don’t worry about that.