En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Huntington Beach,, CA
Region: California
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for wall behind pool in Huntingdon Beach California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a backyard pool and I just removed a messy ivy hedge that grew along the back block wall. The plant was shedding too much leaves. I would like the new plant to hide the fence and grow close enough to the wall that it won't stick out more that a foot. The wall is about 3 ft from the pool, so whatever plant grows there needs to have a root system that won't affect my pool wall. I don't want plants in pots by the pool, tried that didn't work. Also a plant that is fast growing is desired. Thanks

ANSWER:

We were stumped for a while; we could not find a vine that appeared to be satisfactory for very southern California, and no shrub would tolerate being kept cut back so it only stuck out a foot. Then, we thought of grasses. We're not talking lawn grass that has to be mowed, these are grasses native to North America and to California that require little care beyond trimming them down to about 6 inches late in the winter. We chose grasses that are ornamental, hold their place year round and of various heights so you could arrange them as you chose. You didn't say how high your wall is, nor whether it was in sun or shade, but as you follow the links below, you should be able to find several that will suit your purpose. Grasses have fibrous roots, but not the woody invasive kind of root that would interfere with your pool wall.

Grasses for poolside in Southern California

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass) - 1 to 2 ft. tall, low water use, sun

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - 1 to 3 ft., medium water use, sun or part shade

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass) - 3 to 6 ft., low water use, sun

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint) - 3 to 5 ft., medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

Deschampsia cespitosa - 1 to 3 ft, low water use, part shade

Festuca californica (California fescue) - 3 to 6 ft., medium water use, part shade

Hordeum jubatum (foxtail barley) - 1 to 3 ft.

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - 18 to 24 inches tall, low water use, sun or part shade


Achnatherum hymenoides

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Calamagrostis canadensis

Deschampsia cespitosa

Festuca californica

Hordeum jubatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replacement for Kentucky grass in Colorado
July 02, 2012 - What kind of grass to replace "Kentucky grass"? It uses too much water. Need drought tolerant grass for the Rifle, Colorado area ("zip code is 81650"). Water bill is way too high, pushing over $10...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant native plants for Eagle Scout project in Urbandale IA
April 27, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My son is planning his Eagle Scout Project doing some landscaping for the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. The facility has asked him to use only plants native to Iowa. Can you su...
view the full question and answer

Non-native smoketree for California City, CA
June 28, 2010 - I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be a good or bad idea to plant a Smoke Tree (most likely European) in the vicinity of a septic tank. We are looking for something which will provide a...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix suitable for Houston
December 10, 2009 - Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping recommendations for site in Dubuque, IA
March 27, 2010 - I need a seed recommendation. Here are the variables: Location: Dubuque, IA (east Central Iowa) Soil type: Sandy to sandy and gravelly. Part is a riverbank facing east. Steep bank then flat to ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center