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

Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
May 24, 2012 - We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this...
view the full question and answer

Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
July 13, 2008 - I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will no...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a steep bank in South Carolina
January 09, 2010 - I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank. The bank is on the side of the gravel road I cut back into the woods and around a 36" pipe going under the road to allow the free flow ...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss for Mason County, TX
August 19, 2009 - I am interested in planting buffalo grass at a ranch home in between Mason and Fredericksburg, TX. I've read buffalograss doesn't do well in sandy soils, which this area (Hilda, TX) seems to have a ...
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