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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


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


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



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