How Far Does a Pool Need To Be From a Tree?

Whether planning new landscaping around your existing pool or designing a new outdoor space entirely, you must seriously consider the placement of your trees. Although you want a lovely, verdant area around your pool, you don’t want to filter leaves out of the pool daily. 

A pool needs to be at least fifteen feet (4.57 m) from a tree. When planting new trees as part of the landscaping of a pool, situate them at least six feet (1.8 m) from the pool deck. Choose varieties that are minimally invasive, such as evergreens and holly trees. 

While trees are nice to look at and offer shade on hot days, planting trees too close to your swimming pool can bring a host of costly problems. Keep reading to learn the safest distance to plant trees from the pool, which varieties you can plant safely, and what to do with leftover stumps. 

Backyard In-Ground Swimming Pool on a Sunny Summer Day

The Safest Distance To Install a Pool Near a Tree

The general rule for installing a pool near a tree is to stay a minimum of fifteen feet (4.57 m) from the tree trunk. While some trees offer a majestic addition to the landscape where your pool will sit, other trees are not essential and should be removed. Here are three considerations when choosing whether a tree stays or goes:

  • Plenty of sunshine in the pool space is essential. If there are trees that block the sun or cast too much shade in the afternoon, the best decision is to remove them. A pool contractor will help you track the sun’s path to ensure no trees are blocking that sunny pool area you want. 
  • Tree debris will inevitably fall into the swimming pool when it sits near the pool area. Dropping acorns or fruit would be a problem. Some leaves and debris will inevitably fall into the pool on occasion, but removing them daily is what you want to avoid. 
  • The cost to eliminate a tree before pool construction is less than after pool installation. If you can avoid the possibility of damaging the pool deck and the pool itself by removing trees before construction, this is the best option. 

Common Problems Trees Cause Near Pools 

Leaving or planting trees close to your pool can look pretty, but their roots, leaves, and other debris can cause significant damage to the pool structure. From invasive tree roots to annoying leaves that sink to the pool bottom and clog the filter, here are some problems trees cause when they’re too close to pools:

  • Trees house insects and small animals. Having bees and other insects close to the pool can lead to stings on those swimming nearby. Additionally, bug droppings can land in the pool. If you want to avoid the possibility of someone getting stung and having an allergic reaction, remove any trees within fifteen feet (4.57 m) of the pool.
  • Roots can cause structural damage. They can compromise your home’s foundation, stop up the septic system, and spoil the integrity of your pool structure. When you look at a tree top, envision the same expanse below the ground for the tree roots. Tree roots grow toward the water, which makes having them near the pool problematic.
  • Dead or diseased trees are sometimes difficult to identify with the naked eye. Sometimes, it takes a heavy storm to show you that a tree in your yard is dead. When that tree ends up in your pool, you will have a mess on your hands. 

Trees To Avoid Planting Near a Pool

You want your swimming pool landscape to be appealing, and this often includes trees as part of the landscape design. However, not all trees are suitable for a pool area. Knowing which trees cause the most problems will help you avoid future issues. 

Suitable trees can make your pool space stand out in the backyard, while the wrong ones will cause more problems than they solve. Avoid planting these tree types near your pool:

  • Walnut
  • Pine
  • Ash
  • Elm 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Cottonwood
  • Oak 
  • Poplar
  • Pine 

You will undoubtedly want flowering and leafy trees to make your outdoor space look inviting, so feel free to include these trees as part of your landscape design near the pool:

  • Citrus 
  • Banana
  • Holly
  • Evergreens like arborvitae, Leland cypress, and spruce trees
  • Windmill palms
  • Oleander
  • Ornamental grass
  • Succulents like cacti

There are likely other suitable varieties that are native to your region. A landscaping professional will help you choose the ideal trees for a pool area. 

What To Do About Tree Stumps Near the Pool

As you evaluate the pool space for your backyard, you might be wondering about what to do with tree stumps. After all, tree stumps are usually dead and won’t drop leaves in the swimming pool. So, should they stay or go?

When tree stumps are in the zone where the pool is slated, they will need to go. Other nearby tree stumps should also be dug up and removed because they will eventually rot and leave an unsightly hole in the ground. 

The best action is to have the tree service leave three feet (0.91 m) of the stump behind. This can help the pool contractor gain enough torque on the tree to pull the stump and root out of the ground. Since an eighteen-inch (46 cm) wide tree trunk has a root beneath the ground as large as half a truck bed, they will need plenty of torque to remove the whole root ball. 

tree trunks need to be removed from the area surrounding the pool


Trees perform crucial functions like providing shade and vibrant, green leaves, but they can also damage your swimming pool area in several ways. Protect your pool investment by following the guidelines of how close trees should be to your pool and selecting plant varieties that won’t drop excessive leaves or grow roots into the pool structure. 

Remember to remove any nearby stumps since they will rot and leave a hole in the ground or detract from your pool’s appealing view and aesthetics.