Hi Emily, I would not put plants to close because any water splashed out will have chlorine in it and probably kill them but you could do something like tile, gravel or anything that will not be polluting the pool.
I think it is a good idea for gravel around an above the ground pool. My son has one, but he built a deck around the entire pool. You walk up steps and it is really nice.
I have an in the ground pool with a surrounding concrete deck. Water splashes all over constantly. Of course it has chlorine in it. A neighbor put white gravel around her entire pool telling me we could never grow grass. IT IS NOT true. The chlorine does not hurt my YARD FULL of green grass.
I layed flat rocks around my pool!! Had a bunch of them that I used around my flower bed and just used the extra ones for that!! They look nice and keeps the kids from dragging in grass and dirt when going off the deck and back, especially when retrieving toys they use while in the pool that gets hit or nocked out. Hope this helps you!!
Yes I agree with the other responses. Rocks or rubber mulch is the way to go. Landscaping/plants wont survive the chlorine when the pool water splashes out. Or build a deck around the pool.