Landscaping around the pool

Greetings,
I'm looking for ideas on what to plant around our pool.
The fence around it is 4 ft tall, and our soil is clay, clay and more clay (we're in Raleigh, NC). The fence is rectangular, 58' by 28', hugging the concrete deck. The plants would be "outside" the fenced-in area.
I'd like to find something that grows to about 4-5 feet (or can be easily pruned), looks good preferably year round, doesn't make much of a mess, and isn't too expensive.
Hints, suggestions most welcome...
Thanks!
-jav
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