Good pool landscaping ideas need careful thought, planning and preparation.
But worry not. We break down all you need to know about the different types of pool landscaping, from pool landscaping with rocks to pool ideas for privacy and shade.
The materials used – from paving, aggregates and decking, to decorative edging and the hard materials employed for in-ground pools – add texture and character to a backyard pool garden, marking out the structure and leading the eye through to the swimming pool and beyond.
The best time to undertake a pool landscape redesign is in winter, when the backyard is dormant. But the summer months are the time to analyze the ways in which you use the space and to understand what you need from your future design.
These backyard ideas will help you find the best ways to landscape around a pool and explain what you need to consider before you begin.
Pool landscaping ideas
From putting greens to privacy, these landscaping ideas add major value (and fun) to your pool area.
1. Plant on an island
Your pool landscaping ideas don't have to be relegated to the sides of the pool. For an original idea that evokes a tropical resort, bring the vegetation into the pool by stationing it on an island structure right in the middle of water, like at this Florida home by Brittany Farinas of House of One Interiors (opens in new tab). Want to go full paradise vibes? Use palms.
2. Use lighting to enhance the landscape
Lighting is the perfect complement to pool landscaping. It can emphasize certain features (try uplighting shrubs and trees) and enhance the overall ambience of a newly landscaped space.
String lights are a pool lighting idea that's more about form than function, but the ambience a set of bistro lights will add to your pool area is second to none.
If you're lucky enough to have a pool house, use it as an anchor point for your string lights, and stretch them above the length of the pool, like The Fox Group (opens in new tab) did, above. No pool house? Try filling the bottom of whisky barrel planters with cement, then inserting a wooden post to create a semi-permanent anchor point for lights. Don't forget to finish off the planters with soil and your favorite annuals.
3. Use planters to add personal style
Both your planters and the plants you put in them are a chance to add your personal style to your pool patio ideas.
'We like to include banana leaf trees and orchids to add a touch of nature, and high-design planters can be a creative way to show off one’s own personal style,' says Lance Thomas of Louisiana-based Thomas Guy Interiors (opens in new tab). Above, Thomas chose organic planters and unstructured ferns to complement the contemporary, minimalist pool design.
4. Include a putting green
Your pool landscaping ideas can offer more than just beauty and a bit of shade. Add recreation to the list by installing a putting green adjacent to your pool patio, like interior designer Breegan Jane (opens in new tab) did at her client's Southern California home, where the goal of the outdoor space was to 'surprise and delight.'
5. Use landscaping for privacy
Looking for a pool fence idea that adds privacy and beauty? Your landscaping can do the job if you plant high trees or bushy shrubs around the perimeter of your pool or property, a la this Florida property.
Another idea we love from this photo? The cabana. When you're brainstorming your landscaping and pool area ideas, don't forget to include a shady spot to retreat to when you're tired of sunbathing.
6. Invest in LED lighting around a pool
When considering pool landscaping, smart pool lighting ideas certainly have their part to play. A well-planned lighting scheme can do wonders for your backyard pool and shouldn't be an afterthought.
'For small cascades and fountains, direct underwater spotlights onto the plinth of flowing water, or run a color-changing LED strip along the rill from which the water emerges,' suggests Sally Storey, lighting director at John Cullen.
An impressive backyard pool is hugely enhanced when illuminated at night. Underwater lights can be halogen, LED or fiber optic, but they must be encased in waterproof, IP-rated fixtures.
Alternatively, solar garden lighting ideas, such as bulbs hidden in between evergreens or in containers create a soft glow.
7. Pick the perfect pool deck landscaping
Poolside deck ideas provide versatile and cost-effective ways to extend your living area into the outdoors. What's more, decking creates the perfect focal point for a low-maintenance yard, and is cheaper and easier to use than paving.
At its best, a sturdy, water-resistant timber deck is a handsome, hard-wearing pool area idea that complements most backyard pool settings.
But decks don’t only look good: other advantages include being relatively lightweight in comparison to stone, quick and easy to install and forgiving. Plus, timber can be cut to size to fit perfectly round awkward corners – perfect if you don't have a rectangular pool.
8. Add shade and privacy with ivy
In an ideal world our pool areas would be private sanctuaries where we could swim, entertain and relax away from prying eyes.
Yet, for many pool owners, the reality is quite different. Spending time outdoors can be like living in a goldfish bowl because there is nothing to screen their backyard pool from neighboring windows.
Smart garden shade ideas are great if you want to shield your pool area from the neighborhood and create shady coverage at the same time. A good place to start is with your pool fence or property boundary.
If you have an existing fence or trellis, plant ivy near the base to create a living privacy wall. No fence? Plant a deciduous hedge, or trail ivy up a wall using a trellis.
9. Landscape with rocks, trees and overgrown grasses
If you are not one for a traditional pool area, then consider a more natural landscape for your outdoor swim.
Today’s natural pools –or swimming ponds as they are often known –are welcomed into the border garden, whether in a formal setting of lawns, surrounded by flowers and grasses, or even made to look like a natural garden pond.
For a rugged appearance, take inspiration from creative rock garden ideas and lay down plenty of misshapen rocks, pebbles and limestone. The main highlight of a rock garden is the quiet, zen-like aesthetic they add to your backyard.
10. Highlight a rectangular pool with flower beds and borders
Whether you like raised garden bed ideas or you prefer planting straight into the ground, flower beds can make exceptional dividers for a garden path around a backyard pool.
This is especially the case when you bring tall, architectural plants into the mix.This smart garden path idea is a beautiful way to establish the boundary of a walkway and to zone off your pool area from the rest of the garden.
What's more, it will continue to offer color and structure throughout the seasons, even when the pool is not in use.
11. Set up a seating area around the pool
When considering pool patio ideas and other hard landscaping materials for a pool, your first priority will be to establish the functional spaces, from terraces and patios, to paths and borders around the swimming pool.
The expanse of an area and its use will dictate which materials are most suitable.
For instance, a hard standing for a table and chairs needs to be flat and stable, and you might want to keep granular aggregates, such as gravel or bark, away from the pool so they are not carried into the water.
12. Install a non-slip surface
While a pebble-dashed floor isn't entirely non-slip, it is certainly a less slippery option in comparison to stone slabs, pavers and decking.
Opt for an entirely smooth surface to avoid any nasty cuts on the feet and if your pool is indoors, be sure to include a professional drainage system.
Proper drainage will ensure that the water in your in-ground pool remains clean and protects your surrounding yard, deck, patio, landscaping, and homefrom possible water damage, erosion, and debris.
Plus, no one wants to be constantly mopping up water.
13. Landscape around a pool with grass
Your lawn serves as a huge source of air conditioning for your garden and also releases oxygen and simultaneously captures dust, keeping you and your family healthy, so it's a perfect option for near a pool area.
To reap the many benefits to the full, keep your lawn as healthy as possible and your lawn pays you back for all the work you put into it.
What’s more, your lawn needs plenty of water to encourage the roots to grow deep into the ground, and the best way to achieve this is to water deep. Try to water heavily, on an infrequent basis.
Plus, you’ll want to make sure the chlorine from the pool doesn’t sit on top for too long.
14. Use concrete as a modern alternative to stone slabs
Lusting after a modern industrial landscape? Durable, easy to clean and heat-retaining, there’s a lot to love about concrete flooring in a modern backyard.
Perfect for nailing the urban trend, it works best in contemporary spaces, but can also be mixed with plenty of greenery and colored foliage for a striking contrast.
While the use of concrete has become commonplace, it was once seen as an inferior material in comparison to stone. But if we can forget about it as a cheap substitute we discover that it has its own intrinsic qualities, as interesting as natural materials and very much more versatile.
Concrete is quite simply a blend of aggregates – sand and gravel or crushed stone – bonded together in a dense, stone-like mass by hardened cement.
This material has made possible incredible structures and surfaces. It is the cement that gives concrete its dull-gray appearance, and so the secret with in-situ garden paving is to remove the cement from the surface before it sets.
15. Mix materials around a pool
Large patio pavers have been gaining popularity in California in recent years, and it is easy to see why.
If you're wondering how to make your garden feel more modern without embarking on an overly expensive redesign, then you should seriously consider employing oversized patio pavers for the landscaping around your pool.
As far as backyard landscaping ideas go, large pavers are the opposite of discreet and that's exactly why we're seeing more of them in outdoor paving designs.
Bold and immediately noticeable, oversized paving slabs create an instant indoor-outdoor effect, because they emit the luxury look of indoor tiles – just outdoors.
What is best to put around a pool?
Paving slabs are one of the most common garden materials for landscaping around a pool. Paving or pavers are readily available as individual blocks, in a wide range of shapes, colors and sizes that can be laid in several pattern configurations. You can also buy specialist kits, such as circles,for patios.
Mostly made from pre-cast concrete or reconstituted stone, pavers can also be used for garden paths, terraces, steps and patios. They are also ideal for adding a large expanse in the same color/material. A matching path and patio area can be used to lead the eye through the garden or to an adjacent pool house.
What's more, pavers are mostly affordable, readily available and fairly straightforward to lay. Small pavers can be teased into curves, tight corners and organic shapes, and there are a good selection of edgings and borders available to complete the look.
Be aware that large pavers will need cutting. Tailor your design to limit the number of cuts at planning stage, and hire a slab and walling block splitter to ensure a neat job.
Choose larger succulents, like Crassula or Yucca, that offer a rich green color to the space while also serving as a barrier. Smaller succulents, like Aeonium and Sedum, offer more intricate beauty and can be used to fill in bare areas around the pool. They also mix within other plants.What is best to put around your pool? ›
Pavers. A classic choice for their durability, ease of use, and varied looks, pavers, and tiles are one of the most common pools coping options. There are many different stone materials used to make pavers, such as sandstone, travertine, and marble, and porcelain is another popular paver material.What is the best material to landscape around an above ground pool? ›
Paver stones are another popular way to surround an above-ground pool. Paver stones help keep weeds at bay and create a polished look around the pool. You can even use the pavers as a walkway and connect them around the pool for a pulled-together look.What plants keep bugs away from pools? ›
As a result, planting a garden near your swimming pool can help drive insects away. Some bug repellant plants to consider adding to your garden include mint, garlic, basil, rosemary, lavender, and citronella grass.Does chlorinated pool water hurt plants? ›
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us plants are not harmed by water treated with chlorine. Most of us have been watering our plants with chlorinated water for years and they survive.Is it better to mulch or rock around a pool? ›
Use rock rather than mulch in planting beds.
If possible, refrain from using mulch in planting beds in close proximity to the pool. Mulch can be displaced rather easily and, if used near the pool, will inevitably end up in the water. Save yourself the hassle by using decorative rock or gravel in its place.
Mulch and rocks are a low-maintenance grass alternative (as long as you weed periodically), and you can avoid the weed eater conundrum to boot. If you're going to do all of that work, you might as well add pretty shrubs, trees, or flowering perennials while you're at it.What must you never do around the edge of the pool? ›
Diving should always be done at the deep end of the pool, and never at the shallow end or anywhere in between. It is not unusual for children to suffer head injuries or broken necks because they tend to overestimate the depth of the water, then crash headfirst into the ground.How can I make my pool look expensive? ›
Invest in Some Luxurious Accessories
A pool without accessories is boring, not luxurious. Improve your pool's ambiance by investing in some professional lighting or a couple of colorful, outdoor rugs. Remove clutter by creating a nook for people to put away pool toys, pool floats, or towels.
The hardscape area around your swimming pool is called a surround, deck, or decking, even though it isn't always made of wood or composite, like traditional outdoor decks with which we most often associate the words. Traditionally, most in-ground swimming pool decks are made of concrete.
- Petroleum-based products. There are some online articles that suggest using petroleum products like Vaseline in the o-rings of the filter. ...
- Too much chlorine. ...
- Shock. ...
- Electrical devices. ...
- Food. ...
Limestone. The luxurious feel and look of limestone makes it a great choice for a pool deck. And there is a whole new class of limestones that have become more popular in northern climates, as they can withstand freezing and thawing conditions.What is the safest surface around a pool? ›
Certain types of pool deck materials become more slippery than others, so you want to avoid them as much as possible. These include smooth concrete, tiles, and polished natural stone. Instead, choose materials that offer natural grip properties, such as wood, brick, composite, textured concrete, or unpolished stone.What is the best surface around an outdoor pool? ›
Textured surfaces with low-heat retention are the best materials for pool areas for their non-slip gripping capabilities and burn prevention while being under direct sunlight. Composite decking will prevent the growth of algae while the stones in stone or concrete pavers are entirely waterproof.What type of mulch is best around pool? ›
Choosing the Best Mulch for your Swimming Pool Landscaping
Simply put, rubber mulch stays in place. It won't blow into the pool with other leaves or debris. Rubber mulch helps keep your pool clean and pristine, as well as the landscaping around it.
Resin. Resin pools are one of the most popular options because they really are the toughest, longest-lasting above ground pools you can find.What can I put around my pool to keep mosquitoes away? ›
Keep several citronella candles on hand.
Citronella is a natural mosquito repellent. Several candles placed around the swimming area in areas that are hard to reach for children and pets will add additional protection.
Epsom Salt Solution Insect Control– A mixture of 1 cup (240 ml.) Epsom salt and 5 gallons (19 L.) of water may act as a deterrent to beetles and other garden pests. Mix the solution in a large bucket or other container and then apply the well-dissolved mixture to foliage with a pump sprayer.What do water bugs hate the most? ›
Spray essential oils—Water bugs, like most insects, hate the smell of essential oils. Mix a few drops of citronella essential oil with water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. You can also use peppermint oil as another safe and natural pesticide option.Does leaving water out remove chlorine plants? ›
Yes, chlorine is fairly unstable and will gradually evaporate from water. However, many water treatment plants have begun using chloramine instead of chlorine because it is a more stable disinfectant formed by combining ammonia and chlorine.
Palm trees, wax myrtle, yaupon (tree holly), devilwood, live oak, willow oak, southern magnolia, eastern red cedar and Siberian elm are all great choices.What plants are sensitive to chlorine? ›
This includes dracaenas (Dracaena), ti plants (Cordyline), spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), prayer plants (Maranta), calatheas (Calathea) and carnivorous plants. If these plants are watered with heavily chlorinated water, it can cause the tips of the leaves to die and turn black.
River rock is a great choice for garden cover stone near a pool. It isn't sharp so it won't damage the lining if it makes it into the pool and it looks even better when it gets wet!What is the best ground cover for around pool equipment? ›
Use ornamental grasses and bushes to hide your pool equipment. If you choose the right ones, they'll grow wide enough and tall enough to completely conceal your equipment. Consider options like Boxwoods that grow thick, Japanese Holly that is super leafy, and ornamental grasses.Why do people put rocks around their pool? ›
First being that the crushed stone acts as a barrier from letting hard rains to penetrate underneath the pool wall and deteriorate the base. Second is that having crushed stone against the wall instead of dirt will allow water to dissipate and dry quicker.What can I put around my pool to keep sand from washing away? ›
During this process, building a retaining wall around your pool will help keep the backfill in place, helping prevent soil erosion around your swimming pool. In addition, it will keep other elements, like rainwater and runoff, from corroding the metal elements of the pool and gaining access to the sand bed.What can you put in a backyard pool to keep it clean? ›
Maintain 0.5–1 ppm of available chlorine
Re-test the chlorine level in the water each day you use the pool, and when necessary add 1 teaspoon Clorox® Bleach per 100 gallons of water; retest to ensure the correct level of available chlorine is achieved. Empty small pools daily.
Grass is soft and cool on skin, creating a relaxing sensation. Even with safety rules for your pool and backyard in place, accidents can happen when excited children play around a pool. No matter the surface, kids may run and get hurt if they slip. Natural grass provides a bit of a cushion for anyone who falls.What does proper etiquette at a pool look like? ›
As a rule, always keep a distance of at least one metre from the person in front of you when swimming. If you notice that the swimmer in front of you is too slow, leave their slipstream and overtake them. If you are overtaken, let the other swimmer pass quickly. Keep up your pace and do not rush.What not to do before getting in a pool? ›
Do not eat anything at least an hour prior to your entry into a pool. Mixing chlorinated water with food can result to an upset stomach. Apply a well-reviewed waterproof sunscreen/sunblock on all parts of the body (even those areas that are not directly affected).
An infinity pool, also called an infinity edge pool or a zero edge pool, is a reflecting pool or swimming pool where the water flows over one or more edges, producing a visual effect of water with no boundary.What is the cheapest backyard pool options? ›
Overall, vinyl liner pools are the cheapest inground swimming pools that money can buy. It's rare to find a pool builder who can build a concrete or fiberglass pool at a vinyl liner pool price.How do you plant around a pool? ›
Plants like bamboo, palm trees and hedges can create a natural fence to enclose the space and even create some shade. You also want to use a mix of plants to add texture to the landscape around the pool. Combining ornamental grasses, cactuses, flowering plants and other foliage will really help the design pop.What is the least expensive pool ideas? ›
- Set up a Stock Tank Pool.
- Buy an Inflatable Pool.
- Convert a Shipping Container.
- Construct a Concrete Pool.
- Build a Plunge Pool.
- Build a Wall-mount Pool.
- Create a Deck-style Pool.
Choosing lighter pool colors can create the illusion of more space and make your pool more of a focal point within your backyard. Pearlescent white shades or lighter grays and blues can really make your pool pop and stand out more!What Colour makes a pool look bigger? ›
Consider the size of the pool and area – In our experience light coloured pools tend to look bigger in smaller areas as they blend in and create an illusion of space. Darker coloured pools tend to have a defined line around them. This is great if you want to create clean lines or a reflection pool look.What is the most expensive pool material? ›
Concrete pools are the most expensive to build and to maintain. They take the longest to build. A concrete pool takes a few months to install. Concrete pools require the most hands-on maintenance of the three.What is the cheapest pool surround? ›
- Poured Concrete. Poured concrete is the surface of choice for most people with pool decks. ...
- Pre-Cast Cement Pavers. Pre-cast cement pavers are a welcome alternative if you're not interested in poured concrete. ...
- Brick. ...
- Wood. ...
- Natural Stones.
- Perfume, Sunscreen or Body Lotion. There is more to showering before entering the pool than the issue of cleanliness. ...
- Too Much Chlorine. ...
- Petroleum-Based Products. ...
- Impure Chlorine. ...
- Shock (At Least Not Directly Into Your Pool).
Running the Pump without Water
They will overheat and cause excess damage. Running a pump without water can also warp the lid, basket and the adjacent plumbing. If the pump continues to run without water, there is a high possibility of causing damage to the plate, seal and bearings.
Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity are the main balances to keep in check, so with a well stocked test kit at home you can make sure the pools water chemistry is in balance on a regular basis. You don't need one of everything!Which is better for around a pool mulch or rock? ›
The pool's special need for clean surfaces makes stone mulches useful. Where space is tight and mulch is likely to be stepped on, stone tends to stay in place and not litter the area. It won't break down into tiny, dirty specks that are hard to clean and stick to the bottom of wet feet.What shape of pool is best? ›
Rectangular pool shapes are universally the most common among all designs. While round pools are more communally social, rectangular pools are better for accommodating different groups of people. This is why most apartment buildings tend to adopt this shape for their pools, especially since landscaping is so limited.What is the easiest pool surface to maintain? ›
A fiberglass pool is not prone to growing algae, which is one of the main reasons why this pool is easier to maintain. Anyone who is looking for a pool that doesn't require a lot of maintenance may want to consider going with a fiberglass pool.What is the best material to cover a pool? ›
One of the most common materials used in manufacturing a pool cover is polyethylene, which happens to be the most produced and most versatile type of plastic. It is also known for its combination of light weight, strength and durability, that's why it is the base material of almost all pool covers.What should I put around my inground pool? ›
- Plant on an island. ...
- Use lighting to enhance the landscape. ...
- Use planters to add personal style. ...
- Include a putting green. ...
- Use landscaping for privacy. ...
- Invest in LED lighting around a pool. ...
- Pick the perfect pool deck landscaping.
Stone is the longest-lasting mulch, followed by landscape fabric. Black plastic and rubber mulch last a long time, and help with both heat and water retention in the soil, though they're also more expensive than stone or landscape fabric.What is the best base material for above ground pool? ›
Sand is the recommended base for an above ground pool, but not all sand is the same. Different types of sand are used for different applications. And it's important to use the right one for your above ground pool. Moulding Sand: Also called foundry sand, this sand binds together more closely when moisture is added.What do you put in pool planters? ›
Look for Plants with Large Leaves
Small palm trees, cordylines, flax plants, and large-leaved shrubs are ideal for the pool area.
Cover the ground from the pool edge outward 3 feet with smooth stones or river rocks. These will prevent grass and weeds from growing in the area, while allowing splashed water to drain through to the bushes and plants around the pool.
Palm trees, wax myrtle, yaupon (tree holly), devilwood, live oak, willow oak, southern magnolia, eastern red cedar and Siberian elm are all great choices.What plant makes a good ground cover? ›
We've included drought-tolerant plants like ice plants, sempervivum and creeping thyme, as well as beautiful blooms that thrive in shade like lily of the valley and dead nettle. Picks like the creeping phlox or creepy jenny are even sturdy enough to walk on.How do I keep leaves and debris out of my pool? ›
- Clean the Pool Often. The first and most obvious tip is to clean your pool as debris falls in. ...
- Check the Water Level. ...
- Throw in a Few Tennis Balls. ...
- Trim Nearby Trees. ...
- Use a Leaf Cover. ...
- Winterize Your Pool at the End of the Season.
Potting soil is essential, particularly for indoor plants, as it is soil that is lightweight and well balanced with organic material, peat, and perlite, and helps water drain out.What can I use for bottom of pool? ›
The two most common materials for the bottom of your pool are vermiculite and grout. Whichever material you choose, you'll apply it right on top of the soil with a round-edged pool trowel, and then the liner goes on top of it.What grass is good around a pool? ›
Zoysiagrasses in general are known for their salt tolerance; they're a great choice in areas where salt water is a concern. TifTuf Bermudagrass is also salt tolerant.Should I put mulch around my pool? ›
It won't blow into the pool with other leaves or debris. Rubber mulch helps keep your pool clean and pristine, as well as the landscaping around it.How do I look classy in the pool? ›
Choose your bathing suit based on the look you are going for, and pair it with shorts, skirts, dresses, cover-ups. kaftans and kimonos or accessories like flip flops (I much prefer leather sandals for a more elegant look), wedges, and necklaces. Don't forget your hat, beach bag, and sunglasses.