You did it! You bit the bullet, invested the money, and installed the backyard pool of your dreams.
Now, you can’t wait to dust off the giant inflatable swan, grab your favorite summer read, and relax under the sun.
The only problem?
The area around your pool leaves much to be desired. There’s loose ground everywhere, weeds popping up, and zero privacy to boot.
The good news? It doesn’t take much time, effort, or money to transform this space into the oasis of your dreams.
Today, we’re sharing a few of our favorite pool landscaping ideas to get you one step closer to creating a haven that your family can relax in for years to come.
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!
Plan Your Design
Before you begin, take the time to consider what you want the finished landscaping project to look like.
Do you envision a tropical escape, full of oversized, flowering plants in all colors of the rainbow? Are you more of a modern homeowner, favoring sleek lines and minimalist touches?
Or, do you want to focus more on physical components, such as slides, patios, or gazebos? Think about what’s most important to you and how you intend to use the space. Will it be the focal point of your backyard or a fun add-on?
You may also take into account your home’s exterior materials, and ways you can use those in and around your pool. For instance, you may install a brick walkway near your pool using pavers that match the back of your house.
Ultimately, your pool is an extension of your property and the home you’ve created. Let your personal style dictate your landscaping approach, keeping in mind how much maintenance and upkeep your desired look will require.
With that step under your belt, you’re ready for the fun part! Next, we’ll discuss some of the most popular and proven ways to landscape your pool.
Choose Your Plants
When chosen wisely, plants are the perfect addition to the land surrounding your pool.
Tall shrubbery acts a natural privacy shield, meaning that your neighbors aren’t privy to your every move each time you decide to go for a dip.
They also help to make the pool look more established, softening the harsh lines of its exterior and allowing it to blend in with its surroundings.
Yet, not all plants are equal. Some will enhance your pool while others can detract from it. Let’s take a look at a few to consider and which ones to avoid.
Deciduous vs. Evergreen Trees
The idea of floating under a giant maple tree might sound appealing, but you’ll be whistling a different tune as you fish out all the fallen leaves every morning. The same goes for pine trees, which drop spiny needles.
Above all else, look for low-maintenance, evergreen shrubs and trees. Avoid deciduous ones, which shed their foliage in autumn. Fruit trees and most flowers are other no-gos due to the bees they’ll attract.
Broadleaf plants, such as Japanese Hollies, are ideal alternatives. They’ll give you the height and shade you want, without fear that you’ll get pummeled in the eye during a game of Marco Polo.
Other Plant Alternatives
While green, foliage plants are top picks, they can lack vibrancy. If you do want to plant flowering shrubs, look for ones that don’t have prickly leaves.
Also, try to plant a few different varieties that bloom at various times of the season. This way, when one is losing its blooms, you still have plenty of colors.
Ornamental grasses and fescues can also work here. They have a shallow, non-invasive root system, which means they won’t interfere with your pool’s foundation.
Not sure where to start? Here is a short list of trees, shrubs, and grasses that are as attractive as they are functional:
- Sky Pencil Holly
- Blue Fescue Grass
- Hardy Hibiscus
- Purple Ice Plant
- Elephant Ears
- Zebra Grass
These varieties make great pool plants, though you’ll need to see if they’re appropriate to grow in your specific region. Some may not be cold-hardy enough to survive the chillier winter months.
Another fuss-free way to add interest and privacy around your pool is to invest in a few strategically-placed potted plants!
Place these along your pool deck to help break up the space, add visual appeal, and improve shade where possible.
When it comes to these plants, the same guidelines apply as above.
Seek ones with broader leaves that are least likely to shed. While flowering shrubs are common choices in this spot, place any with thorns or spiky leaves away from high-traffic areas such as pool steps.
One of the best ways to fill your planters is to apply the three-step system that most landscapers swear by. Start by filling your pot with a “thriller.” This is your tallest, most dynamic, and most eye-catching plant.
Then, add a “filler.” This is a medium-sized plant used to add dimension and help fill in the space around the thriller. Finally, plant a “spiller.” This is normally a creeping vine that can grow down and around the planter as time goes by.
This helps add interest to your potted plants and provides a variety of hues all year long.
Pool Landscaping Ideas for Safety
In addition to plants, you should also consider poolside landscaping designs that keep safety top of mind.
Fences, lights, and patios are key features that are simple to install but enhance the usability and security of your space. Let’s take a look.
Of course, any backyard pool will need a safety gate. In most countries, a self-closing and self-latching gate isn’t a suggestion, but a legal requirement.
To help you discover more about your local guidelines, the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) put together this state-by-state list of state, county, and country codes.
Some gates can also serve as privacy walls, while others will be more ornamental in nature. If you don’t love the look of one going all the way around your pool, you can soften it with climbing vines. Some of the most appealing, trainable vines include:
- Trumpet Vine
- Dutchman’s Pipe
- Climbing Hydrangea
All of these are perennials, which means you can count on them to come back and offer gorgeous hues year after year.
Train them to grow up and around your gate to mask any materials you’d rather not have on display. Make sure, however, to keep all latching mechanisms plant-free for easy access.
Nighttime swims can be invigorating and tons of fun, but they also leave participants susceptible to slips and falls. To mitigate this risk, be sure the area is well-lit.
Install a lighting system that illuminates your pool deck, pathways, pergolas, and shrubbery. These might be downlights, which shine from an elevated surface, ground lights, or a combination of both.
Work with your contractor to determine the best lighting solution for your layout. You may also install LED pool lights in the water to add both ambiance and visibility.
Concrete Patios and Other Accessories
Sure, a slick tile pathway leading from your pool to your deck may look beautiful. However, it doesn’t mix well with slippery wet feet.
To keep your space as safe as possible, opt for a concrete patio that offers more traction. Y