Pool Landscaping Ideas

Use these landscaping ideas for an eye-catching pool space — at home!

Backyard pool at night illuminated to highlight the pool and its surrounding landscaping.

Few backyard additions are more exciting than a new pool (especially if your kids have been asking for one every day for years). But rarely do homeowners think past the installation to the entire backyard pool experience. So, when all is said and done, you may now have a gorgeous swimming pool, surrounded by...dirt. 

While it’s possible to do a bit of pool landscaping while installation is ongoing, you’ll definitely need to decide on the size, shape, and location of your landscaped area first.  

Then, you can join forces with a local landscaper or contractor to help design the space or take the good ol’ DIY route. Whichever you choose, you can turn your pool area into a refreshing backyard destination. 

Landscaping Your Pool: DIY vs. Contractor?

A capable DIYer may be able to handle some of the smaller landscaping tasks around a pool (think accent plants and stone pathways). However, the more complicated your project, the more you'll probably want a licensed professional to help. This is especially true for projects involving rock walls, lighting, or concrete surfacing. 

When it comes to cost, contractors charge differently in each region, usually according to the scale and time the project requires. If you need help finding a reputable landscaping contractor, check with a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. They can likely refer you to experts who can help with landscaping. 

Landscaping for Above-Ground Pools

Above ground pool with a wooden deck and surrounding trees.
Image: DigiStu/Getty

Some homeowners mistakenly believe landscaping options around above-ground pools are limited. But options range from decks to lighting, and they can make your space beautiful and distinctive. 

Building a deck that leads up to your above-ground pool will add usable space and decoration while making your pool easier to access. Adding painted wood sides to the pool will create a modern design and feel. And throwing in LED lighting can spice up your pool at nighttime. 

Landscaping for Rectangular Pools

A small, rectangular swimming pool in the backyard.
Image: Linda Raymond/Getty

If you’ve chosen a rectangular swimming pool, you’ll have a lot of pool landscaping options. Flower borders are a popular pool idea. You can use them on nonslip surfaces in your pool area to add a touch of class and the comfort of a garden. They also make your pool feel lively during the summer months. 

Rock landscaping is particularly effective with rectangular pools. Since the pool shape is simple, you may even be able to DIY these projects fairly easily. 

Plants for Pool Landscaping

Modern, secluded swimming pool with waterfalls and surrounding plants in a backyard.
Image: Thomas Bullock/Getty

Flower borders aren’t the only plant options for pool landscaping. You can also consider grass borders if you think flowers may require too much maintenance or attract insects. 

Trees and shrubs are not only beautiful but they can add privacy once they’ve matured.

Each option will require some maintenance, so hiring a gardener or landscaper may help you manage long-term care.

Stones for Pool Landscaping

Backyard swimming pool with surrounding rocks and plants
Image: oday222/Getty

Stones, in their many shapes and sizes, are another popular pool landscaping idea that adds fresh touches to your backyard design.  

Using natural stone, such as granite, adds the benefit of a nonslip surface that makes it safer to walk around your pool. 

Other materials, such as bluestone, allow for different designs and paving styles that add fun and creativity to your pool landscaping. 

You can also blend natural rocks and stones into other landscaping ideas, such as flower beds, to create a mix. This variety will make your pool space look more natural and interesting. 

Pool Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

A backyard swimming pool and hot tub at night with lights around the fence.
Image: ucpage/Getty

If these ideas sound as if they’d put a dent in your wallet, no worries. There are plenty of landscaping ideas for your pool that are affordable and fun.  

LED lighting is a cost-effective choice for any pool. It’s inexpensive and highly customizable, meaning you can design the right lighting setup for your space. You can easily change colors, wattage, and location. 

Another simple pool landscaping idea is a privacy wall. These walls add the benefit of making your space feel secluded while also increasing the appeal and value of your pool’s landscaping

Before you know it, you’ll have turned your backyard into the ultimate summer hang spot and be sending invites to your first barbecue!  

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