How to Design Your Pool and Surrounding Landscape

Pools are the focal point of backyards, so it’s important that the design and surrounding landscape is safe, functional, and attractive. 

Whether you need to improve an existing pool and landscape or if you are planning to install a new pool, there are many considerations to factor in during the design process.

In this article, we will cover:

1. The aspect of your pool

Ideally swimming pools should be positioned in an open sunny position without large overhanging trees. It should provide enough sunlight for a warm, inviting pool.

Consider how your home or landscape may cast shadows onto the pool when deciding where to position the pool and trees. The pool should be sheltered from the wind, yet catches the sun.

2. Level and proximity

Think about how you will use the pool and the area around it. Pools need easy access for relaxation as well as entertainment areas and play areas to entertain friends and family.

Consider the level and proximity of the pool to the residence, entertaining areas, and active play areas. Being able to see the pool from the house is essential if you have kids.

3. Size and scale of the pool

A good pool design makes the best use of the available space, while giving enough room to have areas for other activities. The pool is only used seasonally and families will need space during the colder months to play, relax or gather socially.

Consider the size and scale of the pool as a proportion of the available yard space to allow for other activities. If your yard is small or oddly shaped, an efficient landscape design will make a huge difference.

4. Colour and texture of the pool side tiling

Dark tiles or pavers retain heat compared to very light-coloured tiles or pavers that reflect a lot of light. Either are a compromise so choice will depend on personal preference. Tiles or pavers can be hotter underfoot and some can have a lot of glare.

The texture of the tile or paver is also important. Ensure the texture is suitable for wet area, is not slippery, and not too coarse for bare feet. The texture of pool tiles should not pull on swimming costumes when coming out of the pool.

5. Pool interior finishes

Select the pool interior finish to gain the water colour you desire, and the feel of the interior lining. Certain finishes are better for maintenance, but comes at a price. The most common interior finishes for a concrete pool are plaster, aggregate, and tile. 

Each come in various colours that will impact the look and feel of the pool. Some finishes have a reflective quality and may give the appearance of a natural lake or pond. Other finishes have a timeless beauty that works well with classic pool designs, while a pebble finish can create a tropical or lagoon-style feel. From Art-Deco to Mediterranean to Modern, there are many pool interior finishes to consider to complement your pool landscape.

6. Supervision of pool side areas

To ensure everyone can enjoy a safe time in the water, pool designs need to have safety in mind. Adult supervision within the pool enclosure will keep children safe. Ensure you can see every spot within the pool area by removing obstacles such as trees, pot plants, or objects that may block the view of the water. A comfortable seating area around the pool, outside the splash zone will allow adults to actively supervise children while relaxing.

7. Adjacent areas and access from the pool

Adjacent areas to the pool should be incorporated in the landscape design. Zones should flow easily and naturally, connecting the pool to the rest of the backyard. Access to these areas should also be considered. Areas may include active play areas, entertaining areas, residence, maintenance and filtration areas.

8. Filtration and equipment areas

Filtration and equipment areas need planning so they are functional for maintenance works and hidden from view. Pool equipment and filtration can be noisy, so consider positioning them away from entertaining areas and bedroom windows. 

9. Plant selection for screening and privacy

The right plants around a pool can create a private oasis that provides screening and privacy. When selecting plants, consider plants that will suit the type of use you expect the pool to get.  Think about the leaves, flowers and fruit it may drop as well as the invasive nature of the roots. You may need to consider the area between the pool and the fence to ensure that the plants here do not outgrow their space. 


10. Cohesive design

Meld the pool, landscape and residence tastefully, with the careful design of paths, lawns plantings, cabanas, decks, shade structures, lighting etc for a cohesive design. A well-designed pool and landscape will provide an aesthetically pleasing vista as well as a practical active area, with a seamless extension of the house from the indoor living areas to the outdoor living spaces.

The pool and landscape design process should be a pleasure and not a chore. Although the are many factors to consider, a well-designed pool and landscape is a value added asset to the house.

The Landscape Company has been designing swimming pools and landscapes for over 43 years and would be happy to assist with any inquiry to help create your vision. 

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