Pools alone add to the entertainment value of your backyard, but landscaping transforms the space into optimum outdoor living. Your landscaping options include softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping comprises living elements (i.e., plants), and hardscaping refers to the non-living components, typically hard surfaces such as stone, metal, and wood. Let’s look at some pool landscaping ideas that include both soft and hardscaping.


Above any other considerations, functional spaces around your pool are a necessity. Consider what you want to do when you aren’t in the pool. Extend your patio around the pool to accommodate lounging and dining areas. Include both areas to socialize and places to relax with others or in solitude. 


Despite how much sunscreen you apply, you need respite from the sun’s rays on hot summer days. Instead of going inside, you can still enjoy the outdoors by creating shaded areas around your pool. You can opt to plant mature trees or create an outdoor living space. A pavilion can protect you from the sun and other elements and doubles as an ideal place to set up a bar, kitchen, dining, or living room (or all of the above).


Pools at night can add serenity to your backyard or provide an impressive backdrop to an evening social gathering. For safety and to add to the ambiance, use various landscape lighting techniques. Uplighting is when landscape lights are mounted low and shine the light upward and look great on columns, walls, trees, or garden features. To downlight, you mount the lights high (e.g., in tree branches) and shine the light down. Downlighting is often used for large patios, pools, and low-growing gardens.


Hedges and tall shrubs around a stone or paver patio can be natural fences, providing privacy while not making you feel “fenced in.” Evergreen plants provide year-round privacy and are not difficult to grow or maintain. Or, you may opt for a wall structure in a tight space.  A structure can look like an art installation and add a lot of visual appeal.


Have a fireside chat poolside on cool nights. The natural glow of fire brings warmth and calm to an evening by the pool. Some options for fire features include fire pits, fire bowls, fire tables, and fireplaces. Be sure to use only gas-powered five features near pools as embers from wood-burning features can burn holes in a pool cover! Gas fire features can be built-in with a permanent spot or portable if flexibility is desired. 


You can create spaces to sunbathe, dine or create living room spaces that overlook your pool using different elevations. Regardless of how you use the area, terraces can elevate the luxurious feel of your pool landscape and the different elevations are a great way to change materials.


Hardscaping and softscaping together can give a unique style to your landscaping. For a modern, elegant twist, laying oversized pavers in a pattern with trim grass in between the pavers is a popular way to manicure a poolside retreat. Or, you can create a bucolic feeling around your pool with large stones and flowers and grasses. 


Creating a backyard oasis is as simple as planting lush flora around your pool. The oxygen emitted by the plants keeps the area cooler in the heat of summer. And carefully selected plants can create a resort-like feel.

Pick and choose, or use all these pool landscaping ideas to create an outdoor living space that’s as unique as you. If you are ready to get new ideas about landscape design in your backyard, set up a design consultation appointment with the landscape architects and designers at Aspen Outdoor Designs.