The Fantastic Poolside Landscape

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Summer is now hot and unbearable in many parts of the U.S., and all you want to do is remain in your bathing suit. I’m fortunate enough to have a lake nearby — and friends with a pool.

I often dream of having a pool of our own, but for now I will only dream and plan the landscaping of my fantastic pool while I attempt to beat the warmth in any way I could. If you’re doing exactly the same, here are 6 elements of great poolside design to think about:

Studio William Hefner

1. Variation and texture. This is my personal notion of pool paradise. The ease of a small rectangle surrounded by greenery makes the space feel like a private room at the backyard. I have always had a thing for its tall, organized characters of cypress trees at almost any landscape. The proper and textured replica of shrubs, cypress, and lavender provides this pool a Provencal or Tuscan feel.

2. Repetition and simplicity. Often the installation of a pool really mucks up the grounds. You do not need to wait years for plants and flowers to grow if you opt for a more modernist approach. The ease of grass with a very simple band of stone around the pool, combined with all the ordered replica of boxwoods, specify the pool area of this home and yard.


Herea more formal replica of shrubs echoes the lines of decking. Spaces like this make me think of exactly the same elements I learned while researching painting: line, proportion, perspective, repeat, scale, visual and tactile texture and pattern. All of these elements are important whether we are talking art, interior design or landscaping.

Austin Patterson Disston Architects

Ornamental grasses work well in rows and repeated plantings. A more formal and minimalist strategy is to plant the same species of grass over and over again (also called mass plantings). There is nothing boring about the texture and pattern made by the seed heads, as well as the blossoms which often change color with the seasons.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture

3. Naturalistic plantings and hardscaping. Here decorative grasses are planted in clumps with different species and other plants. The pool and hardscaping are almost camouflaged into the natural landscape.

Phillips Garden

4. Formalist and minimal hardscaping. This type of landscaping reminds me of minimalist artists who worked together with form and line one of the basic elements of the visual universe. I really like the pattern the pavers create and the interlocking forms of this pool, measures and spa.

Samuel H. Williamson Associates

The repetition of rectangular pavers lead your attention along the pool beneath the house.

Warner Larson

5. Pergolas and pool houses. There is a grounding effect any outbuilding or arrangement gets on a landscape. Pergolas create a visual bridge and provide you an idea of intimacy and shield, even if it’s only fleeting, because their spacious slatted roofs offer a bit of color, but won’t defend you from real weather.

Crisp Architects

Pergolas are wonderful areas to grow vines and color dining places and pathways.

Milieu Design

Pergolas are usually seen coming off the back of houses instead of a screened-in porch. Porches with full roofs block more light compared to pergolas, with their slatted roofs. They also provide a nice transition between the pool and inside.

Crisp Architects

Following is a timeless image of a pool anchored at one end by a pool house. Pool houses can be easy sheds to hide the mechanicals or mini houses of their own with guest bedrooms and tiny kitchens and bathrooms. I have seen one who had a family media room and bar.

See more of this pool home

Lang Pools Inc..

My favourite sort of pool house still stays the shed or barn. Here it anchors one corner of the fence and yard and gives something to focus on before wandering off, thing to object, as if it were looking at a painting.

6. Sculpture and art. Do not feel as though you need to relegate the sculpture garden to another part of the property. Landscape around the pool with a sculpture garden to put in a feeling of meditative calm.

Warner Larson

7. Lighting. Do not overlook the way pool feels at nighttime. Lighting is as important outside as is it inside. Create mood and drama and envelope your outdoor area in lighting which highlights trees, plantings and structures.

More: Read more photos of pool designs

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