Swimming Pool Landscape Design
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Pool Landscaping

Swimming Pool Landscape Design

There is nothing more refreshing than a cool swim on a hot summer day. Adults and children alike share in the joys a pool can provide. When considering a swimming pool design, the first step is to contact a landscape architect or respected landscape designer. These professionals can help you design a swimming pool that integrates seamlessly with the existing landscape, the house and the overall site. The designer may work with a pool contractor to resolve the final designs and details, but you will get the best overall design results working with a professional trained and experienced at seeing the big picture. Once you have hired a designer, the next step is to ask yourself a series of questions about the size, style and elements of the pool you desire. The designer will help you resolve the answers to these questions by listening closely and sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Pool Location

One of the first major decisions is where to locate the pool. When considering this design decision, look at the opportunities and constraints of the property and consider how you see the pool being used. When you will be using the pool and where the sun and shade will be during those times. Will the pool be an extension of the house where friends and family gather to play? Or is the pool its own outdoor room and private destination? Often people are inclined to place the pool right out the back of the house. This can work well for families with children since the pool remains visible from inside. It may also fit your families entertaining style being closer to the house. Keep in mind thought that in colder climates the pool will be covered for many months and is not particularly attractive from the inside views. For this reason, you may choose to site your pool in a less central location and make the pool area a destination.

Form & Style

For most homeowners, the form & the style of a pool should be based on your own personal preferences for style and function. Some people love the natural character of free form pools with boulder waterfalls, while others prefer the elegant sophistication of a rectilinear pool. If the pool is going to be located in a direct relationship to the house, consider carrying the style of the homes architecture into the style of the pool design. If you have a home with a strong architectural character, it is especially important to respond to that in the pool design when the pool is going to be close to the house. How the pool will be used should also influence the form. Free form pools work especially well when the pool is actively used by children, their friends and family because they tend to be more playful in character and provide dynamic interest when inside. Formal and linear pools will work better than free form for a couple who intend to use the pool for exercise laps.


What elements do you want to incorporate into your pool? A spa is a popular element to include, but keep in mind that in colder climates the spa won’t be usable in the off season and for many people that is when a spa is most appealing. One option is to place the pool and spa in close proximity, but to separate the water and mechanical systems in order to use the spa year round. Sun ledges have grown in popularity. These are area of the pool that is 6-12” underwater, and big enough to place a lounge chair and umbrella. A beach entry eliminates the steps and creates a smooth transition into the pool that is especially nice for younger children. Waterfalls, spillways and water spouts can all create added interest and playful or formal design interests. Some families with children may want to incorporate slides which come in a range of sizes and styles. Diving boards, dive rocks, boulder accents, massage jets, a vast variety of lighting options and the list of possibilities goes on.

For ideas on location, form and style, see our Swimming Pool Landscape Design Portfolio.