Backyard pools can be much more than a fun spot to take a quick dip! With the right landscaping, your plain old pool can turn your backyard into a genuine outdoor oasis, a playpen for your children, or a cozy dinner area to invite friends and family.
If you’re looking to add some character around your backyard pool but don’t have the money or resources to hire a professional landscaper, DIY pool landscaping ideas might be exactly what you need. You’ll be surprised to learn all the easy ways to spruce up your outdoor space without breaking the bank!
Table of Contents
DIY Pool Landscaping Projects: What To Consider
We get it; you’re bursting with ideas and want to jump right into your pool redo project! But as with all things, it is best to thoroughly plan your project to prevent disappointment and mistakes along the way. Below are some pointers to help you pinpoint precisely what will work for your pool area!
Your Area’s Climate
While a tropical and summery pool landscape may sound appealing, it’s probably a good idea to consider what the seasons in your area bring. If you live in a cold climate, tropical palm trees will probably not survive for long.
Take time to look up what plants will thrive in your climate, and adjust your pool planning to the possibilities. It’s always a great idea to incorporate native plants into your garden!
Consider Your Pool’s Space
Certain elements will work better on small pool areas, while others will enhance a large pool better.
Do you have a lap pool with a lot of space around the pool’s perimeter? Or does your garden only have a small plunge pool, with limited space for seating areas and ornamental water elements?
Write your considerations down or draw out your pool layout to help give yourself an idea of what goes where and how it will all fit together.
Writing stuff down will help you get an overview of what will work and what will not.
Please note that you must consider your state’s regulations and guidelines for pool safety and landscaping if you have a commercial or public swimming pool.
Who Will Be Enjoying Your Pool
Are you looking to create a playground for your children? Or do you simply want to hang out with friends and crack open a bottle of wine in the evenings?
While this may sound obvious, it’s a good idea to consider your pool’s guests closely when browsing pool design ideas.
For example, placing a lot of prickly cacti and pointy rocks along the perimeter of the pool is probably not a splendid idea if you know that children or pets will spend a lot of time in your garden area.
What Is Your Budget?
The last thing to consider is how much you are willing to spend on your pool makeover. While many pool owners would love an excentric, eye-catching pool landscape, aiming for outlandish pool designs is not always realistic.
Calculate your budget thoroughly, and make sure you will not run into unexpected expenses along the way. Remember that creating a beautiful pool landscape does not have to be unaffordable.
20 Easy DIY Pool Landscaping Ideas
There are several ways to go about creating your own backyard paradise.
Think further than your average concrete walkway, and imagine colorful plants, aromatic flowers, and creative lighting ideas that will elevate your backyard pool area into something exceptional!
Below are 20 DIY pool landscaping ideas that won’t require hiring a professional landscaper or paying for fancy building materials.
1. Flower Beds
One of the primary ways to spruce up your pool area is by installing sunken, flat, or raised flower beds around the sides of the pool to add a splash of colors, textures, and scents.
Some great options for flowers include Hibiscus, Gardenias, and Roses.
These joyful blooms will thrive in the moist, warm pool environment throughout the summer, and you won’t have to worry about hiring a gardener because these flowers are known for their low-maintenance care requirements.
2. String Lights
String lights add a little magic to your backyard pool. Especially during the nighttime, string lights add an ambient and romantic atmosphere.
If you choose to hang string lighting, install it high enough to avoid splashing water from reaching the lights, or select lights that are made for outdoor use.
These outdoor string lights are perfect for a pool landscape: Edison Warm Vintage String Lights
3. Privacy Screens
Suppose you prioritize your privacy and don’t want your neighbors peeking in on your pool parties or seeing you sunbathing on summery afternoons. In that case, privacy screens can be an excellent addition to your pool landscaping.
With a wide range of styles and designs, you’re sure to find one that fits your style perfectly!
These don’t have to be a large expanse because privacy screens can easily be made from recycled and natural materials.
This 5×50 ft privacy fence is perfect for almost any outdoor pool: iCover Privacy Screen Fence
4. Water Features
Small or large water features like a waterfall, sprinkler, or fountain add liveliness to your backyard pool.
A waterfall can create a focal point for relaxation and comfort, adding a sense of serenity to your pool, while a sprinkler will keep your kids entertained for hours!
There are many DIY projects to make your water features from natural materials like decorative rocks. However, you can also opt for mechanical systems to create waterfalls and fountains in your pool.
5. Seating Area
Adding a cozy place to sit around your swimming pool will make the backyard pool area much more attractive.
For people with an infinity pool, adding a lounge area in front of the pool creates the perfect place to sit and enjoy the stunning view created by your infinity pool.
There are many different styles of furniture to choose from when you are looking to buy.
But, if you want to save money, what better way than recycling old pallets into pallet furniture yourself?
Simply stacking a few pallets and adding some pillows can create a beautiful seating area for family or guests, made with little effort.
We love this twin-set of loungers for casual poolside relaxation: Zero Gravity Poolside Lounge Chair Recliners
6. Retaining Wall
Adding a retaining wall to your backyard pool will help protect against soil and rocks falling onto the patio or pool, which can cause severe damage.
Pool barriers can be essential in keeping everything in place in areas with particularly loose or sandy soil.
And besides being practical, they can be a beautiful decorative addition to your pool. You can also use a retaining wall to add water features like a waterfall.
Retaining walls can be costly, but building the wall by yourself, using natural materials, can significantly reduce the price of the wall!
7. Stone Slab Walkway
A stone slab walkway that goes all the way from your backdoor to your pool is a creative way to add rustic farmhouse vibes to your backyard without spending a lot of money or energy.
You will need plenty of stones to create a path to your backyard pool area. These large pavers can be found in most garden centers.
A walkway around the edge of the pool is also charming if you have an above-ground pool.
Consider letting your grass grow between the stones for a more natural pool. This creates an organic look for your walkway.
Additionally, grass makes the path softer to walk on, which can be beneficial if you have young children or particularly sensitive feet.
8. Wooden Deck
A raised wooden pool deck or patio can be an easy way to enhance your in-ground pool. It makes your pool look more put-together and eliminates dirty tracks around your pool.
A raised deck also creates the illusion of a larger floor space and is perfect for summer dinner parties.
Add chairs, a table, and lighting, and you’re all set!
9. Pool Lights
LED pool lights that run along the perimeter of your pool are a great way to add an exciting and unique feature to your backyard pool area.
There are many different kinds of LED pool lights available. Some are color-changing or adjustable, making setting the right mood in your backyard easy.
Pool lights are especially lovely at night and add a romantic atmosphere to your pool area, especially at night time.
Looking for something a bit less permanent?
Check out these Battery-Powered Floating Pool Lights from DeeprBetter.
10. Privacy Plant Wall
Adding a large privacy fence around the length of the pool can be a large expense. So why not choose another pool fence idea, like a plant hedge or green pool wall? These natural barriers provide safety and privacy without breaking the bank.
You can create a DIY pool fence from English Ivy or Bamboo or use your favorite plants to create a pool barrier. Growing a full, lush plant wall may take some time and patience. But the wait will be worth it!
11. Solar Lights
If you are all about saving money, solar lights are the best way to add light and ambiance to your outdoor area.
Because they require no electricity and run entirely on sunlight, they are the perfect substitute for LED lights and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
There are a lot of different varieties of solar lights to choose from, so there is no end to the possibilities of these lights!
These are the perfect path lights for areas right around your pool: LEREKAM Solar Spotlights
12. Flower Pots
Potted flowers and plants are a good idea if you want to add some greenery to your pool area but can’t plant into your garden soil.
Some great plants that you can add to your pool patio include Bird of Paradise, Musa (Banana Plant), or Palm trees.
Opt for tropical plants that don’t shed a lot of leaves and can thrive in your hardiness zone year-round.
Potted plants are great because you can move them around, which can easily be placed indoors in winter.
If you are serious about saving extra money, consider DIY’ing your flower pots. Convert a wooden crate into a planter box or stack old, worn-out tires and create an eco-friendly DIY planter!
A quick Google search will give you a variety of simple projects to create self-made planters for your pool garden.
This large Rustic Planter from Algreen is a great choice for covering dangerous or exposed areas around your pool.
13. River Rock Garden
River rocks are an affordable option if you want a low-maintenance and simple ground cover. You can easily create a serene rock garden around the sides of your pool using store-bought river rocks.
The reflective deep grey color of the stones will look stunning next to the bright blue of the pool water.
A rock garden is right up your alley if you prefer a more stylish and simple pool design and don’t want to spend your precious time and energy maintaining a traditional garden around your pool.
Adding a fireplace to your backyard pool will provide natural ambient lighting during summer nights and help you keep warm and cozy on late summer or fall nights.
Fireplaces are a great feature for small pools if you want to add a traditional, rustic feel to your pool area, no matter the time of the year.
A fireplace can be as simple as digging a hole in the ground or as sophisticated as a built-in stone pit, along with a stone patio. With so many options, you will surely find a style that works for you!
If you add a fire pit, ensure it is away from flammable objects and always out of reach from children or pets!
Succulents are the perfect landscaping addition for anyone looking for some low-maintenance greenery.
These plants can thrive in hot, dry climates, and they are affordable and easy to find at your local garden store!
You can spruce things up with different colored accent plants or keep it simple and classy with muted colors and greens. Crassula, Echeveria, or Aeoniums are lovely succulent varieties to add to your backyard pool.
16. Stone Patio
You can use stones and rocks in a variety of ways in your pool landscaping. Creating a stone patio is one of our favorite ways to utilize rocks.
There are many stones and rocks to choose from, like pebbles, concrete, brick, and others, so we are confident that you will find a style of patio that works well with your desired aesthetic and budget.
Concrete and brick are low-maintenance and durable materials that can save some extra money.
17. Decorative Walls
A decorative wall around your pool or garden area will add privacy and make your backyard look more put-together and inviting.
Vining outdoor plants like English Ivy or Climbing Hydrangea can add lovely natural variegation to your pool.
Alternatively, a rock wall will add some naturalism and lush textures.
Decorative walls can be easily made with natural materials like stone or wood. Play around with styles and shapes as much as you like!
18. Ornamental Grass Border
Ornamental grasses add some beautiful texture and interest to your backyard garden.
Ornamental grasses are heat- and drought-tolerant, making them lovely additions to your pool area if you weren’t gifted with a green thumb.
There are different varieties of ornamental grass, and planting different kinds of grass in your borders is a creative way to create a unique and low-maintenance green border around your backyard pool.
19. Plant Shrubs
If you want to add some low maintenance but stylish vegetation to your pool area, shrubs are your choice.
Large shrubs can provide shade from the burning sunlight during the hot summer months, and certain varieties can even repel insects for example Lemongrass.
Opt for plants that are resistant to salt water and direct sun. Our favorite shrub varieties include Geraniums, Sedum, and Trumpet Vines, and don’t be afraid to incorporate natural vegetation in your designs.
Additionally, using shrubs with vibrant flowers is a lovely way to add a splash of color.
20. Combine Materials and Styles
Adding flower beds to your concrete walkway, small shrubs around your patio, or lights to your seating area can create a charming effect that will make your pool’s surrounding area look and feel more effortless, professional, and inviting.
Play around with various backyard ideas; don’t be afraid to switch things up! The sky is the limit!
Photo: Image via Coldwellbanker.com
Photo: Irina88w via Canva.com
Photo: EJ-J via Canva.com
Photo: Linda Raymond via Canva.com
Photo: Ross Tomei via Canva.com
Photo: JR-stock via Canva.com
Photo: SHYrix via Canva.com
Photo: Jonathan Borba via Unsplash
Photo: Max Vakhtbovych via Canva.com
Photo: IMAGE SYPPLY CO via Canva.com
Photo: Andrewmedina via Canva.com
Photo: DigiStu via Canva.com
Photo: Avatar_023 via Canva.com
Photo: Image by Freepik
Photo: Sergey Narazov via Canva.com
Photo: Cagkansayin via Canva.com
Photo: DGIT via Canva.com
Photo: Elena Photo via Canva.com
Photo: Afbeeldingen van anton havelaar via Canva.com
Photo: Phochi via Canva.com
Photo: Elena Photo via Canva.com
Photo: Hartcreations via Canva.com