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Landscaping 101: How to Design Your Pool Surroundings

You’ve chosen your perfect swimming pool, settled on the design elements and now it’s in place. The next step, besides enjoying this new addition to your property, is to update the surrounding area. There are a few things to consider before landscaping around a swimming pool, from whether it’s a place to unwind or get fit to who will be using the pool most often.

The end result should be enjoying the space but making sure you’ve designed the surroundings properly will help make your garden as functional as possible and avoid any costly design mistakes. Here are a few suggestions to help you with landscaping so the surroundings look just as spectacular as the pool itself.

Consider the hardscaping

The first step is to think about how much hardscaping will be required for your garden. Will you be adding furniture or shaded spots, or do you intend to dine poolside? How much space do you need to allow for walking or sunbathing? Having a larger area of hardscaping, if your available space allows for it, means you don’t have to worry as much about the lawn getting splashed too often, as chlorine and excessive water can lead to damage to the grass.

You may also want to install coping, or edging, to your pool which is a great option if you have an unusually shaped pool as it will bring out this design feature even more. Coping with a dropped edge is beautiful for a luxury pool, making for an elegant and stylish finish, while a square-edged coping is clean and sleek.

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Be sympathetic to the style of pool you have

When designing the pool landscaping, consider the style of pool you have. You want the surrounding area to work in tandem with the pool style, rather than look out of place, to create a more harmonious result.

For example, if you’ve chosen a certain colour for your pool, choose pavers and plants that work well with it for a consistent look. Likewise, if you have a certain style, whether it’s a chic lap pool or a unique freeform pool, add in elements that will enhance rather than clash with the pool. A combination of finishes and styles can ruin the impact, so make sure that you’re choosing furniture, hardscaping and plants that all work together.

Keep safety and durability in mind

The materials and location of the flooring you choose around the pool will impact just how slippery it will get and also how quickly they’ll wear down from foot traffic, salt and chlorine. From splashes when people are getting in and out of the pool to walking around with wet feet, this area can be a potential hazard if you don’t think ahead. This is important for anyone, but especially if you have young children running around.

Non-slip paving stones, such as sawn natural stone, are smooth but safe, or you may want to choose something like a bush-hammered or flamed finish that will also provide a non-slip surface. Travertine, sandstone and limestone are all great options, as they absorb enough water that they actually become more non-slip than when they’re dry.

It’s also worth paying attention to the colour, as dark paving absorbs the heat and gets very hot underfoot during the summer while white paving becomes dazzling in the sunshine. Choose a mid-tone paving that will stay cooler and won’t be as blindingly bright in direct sunlight.

Choose low maintenance trees and plants

The plants you choose will be determined in large part by the amount of sunlight the area gets. In sunnier, breezier spots, for example, you may want to plant ornamental grasses that are beautiful year-round and don’t produce as much leaf litter. If the pool is in quite an exposed area, planting taller shrubs and trees can work well to increase privacy and shade, as well as helping with the energy efficiency of your pool. Just avoid deciduous trees as these can cause more debris in the pool and result in more cleaning and pool maintenance for you.

Think about the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Do you want your pool to be a relaxed, romantic space? Planting roses, lavender and wildflowers can be a beautiful way to keep the surrounding area soft and colourful, while still providing a break between the pool area and the rest of your garden.

Have a natural pool? Why not lean into that and plant trees and flowers that will merge with those in the pool. Or perhaps you want to heighten the contemporary elements of your chosen design, in which case shrubs that add plenty of green foliage without floral elements are perfect.

Use furniture to create zones

Much of your time will be spent swimming and being in the pool itself, but as such a focal point of your outdoor space, you also want to think about other ways you’ll use this area. For example, adding a pergola or a gazebo provides a shaded area to dry off or relax after your swim, and as respite from the sun on hotter days.

Similarly, you may want to add sun loungers or seating so you can enjoy a drink in between taking a dip. Fire pits, heaters and lighting can all be great ways to create a space that’s well-suited for entertaining, so that you aren’t limited to only enjoying this area during the day, as well as adding decoration and interest. You can use furniture to create separate zones around the pool for a space that’s multi-functional and appealing to look at.

Just as with any area of your home, your garden will change as you use the space around your pool more and decide what you do and don’t need. But these tips will provide you with a good foundation for a beautiful yet practical space that complements your swimming pool perfectly. For further advice or if you have any questions, please contact our friendly team and we’d be happy to help.

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