Indoor pools are just reopening, open for limited hours, open to a limited number of swimmers, or — in some places — they remain closed to the public. The uncertainty surrounding public pools and the ongoing pandemic is driving many athletes, recreational swimmers, and families to stop relying on the public spaces and invest in private pools instead.
After a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, for example, Governor Tim Walz put new restrictions in place. The restrictions began on Friday, Nov. 20 and will continue until at least Dec. 18. On Dec. 18, circumstances will be re-evaluated. These restrictions close all public pools, waterparks, and gyms. Some Minnesotans have responded by taking near-daily trips to Wisconsin to swim in public pools. Others are sinking funds into their own, private indoor or outdoor swimming pools.
This increased interest in private pools is not unique to Minnesota. In fact, pool sales are increasing all over the country. In Pennsylvania, The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports that some contractors are seeing sales climb by as much as 200%.
Beautify Your Pool Area With These 7 Tips
If you plan to count yourself among the households installing a new pool or investing in beautifying their current setup, use these landscaping ideas for backyard pools to get started.
Clean It Up
Whether you are installing a new pool or looking for fresh landscaping ideas for backyard pools, it is important to start with a clean slate. Before upgrading your existing pool, make sure your pool and the surrounding area are clean. Start with the basics. Follow these steps for a cleaner pool.
- Skim and brush your pool. Purchase a telescopic pool pole. These typically range in length from eight to 16 feet. Tools like skimmers and brushes attach to these poles for easy cleaning.
Use the skimmer to remove leaves, insects, and other debris. Brush the ladder, sides, and any stairs to remove grime, dirt, and residue.
- Vacuum. Use an automatic pool vacuum or manual pool vacuum to clean the bottom of your pool at least once a week.
- Empty the pool filter. A pool filter works by trapping dirt, twigs, and debris. If too much debris builds up, it may clog and leave the filter backed up. Clear away excess debris to ensure your filter is working properly.
- Manage pool chemicals. Keep your pool as sanitary and clean as possible by regularly testing the pH of the water. Use a standard pH tester to measure your pool’s acidity/alkalinity levels. The pH of your pool should remain between 7 and 7.8. You may have to adjust the pH of your pool after extreme weather or after entertaining large groups.
Maintaining and cleaning a pool takes time, and it can be a tedious endeavor. If do not have much time to spare — or if your pool needs extra thorough cleaning — consider hiring a residential pool cleaning service to do the dirty work for you. They will maintain your pool during the season and during the cool winter months.
Prioritize any other essentials before prettying up your pool. If you are installing a new pool or opening up your pool after winter, for example, weigh the best options for filling up your pool. Using city water is time-consuming and expensive, and some wells may not have enough water to fill up your pool and meet your household water needs. If these options are not ideal, look into pool water delivery. Water delivery is quick and convenient. Shop around to find the best price.
Before committing to elaborate landscaping ideas for backyard pools, start with a clean pool.
Want to Beautify Your Pool Area? Build A Pool House
Once your pool is clean and ready to go, it is time to fully invest in landscaping ideas for backyard pools. There are several ways to make your pool and patio area more inviting. One of the most popular ways to completely transform your pool area is to add a pool house.
The best pool houses are functional and visually compelling. To design a pool house that best suits your needs, consider:
- Your needs. While it is true that you want your pool house to look nice, begin with the practicalities. Why are you building a pool house in the first place? Is it strictly a luxury, or will you be using your pool house to meet very real, tangible needs? “Larger pool houses include enclosed space for storing assorted oddly shaped and sized pool toys and all sorts of maintenance supplies,” The Spruce writes. “If big enough, it can be the perfect place to house pumps, filters, and other essential pool equipment.” A small pool house will typically have a small storage space or a single closet.
Take stock of the items you have and your storage needs, and build your pool house accordingly.
- Aiming for consistency. You do not want your pool house to stick out like a sore thumb. The best landscaping ideas for backyard pools and patio areas keep consistency in mind. Use the same prints, colors, or textures as the pool and exterior of your home to design your pool house. This will help create the illusion of a cohesive whole.
- Your wants. If you are installing a pool house with plenty of space, consider what you will do with it. Many convert their pool house into an outdoor kitchen, an entertaining space, or a guest house. A spacious pool house can be the perfect spot for a grill, refrigerator, or even a fully stocked bar. Others enjoy the luxury of a covered and/or heated entertaining space or build a guest house complete with kitchen and bathroom facilities to give their guests additional privacy.
To keep decorating and landscaping ideas for backyard pools and patio areas fresh, simply add lighting to beautify your pool area.
Just as it is important to start the process with a clean pool, it is also wise to begin with a neat, well-manicured general lawn space. Start with basic lawn care. Water the grass and plants regularly, mow the grass, and treat it for invasive pests and weeds. Once the basics are taken care of, ask yourself if your lawn gets enough light, especially when you are entertaining in the evenings.
If your current lighting is non-existent or if it leaves something to be desired, that is the perfect opportunity to improve the appearance of your backyard and of your pool.
For a modern look, choose sleek, recessed uplighting. This type of lighting will subtly illuminate your pool and the surrounding areas, and they can be tailored to suit your needs. They can be as plentiful and as bright or dim as you need them to be.
If you simply want to add some sophistication to outdoor areas, consider soft lighting options. “For peaceful evenings or small parties by the pool, soft lighting such as lanterns, candles, tiki torches, string lights and more are a lovely and inexpensive way to glam up your outdoor oasis,” HGTV recommends.
Want to beautify your pool area? Best advice… Keep It Simple!
When researching landscaping ideas for custom pools, aim to make your life easier — not to complicate things. Choose minimalist landscape design to keep your pool and the surrounding area classy and to put in significantly less work. With the right eye and attention to detail, it is very possible to embrace the saying “less is more.”
For a minimalist aesthetic:
- Go with an inground pool. Above-ground pools may cost less, but — when it comes to aesthetics — you get what you pay for. Above-ground pools stand out more than inground pools, and it is much more difficult to seamlessly design around them. If you want to keep your landscape as subtle as possible, an inground pool is the way to go.
- Choose accents sparingly and carefully. There is no place for clutter in minimalist designs. Keep it simple. Place two lounge chairs and a small table next to your pool. Skip lounges altogether and set up a dining space with a chic table and unadorned chairs. The right accents will be plenty. If your space looks too empty, revisit your design.
- Embrace straight lines and simple shapes. For a truly minimalist design, avoid busy patterns, like curves and curlicues, and avoid using too many colors. Choose flat planes for your pool, landscape, and patio area. Keep furniture simple and unassuming. Use large, square lights or oversized globes for lights that are compelling and sophisticated. Your color palette should be limited. Two or three colors will do just fine.
- Keep it open and spacious. Cramped designs are not minimalist. To keep it modern and chic, choose features that appear to stretch out the pool and surrounding landscape. For example, a rectangular pool stretches the landscape. A square pool or curved pool does not.
Often, the best landscaping ideas for backyard pools are also the simplest ones. Go minimalist for a refined, modern look.
Landscape design ideas run the gamut. In fact, they are just about endless. If minimalism is not your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of options to choose from. Talk to a trusted landscaping company about your alternatives, like building a lush landscape around your pool to give it the appearance of a green oasis.
This is an especially attractive option for above-ground pools which may require some creative design or masking. To improve the look of an above-ground pool, surround it with tall, green plants. “To pull off this look like a pro, edge out your flower bed first, install easy-to-maintain plants like shrubs or tall grasses, then cover with mulch for a clean look and to boost plant life,” HGTV writes. Treat for pests regularly, and enjoy the striking and easy-to-maintain look.
For more landscaping for backyard pools — and particularly for above-ground pools — talk to your landscaper.
Seamlessly Blend Hardscape And Softscape
For the best results, do what you can to blend your hardscape and softscape together. In other words, your pool should transition seamlessly into your patio or lounge area, and your patio should transition seamlessly into the landscape surrounding it. Examples of hardscape include pools, benches, tables, chairs, pavers, outdoor kitchens, patios, tiles, and walkways. Grass, bushes, plants, mulch, soil, and flowers are examples of softscape.
To make your backyard and pool look cohesive, combine both elements. Arrange planters or large, potted plants on top of concrete patios. Surround small trees with a small plot of dirt and a classy brick border to beautify your pool area.
Stay on top of maintenance and essential yard waste removal to ensure that weeds do not grow unbidden and breakthrough decks or concrete. Periodically make time to remove weeds and overgrowth, and make appropriate plans to dispose of weeds, poisonous plants, dirt, twigs, sticks, and leaves. You can do this on your own, or hire a team of professionals to take care of it for you.
Make It Comfy
Once again, decorating and landscaping ideas for backyard pools do not have to be overly complicated. Keep it simple, and consider what you want most out of outdoor areas. For many of us, the answer is comfort. Do what you can to prioritize it.
Install built-in benches to one side of the pool or patio area. Top benches with thick cushions for optimal comfort.
If you prefer lounging while staying cool, consider adding a pool ledge and some pool ledge lounge chairs. A pool ledge allows you to relax in shallow water. In-pool chairs are made specifically for that purpose and do not corrode or rust.
Other ways to increase comfort include adding a hot tub or sauna, putting up umbrellas, covers, or trellises for shade, or installing heaters or a fireplace for cozy winter nights.
U.S. households own 10.4 million private swimming pools — and that number is growing every day. Cozy up near your pool and make your time outdoors truly comfortable. Explore the top decorating and landscaping ideas for backyard pools to make the space truly your own.
Believe it or not, now is the perfect time to install a new pool or upgrade your old one. Many swimming pool contractors offer discounts during the cold winter months. You are likely to find discounted prices from Thanksgiving until February. Promotions may vary by contractor.