Adding a new pool to your property is only half the challenge. A pool, whether an in-ground or above-ground pool, can look stark and out of place if not surrounded by some form of landscaping. Thankfully, there are many ways to integrate a pool into its surroundings, whatever they may be.
For Above-Ground Pools
Above-ground pools are the most likely to disturb the space where they are built. Besides being more visible than in-ground pools, they are likely to reveal some or all of their structure in the form of unattractive beams and buttresses. A simple hedgerow is an excellent way to conceal this, especially if there are similar shrubs elsewhere in the yard. Hedges can also be used to disguise a fence, which may be required around a pool by local safety regulations.
Bamboo is a somewhat more creative way to beautify an above-ground pool. It grows quickly, is easy to trim and maintain, and will grow tall enough to cover as much or as little of the area as needed. Taller plants will have the added benefit of increasing privacy around the pool area.
In the case of an in-ground pool, only the fence is likely to be visible from a distance. Rather than attempting to conceal the fence entirely, consider adding flowers to the area. This can be done by planting a narrow flowerbed at the base of the fence, running the length of the pool, or with planters or baskets that can be attached to the fence itself.
Ivy and other clinging plants may be a good long-term solution to decorating a fence. A decorative fence is another option, either as an alternative to an unattractive metal fence or placed around the security fence as a decoration.
When a pool is new, it is likely to be surrounded by dirt, as a large area usually must be disturbed during the pool's installation. While some of this area may need to be seeded and landscaped back into the surrounding lawn once again, this is the best time to add a pathway around the pool, or from the pool to the house. Many different options exist, including crushed stone, pavers or traditional brick.
Constructing a deck area as part of the pool is another option for turning the space into a place to do much more than swim or enjoy the sun. Barbecue pits, fireplaces, a bar area, and decorative fountains or waterfalls can all enhance the space around a pool while giving it added uses.
While it is often done as an afterthought, choosing furniture for your pool area should also be done with care for the overall visual style. This includes using the right amount of furniture. Adding too many pieces can make a pool deck look crowded and small, while a lone chair or table will often make the area appear too large or sparsely appointed. If there is not ample shade from natural sources, using umbrellas or a patio table are ways to give swimmers the option of staying out of the sun, at least part of the time.
If there is enough space, consider a pool house, which need not be much more than a small shed. This gives swimmers a place to change while also providing a nearby place to store pool supplies and equipment.
Finally, decorative or nighttime lighting around a pool can greatly enhance its appearance while making it usable 24 hours a day. For in-ground pools, recessed lighting within the walls of the pool itself can provide beautiful illumination. Likewise, footlights located around the rim of the pool, around a fence, or along a pathway can be both practical and beautiful. Lampposts and torches placed near the entrance to the pool or incorporated into the fence may be useful in lighting a larger area. In cases where straightforward lighting is required, a spotlight may be the best way to go. It can be mounted on a freestanding post, or attached to a nearby building to light the pool or deck area from above.
- Photo Credit Vic Brincat, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Backyardpool.jpg
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