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Decorating Around Your Swimming Pool

Cooling off in the pool can be an amazing way to relax. Whether you jump, dive, or slide into the water, you quickly feel your stress wash away. 

As much as the pool itself is the center of attention, it helps boost the atmosphere to surround it with great-looking decor. The whole environment can be like an additional room in your house, with its own style and beauty.

Deck furniture, plants, fences, and other elements all go into making your pool area fantastic. Even the deck itself can add to the great looks of the room. Here we’ll look at some ideas for sprucing things up in the general area of your home pool.

Still trying to decide whether to get an above-ground or in-ground pool? Here are some tips for making the decision

Defining The Ambiance 

Of course, when you want to start decorating, you first have to decide what kind of feel you’d like to have. A pool lends itself to a wide range of design options. No matter what style you prefer, you can find a way to make it work with a pool as the centerpiece.

If you have a family or like to entertain, you may prefer a bright, open feeling with a lot of activity and color. On the other hand, you may value your privacy and quiet. In that case, you might opt for more subdued colors and a more enclosed space.

Whether you prefer wide open or secluded, you can create a style that makes you feel most at home. Water lends itself to so many ideas. Imagine it as a natural pond in the midst of a jungle. Perhaps it could be a small lake in a forest clearing. How about a desert oasis?

beautiful landscaping poolside

Or you could go for a minimalist look with simple decorative elements. Simple furniture and lighting may be enough for your tastes.

The most important thing is to remember this is your space. Make it suit you. Bring in elements that will help you feel relaxed and at home. Of course, you want decorations that will stand up to the sun and the splashing, but you’ll find plenty of options that will meet your needs.

Choosing Your Complementary Elements

Once you know the look you’re going for, it’s time to start planning how you can create it. The specifics depend on your taste, but we can provide some general advice about what you can bring together.


Sometimes it’s great to be at the pool but not in the water. You may want to sit back with a good book or sip on a drink. You could want to catch some sun (but only a healthy amount, please!). Or your pool furniture could give you a place to observe as your children splash about.

Virtually any material that works for patio furniture can be used near the pool. You might want to avoid some natural materials, since the chlorinated water may cause it to prematurely decay. But there are tons of options, from certain hardwoods to aluminum to durable plastics.

rattan furniture by swimming pool

Wood, for instance, creates a more permanent sensation as well as a more formal appearance. Aluminum can be contemporary and stylish. Good-quality plastic will help make your pool seem open. Since it’s such a flexible material, it can look like wood or many other materials. However, there is almost a “tradition” of white plastic pool furniture. And of course, it stays cooler if it’s white.

You will want to be careful about the types of cushions you use near the pool, of course. Be sure to choose ones that aren’t so stuffed with foam or other materials that they won’t dry out quickly!


One of the most beautiful ways to add warmth and color around a pool is through the use of real plants. Of course, the flora you choose will depend on the climate where you live. But this is a great way to set a mood.

As long as they can thrive in your climate, you can find plants that will call to mind just about any natural environment. You could have a simple garden around the outside of your pool deck. Or go for something like ornamental grasses right near the edge. Lemongrass or rushes are only two of the options. 

Longing for an island escape? Tropical plants go great. Birds of Paradise, papyrus, and hibiscus make good choices here. But if you prefer a more arid feel, succulents like sempervivum or some agaves go great here.

Climbing vines can look great on fences, columns, or a shed wall nearby. If you have a trellis for privacy, they can also help close off the view while adding beauty.

a variety of plants around a swimming pool

Bamboo is technically a grass, but it can look great and help form a natural fence at the same time. It grows quickly and densely. The only problem is that sometimes it grows too fast; it can become invasive! But if you’re willing to do the work to control it, it does go great around pools.

Not all plants need to be planted in the ground either. You can choose potted plants of any size and arrange them however you like. This can allow you to have them closer to the pool. And if you live in an area with harsh winters, it may also let you bring more delicate plants inside to protect them from the elements.


We touched a tiny bit on fencing above. And we do want to mention that a fence is an important part of any pool area because of the safety it provides. But its practicality doesn’t eliminate its usefulness as a decorative element.

Fences can allow for the level of privacy you like and serve as a backdrop for all the other elements of your pool decorations. Again, there are a wide variety of materials and designs available.

Natural wood is always a great look. You might choose a dark or light stain. Or be more creative and colorful by painting, or having someone paint, a beach or forest scene. Or even let your children do their own artwork on it!


Odds are, you’d love to make use of your pool in the evenings instead of only the daytime. And to do that, you’ll need to have enough lighting to see your way around.

If you have children using the pool, you might want brighter floodlights so you can easily keep an eye on them. But there are many more subtle options as well.

For instance, you could have garden lights on the pool deck. They’ll provide a low level of light that’s mainly directed down. That means they won’t disturb the neighbors, either. 

String lights are another fine choice. They can cross the pool and help create a festive atmosphere while not being too bright.

swimming pool with various light sources

You could also go for general outdoor lighting such as that often hung by a front or back door. These can go great attached to your fence or posts around the area.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to have lights inside the pool itself – but of course, you have to plan and have them built into the pool walls. They let you see clearly in the water. Adding some other subdued light sources around the edges can help create a soothing atmosphere.

With the LED light marking still growing, many new options and ideas are coming to the fore. Strip lights can be incorporated into the pool’s edge or strung almost anywhere!

Trim Decorations

Once you have your major pieces in play, you can add whatever trim and finishing touches you’d like.

Sheer curtains can create a bit of privacy for certain sections of the pool deck. But they still allow a breeze to pass through. Pillows and cushions help add atmosphere (and comfort) to your lounge chairs.

Rocks are another great piece to add as trim. They can serve as the boundaries of gardens or paths. They can also be simply decorative by themselves. You might have a gravel path or edge to the deck, or you could place a large boulder nearby simply for its dominant appearance.

Another element that’s often overlooked is an outdoor rug. You might not want it right at the edge of the pool, but it can be a great addition to break up an otherwise boring area. You could even use it as the center of a small sitting area with lounge chairs and a small table for your drinks!

There are so many options and ideas here, and only your imagination can limit the options. Be sure to look for decorations that will stand up to the water and the sun.

Tying It Together with the Deck

Of course, the surface area around the pool is a big part of the appearance of the area. While concrete is common around in-ground pools, it’s not the only choice. Nor does it need to be a dull grey.

Pavers are one good choice. They come in natural stone or manmade styles. They offer a great look and the variety of colors, tones, and patterns is huge.

Stamped concrete is another great choice. It is poured like regular concrete but has dye added and is imprinted with a stamp. Like manmade pavers, it can take on the appearance of natural stone or other materials, even wood.

pool with wooden deck

And yes, wood can be a good pool deck material, too! It looks natural and fantastic, and if properly maintained, it will hold up for years. It does take a good deal of maintenance, though, like staining and sealing. If you don’t want to have to worry so much about the care, composite wood is a great choice.

Natural stone is another good option. It has great surface traction, especially important on a wet deck. It can be rather pricey but does offer a low-maintenance and beautiful solution.

Finally, unglazed tile can look great. While that may make you think of plain squares, tiles come in a variety of shapes as well as colors and designs. They’re also one of the easiest-to-install options.

The important thing to remember is that you have a lot of options to fit your taste and budget. You’re not stuck with any plain, ordinary, boring deck. And you can make it a beautiful feature that adds to the enjoyment of your pool instead of “the ground.”


Thinking of your pool area as another room of your house can help make it even more enjoyable. Adding the right deck, furniture, plants, and other decorations will help it stand out and be a more welcoming place for you and your guests. A pool is a major investment – be sure to dress it up the way it deserves!

About Us

Tom and Sarah Greenwood are the dynamic duo behind “Yards Improved,” dedicated to the joys and challenges of gardening, pool maintenance, and lawn and patio care. With Tom’s passion for landscape design and Sarah’s enthusiastic approach to gardening, they share their journey of transforming their backyard into a thriving retreat. We strive to offer practical advice aimed at helping you enhance your outdoor space.