Including a Pool in Your Landscape Design

The trend of home entertaining gained speed during the pandemic and is continuing. Now home pools are in more demand in northern NJ than they were in the pre-Covid years.

It was reported in that Evan Siegel of American Realty Appraisals in Westfield, New Jersey, says pools can add up to $100,000 in a home’s appraised value—depending on the quality of the pool and the price range of the home.

Read more about how landscaping increases the market value of your home.

Are you thinking about including a pool in your landscape design? Here are some ways to create your new backyard oasis.

It Only Starts with the Pool

The costs of adding an inground pool vary depending on whether you choose a pool with a vinyl liner or a concrete pool. Concrete pools are more expensive but will last considerably longer. The costs vary depending on the size of the pool but are not affected by the shape.

Unfortunately, even the most attractive pool, without proper landscaping, is ultimately disappointing. People who concentrate only on the pool itself learn that the surrounding landscaping and hardscaping are just as important to their new outdoor oasis.

Pool Landscaping and Hardscaping

Landscaping and hardscaping to enhance a pool can include:

  • Greenery—plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees
  • Walkways and patios using stones, rocks and pavers
  • Additional amenities including fire pits and fireplaces, fountains and waterfalls, outdoor kitchens, rock gardens and more
  • Outdoor lighting
Hardscaping around swimming pool

How to Select the Best Pool Design

Look at your existing landscape and consider the size of your property; see if it suggests a particular pool design or shape. Let the pool and landscape create a feeling of balance and harmony. An oversized pool will feel uncomfortably overwhelming. An undersized pool will look out of place and uninviting.

A free-form pool nicely compliments an organic-feeling landscape. If your existing landscape is more formal and modern, consider a pool with straight lines.

Remember to consider function. If family and friends want to swim laps, install a pool that meets those requirements. A pool with an ample shallow area happily accommodates young kids and non-swimmers.

Include Hardscaping

Deciding on the accompanying hardscaping is more difficult because there are so many ways to go. It all starts with your budget. But a talented landscape architect can create a beautiful and functional outdoor pool area that works well for your property and bank account.

The Pool Surround/Patio

The pool surround is the hardscaped area that surrounds your pool. Construction materials include:

  • Concrete
  • Tile
  • Stone
  • Pavers
  • Wood

The surround creates ambiance and determines the overall feel of the pool area. It can be a basic patio or an extravagant multi-function area. Consider durability, maintenance costs, and safety concerns.

Select materials and colors that will work well with your landscape. A landscape architect is invaluable in helping you select from the variety of materials available and keep you from making a costly mistake.

Visit our gallery, and click on “Pools/Poolscapes” and “Water Features” for ideas and to see many of our landscaping pool projects.

Establish A Seating Area

Your seating area—whether a patio, pavilion, or other area—should include comfortable seating for all who visit the pool. Include shaded areas for cooling down and sunny areas to soak up the sun’s rays.

Add Attractive Walkways

You may need to create a pathway that leads to the pool and patio area. The pathway can be straight or curved to work with your landscape. And it must be safe and offer easy access to your family and visitors.

Choose attractive materials that are easy to maintain and slip-resistant; people will walk with wet feet and shoes on their way back from the pool.

Accent walkways with:

  • Inground flower beds
  • Raised flower beds
  • Attractive stone
  • Shrubs or trees

Taller plants can add drama or even mark the transition to the pool area.

Use Plants and Rocks for Privacy and Beauty


If you have neighbors nearby, try to locate your pool where you’ll have more privacy. You can love your neighbors without wanting them to watch you sunbathe.

If privacy remains an issue, plant trees and shrubs to make your pool area more private.

  • Ivy growing over a fence or trellis can create a living privacy wall
  • Fast growing deciduous hedges, such as forsythia, or fast-growing dense trees quickly provide seclusion


Plants, flowers, and shrubs will make your new outdoor pool area more inviting. Imagine sitting poolside as the relaxing fragrance of lavender wafts by.

Greenery, grasses, and well-placed rocks can even make your pool mimic the look of a garden pond right there in your backyard.


Small boulders accent a large backyard swimming pool

Use stones, rocks, or pebbles to create a rugged appearance for your pool area. A rock garden can bring serenity and create a Zen-like atmosphere.

What Not to Plant Near a Pool

Natural beauty always enhances a pool area, but don’t:

  • Install plants that attract bees or other annoying insects
  • Plant trees that drop a lot of leaves that can gather in the pool

Include a Water Feature

A pool waterfall made of small boulders and other natural stone.

Water features add serenity and glamour. Flowing water is a relaxing sound—whether it’s from a pool waterfall or nearby fountain. And it provides a great focal point.

Water features elevate your pool area to the next level. Hand your guests a cooling drink and some tasty snacks—they’ll immediately feel like they’re guests at a 5 star resort.

Check out Sponzilli Landscape Group’s award winning swimming pool landscape designs, including water features and waterfall grottos.

Create Ambiance with Outdoor or Underwater Lighting

Pool and patio lighting play a major role in your outdoor design. It’s too important to treat like an afterthought.

Outdoor lighting enhances a pool with a round jacuzzi at night

Landscape lighting:

  • Adds beauty
  • Enhances security
  • Provides safety
  • Brings attention to specific water features

Outdoor lighting can include:

  • Deck lights
  • Landscape lights
  • Pool and underwater lights

Read about Sponzilli’s recent award for landscape design.

Check out our incredible landscape designs:

Contact us for an inspired outdoor living space for you and your family.

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