Pool Lighting Tips

Get tips on adding the right lighting in and around your pool.


Photo courtesy of Alderete

Photo courtesy of Alderete

Adding lighting to your pool and its surroundings will allow you to use the pool and your outdoor living spaces at night. It is also a safety measure so you can see where you are walking when the sun goes down.

Dreamy Pool Design Ideas

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Cool Pool Features

An attached stone wall with water spouts and adjacent outdoor living room with fireplace complement the curved lines of this nature-inspired pool. The stone used for the fireplace ties the two spaces together. Photo courtesy of Belgard Hardscapes

Photo By: Zack Benson

Recessed Lounge Area

Giving those who want to stay dry an option is always a nice idea. This unique pool features a recessed seating area "inside" the pool so everyone can enjoy the pool together. Design by Pool Builders Inc.; photo courtesy of Digital Wave Productions

Swim With a View

Whenever possible, design your pool to take advantage of views. Steps on each side lead to a raised lounging area that allows visitors to enjoy the stunning vistas that surround this pool and spa. Photo courtesy of Belgard Hardscapes

Photo By: Chipper Hatter

Rock-Star Retreat

If you want a pool with personality, go for an unexpected shape. This unique pool by Emerald Pools and Spas, Inc. was created for a homeowner who plays and collects bass guitars. Photo courtesy of The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

Photo By: Emerald Pools and Spas Inc.

Nighttime Appeal

Evening ambiance was the design goal for this pool and spa by Alderete Pools. Pentair LED multicolored lights enhance the nighttime feel and the attached patio features a full stone fireplace. Photography by Andy Abrecht

Photo By: unknown

Cascading Waterfalls

This multilevel, freeform pool and spa from Memphis Pool offers stunning stone waterfalls and a large vanishing edge to add drama. Photography by James Roberts

Serene Surroundings

Be inspired by nature when you design your pool. A natural rock waterfall and an elevated pedestal spa are at the opposite ends of this lagoon-style pool by Pool Builders Inc. Photo courtesy of Digital Wave Productions

Perk Up Your Plant Life

This pool was designed to flow from the house to the open pool area surrounded by lush landscaping. The right plantings can add both shade and intimacy for a pool. Photo courtesy of Neptune Pools Inc.

Photo By: Neptune Pools Inc.

Zero-Edge Pool

This four-sided zero-edge pool and spa by Alderete Pools makes a dramatic statement. Specially selected glass tiles surround the entire raised exterior of the pool to enhance the visual effects of the zero-edge design. Photography by Andy Abrecht

Lengthy Design

The curved ends and low-maintenance deck that surrounds this long and linear pool add visual interest to the pool area. Combining straight with curved lines provides a balanced look. Photo courtesy of TREX

Photo By: Laurence Parent

Zen Oasis

You can create an elegant but natural look with the right features. This pool and spa combination by Alderete Pools includes an attached large koi pond and stacked-stone spa dam wall. Photography by Andy Abrecht

Backyard Vacation

This glamorous pool and spa by Alderete Pools has the features that turn a backyard into a resort. A custom-built gazebo with built-in BBQ, sink, refrigerator and a granite-topped bar and seating are the extras that turn the pool area into an oasis. Photography by Andy Abrecht

Infinity Pool

This classic negative-edge pool by Pool Environments allows the homeowners to enjoy stunning views. The curved negative edge spans across the entire back of the pool. Photo courtesy of The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals

Photo By: Pool Environments

Swim-Up Details

Extra touches make all the difference for how a pool looks and feels. Swim-up barstools, a large outdoor kitchen and a well-designed lighting scheme give this pool a serious sense of style.

From: Mark Scott Associates

Lighting in your pool

In-ground pools use to have one or two large lights embedded into the wall that light up the water for nighttime swimming, one in the deep end and one in the shallow end of the pool. Above-ground pools get a spot or floodlight mounted to a tree or on the house. While those built-in lights are still popular, there have been significant changes to pool lighting over the years.

Now it's all about LED lighting systems that can transform your pool into an aquatic experience. "You can have customized lighting packages spread around the pool that offer different colors and can be programmed with reflective qualities that don't shine in your face," says Tom Mortland, pool division manager, Liquidscape.

LED lights are installed under the coping or in pipes embedded in the walls. "They give off a soft glow that washes over the water," says Bill Bocken, Bill Bocken Architecture and Interior Design. "You can even have a computerized color wheel that changes colors throughout the night. Think red for Valentine's Day or blue for a martini party," he says. There are also fiber-optic lighting options that can create a starry night-like effect as well.

Lighting around your pool

Low-voltage lighting that saves energy and softly lights up your yard is still the best way to enhance your outdoor living spaces. Strategically placed lights that shine into the branches of trees gives them a sculptural quality. Soft but effective light splashing on the pathways leading to your pool, on steps and near your patio will allow you to safely maneuver around your yard without tripping over things such as planter boxes, shrubs and furniture.

Aside from the safety issue, outdoor landscape lighting will create an atmosphere that will draw you outside so you'll want to spend time out there at night, says Joanne Kostecky, APLD and president, Garden Design, Inc. "You’ll feel more secure, plus you'll be able to see what's out there."

A well-lit yard is enjoyable to look at from inside the house and makes it look better overall. Consider lighting specimen plantings, pergolas, pathways, patios and decks when you plan your outdoor lighting. Low-voltage lighting is easy to install yourself since it comes in kits that can be added to later on as you continue to develop your outdoor living spaces.

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Swimming Pool Maintenance

Follow these tips for regular maintenance and for winterizing your pool.

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