Design a Pool Deck or Patio

From relaxing outdoor rooms to sunbathing decks, get tips to outfit the space around your pool.


Photo courtesy of Marrokal Design and Remodeling

Photo courtesy of Marrokal Design and Remodeling
By: Peter Walsh

A pool that fits into your overall landscape will be a much more enjoyable outdoor living experience. Keep this in mind as you design around your pool.

10 Pool Deck and Patio Designs

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Deck Design

Pressure-treated wood decks, exotic woods like ipe or decks made of wood-like composite materials such as Trex are generally built around above-ground pools, but there is no hard or fast rule. If you have an in-ground pool and want a wood deck then go for it. "It’s not done a lot," says James Atlas, co-owner of Platinum Pool Care, mainly because it doesn't have the life expectancy of natural stone. There is a maintenance issue that comes with wood decking. Since it's constantly exposed to pool water from splashing, it might need frequent power-washing, staining and sealing to keep it looking good.

Plan a Patio

A patio is often built adjacent to an in-ground pool to offer a place for entertaining and relaxing. They can be made of poured concrete, precast concrete pavers or natural stone such as Pennsylvania bluestone or limestone. The materials that you use for a patio should coordinate with the other hardscape materials you use around your house so that there is a cohesive style or look.

"Provide enough terrace area to put the furniture on, but not too much," says Bill Bocken, Bill Bocken Architecture and Interior Design. "You don't want miles of paving. It's unattractive." He suggests that you put a patio on one side of the pool. "Take your cues from your surroundings and view," he says. "You might want to tuck a patio right up next to the landscaping. You don't need to be walking all the way around the pool. Sit on one side looking at the view."


Incorporating the pool into the overall scheme of your landscaping makes it an integral part of your home. "Think about the big picture," says Joanne Kostecky, APLD and president of Garden Design, Inc. That's why working with a landscape designer or architect early in the pool-planning process is a good idea. You'll want to be sure that whatever you plant near a pool is far enough away from the edge so that it doesn't impede walking around it.

If you use your pool predominantly in the summer, then you'll want a lot of summer color from flowering plants, but you should know what you are planting. "Do your research so you know what the plants need, how big they get when fully grown, and how much sun and shade they need," says Kostecky. Avoid planting shade trees near a pool because you’ll have to deal with falling leaves that could get into the water.

Container plantings work well around a pool. Pots filled with tropical plants can give you a tropical feel, but consider the maintenance they'll require. You have to be committed to watering every day and if you go away for a weekend then you’ll have to have someone water them.

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