Pool ideas – 20 stylish ways to enjoy swimming in the yard

1. Invest In Your Own Pool Retreat

Installing a heated pool in a sunny, sheltered spot close to the house or a garden building, such as a pool house with a dedicated changing area, creates the experience of a luxury holiday home, and if you're wondering 'how do I add luxury to my backyard?' then this has to be top of the list.

2. Opt For A Curvaceous Design

‘In an awkwardly shaped garden, a pool with a free-flowing design will make the most of the space,’ says Janine Pattison of JPS Landscape Design. If you prefer clean lines and symmetry, use planting to fill the uneven gaps left around the straight sides. An infinity-edged pool is a perfect choice for a terraced garden.

3. Take Your Swimming Pool To The Edge

Infinity-style pools blur the lines between the water and the landscape and are ideal for a contemporary yard with a panoramic view. ‘For a classic home, choose a conventional pool and frame the views so they can be enjoyed while swimming,’ says Janine Pattison.

4. Keep The Pool Area Hidden From The Rest Of The Backyard

Swimming pools need not be rectangular slabs of blue hidden away in a corner. Good designs should work with your backyard, rather than against its natural flow.

5. Create A Pool That Embraces The Natural Flow Of Your Landscape

Now, for all its practicality, the shut-away, out-of-sight swimming area seems so last century. Today’s pools are welcomed into the backyard, whether in a formal setting of lawns, surrounded by flowers and grasses, or even made to look like a natural garden pond.

6. Foster A Natural Swimming Pool – Inspired By Nature

The ‘natural’ swimming pool is the style most rapidly gaining favor in country gardens, not only for its visual appeal, but also its eco-credentials. Though it looks exactly like an informal garden pond, the properly constructed natural pool (or swimming pond as it is often called) uses no chemicals. Instead it is a mini ecosystem, consisting of a deep swimming area and a shallower neighboring section where a range of suitable plants constantly filter and purify the water.

7. Let A Hidden Pool Sparkle In The Summer – And Winter

In a urban area, use clever pool area ideas that maximize privacy, such as plants, screens and canopies, to shield your pool from neighbors’ windows and to hide it when it is covered during the winter. A small round or rectangular plunge pool can double as a water feature, providing a beautiful focal point in your outdoor space. Regularly using a surface skimmer and a robotic cleaner to remove dirt and debris from the bottom will help to keep your pool clean and clear of fallen leaves and insects.

8. Step Up With A Raised Pool

If you're looking for ways to incorporate a pool into your sloped garden, you could build a pool into the terraced section and use coping stones to double as seating. Janine recommends surrounding a raised pool with composite decking (wood mixed with plastics and other materials), as it is non-slip and low maintenance. A specialist will make sure the pool is well integrated into your design.

9. Find Space In Your Yard For A Small Pool

A lap pool or a swim spa with an adjustable continuous current to swim against is ideal for a small backyard with restricted space, such as a courtyard or roof terrace.

A prefabricated pool can be lifted into place in areas with limited access. ‘Check that your supplier has experience of roof installations and understands load-bearing requirements,’ says Andrew Fisher Tomlin.

10. Plan A Pool That Fits In With The Surrounding Space

Rural period houses can look at odds with a modern tiled pool. If you're wondering how to landscape a backyard with a pool, garden designer Andy Sturgeon advises edging the pool with York or sandstone and lining it with tiles to match the paving, to create a more natural appearance.

11. Illuminate Your Pool

‘Good pool lighting ideas help to make swimming safer and add ambience and drama to a design,’ says Janine Pattison. ‘We use LEDs in and around our pools because they have a long life and lower running costs. They also have color-change capability, so different moods can be created at the touch of a button.’

12. Play Hide And Seek

A large backyard offers scope to position the pool away from the house and to create a dedicated environment for the feature. Landscaper and designer Andy Sturgeon suggests disguising the pool behind a low wall or hedge to blend it into the surrounding area.

13. Don't Skimp On Hardscaping

Don’t underestimate the importance of landscaping and hardscaping. 'This hardscaped pool patio idea elevates the pool that overlooks a river,' explains Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard. 'The pavers lead guests to a gazebo and dining area, making the living space seamless and functional.'

14. Provide A Beautiful Vista From The Pool

Designed by Land Morphology, and often called one of the 'most significant gardens in Connecticut', The InSitu Garden integrates hard landscaping, abundant planting, modern art and elements of water to create a spiritually inspiring garden.

The much-adored pool is set in a picturesque landscape planted with meadows, woodland gardens and lawns. This garden 'room' offers expansive vistas through the garden and to the distant hills.

15. Keep Your Pool Area Secluded From Prying Eyes

In a densely populated area, use pool privacy ideas such as plants, screens and canopies to shield your pool from neighbors' windows and to disguise it during the winter when it will be covered. A round or rectangular plunge pool that doubles as a water feature will create a beautiful focal point when it is revealed as you walk through the garden.

16. Instill A Sense Of Harmony

'You can lay porcelain pavers on the grass to create harmony between hardscapes and softscapes,' Raboine explains. 'A retaining wall behind the pool chairs allows for the sloped area to be utilized for plantings and additional greenery.' Also, don’t be afraid to play with different levels.

17. Construct An Entertainment Area Around The Pool

The spectacular pool area idea shown above was designed by Christopher Grubb, an interior designer and founder of Beverly Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group. ’Don’t be afraid to use different materials around the pool area,’ he advises. ‘Here, the mix of decking material, concrete, tile and grass adds interest and keeps the eye moving.’

18. Enjoy Natural Pool Benefits

Demand for natural pools has increased as new, more practical and flexible technologies have been brought to the market allowing natural water swimming in any pool whether indoors or outdoors, heated and covered.

19. Consider An Indoor Pool

Once it was a given that indoor pools would see much more use, but recent events have changed perspectives.

Pool designers Guncast have seen a 150 per cent increase in demand for outdoor pools – and it shows no signs of slowing down, says design director Andy Carr. He adds that high-tech, space-saving solutions are also popular, including those with moving floors.

20. Think Safety – As Well As Style

Safety around a pool is paramount so making sure that the surrounding surface is non-slip is essential, says landscape designer Marcus Barnett. ‘A generous border of hard landscaping around the whole pool allows for sun loungers and the ability to walk without worrying about getting to the edge.’ He recommends using the same paving used elsewhere in the backyard but with a suitable non-slip finish such as bush-hammered or flamed.

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