11 Backyard Pool Landscape Ideas 

Want your backyard to feel more like a dreamy summer vacation oasis? Imagine stepping out into the sunshine with a cool, bubbling soda in hand while the kids splash around in the infinity pool.

The potential of your space is limitless, especially when you’re considering installing a pool. If a backyard pool is indeed on the 2024 to-do list with some surrounding landscaping and hardscaping, keep reading. Here are 11 backyard pool landscape ideas to get you started. 

1. Unifying Pool Plants

Backyard Pool Landscape Ideas

First things first, you should know plants should help balance all your pool landscape ideas and unify them to make for a gorgeous backyard oasis. The tropical plants you choose should be easy to maintain, safe for children and pets, and able to thrive in your natural environment. 

Below are a few examples to get your backyard looking like the ultimate getaway. 

Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Trees such as Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), Citrus trees, and Emerald Green Arborvitae are perfect for around your pool. They will add a tropical poolside vibe, protect you and your family from the sun, and give you some additional privacy from neighbors.

Evergreen Boxwoods are also great for privacy, are low maintenance (woohoo!), and have many opportunities for playful designs. 

Ornamental Grasses  

Blue fescue, Zebra grass, Gama grass (Tripsacum dactyloides), Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)—all add depth and texture to your garden beds. Easy to maintain and adaptable to different climates, planting ornamental grasses is the perfect idea for landscaping around your pool. 

Climbing Vines

Vines such as Passionflower (passiflora incarnata), Carolina Jessamine, Jasmine, and Honeysuckle are all examples of gorgeous climbing vines that can be manipulated around fences, trellises, and pergolas. Adding a pop of color, vines add that tropical oasis vibe that you might be looking for! 


There are plenty of flowers to choose from when it comes to landscaping around pools, it all depends on your intended outdoor style, color choices, and even your environment’s climate.

Gerbera Daisies and White Hydrangeas add vibrant color and privacy when planted around a pool. Lavender is fragrant and a good insect repellent—perfect for those hot summer days when bugs are seemingly abundant. 

White Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) is another beautiful flowering plant that needs to be planted in full sun-partial shade to thrive. It will also need to be brought inside during winter and watered often to avoid drying out. White Birds of Paradise will also continue to thrive if you place thick mulch around the bottom during winter. 

2. Funky Pool Shapes 

When exploring swimming pool landscape ideas, be sure to take into account the overall aesthetic of your house and landscaping. If you’re going for a sleek, modern aesthetic, perhaps opt for a complementary geometric lap pool. On the other hand, if you are going for a more laid-back vibe, freeform pool shapes may be more your style!

Freeform Pools 

backyard pool landscape ideas

Want a backyard that feels a little more relaxed or go-with-the-flow? Freeform pool shapes can help you do just that and bring your tropical pool landscape ideas to a new and luxurious level. Irregularly shaped pools—such as kidney-shaped pools or lagoon-style freeform pools (exampled above)—can help accentuate surrounding landscape designs and create a resort-like effect. You can transport yourself into your very own tropical haven by complementing your freeform pool shape with a waterfall feature, a rock garden, or a pool spa/hot tub. 

Geometric Pools

backyard pool landscape ideas

Want a clean, striking, and minimalist look to go with your interior design? Geometric pool shapes utilize sharp edges and straight lines to create square or rectangular swimming pools to fit that modern aesthetic. These pools are perfect for those who are seeking a sleek yet functional pool for their backyard. Additionally, this straight-edged swimming pool is great for improving your personal health, fitness, and well-being, as it can easily be transformed into a lap pool! 

3. Multi-Texture Rock Gardens 

backyard pool landscape ideas

Rock Gardens can enhance your pool landscaping by creating a multi-level, multi-texture experience. Whether you use solely natural boulders on-site or incorporate a mix of natural and artificial boulders—this idea can add some (literal) elevation to your poolside landscaping! 

Artificial boulders 

Need to tie in some practical/functional elements, but don’t want to disrupt the natural look of your garden? Artificial boulders can be a hidden home for add-ins such as built-in speakers, a waterfall, or outdoor solar lighting to keep your guests safe and entertained. 

Natural boulders 

Natural boulders, on the other hand, and rock garden plantings can add a touch of rustic elegance to your outdoor oasis. If you find your yard has natural outcropping stones—use this to your advantage. They can become natural stairs or places to put your pool towel. The possibilities here are abundant!

Be sure to match the size of your boulders/rocks to any chairs, pool beds, or any other landscaping you have around your pool. Rocks too small will be lost amongst the rest of your landscaping and rocks too big may become an eyesore! 

4. Eye-catching Water Features 

backyard pool landscape ideas

If you need tropical pool landscape ideas—look no further than a waterfall feature. It is a classic, fun, and easy way to elevate your inground pool landscaping ideas. As mentioned in the Rock Garden section, you can use artificial boulders around your waterfall to subtly hide the opening and have your waterfall looking as natural as it comes!

5. Focal Point Fireplaces 

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Want to create a great focal point for outdoor entertaining? Stone fire pits and fireplaces will do just that! Stand-alone or cornered off with the help of retaining walls—fireplaces help bring the family together all year round for a s’more or two! 

From safe, easy-to-use gas or propane to classic wood-burning fireplaces, your options are practically endless. 

For those deciding between fireplace options, here are the pros and cons:

Wood-Burning Outdoor Fireplaces: Similar to indoor wood-burning fireplaces, outdoor versions use logs as fuel. They provide a rustic ambiance and can be constructed from various materials such as stone, brick, or metal. Wood-burning outdoor fireplaces require a chimney or venting system to channel smoke away and may require regular maintenance.

Gas Outdoor Fireplaces: Gas-fueled outdoor fireplaces run on either natural gas or propane. They offer convenience and control, as they can be easily ignited with the flip of a switch or the push of a button. Gas fireplaces produce consistent heat and flames without the need for storing or chopping wood. They are also relatively low maintenance and can be integrated into outdoor kitchens or living areas.

Fire Pits: Fire pits are versatile outdoor features available in various styles and designs. They can burn wood, natural gas, or propane, depending on the type. Wood-burning fire pits provide a traditional campfire experience and are often surrounded by seating for social gatherings. Gas fire pits offer convenience and are often designed as tabletop or built-in features for outdoor entertainment areas.

Ethanol Outdoor Fireplaces: Ethanol-fueled fireplaces are suitable for outdoor use, providing clean-burning flames without the need for a chimney or venting. They are portable and can be placed on patios, decks, or in garden areas. Ethanol outdoor fireplaces offer ambiance and warmth while minimizing environmental impact.

Gel Fuel Fireplaces: Gel fuel fireplaces can also be used outdoors, offering a portable and hassle-free option for adding warmth and ambiance to outdoor spaces. Gel fuel canisters produce clean-burning flames without smoke or ash, making them suitable for use in areas without access to natural gas or propane.

Of course, there’s the shape: circular, rectangular, square fireplaces—there are so many fire pit options available that it might become overwhelming very quickly. Fear not! Our experts will work with you to design the best conversational fireplace for your family and your home. 

6. Hot Tubs for Cooler Days

backyard pool landscape ideas

Hot tubs are perfect for keeping your family and guests entertained throughout any season. When the colder climate hits and it’s a tad too chilly to have a splash in the pool, the hot tub is right there to warm you up.

Hot tubs are available at a range of price points that will allow just about anyone to enjoy the relaxation of a spa-like experience in your very own backyard. Below is a list of different hot tubs that we can look into installing in your backyard landscaping: 

  • Prefabricated hot tubs 
  • Inground hot tubs
  • Pool-spa combo 
  • Rotationally molded hot tubs 
  • Wooden hot tubs 
  • Inflatable hot tubs

Hot (Tub) Tip: Be sure to consider where you want your hot tub to reside during the design process. You will need room for safety steps, a power outlet, and any other accessories you may want to add!

7. Retaining Walls 

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Our 30+ years of combined experience in stone masonry and hardscape landscaping allows for slick craftsmanship of retaining walls, that will have your backyard looking like a staycation resort in no time! 

Retaining walls are a multi-purpose landscaping tool that helps protect your gardens while also helping to create multiple focal points in your hardscape landscaping design. Often fitted with an accompanying garden bed, retaining walls help prevent erosion so that your backyard can thrive for years to come. 

8. Gorgeous Garden Features

Living Fences 

backyard pool landscape ideas

Tall, evergreen trees or hedges can create a more natural-looking privacy fence and are a great addition to your list of swimming pool landscaping ideas! Trees like Emerald Green Arborvitae planted close together provide a barrier between you and your neighbors while also diverting attention away from an otherwise drab-looking privacy fence. 

Cascading Potted Plants

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Wondering what landscape ideas around a pool are suitable for a paved area? Potted plants can easily become one of the most eye-catching elements that you can add to your landscaping around a pool ideas list. They can be a statement piece complementing your pool or they can be small and subtle but will add just the right pop of color needed to spice up your pool landscaping. 

Ornamental sweet potato (Ipomoea) is a perfect example of a potted plant that can catch the attention of your guests. The cascading vines and colorful leaves can look reminiscent of a waterfall feature—just without the added water bills! 

9. Outdoor Showers 

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Outdoor showers should be added to your landscape ideas around the pool ideas list as they are very handy when it comes to keeping your pool and hot tub clean. A quick rinse-off before and after you jump into the water can help you maintain a healthy, clean pool for both you and your family. 

Outdoor showers can either be built into the pool house for complete privacy or built into the pool landscaping like the shower pictured on the left from our Riverside Retreat in Gloucester project. Whatever suits your needs, we can make it happen!

10. Pool House Pergola

backyard pool landscape ideas

A pool house pergola can extend your outdoor entertaining area and level up your backyard dramatically. Whether you have a small or a large backyard, our team can ensure that your pool house patio dreams can be made into a reality. 

They can be the home for an outdoor shower, a bathroom, an outdoor kitchen and bar space, a dining table and chairs, and mounted TVs for added entertainment into winter months—the options are truly endless here! 

11. Paver Patio

backyard pool landscape ideas

Pictured above is what we like to call a paver patio. With a variety of colors and shapes to choose from, we can help you choose the perfect combo that will complement the established aesthetic of your beautiful property and home. 

Being completely customizable and a fairly straightforward process, a paver patio may just be the perfect option to help you create a stand-out space in your backyard. You can read all about the benefits of a paver patio here!

So, what do you think?! Did we spark some inspiration for your list of tropical inground pool landscaping ideas? Contact us to speak to our skilled experts and we can help you design the best pool landscaping for your property. 

Contact us today to start your project.