Dreaming of Your Own Cooling Pool? Here are 6 Ways to Design Around It
I often dream of having a pool of our own, but for now I can just dream and plan the landscaping of my imaginary pool. If you're doing the same, here are 7 elements of great poolside design to consider:
Pool Landscape 1: Studio William Hefner, original photo on Houzz
1. Variation and texture. This is my personal idea of pool heaven. The simplicity of a small rectangle surrounded by greenery makes the space feel like a private room in the backyard. I've always had a thing for the tall, structured figures of cypress trees in any landscape. The formal and textured repetition of shrubs, cypress, and lavender gives this pool a Provencal or Tuscan feel.
Pool Landscape 2: Contemporary Pool, original photo on Houzz
2. Repetition and simplicity. Often the installation of a pool really mucks up the grounds. You don't have to wait years for plants and flowers to mature if you go for a more modernist approach. The simplicity of grass with a simple band of stone around the pool, coupled with the structured repetition of boxwoods, define the pool area of this home and yard.
Ornamental grasses work well in rows and repeated plantings. A more formal and minimalist approach is to plant the same species of grass over and over again (also called mass plantings). There's nothing boring about the texture and pattern created by the seed heads, and the grasses that often change color with the seasons.
Pool Landscape 3: Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz
3. Naturalistic plantings and hardscaping. Here ornamental grasses are planted in clumps with different species and other plants. The pool and hardscaping are almost camouflaged into the natural landscape.
Pool Landscape 4: Phillips Garden, original photo on Houzz
4. Formalist and minimal hardscaping. This sort of landscaping reminds me of minimalist artists who worked with form and line among the basic elements of the visual world. I love the pattern that the pavers create and the interlocking forms of the pool, steps and hot tub.
Pool Landscape 5: Warner Larson, original photo on Houzz
5. Pergolas and pool houses. There's a grounding effect that any outbuilding or structure has on a landscape. Pergolas create a visual bridge and give you a sense of intimacy and shelter, even if it's only fleeting, since their open slatted roofs offer a bit of shade, but won't protect you from real weather.
Pergolas are wonderful places to grow vines and shade dining areas and pathways.
Pergolas are often seen coming off the back of houses in lieu of a screened-in porch. Porches with full roofs block more light than pergolas, with their slatted roofs. They also provide a nice transition between the pool and indoors.
Pool houses can be simple sheds to hide the mechanicals or mini houses of their own with guest bedrooms and small kitchens and bathrooms. I've even seen one that had a family media room and bar.
Pool Landscape 6: Modern Pool, original photo on Houzz
6. Sculpture and art. Don't feel like you have to relegate the sculpture garden to a different part of the property. Landscape around the pool with a sculpture garden to add a sense of meditative calm.
7. Lighting. Don't forget about how that pool feels at night. Lighting is as important outdoors as is it indoors. Create drama and mood and envelope your outdoor space in lighting that highlights trees, plantings and buildings.