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Popular in Gardening

Pool and Spa Ideas

Bask in the comfort and tranquility of a pool or spa.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • City Escape

      A multifaceted deck dresses up an off-the-shelf spa.

      • In narrow urban landscapes, a side yard makes a good spot for a slender deck or spa.
      • Placed with its top level aligned with the deck's floor, an in-deck hot tub becomes less obtrusive.
      • Located right next to the hot tub, an outdoor-resistant rug offers a spot to dry off.
      • Because the spa is sunk into the deck, the railings serve as a privacy screen.
      • Above the nearby couch, a few hooks offer a convenient spot to hang towels.
    • A World Away

      A slender wall divides public from private.

      • While a spa may require privacy from the neighbors, it can also call for screening from the rest of the house. Here, a stucco wall protects the space from the home's back windows.
      • A wide deck around the hot tub does double duty as an informal bench.
      • An extension of the spa's concrete base provides a transition between spa and grass.
      • The geometry of the spa repeats in the pattern of pavers inset into the grass.
      • If appropriate, choose materials that help to tie the spa area with the rest of the house -- here, the same color and style of brick repeats in the walls around the pool area.
    • Wooded Refuge

      A pool maximizes the view in its secluded site.

      • Good lighting is essential. This pool features a few fixtures sunk into the surrounding concrete pad.
      • A neutral light brown stain for the concrete pad offers a color choice in-step with the natural surroundings.
      • Curves cut out of the pool's concrete pad offer spots for a few shrubs and decorative boulders.
      • An infinity edge orients the view to the forest and lake.
      • When the area around a pool is mostly paved, containers planted with annuals can provide a way to add color and texture.
    • Say Ahhhh

      Beautifully landscaped grounds are the backdrop to an expansive pool.

      • If space allows, a nearby building can be useful to store cleaning tools and other pool-care necessities.
      • The geometry of the pool stands in stark contrast to the lushly planted surroundings.
      • The patterning of the pool's deck is repeated in other hardscape elements, such as the series of mostly rectangular pavers (spaced at regular intervals) that lead from house to pool.
      • Instead of a basic long rectangle shape, this pool subtly widens at the shallow end.
      • Columnar evergreens and towering ornamental grasses shield one end of the pool from view.
    • Contemporary Cool-Off

      A home's sleek style extends to its minimalist pool.

      • Grasses and river rock fill a slim area between pool and house.
      • Instead of a traditional wide deck surrounding the pool, here, nearby paved patio spaces offer spots to sit down and towel off.
      • The home's contemporary style and geometry supply inspiration for the pool's design.
      • In a sleight of pool-design hand, a very shallow section provides a spot for a few people to cool off without getting submerged.
      • Deep blue tile offers a restful accent for the wall and edging surrounding the pool.
    • Clever Curves

      A small-scale spa enlarges outdoor living space.

      • A brick patio naturally extends into a design element in this spa. Mortared pavers forming the pool's edge.
      • Casual seating -- such as the bordering wall here -- provide a spot to perch if they're not using the spa.
      • Rigid borders go by the wayside in this spa, which is cleverly cut into a curved niche in the retaining wall.
      • Stonework in the adjacent fireplace repeats in the spa's backdrop to create continuity in the yard.
      • A few blooms crest over the retaining wall, supplying a pretty spot for spa users to rest their eyes.
    • Jump In

      A pool/spa combo creates a backyard refuge.

      • Sometimes pools and spas are completely different spaces, but integrating them can be a natural fit.
      • In place of an ordinary fence, a distinctive stone wall offers a back border for the pool.
      • Two fountains -- one in the spa, one in the pool -- create dramatic vertical interest.
      • If budget allows, try using stone pavers to provide an attractive and texturally interesting deck around a pool.
      • Small niches of plants fill a spot in the corner of the pool, softening the stone's edges.
    • Swim with a View

      A relaxing view serves as backdrop for this sleek pool.

      • With one length an "infinity" edge, a pool relies on slim stone paving for the three other sides to minimize visual disruption.
      • Grass offers a soft landing pad around the deck.
      • Both chairs and the placement of the pool orient the view to the wide-open countryside.
      • A short metal railing defines the yard's (and the pool's) back border.
      • Bountiful blooms disguise the fence and offer a welcome bit of color.
    • Time for a Swim

      Spots to escape the sun while enjoying the pool are key in this landscape.

      • A stone border offers a low-key separation between spa and pool.
      • A portable outdoor umbrella provides protection from the sun.
      • Comfy benches and a covered patio furnish spots for poolside rest and relaxation.
      • Two subtly different materials -- one as edging, another as surrounding deck -- add a slight but welcome point of visual interest.
      • A sculpture of large boulders serves as focal point and natural spot for inclusion of a waterfall.
    • 10 of 11

      Pool Repose

      Sophisticated details dress up this combo pool/spa.

      • A series of concrete "pads" jut out in the pool space, offering just variation to the mostly neutral deck.
      • A short retaining wall, which features the same creamy white color of the surrounding stone, separates the pool area from the rest of the yard.
      • Speckled stone provides this spa with its own distinct border.
      • Lighting around a pool and spa is for both safety and ambiance; here, a few fixtures unobtrusively dot the landscape.
      • Here, both the fence and the deep green foliage serve a visual counterpoint to the white stone.
    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Fall Garden Design Lessons

      Fall Garden Design Lessons

      Your landscape can still look great -- even after a few frosts. This New York garden shows you how.
      Begin Slideshow »



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