Pool and Spa Ideas

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

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.

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.

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