Pool and Spa Ideas

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

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Everything In This Slideshow

  • 1 of 11

    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.
  • 2 of 11

    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.
  • 3 of 11

    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.
  • 4 of 11

    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.
  • 5 of 11

    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.
  • 6 of 11

    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.
  • 7 of 11

    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.
  • 8 of 11

    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.
  • 9 of 11

    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.
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