In-Ground and Above-Ground Pool Deck Ideas on a Budget

Use these clever pool deck and above-ground pool landscaping ideas for a budget-friendly oasis that doesn't sacrifice style or quality.

Nothing says summer like jumping into a pool—and if that pool's in your backyard, it's even better. While in-ground pools can be some of the most expensive outdoor home renovations, costing anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 (not including maintenance), an above-ground pool is a less expensive—but equally fun—alternative.

The cost of an above-ground pool with installation can range from $3,000 to $11,000, according to Home Guide, with the national average being $2,800. The cost largely depends on the size, brand, and any added features. The much lower price point isn't the only benefit of an above-ground pool—they're also safer for small children because they're harder to fall or climb into accidentally.

Above-ground pools come in different sizes to fit most backyards and can be moved. Annual maintenance on above-ground pools is the same as the cost for an in-ground pool, about $2,500 to $5,000.

home with outdoor pool on deck
Brie Williams

If you have an in-ground pool, a deck is a great addition. It creates a platform close to level with the water and can be used for lounging and easy access to the pool. It also makes the pool easier to clean.

"A pool deck provides you a comfortable place to lounge with loved ones and get some sun," says Kate Shaw, cofounder of Retreat Design, a company that renovates and designs Airbnbs and short-term rentals. "Building a gorgeous outdoor lounge space is like adding a whole new living room."

According to Home Guide, if you have a contractor do the work, the cost of materials for a 10x10-foot ground-level deck is about $700-$2,200. While it's possible to build a pool deck yourself (which is the cost-effective option), this home improvement should be reserved for those who are "really into woodworking and understand it well," according to Sean Chapman, a professional carpenter and founder of tools and machinery review blog Tools n' Goods.

With lumber costs soaring, adding this upgrade will take a bit more planning and coordination—but it's definitely possible. Here are expert tips on how to add a budget-friendly pool deck to your backyard.

Go for cost-effective materials, such as treated wood or bamboo.

The cost of lumber will likely remain high, so consider alternate, lower-cost materials for your deck. Gregory Kyler, licensed general contractor and cofounder of Property People, LLC, suggests using treated wood.

"Treated lumber is the most common material and more cost-effective versus composite or cedar deck boards, which last longer," he says. Pressure-treated wood costs about $5 to $8 per square foot. Bamboo is another budget-friendly option at $3 to $4 per square foot.

Use composite materials, which can save you money in the long run.

One thing to note about treated wood: Although it's cheaper, it might not last as long as cedar or composite materials, especially in an area that's constantly exposed to water. Annual costs to maintain and varnish your wood deck can add up (and take up time) so you might want to consider using a composite material like Trex. "This will bring down the cost of maintenance by about $60 a year less than if you were to routinely maintain and varnish a wooden deck," says Chris Campbell, CEO of outdoor furniture business The Charming Bench Company. The cost of Trex is higher, ranging from $8 to $20 per square foot, but it's waterproof, doesn't splinter or crack, and is resistant to mold and insects.

Build the deck in sections.

Take your time (and save money) by building your deck in sections. There's no need to build an entire deck at once. You can do a section at a time, both to ease the cost and to make access to the pool easier—with room for a few lounge chairs.

"Build it in sections, and as you save more money or material prices come down, you can always add on," says Kyler.

Consider using sand or rocks around your pool.

Since wood and cement are so expensive, you can cut costs using as little as possible. "Adding a gorgeous space for lounge chairs around your pool doesn't need to be cement," says Shaw.

Save the wood or cement for the entrance to the pool, and go for something like smooth river rock or sand for a more tropical touch. You can save money and still have your relaxing backyard oasis.

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