12 Above-Ground Pool Landscaping Ideas to Spruce Up Your Backyard

Oct 3, 2023 | Cost-Effective Landscaping

A backyard swimming pool is a must-have for many Dallas homeowners. Around 13.8 percent of DFW homes feature pools, which is among the highest density of all large cities in the U.S.

With the average cost of inground pools so high, however, it’s no surprise that above-ground pools have grown in popularity. These pools take a fraction of the time to install and usually cost around ten times less than inground pools, representing less of a financial risk for Dallas homeowners.

Above-ground pools have traditionally been let down by their looks: some homeowners feel that they look “out of place” or don’t “blend in” with the surroundings. But a few creative above-ground pool landscaping ideas can change that, sprucing up your backyard area so that you get the look you’re after with your pool.

Whether you plan to splurge or landscape on a tight budget, here’s a closer look at some of the benefits of an above-ground pool — plus a few of the best ideas for making your backyard pool area the envy of the neighborhood…

Benefits of an above-ground pool in your backyard

Above-ground pools are quick to install and more economical. They usually take 2-3 days compared to many weeks or even a few months to prepare the ground and install an inground pool.

This translates to much lower labor costs, which leads to an overall lower upfront cost of the pool.

Estimates vary but the average cost of an above-ground pool is around $1,790-$5,970  compared with $25,000-$100,000 for inground pools.

You’ll also save on annual running costs with an above-ground pool as they are usually smaller and require less “wintering” preparations than inground pools. 

Because they’re not considered permanent landscaping solutions, you may even save on property taxes. An inground pool often increases a property’s value, which could translate to higher property taxes, especially if you live in a neighborhood where pools are in high demand.

Above-ground pools are available in various shapes (but usually round or oval). Size-wise, they are typically 4-6 feet in depth and 12-30 feet in diameter. Because they’re not considered permanent solutions, if you change your mind about what you need, the spec is easily upgraded or downgraded unlike with an inground pool. 

Plus, they’re portable: you can pack up your pool and take it with you to a new location if you move home.

Above-ground pools are also much more suitable for smaller backyards than inground pools. For many Dallas city dwellers, they are a more realistic option.

Over the years, above-ground pools have improved in technology and are now not only relatively easy to assemble but also very durable solutions that can last 10-20 years or more with the proper care and attention.

And with the right above-ground pool landscaping ideas, they are not as basic-looking as you might think. The right models can look spectacular in the right backyards with the right landscaping…

Types of above-ground pools

The three main types of above-ground pools are: 

  1. Inflatable pools
  2. Metal-frame pools
  3. Hard-sided pools

This article considers mainly types two and three because inflatable pools are not very durable and though they are the cheapest option, they’re not recommended if you’re serious about installing a backyard pool that’s going to last.

Metal-frame pools are convenient and highly portable, using a rust-resistant steel frame to hold a PVC liner. This liner is strong, flexible and durable enough to contain the water and prevent leaks, mold and chemical waste.

Hard-sided pools are the most durable option and are usually very sturdy when made from corrugated heavy-duty steel or resin.

But it’s not quite as simple as that. Many of the most basic above-ground pools have a stark, unattractive almost industrial appearance with visible supports. Some homeowners want to beautify their pool area by facing the hard side with wood, like in this example:

Above-ground pool landscaping ideas

Above-ground pools have come a long way from the days of inflatable pools. Pools complete with decking, railings and heating are available now if you look in the right places.

If you don’t immediately get the appearance you want around your pool, here are some above-ground pool landscaping ideas to get you closer to your perfect backyard…

  1. Install artificial grass around the pool

We may be a little biased but artificial turf does look fantastic around a pool — and it’s highly practical too. The best artificial grass for pools provides the natural look and feel of real grass but with virtually no maintenance. It feels soft and lush under bare feet but prevents trailing mud and grass back through the house after swims.

Synthetic pool turf is also highly durable and stands up well to the chlorine in pool water as well as the Dallas heat and sunshine. Most professional artificial grass installations last 12-15 years and can even endure beyond 20 years.Some homeowners balk at the initial cost of artificial grass but with such impressive durability and low-maintenance requirements, the investment pays for itself within five or six years.

  1. Plant desert-friendly shrubs and herbs

With the heat in Dallas, a swimming pool is a must-have for many but it’s not the best water-saving idea. However, we do need to stay cool and we can save water in the yard by planting desert-friendly plants and using artificial grass or gravel around the pool rather than real grass.

To augment the pool area and beautify your backyard, desert shrubs can provide a picturesque setting for a swim.

This is an especially good pool landscaping idea if you’re on a tight budget and your above-ground pool is very basic in appearance ( with less-than-attractive plain steel or resin facing rather than wood or rock facing).

You can also plant fast-growing herbs like lavender, rosemary, oregano and thyme. These are drought-tolerant and can quickly cover the sides of your pool while also providing some delicious cooking ingredients!

  1. Install raised decking around the pool

Decking looks fantastic around most pool areas. For above-ground pools, raised decking with steps approaching the area can be the centerpiece of your backyard, especially if you have sufficient space to install a large deck area with seating and shaded areas.

This is not a budget solution but with the money you save by not opting for an inground pool, you may have some left over to spend on beautiful decking and other creative above-ground pool landscaping ideas.

  1. Plant palm trees and other greenery

One of the criticisms of above-ground pools is that they don’t blend into the surroundings of backyards very easily. 

By planting some taller trees and other shorter greenery around your pool area, you can help with this. As the plants grow and mature, they’ll reach the top of the pool, help it blend into the landscape and provide a little more shade.

Palm trees are the perfect accompaniment for pool areas in Texas, requiring little water and reaching toward the sun. They also make you feel like you’re permanently on holiday when lounging by your pool area!

  1. Go with stone

Using stone to “encase” your hard-side pool can add great beauty to your poolside area. 

Stone will also add a few dollars to the budget requirements but many homeowners are prepared to pay a little more because of the cost-savings made compared to installing an inground pool.

If real stone breaks your budget, consider faux stone panels. You can achieve a stylish fieldstone or cobblestone look relatively affordably with this simple creative idea.

  1. Use pea gravel around your pool area

An alternative surface to artificial grass for your swimming pool area is pea gravel. This smooth, pea-sized gravel comes in a variety of colors and can be used either as the main “walking surface” to and from the pool or around the non-access sides of the pool.

White or light gray is generally the most suitable color as it doesn’t get as hot as darker shades of gravel (if you need to walk on it to get to and from the pool).

Pea gravel looks tidy and is a practical, low-maintenance, no-water alternative to a natural grass lawn.

  1. Build a poolside gazebo, pergola or bar 

If you have the space in your backyard, installing a poolside bar, gazebo, pergola or entertainment area around your above-ground pool is a great idea.

An entertainment area will impress your guests — or you can simply enjoy a beer or a BBQ in the shade while the kids are playing in the pool. 

  1. Enclose your pool with decorative fencing

Fencing or railing around your raised pool is a must if you have decking rather than a simple set of steps leading up to the pool.

Fencing in the style of the decking you use can add both safety and beauty to your pool area and also help deter dogs and other animals from entering your pool area (especially if the area is gated).

  1. Install acrylic “glass” panels around your pool area

If you’re after a more modern look, an alternative to wooden fencing or railing around your pool is to choose transparent acrylic panels that look just like glass and are hard-wearing but without the safety concerns of using glass.

Acrylic is increasingly used in above-ground pool design and some pools now have acrylic siding, which makes the entire pool transparent.

  1. Add shade to your pool area
above ground pool landscaping ideas on a budget

Shade from the hot Dallas sun is essential for you and your family when using your pool. In the above example, the shade is removable but you might like to include more fixed shaded seating areas around your pool if you have the space available.

You should also think about the positioning of your pool in your yard. Is there an area that receives natural shade from taller trees that would suit your pool area?

  1. Add pavers to the pool approach

Pavers are a stylish and contemporary backyard idea that works with real grass or artificial grass and above-ground or inground pools. They can add style and functionality around your pool area, providing a convenient approach.

Pavers can either be installed all around the pool or with turf strips in between so that grass is alternated with the stone slabs.

  1. Install pool lighting 

Adding some pool lights will help you and your family get maximum usage from your pool, allowing you to enjoy a swim on hot summer evenings as well as at weekends.

You can install lighting in the base of the pool, pole lights around it or hanging lights. I think we can all agree on how stunning this backyard looks:

Artificial grass pool landscaping from the pros

If you decide on artificial grass around your above-ground pool, you can rely on our team’s professionalism and experience to install exactly what you’re looking for.

We can look after the synthetic turf lawn area or install turf strips around your pool, as well as the additional landscaping you need.If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, call DFW Turf Solutions for a free quote. We provide a limited 15-year warranty on all workmanship and the artificial turf itself is backed by a 15-year manufacturer warranty.

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