You’ve seen them in magazines: The swimming pools with lush landscaping and lighting that glows like a movie set. You would love to freshen up your pool and yard but it all seems a bit daunting, right? And probably expensive, too. 

In this article, we will show you many affordable DIY pool landscaping ideas that will upgrade your pool area and turn it into an inviting outdoor oasis for your family and friends. Some of these ideas use materials you already have around your house while others are easily available locally or online and don’t come with a big price tag. They are easy to do, can be done on a budget, and you won’t need to hire pros to make it all happen.


Before You Begin Your New Pool Landscaping Ideas

Make sure your pool area and the surrounding deck/yard are ready for each piece of the project. It’s tempting to simply jump into implementing the first project but take some time to do the following:

– Sweep and clean the pool deck.

– Rake and mow your lawn.

– Remove any weeds throughout the area.

– Remove dead plants.

– Decide which existing plants you want to keep; remove or relocate the others.

– Repair or replace any loose fixtures, tiles, fencing, or other materials in or around the pool.

Once all that is done, lay out your plan on paper. Know ahead of time where shrubs, rocks, plants, and trees will be; the configuration of the patio furniture around the pool; whether your plan actually fits within the space you have available; and where your lighting projects will be installed.

This is a good project to get your family involved in, including the children! Make it a family effort, as much as possible (and safe!). You will find the kids take pride in the finished plan.

Once this step is done, you’re ready to implement some of these ideas to create a backyard oasis fit for any magazine article!


DIY Pool Area Landscaping (Plus Pool Lighting Ideas!)

Choose from some of these ideas below and create your own swimming pool oasis:

Stone Walkway To The Pool


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If the location of your pool requires you to walk across grass or dirt first, consider putting in a simple stone walkway. Look at the stone pieces available at your local nursery or home supply store and let your imagination go! You can match the color of the pool deck or you can be creative with more whimsical contrasting colors. And you can choose to go with symmetrical shapes or irregularly shaped stones. 

You only need enough to get you from your home to the pool so the expense is minimal. An additional benefit is that a walkway will keep grass and dirt off the pool deck and out of the pool.


Wooden Pallet Furniture and Planters

Brand-new outdoor furniture can be expensive, so look for materials that may be more reasonably priced that can be repurposed. For example, you can make a ton of different things out of old wooden pallets. These can be found in heaps of discarded construction or retail businesses or even in shipping yards.

Stack them to make a table. Cut them in half for benches. Create a deck by laying them on the floor. How about around your fire pit? Create shelves for planters. The ideas are endless and you have the satisfaction of knowing you are saving money and repurposing a resource.


Plants, Plants, and More Plants!

With a mixture of small potted plants, in-ground ornamental plants, and trees and shrubs, your landscaping comes together with greenery and flowers. Plants in your pool area introduce texture and color to your oasis setting. And you don’t have to buy a large amount to bring it all together. Add more as time and your budget can accommodate. 

Here are some of the best plants to use for landscaping around your pool and yard:

– Palm trees

– Aloe Vera plants

– Live Oak trees

– Weeping Dalea plants

– Octopus Agave

– Banana trees

– Hibiscus plants

– Jade plants

– Schefflera plants

– Lilac plants

– Jasmine plants

– Bamboo

– Spruce trees

Check with an expert at your local plant stores for appropriate plants for the growing zone you live in as well as for plants to avoid near your pool.


Rock Garden


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If keeping green things alive isn’t your specialty, consider a rock garden. It may be a specific area in the yard or an accent border around the pool deck or other areas. Or both! River rock is easy to handle, comes in various sizes and colors, and also reflects light. Any kind of rock will do, so put your creativity to work with sizes, colors, and textures.

Rock gardens lend a sense of peace and quiet to your backyard, as well as contrast to grass and flagstone areas. 


String Lighting Around the Pool

There are many ways to add subtle pool lighting around your yard and around the swimming pool itself. String lights add romance and whimsy to any part of your house, including the pool area. They provide additional light, but they also give a stunning, ambient glow that is then reflected by the water. They are also energy-efficient and you can even get solar-powered sets that add nothing to your energy bill.

Make sure to put electric string lights against the walls or fencing near your pool, rather than stringing them directly over the pool. This makes them easier to set up, more accessible if they need to be cleaned or removed later, and safer. Any time you’re dealing with electric lights, there are hazards near water so avoid danger with common-sense placement.


Build or Add a Fireplace

A fire pit or fireplace near your pool is another simple, yet natural light source for your backyard while also adding to the effect of the pool landscaping. People are drawn to fire and to the camaraderie that it creates. So it’s not only a source of light but it’s also an imposing accent piece. You can either build your own using bricks or stones or buy an affordable metal fireplace.

Picture eating al fresco around the fire during warm months and relaxing in cozy blankets during the winter. Either time of year, the light from the fire will be reflected from the pool, too, depending on the design you create for your yard.


You CAN Create a Beautiful, Backyard Oasis with DIY Landscaping


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As you can see, there are simple, affordable ways to turn your ordinary swimming pool area into a stunning backyard oasis. This article has given you a number of DIY pool landscaping projects to start with, including pathways, plants, rock gardens, and more. Choose a few and get started!

Once you have created your backyard retreat, Pool School Videos can help you with clear, easy-to-understand insider information on keeping your pool sparkling clean and inviting.

Mike Steele, also known as “The Pool Doctor,” has over 30 years of experience as a pool maintenance professional and now offers that knowledge in these 20 online, self-paced videos. The videos make DIY pool maintenance easier, cheaper, and more effective. Plus, once you purchase Pool School Videos, you have them available whenever you want and can watch them as many times as necessary.

By purchasing these videos, you also gain access to our private Facebook group. Post your specific questions in the group and you will get a personal response with customized guidance within 24 hours!

Summer is here, don’t waste another day. Check out the sneak peek of our top 5 videos and then get started with Pool School Videos today!