The swimming pool is more than a place to take a dip on a hot summer day. It’s an integral part of your domestic experience, one of the central components of your family and social life, a feature that is bound to add value to your home for years to come and perhaps the single biggest component of your property’s landscape design. That last point is particularly important because if you get the landscaping around your fiberglass inground pool right everything else will fall into place. With summertime in Toronto just around the corner we’re going to take a good long look at the 16 best pool landscaping ideas for 2018.
Table Of Contents
- Toronto’s Top Landscaping Company Shines a Spotlight on the Pool
- 1)Embrace the Gazebo
- 2)Install a Slate Deck Around Your Free Form Pool
- 3)Wooden Decks are Back
- 4)Ramp up the Entertainment Value
- 5)The Lighted Waterfall
- 6)Channel Your Inner Louis Quatorze
- 7)The Contemporary Mansion
- 8)The Japanese Garden
- 9)Affordable Accents
- 10)Introduce Shade
- 11)A New Year Calls for Structure
- 12)Adobe Is In
- 13)A Bridge to the New Year
- 14)Pathways Wind Their Way Back Into the Yard in 2018
- 15)Keeping it Simple
- 16)Green Means Privacy
- A Few Keys to Keep in Mind
Toronto’s Top Landscaping Company Shines a Spotlight on the Pool
A beautiful inground pool and deck is bound to be the largest single landscaping element on your property. Larger than the patio or the garden, even larger than the outdoor kitchen. Making sure you get the landscaping around the pool right is crucial to ensuring the property works as a whole from a design perspective. Here are 16 great ways to enhance the landscaping of your pool area this year.
1) Embrace the Gazebo
Few things are more visually compelling than having a gazebo occupy one end of the pool area. This creates attractive sightlines and allows for the introduction of new materials into area that play off of and inform the deck. Having a gazebo that incorporates design elements and materials from the house also creates a dramatic counterpoint that serves to bind the entire property together from a visual standpoint. Add plenty of flora including shrubs, and trees (both flowering and not) to complete your backyard sanctuary look in 2018.
2) Install a Slate Deck Around Your Free Form Pool
A free form pool can create landscaping design challenges because it doesn’t provide traditional sightlines. As a result landscaping contractors will have to approach it from another angle. A slate deck created using different colours and shapes dovetails nicely with the visual diffusion caused by the non-standard pool shape. You also have the option of installing planters at strategic points around the pool to provide less dramatic but still compelling mini focal points. Adding lights inside the pool can also help draw the eye in a particular direction and introduce colours that complement the surrounding flora.
3) Wooden Decks are Back
Not that they ever completely left but wooden decks are definitely primed to make a comeback in 2018. The wooden deck gives the pool area and air of calm and solemnity that’s difficult to achieve with other materials. Wood provides both tactile and visual treats and is an undeniably luxurious touch. It’s a great match for properties with lush vegetation and carrying wood types, textures and colours from the house to the pool deck is an equally great way to tie the house to the yard. The wooden deck will be a bit more labour intensive from a maintenance standpoint but the final results will leave your guests speechless.
4) Ramp up the Entertainment Value
As the social centre of the yard the pool should have a generous apron that accommodates as many people as possible and connects directly with other features including the patio, walkways and the outdoor kitchen. If you don’t have an outdoor kitchen there’s never been a better time to have one built. Between the pool and the kitchen your yard will be ground zero for holiday get-togethers, birthday parties and more. A beautiful fiberglass inground pool with insufficient space around it to accommodate guests can be more disappointing than exciting. Make sure that’s not your pool. Make sure too that you add lots of comfortable seating and don’t forget the sound system.
5) The Lighted Waterfall
Having the landscaping company construct a waterfall that empties into the pool is a great way to integrate the pool into the surrounding landscape. But there’s no need to stop there. Light your waterfall feature with LED lights and carry the lighting motif right into the pool itself to create both visual magic and mystery. LED lights can be made to serve virtually any design requirements and will enhance the look of the pool area without having much of any impact on your electric bill. Just make sure the waterfall is not an isolated feature by incorporating shrubbery and flowers that converse with the rest of the flora in the yard.
6) Channel Your Inner Louis Quatorze
If your home is built in a traditional style it’s fairly easy to create a pool area that channels the majesty and refined elegance of days past. Everyone has a bit of Louis XIV in them so exercise yours by keeping the shape of the pool simple, the sight lines clean and unobstructed and the deck broad and flat with cream coloured stone and lots of bold greenery. Planters, drapery, a columned archway and other touches complete the look. Such an aggressively upscale look, however, will need to be supported by other landscaping elements on the property. So don’t try and install a bit of Versailles in the midst of a beat up lawn and make sure your house can keep the promise your pool landscaping is making.
7) The Contemporary Mansion
The luxurious look is in for 2018 but not everyone has the type of home that will work with the retro classic look described above. If yours is a more contemporary home with a refined minimalist design create a contemporary landscape around the pool that ties it in both visually and thematically with the house. Straight lines, right angles, features that hug the ground and emphasize horizontality are all components of contemporary modernist design. As are light tones, a lack of ornamentation, dramatic perspectives and state of the art lighting. That lighting should be as tastefully restrained as the rest of the components and make the pool area seem like an indivisible part of the home; as if it were part of the architects original house design. Furniture and other accessories will need to be similarly restrained in their expression with tones that play well with the natural stone of the deck.
8) The Japanese Garden
If your home features lots of exterior wood it might be the perfect host for a Japanese Garden theme in 2018. Have the landscaping contractors surround the pool with a deck of rough-hewn, multi-coloured slate. Install a gazebo made of dark hued woods and make sure the deck furniture carries on the wooden theme. You can really sell the theme by installing a high wooden fence around the pool with a wooden oriental gate for guests to pass through on the way to the pool. Flora should be include hydrangeas, hosta, iris and even a cherry tree. Though don’t plant that too close to the pool. To complete the look you can include a small lotus pond nearby with seating to promote a sense of contemplation.
9) Affordable Accents
Up to now we’ve been looking at big, bold statement landscapes for the coming year. But what if you’re basically pleased with the pool landscaping you have but would just like to provide it a bit of kick for the New Year? It’s actually easier than you think. Changing the colour of the upholstery on your deck furniture and tying the change in with the colour of the lights in the pool can change the entire feel of your pool area without breaking the bank. Likewise, you can replace some of the natural stone in the pool deck with colourful tiles, although you’ll have to do so in a way that makes visual sense and doesn’t look random. One of our landscape experts can help you with that.
10) Introduce Shade
Fun in the sun is all well and good but shade is in for 2018. That’s because sometimes it’s just nice to be able to grab a break from our local star without having to retreat to the house or another part of the yard. If your pool is surrounded by open space introducing shade elements can create a whole new experience. If the pool is close to the house you can have a retractable shade sail installed that extends to the house over portions of the deck. If the pool is away from the house and you have the space why not install a poolside cabana? The introduction of fabric to the pool area will imbue it with a warmth and light that doesn’t require sunscreen.
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11) A New Year Calls for Structure
Structured landscaping around the pool will be big this year. Especially for those with geometrically shaped inground pools. The simple rectangle can become the keystone of a structured landscaping theme with multiple levels all reflecting the geometry of the pool itself. Keep all the decking the same colour, build a fire pit into the deck area to add a free-flowing natural element to counterbalance the rigidity and don’t forget the plants, statuary, strategically placed boulders and minimalist furniture. To really complete the look add subtle water features that flow from the uppermost level to the lowest and empty into the pool. Frank Lloyd Wright will be smiling somewhere.
12) Adobe Is In
The Southwest aesthetic will be vying for attention in 2018 as people look for a way to add a touch of the native to their backyard environment. Earth tones are where it’s at including in the stone work and the furniture. Native American graphic motifs such as diamonds, squares, checkerboard patterns and jagged lines reinforce the pueblo feel and uplighting around the perimeter adds a sense of mystery and enchantment. For your flora look to cacti and succulents and keep the grass to a minimum. Big beautiful fabric sun shades with subtle native design cues complete your journey to the desert.
13) A Bridge to the New Year
Homeowners looking to add a distinctive feature to their pool landscaping are looking up in 2018. What they’re discovering is that by excavating a part of the landscape between the house and the pool area and then building a bridge over that excavated area they can create a sense of adventure and even grandeur without having to redo the entire pool area. Some are having landscaping contractors install a pond under the bridge and filling it with water lilies in a bid to go all-in on the Monet theme. And why not? Your journey over the bridge to the pool will become something you look forward to almost as much as the refreshing swim itself. Heck, you might even have local artists asking if they can do some plein air painting in your yard.
14) Pathways Wind Their Way Back Into the Yard in 2018
If you’ve gone to the trouble of installing a lily pond and Monet-at-Giverny bridge you might as well go the extra mile and have your landscaping contractors create a natural pathway leading up to the bridge, just as the impressionist master had at his grand residence in the south of France. While walkways have always been a big part of any backyard landscaping, and by extension, landscaping of the pool area, we’re going back to nature this year and pulling up the concrete or flagstone. In its place we’ll lay down gravel, pebbles or even grass. Don’t worry. If you don’t have a Monet style bridge in your yard (and aren’t inclined to have the pool construction company build one) you can still construct a compelling pathway to the pool area by embracing materials that are easy on the eye and provide excellent drainage.
15) Keeping it Simple
Another pool landscaping idea that has gained traction this year is simplicity. The best landscaping isn’t always the busiest or most elaborate. Sometimes all you really need are a few simple touches to provide visual interest and give the eye a place to rest. Edge your inground fibreglass pool with a simple white trim. Create some discrete levels in the deck area that rise and fall a few inches as you move around. Keep the deck furniture simple yet comfortable and functional with matching tray tables. Above all fight clutter at every turn. While this might seem like a modern minimalist approach it’s actually a bit different since it doesn’t preclude the insertion of the occasional purely ornamental touch.
16) Green Means Privacy
No one wants to be sunning themselves by the pool when they notice the neighbours leering at them from the adjoining yard or an upper floor window. Not that your neighbours aren’t charming individuals, but you don’t want them to have the key to every aspect of your private life. There are several ways you can create privacy for yourself, your family members and your guests. The most common way is to build a wall. But in 2018 walls just don’t feel right. So the enlightened pool owner is going to build privacy into their pool landscaping by embracing nature. Trees, hedges and a vine covered trellis or two are all ways to generate privacy without building a wall that sends an aggressively negative message. A wall says “Stay out!” while greenery says “If you don’t mind…”
A Few Keys to Keep in Mind
No matter the year there are a few simple truths about landscaping around the pool that need to always be kept in mind.
- The deck material you choose will be crucial – The deck area around the pool is nearly as large (sometimes actually larger) than the surface of the pool itself. This means that the material you choose for this area, whether slate, wood, marble, interlocking pavers, concrete or whatever is going to play a huge role in determining the look and feel of the pool area. Pool companies know all the beautiful flora in the world won’t cover for a poor choice of decking material.
- It’s 2018, install some lights – With hyper efficient and effective LED lamps in play there is no reason not to install lighting around the pool area. Whereas in the past outdoor lighting was expensive to run and often troublesome those days are gone. So design your pool landscaping for both day and night.
- Keep the trees at bay – While the addition of trees in the vicinity of the pool can do a lot to make the area more inviting and even provide shade in the morning and afternoon landscaping contractors will tell you that trees should be kept a respectful distance from the pool. That is, unless you enjoy spending all your time retrieving leaves and branches and cleaning the filter.
- Make sure the furniture matches the landscaping – Poolside furniture should never be chosen randomly. Give it plenty of thought and make sure the furniture you choose comes from the same design universe as the pool landscaping. Wood deck/wood furniture. Minimalist design/minimalist furniture and so on.
Talk to the pros at M.E. Contracting about integrating pool landscaping ideas into your yard. We’re the most trusted pool construction and landscaping company in Toronto and we’ll help you turn your pool area into the talk of the town.