by | May 15, 2024

Inground Pool Hardscapes: Top 10 Stunning Ideas for 2024



When it comes to creating a stunning backyard oasis, inground pool hardscapes are a critical element. The hardscape—the permanent, non-plant elements surrounding your pool—sets the stage for both functionality and aesthetics in your outdoor space.

What are the essential components of inground pool hardscapes? Here’s a quick rundown:
Pool Decking: Provides space for sunbathing and socializing
Retaining Walls: Adds structure and support
Patio Areas: Extends your outdoor living space
Water Features: Enhances tranquility and visual appeal
Lighting: Ensures safety and ambiance at night

Properly designed hardscapes not only improve the beauty of your pool but also integrate seamlessly with the surrounding landscape to create a cohesive and inviting environment.

Imagine stepping out of your home into a space where the pool, patios, and walkways all blend effortlessly with lush greenery and modern stone features. A well-thought-out hardscape design can turn this vision into reality and significantly boost the value and enjoyment of your outdoor area.

So whether you’re dreaming of a tranquil retreat or a lively entertainment hub, understanding the ins and outs of inground pool hardscapes is crucial.

Key elements of inground pool hardscapes - inground pool hardscapes infographic pillar-3-steps

Understanding Inground Pool Hardscapes

Inground pool hardscapes are the elements around your pool that aren’t plants or grass. Think of them as the “bones” of your outdoor space, providing structure and style. Let’s dive into the key aspects you need to know: materials, durability, and aesthetics.


Choosing the right materials for your inground pool hardscape is essential. Here are some popular options:

  • Pavers: These are versatile and come in various shapes, colors, and textures. They are great for creating intricate designs and patterns.
  • Stamped Concrete: Offers the look of natural stone or brick at a lower cost. It’s durable and can be customized with different colors and patterns.
  • Natural Stone: Think slate, travertine, or limestone. These materials are elegant and timeless, adding a touch of luxury to your pool area.
  • Wood: While not as common, wood can add a warm, natural feel. It’s often used for decking but requires more maintenance to prevent rot and decay.

pavers - inground pool hardscapes


Durability is a key factor when selecting hardscape materials. Your pool area will be exposed to water, sun, and foot traffic, so you need materials that can withstand these elements.

  • Concrete: Known for its strength and longevity. When properly sealed, it can resist water damage and cracking.
  • Natural Stone: Extremely durable and can handle heavy use and weather conditions. However, it may require sealing to maintain its appearance.
  • Pavers: Highly durable and easy to replace if one gets damaged. They also provide excellent traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Wood: While beautiful, wood is less durable and requires regular maintenance to prevent damage from moisture and insects.


The aesthetics of your hardscape can dramatically affect the overall look of your pool area. Here are some design tips to consider:

  • Color: Choose colors that complement your home and natural surroundings. Earth tones are popular for a natural look, while bold colors can create a modern, vibrant feel.
  • Texture: Mixing textures can add visual interest. For example, combining smooth concrete with rough stone creates a pleasing contrast.
  • Patterns: Use patterns to guide the eye and create a sense of flow. Herringbone, basket weave, and circular patterns are popular choices.
  • Lighting: Incorporate lighting to highlight features and improve safety. Professionally installed lighting can transform your pool area into a magical nighttime retreat.

pool lighting - inground pool hardscapes

By understanding these elements, you’ll be well-equipped to create a hardscape that not only looks stunning but also stands the test of time. Next, let’s explore the key elements of inground pool hardscaping, starting with pool decking.

Key Elements of Inground Pool Hardscaping

Pool Decking

Decking is one of the most important parts of inground pool hardscapes. It not only provides a space to lounge but also ensures safety and enhances the overall aesthetics.

Pavers: These are a popular choice for pool decking. They come in various materials like concrete, stone, and brick. Pavers are durable, slip-resistant, and easy to replace if damaged. They also offer design flexibility with patterns like herringbone and basket weave, adding a custom touch to your pool area.

Stamped Concrete: This is another excellent option for pool decking. It mimics the look of more expensive materials like stone or brick but at a lower cost. Stamped concrete is customizable with different colors and patterns, making it a versatile choice. However, it can be slippery when wet, so adding a non-slip finish is recommended.

Retaining Walls

Retaining walls serve both functional and aesthetic purposes in pool hardscaping. They help manage soil erosion, especially on sloped landscapes, and can be used to create multi-tiered designs.

Functionality: These walls are essential for maintaining the integrity of your pool area. They prevent soil from shifting and provide structural support.

Stone Features: Adding stone features to retaining walls can elevate the look of your pool area. Natural stone or stone veneer offers a timeless and elegant appearance. For a more modern look, consider smooth, cut stone.

Patio Areas

Outdoor Living: Your pool area isn’t just for swimming—it’s also a place to relax and entertain. Creating a patio area with comfortable seating, tables, and even outdoor kitchens can turn your poolside into an outdoor living room.

Entertainment Spaces: Think about adding features like a built-in BBQ, a fire pit, or even a small bar area. These elements make your pool area more functional and enjoyable for gatherings and parties.

Water Features

Waterfalls: Adding a waterfall to your pool can create a tropical escape right in your backyard. It’s not just about the look; the sound of flowing water adds a calming ambiance, making your pool area a true oasis.

Fountains: Fountains are another way to add visual and auditory interest. They can be simple or elaborate, depending on your style. Both waterfalls and fountains can be integrated into the pool design or added later.


Pool Lighting: Proper lighting is crucial for safety and ambiance. Underwater LED lights are popular because they provide visibility and can change colors to set the mood.

Ambiance: Consider adding in-ground lighting around the pool’s perimeter or along pathways. Floating lights and solar lighting can highlight special features like waterfalls or planters, creating a magical nighttime environment.

By focusing on these key elements, you can create a pool hardscape that is not only functional but also a stunning focal point in your backyard. Next, let’s dive into the planning and design process for your inground pool hardscape.

Designing Your Inground Pool Hardscape

Planning and Design

When designing your inground pool hardscape, start with a clear vision. Think about how you plan to use the space. Do you want a relaxing retreat or an entertainment hub?

Landscape design plays a crucial role. Incorporate natural elements and consider the existing architecture of your home. This ensures a seamless transition between your pool and the rest of your yard.

Pool shape is another vital factor. Freeform pools offer a natural look and blend well with softscaping elements like plants and shrubs. Rectangular pools, on the other hand, provide a modern aesthetic and are great for lap swimming.

Material Selection

Choosing the right materials for your inground pool hardscape is essential for both durability and aesthetics. Here are some popular options:

Stone: Natural stone offers a timeless look and blends seamlessly with various landscapes. It’s durable and slip-resistant, making it ideal for pool decking and retaining walls.

Concrete: Versatile and cost-effective, concrete can be stamped or stained to mimic other materials like stone or wood. It’s also durable and easy to maintain.

Wood: For a warm, natural feel, wood is an excellent choice. It’s perfect for decking and built-in seating but requires regular maintenance to prevent water damage.

Integration with Landscaping

Integrating your hardscape with landscaping enhances the overall look and feel of your pool area.

Softscaping elements like plants and flowers can soften the hard lines of your pool hardscape. Consider using aromatic flowers like lavender or geraniums to create a sensory experience.

Xeriscaping is a great option for those looking to minimize water use. It involves using drought-resistant plants and efficient irrigation systems, making it both eco-friendly and low-maintenance.

Custom Features

Adding custom features can elevate your inground pool hardscape from ordinary to extraordinary.

Built-in seating: Incorporate benches or seating areas directly into the pool decking. This not only provides a place to relax but also adds to the overall design.

Fire pits: A fire pit can transform your pool area into a cozy evening retreat. According to Forbes, a propane-burning fire pit costs between $300 and $1,400 to install, offering a great return on investment.

By carefully planning and selecting the right materials, integrating with your landscape, and adding custom features, you can create a stunning and functional inground pool hardscape. Next, let’s explore some of the top trends in inground pool hardscapes.

Top Trends in Inground Pool Hardscapes

Modern Aesthetics

Modern aesthetics are all about clean lines and simplicity. Today’s pool designs often feature sleek, geometric shapes and minimalist finishes. For example, using materials like smooth concrete pavers or large-format tiles can give your pool area a contemporary look. The goal is to create a space that feels open and uncluttered, making your pool the star of the show.

Pro Tip: Incorporate dark-colored pool finishes to achieve a mirror-like effect on the water, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Minimalist Designs

Minimalist designs focus on functionality and simplicity. This often means reducing clutter and using a limited color palette. For instance, a pool deck with spaced-out concrete pavers and grass in between can create a visually appealing yet straightforward design. According to Forbes, this approach combines both modern and classic elements.

Quick Tip: Opt for built-in planters to keep the design clean while adding a touch of greenery. These planters can house anything from blooming flowers to small trees, enhancing the minimalist vibe without overwhelming the space.

Eco-Friendly Materials

Sustainability is becoming a key consideration in pool design. Using eco-friendly materials not only benefits the environment but also adds a unique charm to your pool area. For example, you can use recycled or locally sourced materials for your pool deck. Solar-powered lighting and energy-efficient filtration systems are also gaining popularity.

Case Study: Creative Edge Pools has successfully integrated solar panels and recycled materials in several projects, resulting in pools that are both beautiful and environmentally friendly.

Fun Fact: According to Forbes, a solar-powered heating system can significantly reduce your energy costs while keeping your pool at the perfect temperature.

By incorporating these trends, you can create an inground pool hardscape that is not only stylish but also functional and sustainable. Up next, let’s talk about how to maintain and care for your pool hardscapes to ensure they stay beautiful for years to come.

Maintenance and Upkeep of Pool Hardscapes

Keeping your inground pool hardscapes in top shape is essential for both aesthetics and safety. Here’s how to maintain and care for your pool decking, retaining walls, patio areas, and other hardscape elements.

Cleaning Techniques

Regular Cleaning: Sweep your pool decking and patio areas weekly to remove leaves, dirt, and debris. Use a soft-bristle broom to avoid scratching the surfaces.

Pressure Washing: For a deeper clean, pressure wash your hardscapes every few months. This helps remove stubborn dirt and stains. Be cautious with the pressure setting to avoid damaging the material.

Stain Removal: For oil or grease stains, use a mixture of water and mild detergent. Apply the solution, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Algae and Mold: In damp areas, algae and mold can form. A solution of water and vinegar can help. Apply it to the affected areas, scrub gently, and rinse off.

Durability Tips

Sealants: Applying a sealant can protect your hardscapes from water damage, staining, and UV rays. Seal decks, patios, and retaining walls every 2-3 years for best results.

Inspect for Cracks: Regularly check for cracks or chips in your hardscapes. Small issues can be repaired with patch kits available at most home improvement stores. Addressing these early prevents bigger problems down the line.

Edge Protection: Use edge protectors or curbing around your pool decking to prevent wear and tear from foot traffic and pool equipment.

Seasonal Care

Winter Preparation: Before winter hits, clean your hardscapes thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of sealant. This helps prevent damage from freezing and thawing cycles. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider covering your pool decking and patio areas with tarps.

Spring Check-Up: After winter, inspect your hardscapes for any damage caused by ice or snow. Clean them thoroughly and make any necessary repairs.

Summer Maintenance: During the summer, clean your hardscapes more frequently to deal with increased foot traffic and pool water splashes. Ensure that your sealant is holding up under the intense sun.

Autumn Care: In the fall, clear leaves and debris regularly. Wet leaves can stain and damage your hardscapes if left unattended.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your inground pool hardscapes remain durable and beautiful for years to come. Next, let’s explore how Creative Edge Pools can enhance your pool experience with custom designs and comprehensive backyard development.

Creative Edge Pools: Enhancing Your Pool Experience

Custom Gunite Pools

At Creative Edge Pools, we specialize in crafting custom gunite pools that transform your backyard into a personal oasis. Gunite pools are known for their durability and flexibility in design. This allows us to create unique shapes and features that perfectly match your vision. Whether you want a sleek, modern pool or a nature-inspired retreat, our team can bring your dream to life.

Why choose gunite? It’s simple. Gunite pools are strong, long-lasting, and can be customized in countless ways. From incorporating waterfalls and built-in seating to adding vibrant mosaics, the possibilities are endless.

Comprehensive Backyard Development

But we don’t stop at just the pool. Creative Edge Pools offers comprehensive backyard development to ensure your entire outdoor space is cohesive and inviting. Our services include:

  • Landscape Design & Planning: We start by understanding your vision and then create a detailed plan that integrates your pool with the surrounding landscape. This includes softscaping elements like plants and flowers to enhance the beauty of your pool area.
  • Hardscaping & Masonry: From patios and decks to retaining walls and walkways, our expert masonry work ensures that all hardscape elements are functional and aesthetically pleasing. We use high-quality materials to ensure longevity and style.
  • Water Features: Imagine the soothing sound of a waterfall or the elegance of a fountain. We can add these features to your pool design to create a more dynamic and enjoyable environment.
  • Outdoor Entertainment Areas: Why stop at the pool? We can design and build outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and seating areas that make your backyard the ultimate entertainment space.
  • Lighting: Professionally installed lighting can transform your pool area into a magical nighttime retreat. We offer various lighting solutions to enhance safety and ambiance.

A Family Business That Cares

Creative Edge Pools is a family-owned business with offices in Wilmington, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. With over a hundred years of combined experience, we bring expertise and genuine care to every project. Our goal is to create outdoor environments that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Ready to transform your backyard? Contact us today at 978.203.0406 or request an estimate. Let’s make your dream pool a reality!


Investing in inground pool hardscapes is more than just adding beauty to your backyard. It’s about increasing the value of your property and enhancing your lifestyle.

Investment Value

Adding high-quality hardscapes to your inground pool can significantly boost your home’s market value. According to Forbes, incorporating features like built-in seating, elegant lighting, and water features can make your pool area more attractive to potential buyers. These enhancements not only create a visually appealing space but also offer practical benefits, making your home stand out in the real estate market.

Long-term Enjoyment

Inground pool hardscapes are designed to provide long-lasting enjoyment. Materials like stone, concrete, and wood are not only durable but also require minimal maintenance. This means you can spend more time relaxing by the pool and less time worrying about upkeep. Features like built-in seating and fire pits can extend the usability of your pool area, making it a year-round retreat for family gatherings and social events.

Customization Opportunities

One of the most exciting aspects of inground pool hardscapes is the endless customization options. From choosing the right materials to integrating unique features like waterfalls and outdoor kitchens, the possibilities are vast. At Creative Edge Pools, we pride ourselves on turning your vision into reality. Whether you dream of a modern, minimalist design or a lush, tropical oasis, our team has the expertise to make it happen.

Investing in inground pool hardscapes is a decision that pays off in multiple ways. It enhances the aesthetic appeal of your home, provides a space for long-term enjoyment, and offers numerous customization opportunities to create your perfect backyard paradise.

Ready to elevate your pool experience? Contact us today at 978.203.0406 or request an estimate. Let’s make your dream pool a reality!


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