by | May 17, 2024

Pool Hardscapes: Top Ideas & Tips for 2024 Success



When it comes to pool hardscapes, the goal is to create a beautiful and functional environment around your swimming pool. Hardscaping includes everything from the materials and design elements surrounding the pool to the built-in features that make the space more enjoyable. Here’s a quick rundown of what pool hardscapes are and why they matter:

  • Overview: Pool hardscapes involve the addition of non-living elements like concrete, stone, brick, and wood around your pool area.
  • Importance: These elements not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also improve the usability and safety of the space.
  • Benefits: With the right hardscapes, you can create a personalized oasis that’s low-maintenance, durable, and perfect for entertaining guests or relaxing in solitude.

By carefully selecting the right materials, styles, and features, you can transform your backyard into a luxurious retreat. Think decorative water features, elegant walkways, and stylish patios—all tailored to fit your vision and lifestyle. In this guide, we’ll delve into the essentials of pool hardscaping to help you master this art.

Elements of Pool Hardscaping - pool hardscapes infographic pillar-4-steps

What is Pool Hardscaping?

Pool hardscaping refers to the non-living elements surrounding your pool, designed to enhance both its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Unlike softscaping, which involves plants and greenery, hardscaping focuses on structures and surfaces. These elements can turn your pool area into a stunning, low-maintenance paradise.

Key Elements of Pool Hardscaping

  1. Patios and Decks
  2. These create a functional space for lounging, dining, or entertaining. They can be made from various materials like concrete, stone, or wood.
  3. Walkways and Pathways
  4. Pathways guide you through your backyard, connecting different areas. They can be designed with materials like pavers, gravel, or cobblestones.
  5. Retaining Walls
  6. These are essential for managing slopes and preventing erosion. They can also add a decorative touch, especially when built with natural stone or brick.
  7. Built-In Planters
  8. These add a touch of greenery without the hassle of constant maintenance. Built-in planters can be integrated into the design of your patio or retaining walls.
  9. Water Features
  10. Fountains and waterfalls can add a sense of tranquility and luxury to your pool area. They can be simple or elaborate, depending on your taste and budget.

Popular Materials for Pool Hardscaping

  1. Travertine
  2. Known for its durability and elegance, travertine is a popular choice. Its natural, non-slip surface makes it perfect for pool areas.
  3. Slate
  4. Slate offers a unique, rustic look. It’s durable and comes in various shades, adding a touch of sophistication to your hardscape.
  5. Limestone
  6. Limestone is another excellent choice due to its light color and cool surface. It’s also highly durable and easy to maintain.
  7. Sandstone
  8. Sandstone provides a warm, natural look. It’s versatile and can be used for everything from patios to retaining walls.
  9. Granite
  10. Granite is incredibly durable and resistant to weathering. It’s a bit on the pricier side but offers a timeless, luxurious appeal.
  11. Quartzite
  12. Quartzite is known for its hardness and resistance to heat. It’s an excellent option for pool decks and patios, offering both beauty and functionality.

Pool Hardscaping Examples - pool hardscapes

Why Choose Pool Hardscaping?

Durability: Hardscaping materials are built to last, enduring harsh weather and heavy foot traffic.

Low Maintenance: Unlike grass or other plants, hardscape elements require minimal upkeep. This means more time enjoying your pool and less time on maintenance.

Aesthetic Appeal: With a wide range of materials and designs, you can create a customized look that complements your home and personal style.

Functionality: Hardscaping creates usable spaces for activities, whether it’s lounging by the pool, dining al fresco, or hosting a party.

By integrating these elements and materials, you can create a pool area that’s not only beautiful but also functional and easy to maintain. This sets the stage for the next section, where we’ll explore the best materials for pool hardscaping.

Best Materials for Pool Hardscaping

Choosing the right materials for pool hardscapes is crucial for both aesthetics and functionality. Here are some of the best options:


Travertine is a popular choice for pool decks due to its natural beauty and durability. This stone stays cool underfoot, even in hot weather, making it comfortable for bare feet. It’s also slip-resistant, which is essential for safety around the pool.


Slate offers a unique, rustic look that can add character to your pool area. It’s available in various colors and textures, allowing for a customized design. Slate is also very durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions, but it may require sealing to prevent staining.


Limestone is known for its smooth texture and elegant appearance. It’s a versatile material that can be cut into various shapes and sizes to fit your design needs. Limestone is also slip-resistant and stays cool, making it a practical and stylish choice for pool hardscapes.


Sandstone provides a natural, earthy look that blends well with outdoor environments. It’s a durable material that can handle heavy foot traffic and is relatively easy to maintain. However, sandstone can be porous, so it may need sealing to protect against water damage and staining.


Granite is one of the most durable options for pool hardscaping. It’s resistant to scratches, heat, and weathering, making it a long-lasting choice. Granite also comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing for a highly customized look. Its natural beauty and strength make it a premium choice for any pool area.


Quartzite is a hard, metamorphic rock that offers both beauty and durability. It’s highly resistant to heat and scratches, making it an excellent choice for pool decks. Quartzite also has a unique, shimmering appearance that can add a touch of luxury to your pool area.

By carefully selecting the right materials, you can create a pool area that is both stunning and practical. Next, we’ll dive into some top pool hardscaping ideas to inspire your project.

Top Pool Hardscaping Ideas

Transforming your pool area into a stunning oasis involves more than just choosing the right materials. Incorporating various hardscaping elements can elevate the aesthetic and functionality of your space. Here are some top pool hardscaping ideas to consider:

Jungle-Inspired Plants

Surrounding your pool with lush, jungle-inspired plants can create a tropical paradise right in your backyard. Think ferns, hostas, and hibiscus for a vibrant look. Even in colder climates, hardy plants can mimic this effect. For example, some palms can tolerate sub-zero temperatures, making them a versatile choice.

Rock Walls

Adding rock walls around your pool can enhance its natural beauty. These can be incorporated directly into the pool design or added later. Rock walls not only look great but can also serve practical purposes, such as creating privacy or acting as a retaining wall. For an added touch, consider artificial boulders with built-in speakers.

Built-In Planters

Built-in planters are perfect for showcasing blooming flowers, shrubs, or even small trees. These planters can be integrated into the pool’s landscaping, adding a resort-like effect. They provide a focal point for your softscaping, making your pool area feel more cohesive and luxurious.

Shaded Lounging Spaces

Creating a shaded lounging space can make your pool area more comfortable and inviting. Simple options include adding a sail shade and some lounging chairs. For a more upscale feel, consider building an open-air pool house or cabana. This not only provides shade but also adds a touch of elegance to your backyard.


Xeriscaping involves using drought-tolerant plants and materials to minimize water use. This can be a cost-effective way to expand your pool decking space. By incorporating xeriscaping elements, you can achieve a Palm Springs-like vibe without the high maintenance.

Concrete Pavers with Grass

For a modern yet classic look, consider spacing out concrete pavers with grass in between. This design adds visual intrigue and offers a soft surface for walking. It’s a great option if you’re redoing your pool decking and want a unique, stylish touch.

Raised Wooden Decks

Mixing materials can add interesting design elements to your pool area. A raised wooden deck next to the pool can create the illusion of more space. It’s perfect for adding a patio table for poolside dining. This design not only looks great but also adds functionality to your outdoor space.

By incorporating these pool hardscaping ideas, you can create a backyard oasis that is both beautiful and functional. Next, we’ll explore how to enhance your pool with decorative features.

Enhancing Your Pool with Decorative Features

Decorative features can transform your pool area into a stunning and relaxing retreat. Here are some ideas to consider:


A fountain adds elegance and a soothing sound to your pool area. Whether it’s a simple spout or a multi-tiered structure, a fountain can be a focal point. Homeowners in Houston, for example, have used large stone fountains to create a classic look that complements their pool hardscaping.


Imagine the calming sound of water cascading into your pool. Waterfalls can be a majestic addition, creating a tropical escape right in your backyard. For instance, a 12-foot rock waterfall can cost around $1,500, making it an affordable yet impactful upgrade. In Phoenix, homeowners have remodeled their pools with infinity waterfalls, adding a touch of luxury.

Regal Walkways

Regal walkways guide you through your pool area, adding both beauty and functionality. Materials like stamped concrete or stone can be used to create these pathways. In Seattle, mid-sized contemporary backyard designs often include stone walkways that blend seamlessly with the pool’s design.


Good lighting can make your pool area usable and beautiful, even at night. Consider installing LED lights around the pool and walkways. This not only enhances safety but also creates a magical ambiance. Many modern pool designs in places like Miami and San Francisco incorporate lighting to highlight features like waterfalls and fountains.

By integrating these decorative features, you can elevate your pool hardscape from ordinary to extraordinary. Next, we’ll look at the finishing touch: pool coping.

Pool Coping: The Finishing Touch


Pool coping is the material that caps the edge of a pool. Think of it as the frame around a picture. It serves both decorative and functional purposes, creating a seamless transition from the pool to the surrounding deck. Coping helps protect the pool’s structure, prevents water from seeping behind the pool shell, and provides a safe, non-slip edge for swimmers.


When it comes to materials for pool coping, there are several excellent options:

  • Travertine: Known for its natural beauty and durability. It stays cool underfoot, making it ideal for hot climates.
  • Slate: Offers a rustic, natural look. It’s slip-resistant but may require sealing to maintain its appearance.
  • Limestone: Has a smooth texture and comes in various colors. It’s durable but can be prone to staining.
  • Sandstone: Provides a warm, earthy aesthetic. It’s durable but may need sealing for longevity.
  • Granite: Extremely hard and durable. It’s resistant to scratches and stains, making it a long-lasting choice.
  • Quartzite: A strong, non-slip material that comes in a variety of colors. It’s both beautiful and practical.

Decorative Accents

To add an extra touch of elegance to your pool, consider incorporating decorative accents into your coping:

  • Bullnose Edges: Rounded edges that provide a smooth, safe surface for swimmers.
  • Tumbled Finish: Gives the stone a weathered, antique look. It’s both stylish and slip-resistant.
  • Textured Patterns: Patterns like grooves or ridges can add visual interest and improve grip.
  • Contrasting Colors: Using coping in a color that contrasts with your pool deck can create a striking visual effect.

By carefully choosing the right materials and decorative accents, you can make your pool not only safer but also more visually appealing. The next section will explore low-maintenance pool hardscaping solutions to keep your pool area looking great with minimal effort.

Low-Maintenance Pool Hardscaping Solutions

Maintaining a beautiful pool area can be a breeze with the right choices. Here are some low-maintenance pool hardscaping solutions that can save you time and effort while keeping your backyard oasis stunning.

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are a popular choice for pool hardscaping due to their durability and versatility. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing for creative designs.

  • Easy to Clean: Simply hose them down or use a pressure washer.
  • Resistant to Wear: They can withstand heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions.
  • Repair Friendly: If one paver gets damaged, it’s easy to replace without disturbing the rest of the area.

Concrete pavers can also be spaced out with grass in between for a modern yet classic look, adding visual intrigue to your pool area .


Gravel is another excellent low-maintenance option, especially for those in drought-prone areas. It provides good drainage and can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional lawns.

  • Minimal Upkeep: No need for mowing or watering.
  • Natural Look: Adds a rustic charm to your pool landscape.
  • Versatility: Can be used in various ways, from walkways to decorative borders.

Gravel can be combined with flower beds or low-maintenance shrubs to add greenery and color without the hassle of regular lawn care .

Artificial Turf

If you love the look of grass but dread the maintenance, artificial turf is the way to go. Modern synthetic lawns look incredibly realistic and offer several benefits.

  • No Watering Needed: Perfect for areas with water restrictions.
  • Evergreen Appeal: Stays green and lush all year round.
  • Durability: Can handle heavy use without getting worn out.

Artificial turf can be an ideal solution for those who want the aesthetic of a grassy area without the weekly mowing and watering (source).

By incorporating these low-maintenance solutions into your pool hardscaping, you can enjoy a beautiful, functional, and hassle-free outdoor space. Up next, we will address some frequently asked questions about pool hardscaping to help you make informed decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pool Hardscaping

What is the best stone to put around a pool?

Choosing the best stone for your pool area depends on factors like durability, aesthetics, and budget. Here are some top choices:

  • Travertine: Known for its natural beauty and slip-resistant surface, travertine is a popular choice for pool decks. It stays cool underfoot, even on hot days.
  • Slate: Offers a unique, rustic look with its natural clefts and color variations. Slate is durable but may need sealing to maintain its appearance.
  • Limestone: This stone provides a smooth, elegant finish. It’s durable and can handle heavy foot traffic but is more prone to staining.
  • Sandstone: With its warm tones, sandstone creates a welcoming pool environment. It’s durable but can be more porous than other stones.
  • Granite: Extremely durable and resistant to weathering, granite is a premium choice. It’s available in various colors and finishes.
  • Quartzite: This stone is harder than granite and offers a stunning, sparkling finish. It’s highly resistant to heat and wear.

What do you put around the edge of a pool?

Around the edge of a pool, pool coping is essential. Coping serves as the finishing touch, providing a smooth edge and transitioning between the pool and the deck. Materials commonly used for coping include:

  • Travertine
  • Slate
  • Limestone
  • Granite
  • Concrete

Decorative accents like mosaic tiles or engraved stones can add a personal touch to your pool’s edge. These accents not only enhance the look but also improve safety by providing a non-slip surface.

What is best to put around a pool?

The best elements to put around a pool combine functionality and aesthetics. Consider these options:

  • Plants: Incorporate jungle-inspired plants like ferns, hostas, and hibiscus to create a tropical vibe. Ensure they are suitable for your climate.
  • Rock Walls: Add elevated boulders or rock walls to give your pool a natural, custom look. They can even include built-in speakers for added ambiance.
  • Planters: Built-in planters can showcase blooming flowers or shrubs, adding a focal point to your pool area.
  • Lounging Spaces: Create shaded areas with cabanas or sail shades. This provides a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy your pool.
  • Xeriscaping: Use drought-resistant plants and materials to create a low-maintenance, eco-friendly landscape.
  • Pavers: Concrete pavers with grass in between create a modern, classic look. They are durable and easy to maintain.
  • Wooden Decks: Raised wooden decks can add visual interest and provide a space for dining or lounging.

By blending these elements, you can create a pool area that is both beautiful and functional. Each choice can enhance your pool’s appeal while meeting your specific needs and preferences.

Conclusion: Pool Hardscapes

Creating a stunning pool hardscape is about more than just aesthetics. It’s about blending form and function to transform your backyard into a paradise. By using the right materials, incorporating creative designs, and adding decorative features, you can elevate your pool area to new heights.


From travertine to granite, the materials you choose play a crucial role in both the look and durability of your pool hardscape. Incorporating elements like jungle-inspired plants, rock walls, and built-in planters can make your pool area feel like a tropical escape. Adding features like fountains and waterfalls can further enhance the ambiance, making your pool a true oasis.

Creative Edge Pools

At Creative Edge Pools, we specialize in designing and installing custom pool hardscapes that reflect your vision and complement your home. With over a hundred years of combined experience, our family-owned business is committed to delivering high-quality, long-lasting results. From initial design to final installation, we handle every aspect of the project to ensure your complete satisfaction.

Ready to transform your backyard into a paradise? Contact us today to get started on your dream pool project.

Request an estimate or call us at 978.203.0406.

By following this comprehensive guide, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of pool hardscaping. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to update an existing pool area, the right hardscape elements can make all the difference.

Thank you for choosing Creative Edge Pools. We look forward to helping you create the pool area of your dreams.


Mastering the Art of Pool Hardscaping: A Comprehensive Guide

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