Top 7 Pool Deck Ideas (and how to take your pool to the next level)

Your swimming pool should be an oasis from the busyness of life. A place of tranquil rest and beauty. A place to spend time with your family. A place to get a rejuvenating, low-impact workout or host a pool party and barbeque with your friends. 

But sometimes, if you own a swimming pool, you discover that you don't use it as often as you'd hoped. 

Maybe you don't have an adequate place to store towels and pool floats. Perhaps you want to host pool parties but don't have enough patio space, or you've run into safety or logistical difficulties that you simply didn't think about when you first built your pool.

Here at Keystone Custom Decks, we work closely with you to create the swimming pool setup you've always wanted, whether adding a pool deck or patio or creating a custom swimming pool just for you. And with almost 40 years of experience creating outdoor spaces and tailoring them to our customer's unique needs, we're ready to help you design the outdoor space of your dreams. 

This article provides you with the ideas and insight you need to reinvent your swimming pool setup. Let's get started!

Table of Contents

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    1. Five Ways To Take Your Swimming Pool to The Next Level
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    2. Four Steps to Update Your Swimming Pool
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    3. Designing A Deck or Patio Around Your Inground Pool
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    4. Seven Pool Deck Ideas For Inground Pools

Five Ways to Take Your Swimming Pool to the Next Level

Do you want to fix the problems with your current swimming pool and take it to the next level? Do you want to create the lovely place of peace and tranquility you dream about? Maybe we can help! 

Let’s brainstorm a bit.

Add a deck or patio

When you throw pool parties, where do your guests hang out when they aren’t swimming?

Where do people relax and sun themselves? 

Do you have a space where adults can socialize while closely watching kids in the pool?

Do you have space for seating and dining? Do you have room for a grill? How easy is it to access the kitchen

You can solve all these issues at once by adding or updating your pool deck or patio.

Typically, inground pools are surrounded by a concrete patio, whereas above-ground pools are accessed via a wooden deck.

concrete patio around an inground pool

However, depending on the look you're going for, you can also place a deck around an inground pool. 

Another option is to have a deck connected to the house, providing easy access to the kitchen and a handy place to barbeque. Then, create a patio around the pool that connects to the deck. This creates a seamless path from the house to the pool and makes a lovely hosting space. 

BONUS - Are you excited about a patio but don't know where to start? Read our complete guide to planning the perfect patio.

If you don't have a pool house, this ease of access between the pool and the house is essential for using the restroom and changing and out of bathing suits. 

Even if you already have a deck or patio around your pool, updating it can give you more space and completely transforms the aesthetic.

Update your outdoor furniture

When updating your outdoor furniture, you'll want to consider three things: 

  • Relaxation
  • Practicality
  • The overall design and look you're going for. 

More than anything, you'll want to place comfortable furniture on your pool deck. Your swimming pool is, first and foremost, a place of relaxation and fun, and your furniture needs to reflect that. Make sure it's comfortable and relaxing! 

Before you purchase your furniture, take your time testing it. When you recline on it, does it make you want to take a dose in the sunshine, or does it dig uncomfortably into your side? Does it allow you to comfortably read a book or sip a drink?

Besides comfortable furniture, you might want some purely practical furniture. After all, if you're watching your child, you don't want to fall asleep. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you have places where people can eat comfortably? 
  • Is your furniture arrangement conducive to free-flowing conversation?
  • Is it easy to keep an eye on the pool?
  • Is your furniture easy to clean?
  • How weather-resistant is your furniture?
outdoor pool furniture

Finally, you’ll want to think of the overall aesthetic you’re going for. 

Do you want your backyard setup to have a sleek modern, or tropical paradise look? Are you working with a particular color scheme, or are you only using neutral colors? Do you want furniture made of natural materials like wood or wicker? 

With these things in mind, you’ll be able to make wise, informed decisions on what outdoor furniture is right for your space. 

Add a hot tub

Let’s face it: Swimming pools are relaxing in the heat of summer when you can cool off and recline on a pool float or sun yourself on a deck chair with a cold drink in your hand. But sometimes it’s a bit chilly for a swim, and a hot tub would meet your needs much better.

Sometimes you do need an invigorating swim even if it’s a bit chilly, but afterward, you want to relax and warm up a bit before you go on with your day. And on some days, you just want to relax everything and forget your worries for a bit. 

Hot tubs can add to any pool party. They are a great option for people who aren’t into swimming or want to relax and warm up between trips to the pool. 

They motivate you to make the most of your outdoor space even when the weather turns chilly.

And besides all that, hot tubs provide numerous health benefits. Sitting in a hot tub helps you:

  • Relieve stress
  • Relieve sore muscles
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Relax
health benefits of relaxing in a hot tub

Finally, while pools offer lots of family fun, hot tubs help you connect with your loved ones on a deeper level, as they make for great conversations. They provide a romantic place to spend quality time with your spouse, or you can relax with close friends and family. 

And, of course, they are a great place to spend quality alone time and relax after a long day at work. 

For these reasons, adding a hot tub near your pool elevates your swimming experience, and it’s something you should consider if you’re looking to take your backyard setup to the next level. 

Add water features and lighting

You don’t want your swimming pool to look like an afterthought, dropped haphazardly into your backyard just in case anyone wants to swim. 

You want your pool to look deliberate. You want it to look unique, a reflection of your personality. You want it to look impressive and compliment the overall aesthetic of your backyard. 

One way to update your current swimming pool with these considerations in mind is to add water and lighting features. These things can really make your space unique!  

Some possible water features include:

  • A natural-looking waterfall
  • A modern-looking water wall
  • A fountain
  • A sconce that spills water into your pool
  • A rain curtain

You also want to consider how your swimming pool setup looks at night. The proper lighting gives your swimming pool an ethereal glow and makes it not only romantic but more accessible and safer to use at night.

pool lighting creates a beautiful atmosphere

Here are some things to consider when updating your lighting:

  • Do you want to experiment with color-changing lights?
  • What water features would you like to highlight?
  • Are there parts of the pool, such as stairs, that should be well-lit for safety reasons?
  • Do you want overhead lighting, in-pool lighting, or solar lights that float in the pool?

Whatever you ultimately decide to go with, adding water features and lighting completely updates the aesthetic of your swimming pool and, in the case of lighting, adds an element of safety as well. 

Add a pool house

A pool house is essential if you're serious about taking your pool to the next level. 

Why do you need a pool house? 

Well, a pool house serves many purposes, and the type of pool house you get depends on your needs.

A simple cabana pool house provides a place to change into or out of a bathing suit. This is handy during a pool party because it negates the need for all your pool guests to traverse your house, leaving piles of clothes in the bathroom and dripping all over the floor, leaving wet trails behind them. 

Many people opt for a larger pool house and use the extra space to store pool equipment such as floats and strainers. Instead of finding space in your home for your swimming towels and pool floats, keeping them in a dedicated pool house is easier. You can also use the area to store deck furniture during the off-season. 

If you're willing to run utilities to your pool house, having a bathroom next to the pool is convenient. Not only does it give swimmers a handy place to use the restroom, but it gives people a chance to shower before and after using the pool. Again, this means nobody will come dripping through your house, and it means that if groups of guests come to use or rent your pool, they can stay outside and won't need to disturb you in your home. 

Larger pool houses often contain a small kitchen for preparing drinks and snacks. If your pool is some distance from your house, a pool house with a kitchen makes entertaining easier. With a patio extending straight from the pool house to the pool, you can add a grill or two, cook a meal, and host a poolside party without using the main house. That way, you aren't cut off from your guests when you are inside prepping food! 

A pool house can be very convenient

Since these larger pool houses have a bathroom and a kitchen, they often double as guest houses. Some people lean into this fully, adding a bedroom and creating a space that can be used as a pool house or a guest house, depending on their current needs.

The size of your pool house depends on your personal needs, but any type of pool house will enhance your enjoyment of your swimming pool setup. 

Four Steps to Updating Your Swimming Pool

Can’t you just see it? Whether you envision a cascading waterfall, a chic pool house, or an expansive, sleek patio, the swimming pool setup of your dreams is within your grasp. 

What’s next?

Here are four steps to updating your pool into an impressive, beautiful setup that suits your family’s unique needs. 

Step 1: Decide what’s not working

Although it’s fun to brainstorm about the beautiful things you’d love to add to your swimming pool, you should usually start with the practical.

What isn’t working for you? 

  • Is your swimming pool challenging to maintain?
  • Does it feel unsafe?
  • Do you lack storage space for pool equipment?
  • Do you lack hosting space?
  • Is it child friendly?
  • Conversely, does it have a childish feel that your children are outgrowing?
questions to ask when updating your pool

Once you've pinpointed the problems you need to solve, you can move on to the fun part. It's best to solve the practical issues first because if your pool is annoying to use, you probably won't use it as much as you could. 

For more information on planning an outdoor space, check out our blog post, 5 Elements of Outdoor Living Space Design

Step 2: Dream up your ideal pool setup

Hopefully, the previous section gave you many good ideas for revamping your swimming pool. 

Are you dreaming of a completely different color scheme or design style? Do you long to change the paving stones of your pool deck and make it twice as large? Have you decided a pool house is right for you?

In your ideal world, what would you change about your pool? 

Although you may not make all your desired changes, it's good to know what you want before you start looking for a contractor. 

Step 3: Hire a contractor

Finding a trustworthy contractor who will pay attention to detail and deliver the high-quality craftsmanship you desire is crucial.

Start by looking at their website. You can tell a lot just from their web page, such as:

  • Does their website design demonstrate careful attention to detail?
  • What do their reviews say?
  • Do they specialize in the type of work you are looking for? 

If their website looks promising, give them a call! Ask them specific questions about your project, like:

  • How much do they estimate it would cost?
  • How long would it take?
  • Have they done similar projects?

It's also a good idea to ask for references to understand how their customers feel about working with them. It's also a good idea to call several companies to get several estimates for your project's cost. 

choosing a contractor to install your pool

Step 4: Discuss your ideas with your contractor and figure out what works for you

Once you’ve found a contractor, it’s time to make more specific plans. Your contractor can tell you how much certain upgrades will cost, and you can finalize your decisions, focusing on fixing the things that aren’t working and deciding if the other upgrades you’ve dreamed of are worth the time and cost. 

How to Design a Deck or Patio Around Your Inground Swimming Pool

If you want to add a deck or patio to your inground pool, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Deck or patio?

Typically, people put a deck around above-ground pools and a patio around inground pools. However, there’s no rule against putting a deck around an inground pool. If you prefer the look of natural wood or composite decking to the paving stones of a patio, go for it!

In general, patios have greater longevity than wood decks. However, even if you don’t go with a full deck around your pool, wood can make an excellent accent feature to a patio. 

And to be fair, some types of wood are very durable and withstand the wear and tear of a pool quite well. You’ll definitely want to go with quality hardwood, and we recommend Ipe as the best wood for the pool deck

Also, this isn’t an either-or situation. Often, people build a deck adjacent to their patio. Then you can have the best of both worlds! 

choosing hardwood for around your pool

What looks best?

You’ll want to plan your deck or patio with your entire backyard in mind. We’d recommend spending some time looking at pictures of other people’s patios and decks to get some idea of the overall aesthetic you’re going for.

Then, think about what your current landscaping looks like. 

Are you planning to switch it up? If you know the look you’re going for in your backyard as a whole, you’ll have an easier time deciding what you want your deck or patio to look like.

What materials should I use?

When planning out your deck or patio, you can choose from various patio materials and decking options. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Wood decking
  • Vinyl decking
  • Composite decking
  • Patio flagstones
  • Patio pavers
  • Stamped concrete 

Your choice of materials will come down to three factors: cost, maintenance, and looks.

After you know what looks nice to you and will complement your backyard aesthetic and landscaping, talk to your contractor about the cost and longevity of different materials.

Or, give yourself a jump start by reading our blog post on composite vs. wood decking. It will teach you all about two of the most common decking materials on the market. 

How big should my deck or patio be?

In general, it’s better to have too much space than too little space. However, you may not need as much deck or patio space as someone else might. Here are some things to think about as you decide on a size.

  • Talk to your friends who have a deck or patio. Do they find they have enough space?
  • How many people do you typically invite over to parties?
  • How many people could comfortably swim in your pool? Would there be adequate patio space for them?
  • What looks best with your yard setup?

While too much space is better than too little, you’ll also want to think about the flow of people and where you want your guests to concentrate. Do you want people hanging out on all sides of the pool, or would you rather make the patio larger on one side so guests will congregate in one spot?

Seven Pool Deck Ideas for Inground Pools

It’s time for some pool inspiration! To give you an idea of what is available, let’s take a look at some gorgeous swimming pools.

1 - Building both a patio and a deck

Here is a bird’s-eye view of what it looks like when you have a patio around your swimming pool adjacent to a deck.


2 - Combination deck and pool cover

Get creative with your pool deck! This one doubles as a swimming pool cover in the off-season.


3 - A deck overlooking the pool

In this unique setup, a deck is built on top of a porch, and both overlook the pool. Also note the beautiful water feature, which transforms the pool into a unique thing of beauty.

Mavanur (6)

4 - A pool built directly into the deck

If you have limited backyard space or simply want quick and easy access to your pool, you can also build your swimming pool directly into your deck.


5 - Stamped concrete patio with decking elements

Here’s an example of what a stamped concrete patio looks like and a good demonstration of how you can add multiple patio and decking elements into one design. Notice the small deck with chairs on the other side of the pool. 

Stamped Patio 011

6 - Flagstone patio with coordinating pool house

This flagstone patio incorporates a pool house in coordinating colors. Also, note how unique patio furniture brings the design to life. Since everything permanent is in a neutral color and design, the owners can give the whole setup a fresh new look easily and relatively cheaply by simply altering the landscaping and furniture.


7 - Fun and games in the pool

Although you want your pool to look nice, don’t forget to have fun! This concrete patio is built with fun and function in mind. It’s large, allowing people to play games in the pool and includes plenty of space around the pool for parties. Also note the shed in the corner for storing pool equipment, such as this volleyball net, when not in use. 

For more inspiration, check out our project gallery!

Keystone Custom Decks
Reach Out For A Design Consultation

Are you excited to get started on your pool deck or other swimming pool-related project? 

Here at Keystone Custom Decks, we’re ready to help. With our vast experience creating one-of-a-kind outdoor spaces, we can make your dreams a reality!  

But don’t take our word for it! Check out our Google reviews to see hundreds of satisfied customers.  

To start, contact us today to request a no-obligation design consultation.  

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