A swimming pool is one of the most enjoyable features one can have at home. It provides you, your loved ones, and your friends some respite from the heat, or a venue for a party.

Your pool, however, can be so much more than a hole in the ground filled with water. With a little landscaping, you can transform it into a relaxing oasis that will make the time you spend in that area of your home even more enjoyable.

Pool landscaping doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some affordable ideas.

Swimming pool surrounded by lights
(©Karsten, Adobe Stock Photos)

1. Let there be lights

Installing lights is an easy way to add ambiance to your pool area, making it more luxurious and welcoming.

If you’re worried about the cost of powering lights for your pool, take comfort in the fact that most outdoor lights available today are LEDs, so they don’t use much energy.

Get creative when lighting up your pool. You can put up cafe lights around the patio. Lighting up trees and plants around the pool — either with string lights or spotlights — is also a good idea.

The same goes for path lights or lights that run along with the plant or flower beds near the pool. For utmost safety, follow the lighting manufacturer’s directions and set up lights away from the water.

Beautiful pool with privacy plants
(©slava296, Adobe Stock Photos)

2. Natural privacy walls

While you can always install a wood or vinyl fence around the pool for privacy, why not go for a green option that gets the job done with nature’s beauty?

Make use of trees, plants and shrubs for all-natural privacy walls. This way, you can strike a balance between the need for privacy and pool landscaping.

Best of all, planting trees in just the areas where you need some privacy is a low-cost alternative to installing fences. Win-win!

Lush plants surrounding a beautiful pool in a North Dakota homeowner's backyard
(©korakoch, Adobe Stock Photos)

3. More plants

Plants can give your pool area a lush landscape, creating a more relaxing atmosphere.

If you want a tropical look, go for plants with oversized leaves. Ferns with fine textures will help create a luxurious area for rest and relaxation.

To add color, put potted plants with picturesque blooms in the vicinity of the pool.

You can also install raised garden beds to add dimension and variety.

Rock garden, seen by the pool
(©ArtushFoto, Adobe Stock Photos)

4. Rock garden

With all the colorful plant life around your pool, you may need a bit of contrast! A rock garden should do the trick.

This is simply a dedicated area for rocks. You can cover a large area, or use river rocks to make an accent border around the pool deck.

This tackles three jobs:

  • It offers an attractive contrast with your other hardscaping accents, such as concrete or paver pool surrounds
  • It decreases the space you need to fill with more expensive hardscaping materials, or landscaping to maintain.
  • It’s a low-maintenance, high-impact design (after all, rocks don’t need watering!)

Luxurious swimming pool with a stone walkway
(©holwichaikawee, Adobe Stock Photos)

5. Stone walkway

While you can always pour a concrete walkway that leads from your back door to your pool, a stone walkway adds a higher-end, eye-catching feature.

You only need a few stones from your local home center to create a walkway, and you can be as creative as you want when picking the stone’s design and colors.

You can choose one color that matches your pool deck’s tone — or traditional gray — or mix and match bright colors that will make the pool area vibrant.

Have big design dreams but a shoestring budget? No problem! Purchase five or 10 stones at a time from your local home center and work your way up to converting a stepping stone pathway into a legitimate stone walkway.

These are just some of the ideas you can use when you’re landscaping your pool on a budget.

There is no doubt you can come up with more, so let your creative juices flow and make your pool area look as amazing as you can make it.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More