How to Make Your Above Ground Pool Look a Lot Nicer

Written by Michael Dean
May 1, 2024

rectangular above ground pool with question mark

So, you’ve just installed a new above ground pool. Above ground pools are a great budget-friendly and space-saving alternative to your standard inground pool. But, unfortunately, it’s no secret that these swimming pools fit cohesively in your backyard. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your above ground pool look a lot nicer so that your friends and family will be ooh-ing and aah-ing at your pool area in no time!

In this post, I will reveal my 14 ideas for making your above ground pool look way nicer.

Main Takeaways

  • Some ideas to help make your above ground pool look nicer include: pool decking, landscaping, lighting, hardscaping, and rock garden.
  • You can also cover the edges of the pool with the help of wood paneling, a pool skirt, or vegetation.

How to Make Your Above Ground Pool Look a Lot Nicer

There are many ways to make your above ground swimming pool look nicer. Here are my 14 design ideas and tips to make your pool the star of the show or more camouflaged, depending on what you want.

1. Pool Decking

One of the main ways to elevate the look of your above ground pool is to add a pool deck. There are many different ways to go about this, but one way is to install a deck around the entire pool. This way, you create an easy way to access the pool but also create a great place to lounge right next to the pool – almost like an inground pool!

You can approach this in several different ways, including installing wraparound stairs for easy access or creating multiple deck levels for a larger pool lounge area. By installing a pool decking area in this manner, you can also cover the above-ground pool—either partially or completely.

2. Landscaping

Another popular aesthetic improvement for above-ground pools is taking advantage of landscaping. Maintaining the surrounding landscape of your pool can make your pool look more cohesive with the rest of your backyard.

To do this, plant bushes, flowers, shrubs, and maybe even some succulents around the pool to help disguise and camouflage the raised part of the pool. You could also plant some shade trees or simply some grass. Try to plant a mixture of different colored plants to add some intrigue to your pool area.

3. Lighting

Pool lighting can make a huge difference to any pool, whether inground, above ground, or partially inground. Of course, lighting is important for safety, but it can also be used as mood lighting and elevate the look of your pool and outdoor area.

Some examples of lighting you could add include string lights, spotlights, or perhaps even Tiki torches around the pool area. Alternatively, you can purchase specific pool lighting LED strips that you can place around the pool to light up the water. These lighting strips come in many different colors and may even come with pre-programmed light shows!

4. Hardscaping

As you know already, landscaping is key to turning your above ground pool into an oasis, but hardscaping is just as important. Hardscaping is the non-living elements in your entire landscaping design. Hardscaping would include things like landscaped walkways, pathways, fire pits, pergolas, and patios.

What material you use for hardscaping your pool area is up to you, whether it be stones or pavers, but you can transform the look of your above ground pool by adding a pathway leading to the pool. With hardscaping, you can better integrate the pool into the backyard.

5. Wood Paneling

If you really want to blend the pool with its surroundings, instead of the gray frame popping out as an eyesore, you can cover this with some wood paneling. You can easily DIY wood paneling around the pool – especially if you have a rectangular pool. As a plus, not only does wood paneling make your pool look better, but it also helps to retain heat.

6. Stone Retaining Wall

Another great way to cover the plain walls of the pool is to surround it with a retaining wall. Installing a retaining wall around the pool allows it to blend more cohesively with the rest of your backyard space. While you have your pick regarding materials, the most popular material to install a retaining wall for an above ground pool is stone (or faux stone), which can immediately add some intrigue and texture to your pool area. Plus, since it’s a natural material, it goes perfectly with whatever landscaping you have, as well as the water in the pool.

7. Extending the Patio

This above ground pool design idea only really works if you already have a raised patio. But if you do, you can turn your above ground pool into an inground one by placing the pool right next to the patio. Then, simply extend the patio to the pool. And voila! You have an instant inground pool as well as a pool area you can decorate as you please.

8. Lounging Area

One of the best ways to completely transform the appearance of your backyard is to properly decorate and design a pool lounging area by the pool. Personalize this space with outdoor cushions and pillows, a table, a grill, potted plants, and benches… And perhaps even add some hanging lights for some mood lighting. Decorate the lounging area to become a focal point of the yard instead of the pool itself.

9. Add Shade

If you live somewhere with some intense sun and your pool could use some shade, adding an umbrella or a pergola can really make a difference to the look of your pool. Plus, it has the added benefit of protecting swimmers from the sun and keeping the pool from getting too warm.

10. Rock Garden

If you want to simply add some pizzazz to your pool area and are not too fussed about decorating the outside of the pool itself, you can instead create a little rock garden. Create a rock garden around and surrounding the pool. This is a super simple and cheap way to decorate your above ground pool area.

11. Install a Spa

One way to improve the look of your above ground pool is to install a spa next to it (maybe even a spillover?). That way, your pool is not the only focal point of attention in your backyard! Sitting back and relaxing in a hot tub while the kids play in the cold pool sounds paradisiacal.

12. Cover the Pool

There are many ways to cover a pool. As mentioned above, you can cover the pool with options such as a deck or a stone retaining wall. But if you want a cheaper and easier method of covering the pool, you can use the help of a pool skirt.

Alternatively, if you want, you can buy some fake moss and attach it to the outside of the pool, effectively camouflaging the pool and allowing it to blend in with its surroundings. Better yet, if you don’t mind the upkeep, you could cover the entire outside of the pool with some well-placed vegetation.

13. Water Features

Water features can completely transform your above ground pool. There are a wide range of water features available, including waterfalls, fountains, and jet streams. Don’t be afraid to check out what options you have available to you, and use these water features to not only aesthetically enhance your pool but also to help aerate the pool water.

14. Basketball Hoops

While this idea may not be for everyone, if you have any athletes in your household or kids, buy some pool basketball hoops. You can either buy an inflatable one or a more permanent one you have to install. But no matter which one you get, you can turn your above ground pool into a fun play area to play some fun basketball games in the water to cool off in the summer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Camouflage an Above Ground Pool?

There are many ways to camouflage an above ground pool. You can plant trees and shrubs strategically to cover the pool or cover the pool with a stone retaining wall or fake moss. The sky’s the limit!

How Do You Make an Above Ground Pool Look Built-in?

One of the best ways to make an above ground pool look built in is to install a deck around it to cover the sides. That way, when you are on the deck, the above ground pool looks like an inground pool. This strategy works best if you already have a raised patio that you can extend.

Decorate Your Above Ground Pool

An above ground pool can be just as stunning and striking as an inground pool, as long as you take advantage of its surrounding space. With the help of lighting, landscaping, hardscaping, and other ideas mentioned above, you can completely transform your above ground pool area.

Do you have any more questions about pool design and decoration? Let me know!

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