Outdoor Pool Area Styling Ideas To Create A Backyard Oasis

What could be better than coming home and stepping outside into an area that calms your soul and soothes your spirit? Learning how to style your outdoor pool area into a backyard oasis can make a real difference in the enjoyment you'll get from the space. There are dozens of ideas to recreate this area, ranging from lighting to seating, entertainment to flooring, and ground cover. How you like to spend your time outdoors will dictate which of these ideas most resonates with you.

Creekstone Outdoor Living recommends adding a comfortable place to sit, a quiet place to relax or meditate, and somewhere cozy to curl up. You already have the requisite water in your pool, but you can add fountains, waterfalls, and other water features to accentuate the space. Private areas to disappear into with a book, a glass of wine, or a loved one, and mood lighting also help create a perfect poolside oasis for your backyard. Read on to see how to use these elements to create a chic outdoor space.

Install a firepit

Firepits are an easy and classy way to upgrade your backyard. And they come in unlimited styles. You can add something simple to your backyard pool area or build a whole additional section just to accommodate this feature. As River Pools explains, firepits are as practical as they are beautiful because they can keep you toasty after climbing out of the pool on those less-than-scorching days.

Your options are limited only by your imagination when choosing a firepit, but there are several common overall styles. Above-ground firepits have walls around their exterior to hold the contents. They are usually built just shorter than their accompanying seating areas. Inground firepits are true firepits, built into the ground but still framed by stones, rocks, or bricks.

You can buy premade firepits at most big box and home stores or have one custom-built to your specifications. Most of these options burn wood, but fire bowls can burn wood or gas, making them versatile. They are often made of concrete or cast iron and shaped like a bowl. Firepits can burn wood, propane, natural gas, or ethanol and are often made of stone, concrete, or metal, but any heat-resistant material will work.

Add entertainment with a TV or music

Another way to liven up your outdoor space is with an outdoor entertainment center. Like a firepit, this is a great space to spend your time before or after the pool. Gather your friends and family for a pool party and follow up with a watch party. Choose football or movies, or invite people to binge several episodes of your favorite series. Best Buy recommends SunBrite TVs, designed to withstand extreme heat and cold, wind, rain, and dirt.

If music is more your thing, skip the TV and add a stereo system instead. Invite friends over for meditation or yoga parties. Or just enjoy this area's relaxing vibes on your own. You can practice yoga or Tai Chi before your morning swim or wind down after a dip in the pool in the evenings.

There are many ways to add sound to your backyard pool area (via NewHomeSource). The easiest option is to use a portable wireless speaker. With Bluetooth technology, you can listen to any songs you want, from ones you've created to items on your Amazon or Apple music playlists. There are even models that look like outdoor lanterns.

Spice things up with an outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchens let you gather friends and family in your backyard and escape from the everyday. You may not go to the trouble of cooking in your outdoor kitchen if you're alone, but many models include wine refrigerators. A glass of wine poolside after a long day at the office could be just the ticket, even if you're solo.

As Blue Haven Pools & Spas explains, most logistics will be up to your contractors if you plan to build an outdoor kitchen. You have more options without a pool unless you're constructing the two simultaneously. But think about where to locate your kitchen. Do you want it near the pool for you and your guests to eat, drink, and be merry? Or close to the house, making it easier to bring out everything you need for grilling and prep?

The best advice, whether adding on to or building a pool and a kitchen at one time, is not to get too attached to the concepts you come up with on your own. It's great to do your research and have some ideas but consult with your contractors about the best locations and materials. If you can't agree, try your best to reach a reasonable compromise.

Build a cozy fireplace

Firepits are lovely, but fireplaces give off a bolder vibe. Like kitchens and TVs, adding a fireplace poolside is a great way to bring the inside out with you. While adding one is a bigger project than adding a firepit, these are customizable to be nearly any size, shape, and design. Many versions have the option of mounting your outdoor TV over them. What could make your backyard more of an oasis than creating the equivalent of a living room in your backyard pool area?

As Creative Hardscapes points out, fireplaces aren't as showy as an outdoor kitchen or pool, but they are popular and come in different designs and functionalities. Favor a Tuscan or Neapolitan theme? Invest in a pizza cooking fireplace-type oven. Looking for something to cozy up in front of with a special someone? Go with a more traditional design. Making s'mores with the kids? Invest in a firepit-type design but opt for wood over gas for these treats.

They serve some other valuable purposes, too. Like firepits, you can gather around them post-swim. They make a lovely focal point for your backyard and are relatively low-maintenance to upkeep.

Float your patio chairs

Want to enjoy your time in the pool on a hot summer day? Consider mounting your patio chairs right in the water. This allows you to keep your cool without the hassle of treading water. There are dozens of options available. AquaBlu Mosaics explains that shelf loungers offer a cup holder for your drink and a place to store your phone on the headrest, keeping it in arm's reach but out of harm's way.

Traditional loungers go on a ledge in your pool rather than a tanning shelf or higher position. They come in numerous colors, allowing you to choose one that complements your personal tastes and your existing outdoor décor. You can get some of these models with pillows to rest your head on (via Ledge Loungers). And there are even tables and coolers that can be installed beside them, so you can enjoy your wine, soda, or water without leaving the pool. If you're a fan of the water but not the sun, there are shades you can mount on top of your chaises. All of these options also come in multiple colors, so you can choose something that matches your existing décor.

Plant some artificial grass

Artificial grass is the perfect complement to your backyard pool and has many advantages. Pool surrounds are usually concrete or tile, but those can be slippery. According to Heavenly Greens, artificial grass gives you a slip-resistant surface, making it a natural choice for homes with children and pets. It's also easier to keep clean than hard surfaces around your pool. Finally, unlike natural grass, it doesn't require fertilizer, mowing, or maintenance. 

In dry, arid conditions where traditional grass struggles to stay alive, artificial grass is a great option that will work especially well around pools. The average shelf life for artificial grass is eight years, which is much longer than the homegrown variety. And natural grass is planted in the dirt, which can become muddy when wet. This is one less risk you'll face if you choose artificial grass instead. Not only will it not get on the kids and the pets, but they won't track it into the house either.

Add a water feature

Water features can really make your pool and backyard stand out. According to North Bay Water Services, there are many options: waterfalls, waterslides, scuppers, cascades, rain curtains, outdoor showers, bubblers, fountains, deck jets, spillover spas, statuary, and fire and water bowls.

Slides work best in large pools, especially those used by children. Waterfalls are popular for pools of any shape or size and are an excellent option for children and adults. They cascade over real or fake rocks and are exceptionally cozy when placed next to spas.

Scuppers, or water sconces, work regardless of your pool size or shape. They usually look like a spout that shoots jets of water, and they're sometimes accompanied by a light that highlights the stream of water. Fountains are another popular pick, but it comes with pros and cons. For example, they lower the temperature of the water on hot days, help filter the pool and regulate the chemicals in the water.

Light up your pool or an existing water feature

Already have a water feature? Light it up so you can enjoy it on the couch or while entertaining in the evenings. If you don't have a water feature, you can install lights right in your pool. According to Nerd Techy, these lights have many benefits, the first being that you can use the pool at night. If you don't like swimming underneath the moon, other advantages include ambiance and adding a dose of extra color.

The three most popular options for wireless pool lights are LED lights, halogen lights, and fiber optic lights. LEDs are the preferred option because they are energy efficient, give off more light than fiber optics, and don't carry the risk of burning you as halogen bulbs do.

You can flush-mount your pool lights underwater, float them on the surface, or use spotlights to illuminate the pool or its water features. But you should also consider color, durability, and battery life. Solar-powered lights can be longer lasting than those with batteries, and white is probably your best choice for more formal occasions. But if you're hanging out in the backyard with friends, you could choose single colors, alternating colors, or blinking lights. Avoid going overboard, as too much blinking could nauseate rather than soothe you and your guests.

Add furniture and umbrellas

Umbrellas can keep you cool in the summer and protect you from inclement weather if you like sitting outside when it's not sunny. This could be important if you live in an area prone to summer storms. According to Palm Casual, you can use a traditional umbrella that comes with a pole and stand, or a cantilevered design. The latter eliminates the center pole, letting the umbrella hang from above and swing in the breeze. But what you're sitting on is essential, too.

Patio furniture has come a long way. There are now couches and chairs with thick cushions similar to what you would use inside. Sofas and sectionals are popular choices, and bistro and dining sets give you a place to sit, eat, or enjoy a drink (via Palm Casual).

And there are outdoor daybeds designed for stretching out alone or snuggling with someone. Many come with built-in covers, so relaxing in the shade is as easy and enjoyable as sunbathing or swimming. When choosing one, consider frame material, weight, size, and comfort (via The Kansas City Star). Many do not come assembled, so ease of assembly is also important. Finally, keep in mind the canopy's durability and quality, so you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars each season to replace it.

Dress things up with an outdoor rug

Add a rug to your outdoor area to pull your seating together and help define a living space outside. Not only are they great for decor, but carpets can warm up your pool area, especially if you have tile or concrete flooring. According to Outer, finding a color that matches or complements your furniture works best. Look for neutral colors and accessorize with cushions and throws. But also consider the size and shape of the space where you're putting the rug. You also want to ensure the carpet you choose is an outdoor version, since indoor rugs won't withstand weather conditions.

The best materials you can select for outdoor use are polypropylene, polyester, nylon, jute, and sisal (via Wayfair). Once you choose your style, think of what function you want the rug to serve, which will help narrow down where to put it. Consider where crumbs may fall and what your high-traffic areas are. The latter may be close to your pool or seating area if it's adjacent. Clean your outdoor rugs monthly while using them and at the beginning and end of each season.

Keep it warm with outdoor heaters

If it gets cold at night where you live, outdoor heaters can make the difference between coming in at night and staying outside. And like fireplaces, they can be a fantastic way to warm up after a swim. They are infinitely easier to install than most firepits and come in multiple styles and sizes.

According to New York Magazine, two of the best options are a portable gas heater and a mini heater that easily fits on your tabletop. These aren't what you'll be familiar with from restaurants, but most homes don't need these larger versions. When determining the right size heater for your backyard pool area, remember that a 48,000 BTU heater can keep up to 10 people warm. Also, consider whether you want a propane or electric model. Propane will need to be replenished, adding extra cost and maintenance, but they release more heat than the electric versions.

If you're looking for a smaller version of the BTU heaters you find in restaurants, there are 1-pound, 10,000 BTU tabletop heaters you can purchase for as little as $100. If you're looking for aesthetic value and are willing to spend more, there are large Italian-style heaters with a flame at their center for around $1,500.

Light up the night with bulbs and lanterns

One of the most popular styles of backyard lighting is string lights, but they aren't the only option. Table lamps, tiki torches, lanterns, and floating lights are all options you can use in your backyard oasis. When choosing, think about the mood you're trying to create, any obstacles or tripping hazards, and the size of your backyard.

LED lights are a popular choice for outdoor lighting. According to Epicurious, they put out cooler light than incandescent bulbs, but the latter is less energy efficient. Some gorgeous solar options are available, but they will work best in areas with several hours of sunlight daily. If this isn't you, consider similar, non-solar options.

String lights and garden bulbs add ambiance and come in solar or battery-powered options. There are even solar tabletops and pendants. Tiki lanterns put out actual flames if that is a look you're going for, and if you use citronella oils, they can help repel mosquitos. And floating lights are ideal for pools because they float, and many versions alternate colors while drifting across the water's surface, creating a lovely tableau.

Build up lush garden terraces

Greenery can help make any place more calming. Studies have shown they have a positive effect on our mental health. So adding them to your outdoor space seems like a no-brainer. But you may not have a lot of space. This is why terraces make the most sense. They can be stacked on top of each other, allowing you to be inspired by landscaping ideas and plant abundant shrubs, trees, and flowers without taking up much space.

Choosing the right plants for these can make a difference, too. GardenSong Santa Fe points out that grasses can help soften the look of this design element, mainly if your terraces are made of brick. But the straight lines of these particular plants can also help create structure. Perennials will help add color.

Using terraced areas or planting boxes can also help the garden and your pool blend into one cohesive design (via Gardening Etc.). This works best with infinity pools, where the exterior lines are already blurred.