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Maximizing Your Space: Small Yard Pool Landscaping Ideas

Just because you have a small yard doesn't mean you can't have a great pool! Here are some pool landscaping ideas you'll love.
Photo of a small pool yard landscaping

A small pool area can be an irresistible oasis or an underappreciated and underused space.

It all comes down to the perfect landscaping design. A brightly lit pool, long leafy plants, and ultra-stylish patios are all within reach, even if you are short on square footage. 

If you want a pool area more akin to five-star luxury than a part-finished renovation project, read on. We have the best pool landscaping ideas for any small backyard space. 

Surround Your Pool Area With a Vertical Garden

A vertical garden can bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to your small pool area. It’s reminiscent of a Mediterranean-style villa. And the best feature of this landscape design is that it’s perfect for a small yard.

Use walls or fences as the canvas for your vertical garden. Add panels or a trellis as support for your plants and flowers.

Climbing plants are perfect for this style, but you could experiment with other ideas like herbs or grapevines. One bonus of this idea is that it will improve the air quality around your pool.

It will also attract nature, creating a more serene and eco-friendly outdoor space. 

Create a Sunken Seating Area

A sunken seating area is an invitation for you and your guests to relax.

It’s a mid-century style that has stood the test of time, and it’s perfect if you have a small backyard because it will prevent the space from looking cluttered with seating and tables.

It also offers an easy transition from the pool to a laid-back dining or social area. Choose soft solar lighting for the surroundings to make this landscaping feature stand out next to the pool.

You could also consider adding a small firepit to the center. A few potted plants around the edge of the sunken lounge are the perfect finishing touch.

An In-Pool Bar Area

If you are trying to fit a social space and pool into a tiny backyard, a neat solution may work for you instead.

Try adding a small in-pool bar with seating space and a counter. It’s perfect for those lazy summer days when you are happy to float around in the pool for hours. And you can make this as luxurious as you like.

For example, a curved bar area with simple stone round seats looks as glamorous as you’d find in a hotel.

You can even combine this with sunken seating on the other side of the bar for the ultimate pool party entertainment space.

When creating this style, think about plenty of lighting so you can enjoy a late-evening swim and drink. 

Multi-Level Decked Area

Multi-level decking can turn an ordinary backyard feature into something more eye-catching, with more of an architectural feel. It’s also perfect if you have an uneven or hilly backyard. 

The space around a pool is ideal for experimenting with this multi-level look. You can have a higher decked level for seating and sunbeds. That’s ideal if you want a backyard space that gets plenty of sunshine.

Use your lower levels for decorative purposes. For example, adding potted plants and flowers across different decked levels creates an exciting and visually appealing backyard.

If you want a shaded space for dining, choose a nook in the corner of your decked area and install a pergola. 

A Compact Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen and dining space near your pool can make the backyard more functional and pleasant. It’s surprisingly easy to do, even if you are limited in space. 

You can choose some space-saving under-counter appliances, for example. Or have counters and tabletops that are expandable for when you are hosting. 

If you love alfresco dining, create a charming ambiance in your seating area by adding flowers, low lighting, and a pergola.

Add some pretty solar-lit pathways to make moving from the pool to the outdoor kitchen and dining space easy. 

Go for a Minimalist Style 

One surefire way to make any small space appear bigger is to opt for a minimalist style and light colors.

Aim to design a simple layout with clean lines and natural stone. It should look calm and orderly.

Some strategically placed low-maintenance plants will add to the overall feel of a peaceful and clutter-free space, and the touch of green will complement the neutral palette.

If you add seating, keep it simple but comfortable with soft outdoor cushions.

Natural materials like light wood shades work well against the stone. Precision is everything with a minimal design, so use an experienced landscaping team like us. 

Integrated Lighting 

You can create a beautifully landscaped pool area using clever integrated lighting.

Start by adding lighting around your pool to help make it a focal point. Next, create a pathway and steps and embed lights throughout. LED strips or spotlights work well for this style.

Use lighting around any focal points, like large plants or water fountains. With some careful planning, you can create a landscape area that’s a beautiful blend of light and shadows.

It’s also highly functional, giving you a depth of light in your backyard that will allow you to enjoy the space into the late evening.

Install a Compact Pool

If you have yet to add a pool to your backyard, consider some compact designs that will flatter your space. A smaller pool can look modern and stylish and leave enough room for comfortable seating. 

Compact pools include spa-style pools, plunge pools, or cocktail pools.

Cocktails are a modern miniature pool, often with seating that you can use as an alternative to a seating area. They look beautiful and are practical, too.

Compact pools are perfect if you prefer a cool soak on a hot day rather than using a pool for swimming lengths. Plus, their petite size means they are cheaper to run compared to standard pools. 

Choose Dual-Purpose Furniture

One of the challenges of having a small backyard with a pool is getting everything to fit. If you want furniture, plants, and decor, it can quickly become cluttered.

A simple solution to this is to choose multi-purpose furniture. It will give you more flexibility and help improve the appearance of your backyard.

Luckily, plenty of innovative and space-saving garden furniture designs are on the market; you won’t feel restricted about your choice.

You could go for benches instead of chairs in your dining area and have storage space in the benches. Or you could have a table with a built-in fire pit.

Think about other space-saving ideas, too, such as foldable chairs that you can hang on a wall hook when you don’t need them.

Integrated Landscaping

With a small backyard, it’s worth considering how to integrate your pool into your landscape rather than seeing them as two different entities.

The best way to achieve this is to add water fountain elements to your pool, like a waterfall effect to the shallow end. Adding plants and decking around the pool’s edges will help accentuate this look.

You could also add low-level seating areas with soft, oversized cushions around the sizes.

It will make your garden feel like a calm oasis, bridging water’s soothing and therapeutic effects with the relaxing nature-inspired design of wooden decking and leafy plants. 

Use Mirrors

Mirrors are a tried and tested way to create the illusion of space. It works in backyards, too, and can look beautiful next to the rippling natural reflection from the water.

Place mirrors so they reflect as much of the pool as possible, and add plants to add lots of color and beauty.

Installing mirrors outside requires professional landscaping to ensure it lines up perfectly with any patio or pool tiling. You’ll also need to ensure you use the correct type of mirror that’s robust enough to last outdoors.

Acrylic mirrors are a good choice because they are light and safe.
Make sure you add plenty of lighting to your mirrored area. The reflections will look stunning when the sun sets.

Choose Native and Wild Plants

If you want a low-maintenance garden around your pool that looks striking, add some native plants.

You could even opt for a semi-wild garden, allowing the plants to develop into an eco-friendly habitat for local wildlife. The beauty of this design style is that it can feel more organic, especially if you pair it with a natural swimming pool.

It embraces the wellness trend that has taken off in recent years. If you choose this landscape style, opt for as many natural materials as possible. A water fountain is also a great addition.

It will become a haven for local wildlife and you and your family. 

Pool Landscaping Ideas to Inspire

With the right landscaping and a stunning pool, you can transform a modest-sized backyard into something you might expect in a luxury hotel. Use these pool landscaping ideas to inspire you. 

A small backyard demands the most professional finish. That’s why you need an experienced team like ours to help you turn your vision into a reality. Contact Arbeen Landscaping now for your custom quote. 

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