Swimming pools are a wonderful addition to any landscape; they can transform an ordinary outdoor space into one that is fun for the whole family. They are also great conversation starters, providing the ideal chill out space for guests to lounge and chit chat.

An above ground swimming pool is any pool that is raised above the natural ground level. Since swimming pools are usually the most prominent landscaping feature in the outdoor space, above ground swimming pool landscaping becomes vitally important to ensure your pool design serves its intended purpose.


Why Opt For Above Ground Pools?

While most clients have traditionally opted for inground pools in the past, raised pools are fast gaining popularity.

Above ground pools are traditionally designed as long boxes or cylinders sticking up out of the ground. The basic forms are cheaper than inground pools, but thought to be more challenging to pretty-up.

However, you can customize a modern day raised pool to look just as beautiful as an inground pool. Some advantages of raised pools are:

  • They come in compact sizes making them suitable for smaller gardens.
  • They are a good solution for sites where poor soil conditions make excavation prohibitively expensive.
  • With creative above ground swimming pool landscaping, they can make a statement in your outdoor space.
  • They are great for sloped sites, where a raised pool can be more cost-effective.
  • They are safer for families with small children.

Types of Above Ground Pools

There are different variations of raised pools, depending on their design.




SOURCE: Design & Decorating

Freestanding Raised Swimming Pools

These are simple rectangular or cylindrical pools that are raised above the surrounding ground level. They are often freestanding elements that sit in the landscape and are not connected to the house.

You can opt for this type of above ground pool if you have a compact backyard or want keep your pool design cost effective. Above ground swimming pool landscaping for freestanding pools can be a challenge and requires careful consideration.

Where To Place Your Above Ground Pool

Remember that your above ground pool will be visible not just when you’re outdoors but also from inside the house. Therefore, think about placing your pool in a prominent location where it is clearly visible from indoors.

If you live in a walled villa, you can tuck your pool up against a property line wall with the spill edge facing the house.

If you’re lucky enough to own a house with a magnificent view, your infinity edge will face away from the house, merging with the horizon beyond. Otherwise, you can still have a raised pool with a spill edge that faces the house.

Add An Additional Water Feature

Since your pool is the visible centre of your landscaping, jazz it up with an additional water feature in the form of a cascading water bowl or spillway built into an adjacent feature wall.

You can combine a raised pool with a raised spa that can spill over into the pool for added oomph.


More Than Just A Pool

Equip your outdoor pool deck with a fireplace, built-in barbecue area or Jacuzzi for additional outdoor entertainment options. You can even incorporate a long wooden seat wall into one side of a raised pool if it is only slightly raised above natural ground level.

If you entertain frequently, an outdoor kitchen and bar might be an option to consider.

Sunken seating is all the rage in modern landscapes, where the seating area is sunken right in the middle of the raised pool, accessed by ‘floating’ pavers.

You can even build your raised pool around an existing landscaping feature, such as an old oak or olive tree, making this a feature of your above ground swimming pool landscaping design.



Integrated Raised Swimming Pools

These are raised pools that are tied to the main house structure using a deck. The deck is also raised to the level of the pool with steps that lead to the ground level landscaping.

The deck serves as a transition from the house to the lower level garden. Integrated raised pools are more appropriate for larger gardens that can easily incorporate a deck.


SOURCE: pinterest

Infinity Pools

These are, by far, the most popular type of above ground pools designed for contemporary gardens. They are the most expensive type of above ground pool and are found in high-end homes.

Also known as zero-edge or spill-edge pools, they feature a vanishing edge or edges. This is where water spills down the raised edges of the pool into a collection trough at the bottom.

Infinity pools are ideal for large gardens that boast a view. You can design these pools to appear as if they merge with the endless space beyond, creating the illusion of vastness.

Above ground swimming pool landscaping for vanishing pools has infinite possibilities; creative landscaping solutions can transform a zero-edge pool into a spectacular water feature.



Features Of Above Ground Swimming Pool Landscaping

If you decide that an above ground pool is ideal for your outdoor space and lifestyle, think about how you can use the features below to enhance your above ground swimming pool landscaping.

Levels In The Landscape

A raised pool automatically creates a level difference in your garden. How do you treat this transitional space between house and pool?

You could incorporate a raised deck at the same level as the pool with trendy lounge chairs or furniture.

You can design a raised deck to visually extend the indoor space to the outdoors. They blur the boundary between interior and exterior spaces.

Design steps leading down to the ground level garden using the same decking material for a more homogeneous look or use a complementary material for a gentle contrast.

Alternatively, you can also choose to sink the area around a raised pool, especially if your pool has a spill edge facing the house. In this case, you want to make sure that the view of the water spilling over the edge remains unobstructed by any tall planting, hedging or structure.

A sunken area adjacent to a vanishing edge pool enhances the pool as a water feature. The pool is more prominent when elevated above the surrounding landscape.


SOURCE: pinterest

What Can You Do With Exposed Pool Sides?

Raised pools mean exposed pool sides. How you treat pool walls can make or break your landscape. There are many different treatments you can choose for exposed pool edges. The type of treatment you choose will depend on the style and vibe of the rest of your outdoor space.


We know that mosaic tiles are a popular option for the interiors of pools, but they can also be used to clad outer walls.

In infinity edge pools, you can carry the interior mosaic tile over the spill edge to clad the exposed wall for a seamless look. Tile clad pools can pack a punch; they produce striking visual effects in sunlight as the water gently caresses the surface of the tile.

For a dramatic effect, black mosaic tiles or iridescent mosaics are visually stunning and give the pool a mirrored finish. It therefore becomes a reflecting pool when lit at night, making for a glamorous addition to an upscale landscape.


Natural stone cladding is a timeless above ground swimming pool landscaping option for cladding an exposed pool wall. Available in a variety of types and finishes, stone can be adapted to suit any landscaping style.

Stacked stone gives a more rustic look and can impart a tropical retreat kind of vibe to an outdoor space. Textured stone is another option that can be used for a more rustic look. For a modern vibe, opt for clean cut, smooth finished stone with uniform joints.

Not all natural stones are suitable for the pool environment as the chemicals used can be very harsh. If you want to clad your exposed pool walls with stone, consult a professional who can advise you on the option.



Natural grey concrete is another option for an exterior pool wall. It gives the garden a sophisticated, contemporary look.  Combine it with natural wood steps for the ultimate garden retreat.




Exterior grade wood is another versatile option for cladding an exposed pool wall. For above ground pools with wooden decks, the decking wood can wrap around the pool wall for a tropical spa vibe.


Planting For Your Above Ground Swimming Pool Landscaping

Adding a little greenery to your pool surrounds can make all the difference, transforming your garden into an oasis for relaxation. If your garden features a state-of-the-art pool that is the centerpiece of your garden, use minimal planting that does not detract from the pool.

For infinity pools that rise above the ground, grass is the preferred option for the base of your pool wall as it will not provide any obstruction in the view. The flat expanse of grass also visually enhances the height of the pool, which is desirable for spill edges.

You may also consider artificial grass as the area around the pool is a harsh environment to grow plants owing to the chemical splashes and foot traffic.

Design Ideas For Above Ground Swimming Pool Landscaping

Above ground pools are much more than just a place to swim. They call to mind images of sizzling barbecues, cozy fireplaces or fun in the sun on a hot summer day.

With the correct above ground swimming pool landscaping, a raised pool can provide some serious eye-candy to complement the design vibe of your home.

Take a look at some design considerations for above ground pools and make a splash with these creative above ground swimming pool landscaping ideas.





Above ground pools, by nature of their design, are generally safer for families with young children. However, they are subject to the same safety laws as in-ground pools and require safety fencing at entrances and exits to the pool.

Consider the design of the pool fencing when designing your landscape so it can be seamlessly integrated into the design and does not stand out as an eyesore.

Make A Bold Statement

When not used as a swimming pool, your raised pool acts as a water feature. Therefore, dress up your pool with materials that are visually appealing or sculptural accent plants that frame views of the pool.

Infinity edge pools, in particular, can glam up a landscape with their still, mirrored surfaces when not in use.


SOURCE: pinterest

Dealing with the Technical Aspects

All pools need well-maintained equipment to function effectively. This includes pump rooms, balancing tanks for overflow pools as well as a host of water pipes, all which need to be within a 10m radius of the pool.

Above ground pump and equipment rooms are easy to access for servicing, but you need to hide them with a feature wall or water feature.

You may also want to have an outdoor changing room or shower for larger properties, which can either be made into a design feature or then effectively screened by planting or a screening wall.


Additional Features

Many pools today feature color-changing lights or under-water speakers to enable users to listen to music while in the pool. These additional features make it more pleasurable to use the pool and its surrounding landscape.

Your Milestone Above Ground Swimming Pool Landscaping

Remember that infinity edge pools are way more sophisticated than your average backyard hole-in-the-ground pool and require in-depth knowledge of pool hydraulics and construction.

Your pool design should invite people to take a dip in the pool and spend time outdoors in the garden. The design team at Milestone have built many pools and can help design your above ground pool.

Contact our design team to ensure that your  above ground swimming pool landscaping design contributes to a functional and visually striking outdoor space for your enjoyment and pleasure.