Above ground pool landscaping ideas: 9 ways to fit these features into a backyard

From sleek decks to tropical-inspired schemes, these above ground pool landscaping ideas are sure to inspire

above ground pool with lawn and shrubs
(Image credit: Tomasz Zajda/Alamy Stock Photo)

Our above ground pool landscaping ideas may be just the inspiration you need if you're looking to add one of these refreshing features to your plot. 

As fun and budget-friendly as they are, in comparison to inground pools, they're a little trickier to blend into their surroundings. But, whatever above ground pool ideas you're going for, it's still possible to slot them into a landscaping scheme with both practical and stylish results.

From pretty lighting to set the right mood to statement planting that will provide shade as well as aesthetic appeal, plus plenty more, we've rounded up different ways to make an above ground pool fit with all types of backyard setups.

Up the style points of your plot with our above ground pool landscaping ideas

Just like our more general pool landscaping ideas, these chic looks will elevate your swimming area to a whole other level.

1. Create a plant-filled paradise

'Out of the Shadows' garden at Chelsea 2022 designed by Kate Gould

The 'Out of the Shadows' garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2022 (opens in new tab)designed by Kate Gould had lots of gorgeous greenery

(Image credit: RHS/Sarah Cuttle)

One of the easiest ways to soften one of the best above ground pools is to add lots of foliage and blooms. 

In this beautiful Chelsea Flower Show 2022 garden, the pool has been sunk into a sleek deck, and surrounded with stunning tropical plants that instantly turn the setup into a private paradise for relaxing. And to one side of the decking, a chic water feature has been installed that only ups the sensory appeal of the space further.

What's more, we like how the supporting beams of an overhead pergola double up as a subtle screen between the seating space and the pool. It's an effective and attractive way to zone the two areas, particularly in a smaller plot.

2. Add your above ground pool to a paved patio

stock tank pool from Cowboy Pools on patio

This stock tank pool from Cowboy Pools (opens in new tab) is a perfect addition to this neat patio

(Image credit: Cowboy Pools)

Stock tank pools are another type of above ground pool that has gained a surge of interest amongst homeowners.

'Originally used to feed and give water to livestock, stock tank pools have become a major trend over the last two years, especially driven by people revamping and improving their backyards during the pandemic to create personal, relaxing spaces to beat the heat,' explains the team at Cowboy Pools (opens in new tab).

They offer DIY kits which only take a couple of hours to complete – and the result is a durable, stylish pool that's simple to maintain. 'We made it as easy as possible; pre-assembling parts and providing the tools and supplies you need to put it all together fairly quickly,' says co-founder, Aaron Weiss. 'You don't have to be exceptionally handy, you just need to be able to follow video instructions.'

This metal design shown above is complemented by the pale-hued, paved patio surrounded by a sleek half wall. The stylish furniture makes the perfect finishing touch to the scene while keeping the space feeling sociable.

3. Shelter a swim spa with a modern pergola

tropical garden with swim spa and decking by Consilium Hortus

A tropical-inspired scheme designed by Consilium Hortus (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Photography: Michelle Foulser)

This gorgeous, contemporary garden designed by Consilium Hortus (opens in new tab) has everything needed for outdoor living in style.

Similar to Kate Gould's design, the swim spa has been sunk into raised decking for a seamless finish. Meanwhile, a large, louvered pergola provides pool shade and shelter for the seating area beyond. And, as it includes sliding glass doors and integrated heaters, the zone can be used whatever the weather.

Plenty of verdant planting lifts the area to the side of the pool, adding color and a jungle-like vibe.

4. Surround your pool with colorful shrubs

lawn and plants with above ground pool

Make your above ground pool more private

(Image credit: Tomasz Zajda/Alamy Stock Photo)

Speaking of planting, when it comes to your above ground pool surroundings, consider landscaping with shrubs.

If you plant them around the borders of your above ground pool, you can enjoy their beautiful flowers, foliage, or even their fragrance, while you take a dip. Just don't plant them too close by so that their leaves drop into the water, else you'll have extra above ground pool maintenance to do.

They are a useful way to screen an area from the rest of the garden, or from nearby neighbors, too – perfect for a heightened sense of privacy for your pool.

5. Add a smart fence for privacy

swim spa by Hydrolife with slatted fence and kids playing

This setup features a luxurious pool from Hydrolife (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Hydrolife)

If you want an alternative option for screening your above ground pool, there are plenty of gorgeous garden fences that will provide an ideal backdrop.

Slatted designs are currently on-trend, and we can't see them falling off our radar anytime soon. They create a contemporary impression, and the horizontal lines are great for elongating the look of a plot. Plus, you can always pep them up with climbing plants or even a lick of colorful paint if you want to bring extra character to your above ground pool landscaping scheme.

6. Build your above ground pool into a deck

above ground pool with decking and steps

@nicspics36 (opens in new tab)'s DIY build is a brilliant addition to her backyard

(Image credit: @nicspics36)

Deck ideas for above ground pools are well worth considering when it comes to choosing how to surround these features. And this setup is a great example of a compact, stylish design done on a budget.

Nicole Jimenez (opens in new tab) and her boyfriend, Casey Green, bought an 8-foot tank about an hour from their home in Saint Petersburg, Florida, and rented a U-Haul open trailer that they hitched to their pickup truck. Having read online about pitting and rust, Casey cut drain and input holes in the tank, then draped the vinyl liner in the pool and partially filled it with water to smooth out wrinkles. A ratchet strap (aka tie-down strap) was fitted inside to anchor the liner. Once everything was smooth and tight, they cut holes in the liner where the drain and inlet fittings go.

The do-it-yourselfers built and framed the raised deck close to the diameter of the tank. 'If we were doing this project now, we'd go with composite decking and not worry about staining, sealing, and maintaining the wood,' says Casey. 'The prices are about the same when you factor in time spent on deck maintenance and longevity.' They also used a hidden decking screw system for a clean, smooth look.

'Be creative: there's not a "single way" to do things in the stock tank world,' he advises. 'Try to "Macgyver" some things and be prepared to stumble along the way. YouTube and Pinterest will be your best friends. We spent about $2,500 total on this build. And you don't need to do everything all at once.'

7. ...and install a garden building nearby

pool deck with garden building

This scheme includes a sheltered space for socializing and relaxing

(Image credit: Martin Harvey/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whether you've got a small above ground pool or a large one, having a pool house nearby can be super handy if you've got the space.

This rectangular pool, integrated within an ample deck, is accompanied by a fabulous sheltered space for drying off after a swim. The simple timber building also makes the perfect hub for socializing, and as it'll keep off the sun's glare or any unexpected showers, it can be used all year long – especially with the addition of some cozy lights and perhaps a patio heater.

8. Maximize the view from your above ground pool

above ground pool in deck with tree view

Create an infinity-style effect

(Image credit: Enrico Della Pietra/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you're building a raised structure as part of your above ground pool landscaping ideas, consider what the view will look like from the zone.

By only using decking railings for part of the perimeter, you can create an infinity-pool effect, which can be heightened by a scene of ornamental trees, flower beds, or a luscious lawn in front. If safety is a concern, opt for glass panels instead.

9. Mix up the materials for your above ground pool landscaping

stock tank pool by Cowboy Pools with pergola

Playful paving and a pergola accompany this Cowboy Pools (opens in new tab) pool beautifully

(Image credit: Cowboy Pools)

Although sticking to a minimal color palette is always a good move for an effortless sense of sophistication, don't feel you have to shy away from mixing up the textures and materials for your above ground pool landscaping ideas. 

Here, the warm-toned timber of the pergola and bench add an appealing contrast to a modern metal pool, while paving slabs interspersed with hardy grass offer a laid-back air (and will help to absorb splashes, too). 

Pool lighting can make the perfect finishing touch to a backyard setup, and means you can enjoy a late-night dip beneath the stars. Strings of festoon lights in this scene will offer a soft glow when the sun sets, or, for an extra sense of fun, you could add floating, solar-powered lanterns to the pool itself.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.

With contributions from