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All You Need to Know About Pool Patios: Material Options, Design Tips and More

Posted On: July 18,2018 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Pool patio with fire bowl and pavilion in PennsylvaniaBuilding a pool is a big investment and you want to be sure that you’re making wise choices about its design. After all, you want the pool patio to enhance your pool’s beauty and value—not detract from it.

Besides wanting the overall aesthetics to work, you also want it to function properly. Functionality is an important aspect that is integral to your overall enjoyment of the pool. This will be the place where you’ll lounge and read a good book, sit to watch your kids swim, or maybe even make use of nearby amenities such as your outdoor pavilion or kitchen.

Smart decisions start during the design process and even choosing the best pool patio material is important. Because of that, we’ll explore some of your options to help guide you toward what may be best for you.

Exploring Pool Patio Material Options

There are generally three materials that are considered when it comes to pool patio material options. These include exposed aggregate concrete, pavers, and natural stone. Let’s explore each of them in order to determine the best pool patio material.

Concrete

swimming pool with concrete patioConcrete is an option that’s been around for many years. Most pool companies are going to use concrete because it’s easy to install. It can also be poured quickly which is in line with most pool companies’ objective of installing as many pools as possible in a season. Unfortunately, concrete is very prone to cracking, which is a serious downside to using this material. It’s also not very aesthetically appealing and has a very standard, cookie-cutter type look to it.

While stamped concrete is growing in popularity and certainly has more aesthetic appeal, it also comes with slip-and-fall risks. While regular exposed aggregate concrete is typically non-slip, stamped or “decorative” concrete tends to be quite slippery and therefore would not make an ideal pool patio material. Stamped concrete is also just as prone to cracking.

Paver Patios Around Pools

Pavers can make a great choice for your pool patio material. Not only are pavers not slippery (making them a safe surface for wet feet), but if you choose wisely, they are also cool on the feet. A light-colored paver is going to be the least likely to absorb a lot of the sun’s heat and is a popular choice for pool patios. Light gray and beige pavers tend to be good choices in terms of coolness.Pool patio with pavers

At Earth, Turf, & Wood we often perform a “barefoot test” where we’ll leave paver samples out in the sun and then have clients stand on them to see how hot they feel. Everyone is different when it comes to temperature preferences.

Natural Stone Pool Patios

Using natural stone is another choice for your pool patio—specifically, travertine. Though flagstone is a popular stone in our region for patios, we would not recommend it for a pool patio because it gets too hot.Travertine pool patio in Pennsylvania

Travertine, on the other hand, stays cool underfoot. It also does not get slippery. It’s a highly durable product that will stand up to foot traffic without any problems. However, travertine installing travertine is more labor intensive, which also makes it the most costly pool patio material.

Choosing the Best Pool Patio Material

If we were to choose the best material based off of what we use the most, pavers would be the clear winner. There are a lot of color options, they are non-slip and cool on the feet, and they are generally at a price point that customers are happy about. However, that’s not to say that we don’t also think natural stone is a wonderful pool patio material. Natural stone has a custom look about it and also shares the positive benefits of pavers (being cool to the touch and non-slip). But we do find that budget often steers our clients to choose pavers.Pool patio with pavers and fire bowl fountains

The bottom line? Either material would work great for your pool patio depending on your specific wants and needs. However, one material we will not work with is concrete. We believe it’s not if concrete will crack but when. And when you’re investing in something as important and valuable as a pool, you don’t want to use a material that is eventually going to crack.

Unfortunately, fixing concrete is almost impossible in an aesthetic way. Unlike pavers which you can just lift up and replace, concrete cracks have to be patched which is basically impossible to do without it being noticeable.

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Design and Construction Tips for Pool Patios

Designing and building a pool patio can be a complex endeavor. That’s why it’s important that you work with a company that has the experience and the know-how to ensure that everything comes together the way that you want.

For most of our clients, a pool patio is not just the area immediately around a pool. Most homeowners also add features such as an outdoor kitchen, dining space, and maybe even a complete pavilion which are all part of the patio.Pool patio and pavilion in Lancaster, PA

This calls for planning that takes ample space into account. That may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many times pool patios are built and in the end, there isn’t enough room for a dining set or the lounge chairs that the client wanted. Every single detail, including the shape and dimensions of any furniture you plan to add, need to be discussed up front.

Orientation is also such an important design factor. For instance, you may want to make sure that an area for your lounge chairs is designed where you get the most sun. Or, if you’re adding a pavilion, you may want to be sure that you can view the pool from the inside of it (to keep an eye on the kids in the pool while you cook). You also want to be careful that your new pavilion isn’t casting lots of shade over the entire pool area.Pool patio with pavilion, steps, and retaining wall

The bottom line is, there are a ton of considerations that need to be taken into account before construction can even begin. Unfortunately, most pool companies just want to get a pool in quickly and fail to consider all the little details.

Choosing Wisely for Your Ideal Pool Patio

Making sure you end up with the pool of your dreams isn’t going to happen unless you’re invested in making the best possible choices. You’re already taking an important step by doing some research on your options.

House with pool patio

Ultimately, the landscape design company that you choose to work with will also make a huge difference. That’s because they’ll be able to guide you through some of these important choices, listening to your wants and needs and also incorporating their own expertise into the process.

The last thing that you want is to choose a landscaping company that has the sole focus of getting your pool in and moving on as quickly as possible. This type of company is not concerned about your overall enjoyment of the space or even what the space looks like when they’re done. This could leave you with a mess—or even worse, a pool and patio that is not what you had in mind.

Earth, Turf, & Wood is different. With us, you can feel confident that you’ll get the pool patio that you desired from the very start. We’re in the business of helping make our clients’ dreams come true. With something as important as your pool, there’s simply no room for anything less.

If you’d like to discuss a pool and patio for your Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home, then contact us for a free consultation.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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