Skip to Content

Staycation Paradise: 13 Refreshing Backyard Pool Ideas

For many of us, spending time at the pool is one of the very best parts of summer. Whether you’ll be splashing around with your kids, throwing a backyard bash for your friends, or simply relaxing by the cool water as you read the season’s latest bestseller, there are countless opportunities to make lasting memories right in your own backyard.

If you’re looking for ways to turn your swimming pool into the staycation paradise of your dreams, you’ve come to the right place! Together, we’ll explore some fantastic backyard pool ideas to help you make the most of your personal oasis.

Backyard Pool Ideas

Budget-Friendly Buys to Instantly Upgrade Your Pool

Making improvements to your backyard pool doesn’t have to leave you drowning in debt; on the contrary, there are many upgrades you can make to your pool space while staying mindful of your budget. Here are some of our favorite affordable pool ideas for taking your space to the next level.

1. Gadgets to Keep Your Pool Clean

First, let’s state the obvious: a clean pool is a beautiful pool – but it’s not always easy to keep it that way. And if it’s not properly maintained, the accumulation of natural outdoor debris like leaves and bugs (ick!) can quickly take your pool from an Instagram-worthy hangout spot to a cringy cleanup nightmare.

If you want your pool to be a source of rest and relaxation, then why not do what you can to eliminate some of the bothersome chores associated with it? There are plenty of gadgets on the market that can help mitigate these toilsome tasks.

For instance, this helpful surface skimmer simply attaches to the wall of your pool to trap debris floating on top of the water. And for those pesky bits that sink to the bottom, this compact automatic floor cleaner can tidy up for you, ensuring your pool is spotless before your next gathering.

2. Luxurious Pool Floats

As you’re trying to cultivate that staycation state of mind, creating opportunities for relaxation is the name of the game. And what could be more relaxing than lounging on an uber-comfortable pool float? After all, it allows you to stay blissfully cool in the water while simultaneously working on your tan, enjoying a beverage, or dozing off.

There are a variety of styles to choose from, depending on your preferences. You can go for a chair-style lounger if you’d like to sit a bit higher above the water or choose a model that allows for more submersion. For parties, you can also opt for a float with a novelty design that’ll double as a fun photo op for your guests!

3. Tropical Plants

Another favorite idea of ours for turning your backyard pool into a little slice of paradise? Adding tropical plants around your pool space.

Planting bright and fragrant flowers such as hibiscus and gardenia can be a perfect way to make you feel like you’re in an exotic destination while you swim in your own private getaway. Depending on your climate, potted banana plants might also be a great option to decorate your space as they can be kept indoors during the colder season.

4. String Lights

To further enhance the beach getaway vibe of your backyard oasis, why not put up some string lights? This low-key light fixture will add a soft glow to your outdoor space, making your pool look especially gorgeous in the evening!

You can choose to hang them above the pool itself or use them to decorate a nearby patio or dining area. No matter how you choose to situate them, the warm light will help to create an irresistibly inviting atmosphere.

Affordable Alternative Pool Containers

Now, maybe you don’t actually own a pool yet; perhaps you’re reading this article just for the fun of it, trying to garner backyard pool ideas for one day down the road. If that’s the case, keep in mind that the type of pool you choose doesn’t have to break the bank! Here are some alternative container options to consider.

5. Stock Tank Pool

Stock tanks are an increasingly popular and surprisingly affordable pool container alternative. If you’re looking for a casual farmhouse-chic setup for enjoying your summer afternoons, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.

The setup work for this type of DIY pool is remarkably simple. You’ll simply need to choose a flat space in your yard, prepare the ground with landscaping fabric or gravel, and place the stock tank as desired. Add in a filter pump to make filling and cleaning it easier, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new backyard pool.

6. Pallet Pool

Our other idea for a budget-friendly pool container is the pallet pool. In recent years, wooden pallets have been an increasingly popular element in many backyard DIY projects. If you’re feeling a little creative, you could consider creating a pallet pool in lieu of installing a traditional above-ground pool.

Pallet pools allow for greater versatility and freedom in choosing a pool layout because you can design your pool to match the shape and size that you want. Plus, the wooden exterior looks effortlessly cool and creates a modern look with its rectangular edges.

Building a pallet pool is slightly more involved than our previous stock tank idea, but it’s still perfectly doable. You’ll want to take the same first steps of finding a flat space and preparing the ground. Then, you can arrange the pallets in your desired pool shape and secure them together using ratchet straps or another method.

Once the exterior frame is secure, the next step is to cover the interior with a waterproof lining (blue is typically preferable to mimic the traditional appearance of a pool). You can choose to add additional wood to the outside to create a more polished appearance; you’ll probably also want to add some mulch or gravel around the base of the exterior to prevent water leakage. Finally, install a filter pump, and voila! You’ve set up your new pallet pool.

Additionally, keep in mind that pallets can also be used to beautify your existing above-ground pool. By simply arranging them around the outside of your pool container, you can achieve that fashionable wooden exterior look – helping it blend in more seamlessly with the rest of your yard.

Mid-Priced Backyard Pool Ideas for Making Your Space More Usable

So, we’ve talked about some simple tricks for sprucing up your swimming pool – but maybe you’re looking to make some more practical improvements to the surrounding area. Here are some ideas for helping you get the most use out of your outdoor pool space.

7. Set up a Poolside Lounge Chair

Sometimes, a great pool day doesn’t involve actually being in the water the whole time; it can also mean relaxing by the poolside. Whether you’re working on your tan or reading a good book, a poolside lounge chair can keep you nice and comfortable as you catch some rays.

These chairs are available in a wide variety of materials and styles, and some even come with luxurious cushions to help you relax to the max. Goodbye, stress!

8. Put Up Some Tiki Torches

Another great feature to consider adding to your pool area? Tiki torches.

These iconic light fixtures make a wonderfully fun addition to your space – and they have practical benefits as well. The open flames will help to repel pesky critters like gnats and flies, creating a more pleasant space for you and your loved ones.

If your outdoor area is particularly prone to mosquitos, you may want to consider using special citronella fuel to help ward them off. Fill your torches up with bug repellant before your next get-together, and you and your guests can relax in non-itchy bliss all evening.

9. Cover Part of the Pool With an Umbrella

We all know that summertime means fun in the sun – but sometimes, spending too much time in the sun can be unpleasant and even detrimental to your health.

If you’re looking for ways to make your pool more usable, why not consider shading part of it? A decent pool umbrella can allow you to cover a portion of your pool, maximizing comfort for you and your guests. Providing a place to spend time in the shade can reduce the risk of sunburn and heat exhaustion, especially for those little ones who just can’t get enough of being in the water.

There are many models available featuring long poles and tilting heads, making them suitable to use for both in-ground and above-ground pools. And a great pool umbrella can enhance your overall aesthetic, too; be sure to check out options featuring underneath LED lights, which will create a gorgeous reflection on the water in the evenings.

10. Add a Dining Set Nearby

Another surefire way to improve your pool space is to create a convenient spot to take a snack break. Having a dining set nearby can facilitate an easier transition from pool time to meal time, allowing you to spend more time by the water.

Also, having a dining area close by will minimize the number of times that guests (or perhaps your own children) will need to go in and out of the house during swim sessions. Say goodbye to all those wet footprints in your hallways and kitchen!

11. Get an Outdoor Bar

Of course, there’s nothing better than a great pool party in the summertime. If you’re looking for fun ideas to improve your next backyard bash, why not think about getting an outdoor bar for your pool area? After all, you don’t have to live in a tropical locale to enjoy this playful poolside addition!

Whether you decide to go with tiki, wicker, or another material, having a fun, dedicated place for serving drinks will take your pool party hosting game to the next level. And as an added bonus, the bar can likely provide great extra storage for your patio area, giving you a convenient place to store drinks, silverware, and other party necessities.

Splurge-Worthy Ways to Revamp Your Pool Space

We’ve covered quite a bit of ground so far, but maybe you’re looking to go even bigger. Perhaps you want to make some major changes to your pool space. We’ve got you covered – here are some more backyard pool ideas to really achieve that “wow” factor!

12. Install Tile Around Your Pool

One of the very best ways to radically beautify your pool is to install tile in the surrounding area. It’s a timeless look that can set the tone for the whole space. From limestone to soapstone, from slate to porcelain – there are a myriad of options to choose from, and you’re sure to find something that suits your needs and tastes.

When selecting a tile material, you’ll want to account for factors such as your local climate and the area’s anticipated level of usage. Be sure to do your research on the tile’s durability, slip-resistance rating (which is particularly important for households with children and elderly or disabled folks), and whether or not it’ll need to be sealed. All of these considerations can help you make the right choice for your pool area.

On another note, if you’re looking for a slightly less permanent option that will give you more freedom to experiment with different layouts, don’t be afraid to give wooden tiles a try. These interlocking pieces can be easily configured in a variety of ways, and you also have the option to disassemble them and bring them indoors during the off-season to keep them in the best shape.

13. Add a Deck Around Your Pool

If you’re in the market to make some major changes to your pool space, you may also want to think about adding a deck around your pool.

A wrap-around deck can help to integrate your pool into the rest of your outdoor space. Providing ample room for seating and dining right next to the water, it’s great for entertaining kids as well as throwing parties for your friends. You’ll likely need to hire a carpenter to complete this project – but the transformation of your space will be well worth the investment.

Wrapping Up Backyard Pool Ideas

At the end of the day, the thing that makes any pool great is the ability to spend quality time with family and friends. Whether you’re hoping to enhance your pool experience with some smaller additions or are thinking about some major renovations, there are plenty of backyard pool ideas to choose from so that you can make the most of your staycation paradise.

Be sure to check out our other posts on backyard living for more tips on how to enjoy your outdoor space!