Those fabulous, landscaped pools that have their own tailored environments, palm trees and oasis like gardens around them have been edging their way into the consumer market for a while now. They’re still expensive, but they’re also a lot more accessible and scalable these days, thanks to CAD design and innovative landscaping. They may mean a bit more of a workout for your pool cleaner , but they’re truly fantastic pools.
The landscaping effect
The luxury landscaped pools aren’t a new invention. They originated in America in the 1920s, as pools designed for California mansions. They became very popular partly because Hollywood moviemakers tended to include them in movie sets, either using real pools or sets that looked like them.
In the early days, landscaped pools, understandably, were very high maintenance operations. They didn’t have pool cleaners, and landscaping with trees tends to produce a lot of leaves in the pools. The modern version of the luxury landscaped pools is actually far better designed, and a lot easier to maintain.
The landscaping is actually the equivalent of raised garden beds and retaining walls, built in to the sides of the pool, using various shallow rooted plants like palms, ferns and bushes. The plant roots can’t damage the pool, and these evergreen plants don’t usually shed a lot of leaves. They are, in effect, created much the same way as a movie set.
This type of flexibility in landscaping allows a lot of fantastic pools to be designed following the contours of the walls. The luxury pools are in fact normal pools, with similar lining, sealing and construction, just many more options in terms of shapes and forms.
The best known species of these pools are the fiberglass pools, many of which have built in artificial landscaping features, like the famous “Hawaiian” pools. These molded pools can also be made in concrete, more common for very large pools bigger than the fiberglass molds.
Building in-ground also allows landscapers to make the best use of topography, building pools into slopes to create magical aesthetic effects. External features are designed to complement land forms and landscaping around the pool, literally the “forest pool” or “jungle pool” effect.
How to get your own designer landscaped pool
The good news for homeowners who may not have a few million to throw into building a landscaped pool is that these pools can now be scaled to fit back yards and bank statements. Even if you’re on a quirky bit of land with a few ideas of its own about where to put a pool, good planning can give you good options.
Best practice for smaller areas continues to be the fiberglass pool option. These pools are very straightforward to install, durable, and come in various sizes and shapes. Your landscaper can build anything you like around the pool, including things like Jacuzzis, privacy screens, shading, etc.
Larger in-ground landscaped pools can be major projects, but if you’ve got the right environment and a good piece of space to work with, anything is possible. A good designer can show you ten different options, tailored to a budget.
The only difference between a designer pool and a regular pool is that your pool supplies  people probably don’t stock camping equipment and hedge clippers. Anything else, they can do for you.