10 Simple and Affordable DIY Pool Landscaping Ideas

So you’re looking for garden design ideas or landscaping design ideas for your swimming pool renovation. Maybe you’re looking for simple pool landscaping ideas or vibrant pool styles — regardless, you may be thinking to yourself that a rectangular pool remodel is really expensive. 

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be expensive as long as you look for simple ideas that will fit your budget.

In this article, we share a few DIY pool landscaping and pool design ideas that you can do with things you already have around your home — and that are easy to do on a budget!

10 DIY Landscaping Ideas for Your Pool 

Whether you have an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool, here are just a few swimming pool renovation ideas and simple pool landscaping ideas that you can try to spruce up the landscape as well as the pool deck around it. 

Retro Style Background Inage of String Party Lights on a Pool Deck at a Vintage Motel

1. Pool String Lighting Idea

To add a touch of creativity to your rectangular pool remodel, use string lights around your lap pool or above-ground pool to turn it into an intimate pool, especially at night. The best way to give your background a more modern and relaxed look is to ditch large bulbs and swap them for white or yellow LED Christmas lights. 

This eclectic pool design is much easier to use for DIY projects, lighter, and much more energy efficient compared to bigger bulbs. Once the lights are set up, you’ll be able to enjoy the combination of a beautifully lit backyard that bounces off the bright blue of the pool water. 

The best part is, this cool pool idea can provide you with pool lighting all year without getting a high energy bill, even if you decorate the entire pool area. However, it’s best not to set up lights near your pool to reduce the hazards that may come with string lighting. 

Be sure to have your lights lined up against your pool wall, or hung somewhere away from the pool to ensure its safe and easy installation. 

2. LED Lighting Inside Your Pool  

If you’re looking to enhance your pool design, you can also look into setting up LED pool lights along the perimeter of the pool. These can come in a wide range of colors, be installed quickly, and help to lower your electric bill. This is especially true if you’re switching them for incandescent or halogen bulbs. 

Great LED pool lights will produce brighter, cooler, and much more vivid lighting, which makes for a great water feature alongside an eclectic, custom-shaped pool remodel. As a result, you’ll enjoy adaptable lighting for any occasion — whether you’re taking an early morning swim or sitting poolside to cool off during a hot summer night. 

There are also LED lights that can change color, which can provide your pool’s blue water with the right mood to fit any occasion, or you can simply set it up for late-night swimming. 

laying paving around the swimming pool

3. Pool Stone Walkway 

If you’re looking for a unique swimming pool renovation idea to get to and from your above-ground pool without worrying about whether or not you have a green thumb, you can make a walkway out of natural stone slabs. To achieve this natural pool remodel, you’ll need to purchase or collect enough stepping stones of different sizes to cover the area from your door to the pool. 

However, you can also come up with an eclectic lap pool idea for the sides of the pool or one that follows the shape of the pool. Be sure to look for different-colored stone slabs for an interesting, eye-catching look, or you can take a more subtle approach by matching the existing tone of the pool deck. 

A stone slab walkway can add a certain level of rustic elegance to any backyard without breaking the bank — while simultaneously helping to keep your pool water and deck cleaner. 

4. Fireplace Lighting for Your Pool Patio 

If you’re looking for a more natural source of light for your pool that’s not too showy, there’s nothing better than a firepit to fit a rectangular pool design. This gorgeous, breathing light source can transform an outdated pool into a modern swimming pool and works very well for a rectangular pool remodel and outdoor use. 

Apart from getting your guests’ attention, it also serves to keep them warm while illuminating a large expanse, like your pool deck. Plus, there’s no better way to get comfortable on a cold night than huddling with your best buds around a fire — this tradition will help you relax and get cozy in any seating area. 

The best part is that the time of the year doesn’t matter, since poolside fire pits can fit the ambiance of any outdoor space and set the tone during any season.

Modern backyard of a swimming pool with house

5. Add Accent Plants 

Perhaps you already have a few colorful plants around your backyard; it only makes sense to add more to your swimming pool that will give it more of a natural pool remodel. Having poolside ground cover plants can add a splash of color and lush textures to your pool, giving it a more calm and peaceful feeling. 

To get the feeling of having your own private island, there’s no need to go big. You can start off using just a few potted plants. Be sure to choose tropical plants that don’t always shed a lot of leaves and ones that need full-sun exposure — these will produce a small amount of debris, are low maintenance, and are resilient. 

Below is a list of the best pool landscaping plants for your Oklahoma pool: 

  • Palm trees
  • Hawaiian Hibiscus
  • Angel’s Trumpet
  • Zebra Grass
  • Bird of Paradise 

6. Build a Rock Garden

If you’re not too sure about planting but are looking to fill a few spaces for your rectangular pool remodel, consider making a river rock garden. This is an easy way to add the feeling of a luxury swimming pool landscaping without breaking the bank. 

This can also be combined with an eclectic, custom-shaped pool design. All you need to do is to gather or purchase river rocks and then fill up a dirt bed using the rocks. The main appeal of having a rock garden is that they add a muted but high-impact contract to the rest of your outdoor area, giving it a natural pool remodel look. 

To get started, be sure to choose the perfect place to start a rock garden, or you can also use river rocks to make an accent border that runs around the deck of the pool. 

7. Create Recycled Garden Planters

Maybe you’re in the mood for planting but find that there aren’t any pots at home. Luckily, you can put your old tires to good use. They can be used to make the perfect substitute for pots. 

This can be a cost-effective and creative way to glow-up your pool design; plus you’ll also be creating an eco-friendly alternative solution compared to dumping them in a landfill. All you need to do is grab some tires, give them a fresh coat of paint, and stack them. 

You can get as creative as you want, and when you’re done, you can stuff them with dirt and your favorite plants to complete your eclectic pool remodel. 

Modern villa with pool, top view

8. Hedge or Plant Wall

If you’re looking to get more privacy around your rectangular pool design but don’t want to shell out too much for a privacy fence, then a wall made out of foliage is the perfect pool fence idea for you. This idea works well for small pools, but you will need to invest in shrubs or trees that will help to create an eclectic pool remodel of pool barriers and privacy screens for you.

This idea produces the perfect marriage of privacy and décor while acting as natural barriers that can result in your ideal pool. Here’s a list of great plants, shrubs, and trees that will work for this project: 

  • Bamboo
  • Norway Spruce
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Evergreen Spindle
  • Holly
  • Roses

9. Make Ornamental Grass Borders

If you’re looking for something to balance out the river rock garden you just made, you can add ornamental grass borders to your rectangular pool remodel. This eclectic pool design provides an attention-grabbing yet neutral touch to your backyard pool area and will fit in with most designs and looks. 

To make sure that everything ties in together as an ensemble, plant a few of the borders next to each other and form a wall. However, you can also use a few at a time as accent pieces to decorate different zones of your pool deck. 

10. Use Rope Lighting for Glowing Flower Beds 

If you already have an existing garden around your pool, you can give it an ethereal glow by using rope lights to line the various edges and borders of your garden and the surrounding area. This eclectic lap pool idea will give you a garden and pool environment that’s both attractive and more visible during nighttime while adding beauty to your pool deck. 

As a result, this pool remodel will add a brand new mood to your home’s private, aquatic paradise.

Photo of author


Kristen is the founder and content creator at Mom Managing Chaos where she teaches busy moms how to simplify and organize their life and finances. She writes about frugal living, budgeting, productivity and organization.