Planning a Pool Deck

by Matt Goering

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Choosing the right materials is a huge decision when it comes to pool deck design, but it is just as important to take into account things like layout and location when you draw up the final plans. Try to think about all aspects of your pool design as you plan your deck, so that when your installation is over and done with, you'll be able to make the most of the new space you've created.

Most Homeowners Start with Materials
Since your choice of material is the first thing people are going to notice, this is as good a place as any to start. Keep your larger deck design in mind as you do consider materials, however, so that you get the best product to suit your particular layout.

  • Concrete decks are very popular, primarily because they offer so many options at a reasonable price. Whether you want colored decking, stamped concrete that resembles stone masonry, interlocking paving stones, or even large "rock" landscaping features such as boulders and natural looking waterfalls, concrete is tough to beat from both a design and cost perspective.

  • Brick decks make for very attractive pools areas and look especially sharp with brick homes. They can get hot in the afternoon sun, however, which can be especially important to consider if you have children.

  • Stone decks are highly sought after in higher-end pool construction projects. Sandstone (common deck varieties include bluestone and flagstone) is particularly suited for pool use since its porous surface doesn't get slick when it gets wet, though granite and marble are great options as well if you can fit them into your budget. Just make sure you're getting rougher hewn stone if you go with higher end stone.

  • Ceramic tile decking is a popular choice as well. Like concrete, ceramic tile can be manufactured to mimic a number of other materials, comes in just about every color and texture you can imagine, and also makes possible the incorporation of beautiful mosaics and murals into your pool deck design.

    Location, Location, Location
    As you go about choosing the best material for your pool, you'll want to consider the pool's location as well. Is it in a far off corner of the yard or up by the house? A pool up by the house will need to blend more with the home itself, meaning you'll want your deck to sport straighter lines and materials that don't clash with your home's appearance. A pool further out in the yard gives you a little more leeway with materials and design, since there isn't as much pressure to match the design to that of your home.

    What Layout Is Best for Your Pool Deck?
    Besides location, the other big decisions will concern the layout of your new deck. Make sure to take into account everything from afternoon sun to the location of your hot tub and grill areas. Nobody likes a shady pool deck, and you'll want to incorporate larger areas into your pool deck design where people can congregate when you're entertaining. Grills and hot tubs create social areas that people are naturally drawn to, so focus on these places when you draw larger deck areas into your plans.

    Talk to a Pool Designer
    Finally, think about talking to a pool designer or installer about helping you get your blueprints drawn up and your installation underway. Good deck design varies greatly on a case by case basis, depending on your home, your yard, your landscape and your own personality. A professional will be able to take all these things into account in creating the perfect pool deck for you.

    Deck Installation Project Guide
    If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Deck Installation Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
    Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.