Installing a swimming pool is a big investment. However, you can transform your entire backyard into a poolscape, meaning a swimming pool augmented with luxurious amenities. This way your backyard becomes a vacation retreat, a place where you can escape from life's hassles and host poolside parties. Design a poolscape that adds value both to your lifestyle and your house.

Poolscape Theme

The way to get the most cohesive look in your backyard retreat is with a theme, or a specific style for your swimming pool and its environs. According to the Landscaping Network, there are four distinct styles of swimming pools — traditional, modern, tropical, and Mediterranean. However, there are almost unlimited variations and themes within those styles.

Traditional pools can offer a formal effect, or they can be the epitome of casual. The color palette for the traditional style includes blue, red, gray, and white. A traditional pool complements any style of the house.

If you have a contemporary home, consider a modern pool. Modern style is characterized by clean lines and adherence to geometry. Minimalism is a valued quality. The palette includes shades of gray ranging to charcoal and complemented with a single bright color such as lime green.

For any style of Mediterranean or Mission home, a Mediterranean poolscape is a beautiful addition. These pools feature tile work and Greek or Roman motifs. The color palette starts either with shades of terra cotta and mustard or white. Bright shades of blue such as azure or turquoise, complement the foundational color.

Tropical is probably the most popular theme. Some homeowners recreate a natural lagoon pool in their backyards while others channel their favorite tropical retreat. The tropical color palette echoes the beach, with sandy beige and turquoise being predominant. Green is an ideal accent color.

Pool Shape

Your choice in theme helps drive your choice in the shape of your swimming pool.

A traditional pool usually starts with a classic shape, such as rectangular or kidney. Another option is an L-shaped pool, which adds a small extension for a naturalistic entrance.

Because of its adherence to geometric principles, a modern poolscape calls for a rectangular or oval pool with a square or circular hot tub.

For a Mediterranean style pool, you may want a customized your pool shape, specifically a keyhole design. Alternatively, choose a simple rectangular pool with a circular hot tub.

Whether you want your tropical poolscape to resemble a lagoon or your favorite resort, a kidney or freeform pool is a good shape.

Pool Surround and Deck

Your next big design consideration is the pool surround and deck. Here, the theme of your poolscape truly comes out in your choice of materials:

Traditional: Flagstone or Brick
Modern: Concrete or Wood
Mediterranean: Flagstone or Tile
Tropical: Natural Stone

For any of the above materials, you can have your construction specialists substitute stamped and stained concrete. Using concrete for your surround and decking offers a durable, low-maintenance option. It tends to cut down on cost too.

Pool Amenities

Here's where your backyard pool becomes a poolscape — the added amenities. Your selected pool theme doesn't dictate which amenities you choose, though you'll keep within your shape, palette, and material for the style.

A hot tub or spa is one of the most common additions. Your choices are either inground or aboveground. You'll also decide if you want it to be part of the swimming pool or separate.

Adding a cabana or pool house increases the utility of your poolscape. A cabana is a simple structure; even a wide pergola suffices. A pool house may incorporate changing rooms and even a bathroom.

A luxurious amenity is a swim-up bar. Typically, this features both a wet side, where swimmers lounge in the pool, and a dry side, where non-bathers can co-mingle while staying dry. A swim-up bar works well if you do a lot of entertaining. It can also facilitate family snack time.

Transform your backyard into your own vacation retreat with a poolscape. Talk to the design experts at Artisan Pools & Outdoor Living about your ideas.