Pool Deck Designs and Options

Decking around a pool has different requirements and considerations than standard decks. Learn what you need to know before you build a pool deck.

Photo by: California Redwood Association

California Redwood Association

By: John Riha

Above-ground pools are easy to install, there’s no excavation necessary, and they cost about one-fifth of an in-ground pool. Although most folks say an in-ground pool is more attractive, an above-ground pool can be just as eye-catching with the addition of a pool deck.

To build a pool deck, you’ll want to create safe, secure access with a freestanding deck that comes right to the edge of — but doesn’t attach to — your pool. In terms of design, your deck can border just a section of the pool, go halfway around, or encircle the entire pool. The surface should be wide enough for safe walking — 3 feet is a good minimum — and after that, it’s up to your imagination. Include a nice lounging area for sunbathing, relaxing and keeping an eye on kids.

Wood decks are the most popular and easiest for the DIYer to build. Pressure-treated wood, cedar, and redwood are all good choices, but you’ll need to refinish your wood deck almost every year to protect it from constant moisture and chlorinated water.

Composite and aluminum decking are waterproof decking materials that shrug off splashes. Choose textured decking that provides slip-resistance.

To stay safe, remember that railings are required on decks more than 30 inches above grade. Railings should be at least 36 inches high, with balusters no more than 4 inches apart. It’s a good idea to add a lockable gate to the deck stairs to restrict access to the pool.

Existing Pool Gets New Decking 02:15

The Moss brothers use composite wood to replace old rotting pool decking.

Here are some basic guidelines about how to build a deck around a pool. These requirements come form the 2012 International Pool and Spa Code, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been adopted by your region. Check with your local building authority for deck-building codes in your area.

• The deck should not attach to the pool in any way. The distance from the decking to the outside edge of the pool should be about 3/4 of an inch.

• Decks for above-ground pools are usually 3 to 6 feet above grade, so posts should be cross-braced for lateral stability.

• Freestanding decks have less code restrictions for foundations than decks attached to your house. A freestanding deck can rest on concrete deck blocks that are placed directly on the ground, saving you the time and expense of digging and pouring footings.

• Building codes state that decking surfaces around pools and spas should be slip-resistant. However, the codes don’t define what “slip-resistance” actually is. Some composite and synthetic decking materials have textured surfaces that should help reduce slipping, and aluminum decking can be ordered with a waterproof, anti-slip coating.

• Decking surfaces should be sloped 1/8 to 1/4 inches over 12 inches to shed water, but codes are unspecific about the total distance you need to slope a pool deck.

Pools and Decks to Die For

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Party Ready

Festive lighting and ample seating make this traditional backyard pool a fantastic spot to entertain. Seating is grouped into zones for conversation, dining and poolside lounging while ample terraces connect the indoor and outdoor spaces and offer great views of the retreat-like backyard.

Photo By: LGB Interiors

Dream Deck

This 600-square-foot wraparound deck is clad in durable garapa wood and features a plunge pool, all-weather outdoor furniture and stellar views of the Kiawah River. See more pictures of this Dream Home deck >>

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2012, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Stars and Streams

A pebbled stream with twinkling underwater lights flows from the hot tub to the pool in this dreamy outdoor oasis. A curved outdoor fire pit with semiciricle bench extends out from the stone deck, providing a spot to enjoy the stunning view.

Photo By: By Design Custom Home Concierge

Smart Pool

This sun deck is built from sustainable composite material and is the perfect spot to enjoy nature, sunbathe or entertain friends and family. The refreshing modern pool features frosted glass mosaic tile, a programmable water fountain and two high-intensity swim jets for exercising. See more of this smart pool >>

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Beachfront Paradise

Serene and stunning, this grand pool is nestled among palm trees and tropical landscaping. See more of this oceanfront paradise>>

Photo By: EWM Realty International, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Mixed Materials

This gorgeous mountainside pool deck is built from an eclectic combination of brick, redwood and stone materials.

Southwestern Flair

Bold-colored patio furniture adds style and shade to this classic Southwestern pool patio. 

Photo By: Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

French Chateau

The pool and patio area in this luxury home's backyard is the perfect place to unwind on warm evenings. See more photos of this gorgeous chateau >>

Photo By: Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International; Shoot2Sell Photography

One With Nature

This stone deck features a raised spa and infinity edge pool overlooking a breathtaking mountain lake. Real boulders and stone coping separate the pool and spa, blending the retreat in with its natural surroundings.

On Edge

This incredible rooftop infinity pool, flanked by a wide wood deck, transforms into a hot tub at the flip of a switch. The pool also features a high-intensity swim jet for a vigorous workout.

Photo By: Courtesy of Sprogis and Neale Real Estate; Photo by Boston Virtual Imaging

Avant-Garde Patio

Reminiscent of scattered puzzle pieces, this unique stone tile patio doubles as a pathway from the luxurious infinity pool and spa to the firepit area in this jaw-dropping backyard.

Photo By: Jenkins Custom Homes Design+Build

Small Space Solution

Featuring an infinity edge lap pool, hot tub, concrete stepping pads and ipe decking, this small backyard spares no luxury despite its limited space.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture

Sleek Design

This breathtaking house has an intimate connection with all of its outdoor spaces. Oversized windows and soaring glass walls overlook the sleek pool patio featuring an infinity pool, elevated hot tub and integrated landscaping.

Photo By: Jacob Bodkin

Miami Beach Penthouse

The posh penthouse at The Setai, a luxury hotel and condominium in South Beach, features a 3,000-square-foot rooftop terrace with a summer kitchen, a hot tub and an infinity-edge pool.

Photo By: Zilbert International Realty

Room to Entertain

A spacious stone patio with ample space for entertaining surrounds a crystal clear pool and stacked stone hot tub in the backyard of this Mediterranean-style home.  

Photo By: Spenser Bruce

Cape Cod Luxury

A beautiful modern pool, hot tub and firepit can be seen from the diamond-patterned patio of this Cape Cod estate. See more photos of this stunning retreat >>

Photo By: Dilbeck Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Design on Ice

Featured on season 5 of The Vanilla Ice Project, a herringbone travertine stone deck flanks this gorgeous wet edge and infinity edge pool. Glow-in-the-dark tiles and a swim up bar round out the high-end design. See more of this Palm Beach mansion makeover >>

Photo By: Tom DiPace

Compact Design

With a lap pool, a cascading wall fountain, a limestone deck and a privacy border, this clever backyard design makes the most of its limited space.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Platinum Poolcare, photo by Linda Oyama Bryan

North Shore Views

Spectacular views of Kauai's Kalihiwai Bay can be enjoyed from all angles of this luxurious infinity edge pool and deck. See more photos of this gorgeous North Shore home >>

Photo By: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a member of Luxury Portfolio International; Damon Moss Photography

Carolina on My Mind

The stone deck and infinity edge pool of this Western North Carolina chalet blend seamlessly with the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains.

Photo By: Deborah A Scannell

Tiny Terrace

Although small in size, this tiny Los Angeles bungalow is big on luxury. A terraced deck, situated between the main house and the pool house, offers space to lounge, relax and swim in the California sunshine. 

Photo By: Nourmand & Associates Realtors, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

Tuscan Cabana

A neutral stone patio leads out to a beautiful pool and hot tub in this Tuscan-inspired home. On the far end, an open cabana features a comfortable seating area and rustic stone wall fireplace.

Photo By: Sharp Design Studio

Island Impact

This incredible Maui beachfront home features a two-story indoor/outdoor living room with 18-foot pocketing doors that open to breathtaking ocean views.

Photo By: Choi International, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Modern Beauty

This spacious modern home boasts an in-ground pool and comfortable outdoor seating, which can be seen from the kitchen through a large wall of windows.

Sun or Shade

With a shaded entertaining area and plush lounging pod, this sunny poolside patio is the ideal summertime retreat.

Photo By: Shannon Faulk / Getty Images ©2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Hard Rock

Random pavers, natural stone coping and artificial rock were used around this pool and spa to complement the rustic setting of this mountain retreat. The pool is also accented by a large rock waterfall.

Lodge Lounging

This mountain lodge sits on an exposed ridge at a very high elevation near the tree line. From the stone deck, guests can relax in the pool and enjoy commanding views of the dramatic scenery.

Photo By: Photo Credit: Ralph Kylloe

Beachfront Pool Deck

Lay on the beach or relax poolside at this British Island property where you can watch the ocean waves break from the two-level deck.

Photo By: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Picturesque Patio

The distant sunset illuminates this tropical paradise's sprawling patio and 50-foot saltwater pool. Flanked by a variety of tropical plants, the pool area includes a picturesque waterfall, firepit and lounge chairs for relaxing.

Photo By: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Property Brothers Pool Party

The Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, transformed this once foreclosed Las Vegas home into an extravagant estate. The pool area includes a travertine-tiled deck and firepit, drop down movie screen, water slide and outdoor kitchen. Check out the exclusive HGTV Magazine feature of the bros' luxurious fixer upper >>

Photo By: Larry Hanna/AP Images

Palm Springs Inspiration

Inspired by a visit to Palm Springs, this poolside makeover from The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie makes use of tropical palms, cactus and drought-tolerant plants, plus red tile and natural stone. The newly added poolside benches serve a second function as a fix for the crumbling retainer wall.

Room to Play

Featuring a fully-stocked outdoor kitchen, waterfalls, a spa and more, this expansive outdoor retreat offers plenty of room to relax and play. The lush landscaping, designed for privacy, includes sizable Leyland cypress, cedars and palms.

Photo By: Willis Allen Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Integrated Pool

This gorgeous swimming pool features mist generation, a wave generator and waterfalls all programmed into the home's integrated control system.

Al Capone's Pool House Deck

This two-story poolhouse, formerly owned by gangster, Al Capone, flanks an enormous lap pool and offers stunning views of bordering Biscayne Bay. Tour this incredible 1930's home >>

Photo By: Sotheby's International Realty

Lakeside Party Deck

The tile of this lakeside saltwater pool was carefully grouped to mimic the color of the nearby lake. Luxurious white outdoor drapery frames the entrway to the nearby outdoor kitchen and lounge and allows for privacy or shade if desired.

Photo By: John Bessler

East Coast Inspiration

With shady pergolas, cozy furnishings and nautical blue accents, this gorgeous backyard retreat was designed to evoke the East Coast's Hamptons.

Photo By: Debbie Talianko

Midcentury Modern Design

Sleek concrete decking provides a seamless transition from home to pool in this gorgeous midcentury modern residence.

Photo By: Windermere Real Estate Southern California, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Under the Oak Tree

A sleek, 75-foot lap pool, with infinity edges on three sides, slips just under a large oak tree in this breathtaking backyard. The pool's clean-lined design blends beautifully with the home's modern exterior.

Photo By: Joe Fletcher

Cabana Resort

This gorgeous estate features a backyard resembling a private resort. Relax and grab a bite to eat at the poolside cabana or take a dip in the luxurious swimming pool or spa. 

Photo By: Harold Leidner

Texas Lights

Glowing LED lighting gives this infinity pool and spa a cool and inviting aura—perfect for entertaining on warm Texas evenings. See more of this charming Southwestern home >>

Photo By: By Design Custom Home Concierge

From Home to Pool

LED-lit stairs light the way to a serene, blue pool that features mosaic tile that complements the home's stone aesthetic. 

Photo By: TriplePoint Design Build

Geometric Design

A large covered patio with a bar and dining area sits aside this stunning poolhouse. On the spacious lawn, geometric pavers turn the grass into an artistic statement.

Photo By: Tommy Crow

Traditional Charm

This Cape Cod home has an inviting backyard space with a traditional pool and seating area great for relaxing and enjoying the summer weather. See more photos of this charming home >>

Photo By: Picasa ©Scripps Networks, LLC

Rustic Meets Modern

The stacked stone exterior of this Arizona home is a beautiful, rustic contrast to the clean modern lines of the deck and infinity pool. Oversized lounge chairs add an extra contemporary touch and are the perfect spot to relax and watch the poolside television.

Photo By: Thompson Photographic

Tranquility Pool

This tranquil private pool and patio area features beds of drought tolerant shrubs, sand-finished concrete pavers, statuary and a raised deck for lounging.

Photo By: Falling Waters Landscape Inc., www.fallingwaterslandscape.com

Southwestern Views

A terraced swimming pool and sleek tiled deck provide a great place to relax and enjoy the impeccable view from this Southwestern-style home.

Photo By: Greg Wilson

Black Stone Pool

This neutral stone tile patio features a gorgeous contemporary infinity pool flanked by concrete fire bowls. An outdoor kitchen with a built-in grilling area is located just next to the pool, while meticulous landscaping—including a wall with climbing plants arranged in a diamond pattern—adds a finishing touch.

Photo By: Greenwood King Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Deck Alternative

In lieu of a traditional deck, these private lounge spaces are artfully set into the pool; the infinity edge merges the cool waters with the private cabanas, creating a unified harmonious experience. White linen canopies provide shade while creating well-defined private retreats. 

Photo By: Jamie Durie

Transitional Beauty

One gorgeous space leads seamlessly to the next in this incredible open-air villa.

Photo By: Taggart Sorensen

Georgian Estate

Covered porches and an elegant brick patio surround the backyard pool of this 1929 Georgian estate in Bel-Air, California. 

Photo By: Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Lush and Serene

A stunning infinity pool with iridescent tile is the focal point of this lush backyard. Tall hedges line the perimeter for privacy, while a comfy lounge area centers around a Gabian bowl fire pit.

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Garden Pool

Entertain or relax pool side in this lush garden pool space. Adirondack chairs centered around a patio table offer a delightful spot to eat or drink while enjoying the warmth of summer.

Photo By: Paragon Pools

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting is tucked into the overhangs of a cantilevered roof, lighting up the sleek, streamlined pool and highlighting the lines of this home's Mid-Century Modern design.

Photo By: [STRANG] Architecture

Added Texture

Sleek pebble gullies add interest and depth to this concrete pool deck. See more images of this stunning Corona del Mar home >>

Photo By: Jason Jorgensen

Santa Barbara Elegance

In the backyard of this stunning modern home, a striking infinity pool with a glass perimeter curves down to sparkling views of Santa Barbara. A pergola structure anchors the end of the space, creating a quiet and dream-like place to watch the sunset. 

Photo By: Ciro Coelho

Nighttime Allure

With cascading fountains, a tile bridge and atmospheric outdoor and underwater lighting, this rectangular pool is mesmerizing at night. 

Photo By: Image courtesy of Harold Leider Landscape Architect

Venetian Influence

Situated against the side of the house and running the entire length of the residence, this sleek pool concept reflects the intimacy of the water canals of Venice.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Lake Flato Architects

Balinese-Inspired Villa

At night, the pool and patio areas of this home in the British Virgin Islands create a soothing and comfortable ambiance. Paired with the picturesque view, it's reason enough to have evening cocktails outdoors. See more photos of this stunning villa >>

Photo By: Smiths Gore Limited, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Liquid Window

This multi-level, multidimensional infinity edge pool features upper and lower sections separated by a thick, acrylic pane called a "liquid window," which gives the illusion of water floating in space.

Secret Garden

A wooden pergola stretches over comfortable lounge chairs while a sprawling perimeter garden, bursting with blue hydrangeas and orange daylilies, adds privacy and color to this gorgeous outdoor space.

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