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YOUR POOL IS FINISHED OFF INSIDE, and now it’s time to think about the area immediately around the pool. This is a critical area since there are many factors at work here that a pool owner needs to consider. First off, the bulk of the activity around the pool happens poolside – from barbecues to poolside lounging to sun tanning, the area immediately adjacent to the pool is extremely important. Neglect this area and you have a hole in the ground with water in it – pay attention to this area and you have a recreation center in your back yard.

The first thing to consider is the coping around the pool. This is the material that makes the transition from the interior of the pool to the exterior, and this ultimately what swimmers will grab to lift themselves out of the pool on occasion, and also what people standing at the edge of the pool will use to dive in from in the absence of a diving board. The coping needs to be beautiful, functional, and very tolerant of wear.

There are many options for coping a pool, all of which are dependent on your tastes. From preformed concrete patterns that are laid down to decorative stones both manmade and natural, to tiles and even plastics, there are an infinite number of choices available. Bricks, mosaics, and tumbled stones are also available.

The surface that meets the coping is called the deck, and it too serves a hugely important purpose. Not only does the area around a pool need to be functional for entertainment, it also needs to be accessible for maintenance since the sweeping and brushing of the pool is accomplished from that surface. Clearly infinity pools will have at least one side that has reduced or no access because of the design of the pool. The surface of your pool decking is another individual choice. You want a surface which is durable, matches the theme of the back yard, and can accommodate all the pool related activities close by, including wet swimmers who’ve just emerged from the pool. Non skid surfaces and safety are a priority.

For simple, effective, and inexpensive pool decking, it’s hard to beat simple concrete. Concrete can be brushed into interesting patterns that aid the non skid qualities the material already has; concrete can be tinted to provide a surface that is colorful and more interesting than the ubiquitous grey, or it can be finished with an exposed aggregate surface to make it even more attractive and slip free. Whichever method is chosen, concrete represents a great choice for poolside hardscape.

Stone, stone products and tile are the next level of finish for pool decking. These incidentally require concrete to be laid down first as an adequate substrate for the tile or stone surface. There are many choices in this realm from inexpensive terra cotta tiles all the way up to tumbled stone and marble, and how much you spend and how much you do is limited only by your imagination and wallet.

Wood pool decking is another option – it’s timeless, durable, easy on the feet, and is always a choice for a beautiful and comfortable surface poolside. Ensure that the deck is built of water resistant lumber of the highest quality as it will absorb moisture due to the close proximity of the pool.

Your pool decking and coping is what connects the pool to everything else, what prevents the pool from looking like an afterthought in your back yard. Take the time to choose the decking that will best suit your needs, and remember to consider pool maintenance access and wet swimmers running around when planning your pool area out.

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