Timber pool decking may require more maintenance than concrete or paving, but it does look spectacular. There’s something about timber. Its rustic appeal adds character to the home wherever it’s used and different timber species can change the look and feel of an area. And one place that timber looks especially good? Pool decking.
Inspiring pool deck ideas
If you’re planning a new pool and pinning pool ideas with timber decking, this read is for you. We’ve rounded up 16 pool deck ideas, including tips and tricks from the best in the business — Mornington Peninsula-based landscape architect Mark Travers from MTLA, and Aimee Tarulli from leading home builder Thomas Archer.
This Pelican Waters home connects another courtyard pool to the indoors to create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
1. Create levels with an elevated pool deck
While paving may be the go-to material for the space surrounding the pool, adding some decking can create contrast and make the area more visually appealing.
Mark says: “Pool decking that’s on a different level from the pavement can create a new zone — perfect for entertaining or lounging. Just don’t forget that every level change needs to be reflected in pool fence heights, too”.
Elevated pool decking can create contrast and visually divide up the space – creating a different zone for either relaxing or entertaining. Picture: Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA)
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2. Matching materials: pool house and pool deck
Connected elements are an important aspect of any design. Mark says: “Materials used in different elements of the design can create a cohesive outdoor area. In this house pictured below, by Latitude 37 Homes, the pool decking material matches up with the outdoor cooking and entertaining area just a few steps away”.
Connect the deck to the rest of the backyard by using decking material in another design element – such as the cooking area or outdoor entertaining area. Picture: Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA), Builder: Latitude 37 Homes
3. Go composite for low maintenance pool decking
When it comes to decking around pools, timber can be a little high maintenance — with the potential for oils seeping and weather-induced rot and high wear around the pool. But, if you love the look of timber it’s worth it.
Mark says: “One of the issues with timber near water is in the early days the oils can seep out onto surrounding surfaces, although this does stop after a few months and isn’t an issue long term”.
There are alternative materials that can be used like composite timbers and timber-look tiles that preserve the timber decking aesthetic without the upkeep of timber.
Composite decking materials or timber-look tiles are a great alternative to timber, especially for pool decking which sees a lot of water. Just be aware the colour can fade over time. Image: realestate.com.au/buy
Read more: Discover more beautiful pool ideas that will get your heart racing.
4. Get the design right before you dig
While it might sound obvious, getting the position of the pool right is essential. It’s especially important if you’re including timber decking surrounding the pool; if the pool is positioned in a spot that doesn’t receive much sunlight you’re likely to end up with rotting timber decking.
“A great pool should always be designed to maximise the orientation of the block, so that you can capture the most amount of light and sun in the space,” says Aimee.
Position the pool to be visible from the house, and add outdoor furniture to create an alfresco entertaining area. Picture: James Geer/Thomas Archer Homes
5. Consider the surrounding landscape
Whether you’re building a pool surrounded by timber decking, stone pavers or concrete, it’s important to consider the position of the pool in your backyard to make the most of the space.
“While the pool might be the feature, it’s important to consider the backyard area holistically and design a landscape to complement the pool design and ensure it harmoniously integrates with the natural elements, as well as feeling like it’s part of the floor plan of the house,” says Mark.
“It should work seamlessly with the overall landscaping design of the backyard and not feel like an “addition” or an afterthought,” says Aimee.
Consider the surrounding landscape and make sure the pool receives plenty of light. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
Check out these awesome outdoor area ideas with decking designs.
6. Shapely designs
When it comes time to sell, a beautiful pool can increase the value of your property, so it’s important to consider what will appeal to future buyers when in the design phase.
So, what are the most popular pool decking designs? “They’re the ones that go from boundary to boundary across the rear backyard and are usually rectangular in shape,” says Aimee.
“Generally, this is the largest available space in a backyard for the pool to go and usually means it is visible from within the house. Rectangular pools are easier to tile than a pool with curves and reflects most modern, contemporary home designs.”
Aimee’s top tip for saving on pool design? Rectangular pool designs are easier to tile which can save time and money. Picture: James Geer/Thomas Archer Homes
7. Create decking walkways
Wondering how your home and outdoor entertaining area will connect with your pool area? Mixing and matching materials can be a great way to create definition and direction. In a mostly paved pool and alfresco entertaining area, decking can be used to create a walkway connecting the two areas.
Pool deck designs: Use pool decking to give direction and connect zones. Picture: Mark Travers/Janis House Photography
8. Keep it in sight
According to Aimee, “A pool is not only beautiful to swim in, but glorious to look at from the house. A great pool will be designed to be visible from most of the vantage points from inside the home, as well as outside ensuring the home owners can enjoy it even when not swimming.”
“Since the ’90s, pool fences (and pool safety) have become a major focus for regulators which has seen pools being positioned closer to the house and visible from the main living areas — where it’s easy to see what’s going on and ensure the pool is being used safely,” says Mark.
Keep the pool and pool deck visible from the house. Picture: James Geer/Thomas Archer Homes
9. Create a decking diving board
Got kids (or an inner child that needs taming)? Elevate a section of the pool deck to create a low platform to launch from – think of the cannon balls! Or, if you’re feeling like more zen pool time, it could be used as a spot to sit and read and dangle your legs in the pool.
Add an elevated area to the deck to create a spot to sit and dangle your legs, or use as a low platform to dive from. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
10. Add a swim-up pool deck area
Break from the norm and add a separate pool deck area that can only be reached by jumping in the pool and swimming over to it. Kids will feel like it’s their own special island, and for adults it’s a private spot to get away from it all.
“Most pool areas are based on decking or paving surrounding the pool shape, but you can add interest and create zones in the pool area with swim-up pool decks accessible only by water,” says Mark.
A pool deck accessible only by water creates an exclusive zone – or a ‘private island’ for kids. Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA)
11. Don’t forget the weather
Make your pool deck and outdoor entertaining area perfect for use in all weather conditions by adding a vergola.
“Vergolas are a great option for those who want to add a little weather protection to their pool deck area. Just close it off for protection from the elements, or open it up to let the light in,” says Mark.
Protect your pool deck and outdoor entertaining area from the elements with a vergola – open it up to let the light it, and close it off when it’s too hot or raining. Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA)
12. Slippery when wet
Pools are wet areas, which means they get slippery. Consider slip-resistant pool deck materials to ensure the area looks good and is functional. This means regular maintenance for timber pool decking which can easily become slippery with frequent exposure to water.
Consider slip-resistant materials for your pool area — this could be pebble coping flush with decking. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
13. Add a fire pit
Turn your pool area into the ultimate outdoor entertaining space by adding a cooking and dining area, and a contemporary fire pit.
“There’s something about fire pits, people just gravitate towards them. So it’s a nice addition to a pool area, especially if the outdoor cooking and dining space is adjacent,” says Mark.
Fire pits bring people together, so they’re the perfect complement to the pool area. Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA)
14. Or consider adding a traditional fireplace
Love the idea of a fire pit but want something a bit more permanent? Consider adding a fireplace to the pool area.
“An outdoor entertaining area with a traditional fireplace makes the pool deck accessible year round. Even as the weather becomes cooler, it’s a cosy place to spend the evening,” says Mark.
Add a fireplace for year-round enjoyment of your pool deck area. Picture: Janis House Photography/Mark Travers Landscape Architect (MTLA)
15. Take drainage into consideration
Wherever it’s used, timber calls for a little more maintenance so it’s a good idea to take drainage into consideration when planning your pool decking — which will be exposed to the elements.
Drainage should be considered for all pool designs, but is especially important when planning a pool with timber decking. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
16. Connect the indoors and outdoors
The pool area shouldn’t feel like an afterthought, it should feel connected to the home and like it’s part of the floor plan — an extension of the indoor living areas.
“More and more people want integrated indoor/outdoor living. The most successful designs are where the pool area is part of the floor plan of the house. One way to achieve this is with timber flooring and timber decking that are laid in the same direction and visually connect the two areas,” says Mark.