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Posted by Todd Thomasson on Jan 1, 2020 10:00:00 AM

The patio surrounding your pool is a key element of the entire pool design, though it’s often given a lot less thought than it should. It’s where you’ll lounge while watching your kids play or while you’re taking a break from your own swim.

pool patio and pergola with lighting

It may even be a place where you set up a table and chairs to enjoy poolside summer meals and snacks. The pool patio may just be one part of the project but it winds up being key to whether your pool is fully enjoyed or not.

While you may primarily be embarking on this project because you want a pool, it’s really important that you don’t fall into the common trap of getting tunnel vision with your only focus being on the pool itself. Pool companies in northern Virginia are obviously going to steer you toward focusing on the pool but at the end of the day, that’s only one piece of the total puzzle. If the area surrounding your pool isn’t given careful attention it can impact the entire space as well as how much use and enjoyment you get out of it.

Use This Helpful Guide to Plan Your Pool Design

Your inclination may be to hire a pool company for the installation of a pool but we would challenge you to consider involving a landscape design company that knows its way around designing pool spaces. A landscape design professional will take into account a lot of factors that your average pool company may fail to consider. As mentioned, these factors are important to the finished project.  

infinity pool with natural stone patio and hot tub

More often than not, most pool companies opt for cheap patio builds. They may be experts in building pools, but they’re not experts in building patios or designing complete backyard spaces.Their focus on the pool causes them to overlook other crucial elements of the backyard.

That’s where a landscape designer comes in handy. A professional landscape designer can pay attention to all those small details that a pool company might overlook. When the project is finished you not only want a beautiful pool but also a beautiful and functional patio that surrounds it.

Landscape Design vs. Pool Companies in Ashburn, Aldie, and Leesburg, VA

While not all pool builders in Ashburn, Aldie, and Leesburg, VA are alike, we can tell you that from our experience, the ones that are focused on getting your pool in quickly and moving on to the next job are not taking important features into account such as whether your pool and patio are in the shade or whether the color of your patio is going to completely contrast with the color of your home. These may seem like small details but ultimately, they become nuisances and detract from your overall enjoyment of the space - and that makes them important details to us.

pool patio with natural stone, fire place, lighting, and hot tub

Though a lot of companies advertise themselves as “pool builders,” at the end of the day their specialty is plumbing and general contracting. Some pool companies actually don’t even perform their own excavating if they don’t have that general contracting background. Because of this, in most cases, a pool builder does not have a background in design. They know how to plunk a pool in and that’s their main focus.

Design is important and not something that should be overlooked. After all, you wouldn’t have a plumber design your kitchen, would you? By having a pool company handle your entire backyard design, that’s in essence what you’re doing with that space. Without the design of the entire space being taken into account, there are a lot of ways the project can go wrong.

For instance, you could wind up with a patio that is not on the best side of the pool so that you’re stuck in the shade instead of enjoying the sun. Or, you could wind up with a patio material that is not ideal for your space, which is something important we will explore with the rest of this article. Installing the best pool patio material is an important aspect of the job. You want to end up with a material that will contribute to your overall enjoyment of the space.

Best Pool Patio Material

A lot of pool companies in northern Virginia VA use a material that is cheap and easy to install because they want to get your pool in quick and move on. But a designer is going to think about other elements that are important in the finished product. The best pool patio materials are those that are non-slip, don’t get too hot, and are easy on the feet and on bathing suits (when you’re sitting on it). Let’s explore three of the most common pool patio materials and how they add up.

Pool Patio Concrete

In the vast majority of cases, pool builders tend to work with exposed aggregate concrete for their patios. It’s a hard and durable surface that has long been utilized for pools, but let’s explore the pros and cons.

Pool with concrete patio

  • PRO:  It’s easy to install and therefore the least expensive option.
  • PRO:  Concrete is durable and tends to require relatively minimal maintenance, though over time it can crack and may need to be sealed.
  • CON:  Of all the pool patio options, concrete is the least aesthetically appealing. There is something “cookie cutter” about it as it’s how every single pool of the past was done.
  • CON:  While regular concrete tends to be non-slip, there has been growing popularity with stamped or decorative concrete- which is concrete mixed with color. This is a more aesthetically appealing option but also known to be much more slippery and is not the best pool patio material for this reason.

Pool Patio Pavers

Pavers are another option for your patio and are definitely a step up from poured or stamped concrete. They are more expensive than regular concrete but may be more comparative in price to stamped concrete. Let’s again explore some pros and cons.

pool patio with pavers in northern Virginia

  • PRO:  Pavers are not slippery and make a safe surface for wet feet (unless sealed- though that’s uncommon for a pool area).
  • PRO:  Pavers come in a lot of color and style options.
  • CON:  Though there are a lot of options, colors can differ even from pallet to pallet.
  • CON:  Pavers can be rough on the feet and on hands, as well as on bathing suits.

Natural Stone Pool Patio

In our opinion, natural stone is the best material for pool patios- particularly travertine. It’s the most costly of the three choices but it’s also best-suited for a pool area. When you’re investing in something like a pool, you obviously don’t want to skimp when it comes to the patio as it’s key to your overall enjoyment of the pool area. If you’re on a budget you might consider using travertine around your pool area and something else for the extended patio.

natural stone pool patio

Let’s take a look at what makes travertine the best pool patio material.

  • PRO:  Travertine does not get slippery so it makes a great choice for a wet surface like a pool patio.
  • PRO:  Travertine stays cool underfoot.
  • PRO:  Although there will be some slight variations, travertine is a natural stone that tends to have consistent color throughout.
  • PRO:  Natural stone like travertine has been around for thousands of years. It’s highly durable and will absolutely hold up in your backyard even with a lot of foot traffic. It can also withstand freezing conditions and will hold up just fine through winter and not crack as it thaws come spring.
  • CON:  The biggest con with travertine is the cost. It involves a more labor intensive build and is therefore more costly to install travertine.

Our Approach to Pool Builds

At Rock Water Farm, our approach to a pool is like any other project that we’re working on. We are thinking about every single aspect of the project not only now, but for the future as well. We want to ensure that your patio is in a location where foot traffic makes sense, where it’s getting the right amount of sun, and that it’s built with the best patio material for the project.

natural stone pool patio built by Rock Water FarmUnfortunately there are a lot of pool companies that take an install-and-move-on approach. In the landscape industry we call this “mow and go.” They’re the landscapers that mow your lawn and move on, because they’re not thinking about anything more than getting the job done. In the pool industry these are the contractors that are plunking in a cookie cutter pool and throwing down a concrete patio with no real thought to the approach or the design, and definitely no thought to what happens after they leave. They’re not concerned about your overall enjoyment of the space. They just want to get the job done. By the time you've started to realize it’s not an ideal set-up you’re forgotten in their minds as they’ve moved on to the next job.

That’s just not how we work. While we work with pool companies in Ashburn, Aldie, and Leesburg, VA, we will direct them on where things go as we’re experts in the design of the entire pool area. We want them to do their thing- the installation of the pool itself- but we want to advise on placement and orientation. Bringing complete backyard visions to life is our thing and we will have a hand in every step of the project so that you’re truly getting the dream pool you wanted and not a mess to deal with later.

You probably know some of the horror stories of the install-and-go companies that have left giant mounds of dirt and a torn up yard as they were solely focused on getting that pool in and moving on. But with us on the job, that won’t happen. You’ll get the job done right and have the end result you had in mind from the start. If you want a beautiful pool and patio that will not only be amazing to look at but will be part of a highly functional space, then we would love to work with you on making those ideas a reality.

If you’d like to talk more about your swimming pool and patio project for your Ashburn, Aldie, or Leesburg, VA home give us a call at 703-327-1636 or schedule a free consultation.

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About The Author

Todd Thomasson
Todd Thomasson

Todd Thomasson, founded Rock Water Farm Landscapes & Hardscapes in 2005. Having grown up with hard working parent role models and a strong work ethic, Todd put his Landscape & Turf Management degree from Virginia Tech into action as the lead stone mason and landscape designer for the new company. Over the years, the responsibility and opportunity of running this company has been shared with other members of the Rock Water Farm team, launching one of the leading property maintenance companies in Loudoun County. Todd is still rooted in his passion for design/build projects and continues to run the company, working with clients to design, build and maintain perfect outdoor spaces with his team.