Close-up view of pebbles, concrete tiles, and a turquoise pool with a tiled bottom, divided by the concrete edge of the pool.

Pool Landscaping Ideas With Rocks

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Pool landscaping ideas with rocks might not be the first thing you think about when you look at your yard. But you’re about to find out why they should be. Imagine instantly setting the mood when guests come over for a swim. By adding rock and stone landscaping to your pool area you can dramatically improve your outdoor space and make your swimming pool and even more desirable place to be. 

Why Rocks Are Great For Gardens

You might think that rocks are being hyped up pretty heavily. But there’s good reason for all of those accolades and more. Think about all of the most stunning natural sights that you’ve been able to experience in your lifetime. Gorgeous waterfalls, stunning cliffsides, majestic mountain peaks, and even humble islets in the midst of huge rivers. All of them have something in common – rocks.

People sometimes overlook rocks because they often serve as a framing element for a scene.

But you don’t have a waterfall without the rocks. The snowy mountain peaks are beautiful because of the stone that rises above the earth. Even the contrast of rocky islets and the green growing things on top of them highlight just how much rock adds to natural beauty. In fact, green growing things and rocks create perfect harmony with each other.

Even better, rocks provide natural wonder that doesn’t need much upkeep.

Using them in natural areas like a garden or poolside means that you can add beauty to a space without adding to your maintenance routine.

Rocks can even help in that respect by limiting overgrowth, providing shade, and keeping pests at bay. The sheer variety of rocks is also a huge boon.

You can choose different rock types, sizes, and styles to suit different areas of your pool environment.

Working with rocks is almost like having a huge number of paints to choose from. You can focus on just one, mix them up, and generally let your imagination run free.

Landscaping Ideas With Rocks

Every fire begins with a spark. And that’s just as true for the fire of your imagination. There’s an unlimited number of uses for rocks and hardscaping. But some ideas have proven themselves through the test of time. The following are some of the most popular and beloved ways to use rocks in pool landscaping.

Stone Fire Pit

Anyone who’s enjoyed a bonfire at the beach can attest to the fact that fire and water complement each other perfectly. But you can actually take a beachside bonfire one step further by installing a stone fire pit by your pool. Fire pits come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes.

As with most stone hardscaping, you can make fire pits fit almost any size or aesthetic. You can even work extra lighting into the benches to create some truly stunning presentations. But the most important part of a stone fire pit is being able to enjoy the natural comfort of a warm fire after a relaxing swim. And the beauty of the rock can add even more to that comforting experience.

large stone firepit with outdoor chairs
Firepits are 100% customizable and are a great place to incorporate natural stone and rock into your outdoor space.


What if stone could actually be created from scratch for your pool? It might sound like magic, but that’s exactly what you get with pavers. Pavers are, technically, a form of concrete. But pavers come as smaller tiles rather than larger concrete blocks. And you can order pavers in a wide variety of different colors and styles. On top of that, pavers are also more damage resistant than standard concrete. All of this makes pavers a fantastic way to add stone to your pool area while ensuring you have a perfectly consistent look and feel.

concrete pavers with grass borders
Stone or concrete pavers can be an ideal way to create contrast in your garden.


There are few natural wonders as beautifully enthralling as a waterfall. The motion of water against rock catches the sun to produce an eternally creative light show. And the sound of running water is almost the definition of calming white noise. But you don’t have to go on a long hike to enjoy a waterfall. If you have a pool then you already have half of the elements needed to add your own water features. Put in some stones for the water to cascade down and you’ve got yourself a pool waterfall. You can further enhance the waterfalls by selecting specific stones to complement the visual effects. And many designs even incorporate lighting so that the waterfall will be even more brilliant at night.

stone waterfall cascading into a swimming pool
Using natural stones in your water feature can really add to the beauty of the space as it replicates a scene found in nature.


Boulders can be a surprisingly powerful addition to a pool’s presentation. They make a perfect place to lay items that have both utility and visual appeal. For example, it’s a fantastic area for statuary. And you can also use them as a perfect area to highlight with landscaping lights. All of these concepts can be combined too. For example, you might have a central boulder surrounded by smaller pebble beds or greenery. Those landscaping lights could also focus on the area to both draw admiring glances and help people make their way to the pool at night.

3 large boulders in a stone garden
Boulders can add a real eye catching feature to the garden as they are striking when amongst a typical backyard setting.

Substitute For Mulch

Mulch has an important place in both gardening and landscaping. It’s visually distinct, holds back weeds, and even helps retain water for your plants to enjoy. But unfortunately, it’s also a bad match for pools. It’s extraordinarily easy for mulch near a pool to turn into a goopy mess inside your pool. However, stones can provide the same benefits as mulch while lacking most of the downsides.

stones used as mulch in a garden around shrubs
Using stones as a mulch not only looks great but is very practical at keeping the backyard looking clean and weed free.

Retaining Wall

Stone is one of the classic building materials for good reason. It’s strong, attractive, and can hold its own against huge weights. This makes it an ideal choice for a rock retaining wall. And you can take the concept even further by complimenting it with stone walls to serve as a fence.

natural stone retaining wall
When a retaining wall is needed why not make it a feature to highlight by using natural stones.


Rocks are a perfect way to highlight paths. And not just by using them as fencing. You can create full paths by using flat but still visually distinct rocks. With the proper lighting, it can feel like something straight out of a fairytale.

natural stone pathway with pebbles inbetween the pavers
Using stones as a pathway is not only practical it is also a great way to maintain the natural look in your garden, as opposed to concrete or tiles.


Uneven land can possess an undeniable beauty. But it also poses a lot of issues for pool owners. One of the biggest is how to help people make their way up a steep incline. Standard stairs often create an offputting visual clash with more naturalistic design principles. But stone stairsteps are often the perfect way to combine utility with natural beauty. Imagine the effect that you’d get from merging the earth of an incline, the watery dynamic of your pool, and the strong presentation of stone stairs.

garden steps using wooden sleepers and small stone paving
By their design stairs are eye catching with their height change and angles. Using stones for this feature can make this functional necessity a highlight of your garden.

Rock Garden

A rock garden often provides the best of both worlds. On one hand, you have natural beauty. But on the other, you don’t have to water rocks or make sure they’re properly fertilized. You can select rocks that have the same colorful beauty as flowers. And the combination of shape and color can often complement each other and their surroundings in a similar way. But many people also add smaller, lower-growing, and more subtle ornamental plants in rock gardens to further enhance the overall aesthetic.

rock garden with various plants and shrubs growing on it
Rock gardens are a lower maintenance option than a typical garden while giving off a unique look.

Dry Creek Bed

Dry creek beds are another way to meld natural beauty with utilitarian design principles. You can mimic a dry creek bed in your pool area with river rocks. And this idea is a striking design element in and of itself. But it can also be used to help channel water away from vulnerable areas around your pool. This can protect your pool and gardens while also helping to guard against the bane of most pool owners – mosquitos. Mosquitos love stagnant water. And while your pool is sterile, any small bodies of water nearby can act as a lure for mosquitos. If you set up an irrigation system with a dry creek bed you can help ensure that water doesn’t collect and stagnate near your pool area.

dry creek bed style look using river stones and bricks
If space allows, a dry creek bed design can really set your garden apart and offers a myriad of design options and customization.

Tips and Tricks

You’ve seen a lot of great concepts to try out. But it’s also important to take a moment to consider what you should avoid. Chief among these are pebbles placed near the pool itself. Tiny rocks can cause a number of problems. These range from damaging your pool’s machinery to posing a slipping hazard. Slipping concerns also extend to larger rocky surfaces.

It’s important to research which rocks are especially slippery when wet before putting them too near your pool.

You should also remember to always source your rocks from the same supplier. Rocks in nature are all products of a similar environment. And that’s what gives them a compatible aesthetic. They all work with each other because the same environmental conditions shaped them. Likewise, you’ll want to ensure your rocks come from the same supplier so that you’ll maintain that natural consistency.

It’s Time To Make Your Pool Rock

You’ve probably already found yourself imagining how some of these ideas would look in your own yard. But it’s important to really give it some thought. Read through everything again with your pool in mind. And consider how each option would fit with the taste of you and your loved ones. Once that’s done it’s time to act and turn that dream into a reality.

If you are in the process of planing your backyard space these other articles about design might be helpful to you:

This blog is based on information available at the time of publishing and for the purpose of sharing information with the public related to swimming pools and projects that can be financed through Viking Capital. Although we strive to be complete and accurate, it is not information that is verified or maintained. It should not be relied upon for making financial decisions. An investment such as a swimming pool is significant. Viking Capital recommends consulting with a financial professional regarding your financing decisions and with pool professionals regarding pool options. To learn what financing options are available for you today, please apply with Viking Capital and you’ll receive your free loan consultation. Click Here to Apply.

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