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8 Poolside Landscape Ideas From AD PRO Directory Projects

Stephen Karlisch

Pools are always inviting in warmer months, but splashing around in one becomes an especially alluring ritual with there’s a picture-perfect backdrop. Cue the poolside landscape ideas—the bursts of thoughtfully interspersed greenery, architectural hardscapes, and chic seating arrangements that elevate a simple pool into a replenishing outdoor escape. These eight architects and landscape designers from the AD PRO Directory know just how to orchestrate such a dreamy ambiance.

dSPACE Studio Architecture

Poolside landscape by dSPACE Studio Architecture

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Poolside landscape by dSPACE Studio Architecture
Tony Soluri

Sophisticated, stylish Hotel Le Toiny in St. Barths was the inspiration behind the dramatic saltwater pool and integrated hot tub at a home in New Buffalo, Michigan. The owners, world travelers, wanted an aquatic reprieve for both recreation and relaxed entertaining, so Kevin Toukoumidis, principal and founder of dSPACE Studio Architecture in Chicago, responded with a sun shelf leading to wide, lounge-like steps “that cascade into the pool,” he says. It’s complemented by durable, teak-framed furniture from RH, native marram grass, and a custom Corten planter teeming with sage. The clients relish warm days among friends and family in a boutique hotel-reminiscent setting, sipping “drinks by the pool, reading on the deck, stargazing from the beachfront firepit, and rinsing off in the luxurious outdoor shower,” Toukoumidis adds. Since guests never want to leave, private chefs frequently whip up meals in the alfresco kitchen to boot.

Hollander Design Landscape Architects

Poolside landscape by Hollander Design Landscape Architects
Poolside landscape by Hollander Design Landscape Architects

Plane trees thrive on the East End of Long Island, so Melissa Reavis, partner in the New York City office of Hollander Design Landscape Architects, and her team planted them along with Limelight hydrangeas and such native species as Joe Pye weed, Monarda, and Solidago to heighten the centerpiece pool at a family’s weekend hideaway in Sagaponack. To connect it to the surrounding environs, the pool, which “brings so much life into this space with its ability to reflect light, architecture, and the changing sky in its mirror finish,” says Reavis, was aligned with the adjacent pond, extending views beyond the neighbor’s hedge and “making it feel much more expansive—it isn’t immediately clear where this property ends and the rest of the landscape begins.”

Bestor Architecture

Poolside landscape by Bestor Architecture
Poolside landscape by Bestor Architecture
John Ellis

At the end of a road in Toro Canyon, perched above Montecito, Bestor Architecture crafted a low-key country abode that stars a pool nestled into the landscape, the plantings conjuring a decidedly Southern California palette. “The minimal, elemental forms of the house, pool house, and guest house rest around the pool. The courtyards are dug out of the earth, carved out of concrete designed to be the same color as the soil,” says Barbara Bestor, founder of her eponymous Los Angeles firm. Framed vistas enchant throughout the site and “the pool’s position at the edge of the property pulls winds across the water,” an inviting drift to the calming respite.

Daniel Kahan

Poolside landscape by Daniel Kahan

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Poolside landscape by Daniel Kahan

One of the partners at Smith and Moore Architects in West Palm Beach, Florida, Daniel Kahan collaborated with Penelope Irwin of New York City’s Irwinteriors and Mario Nievera of local practice Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture on the serene, stand-out pool of a classical-modern new-build in Palm Beach’s Estate Section. Separating the main residence from the guest retreat, it “reinforces the bilateral symmetry found throughout the house, centering itself on the primary through-axis of the entire project,” says Kahan. “The long linear gesture of the pool is anchored on each end by geometric plantings and carefully placed chaise lounge seating.”

Melissa Gerstle Design

Poolside landscape by Melissa Gerstle
Poolside landscape by Melissa Gerstle
Stephen Karlisch

Dallas-based landscape designer Melissa Gerstle imagined the pool and gardens for the 2020 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas as a place that a couple fond of entertaining might gather with a large group of guests. “This is the first view when one exits the home and we wanted to make it a ‘wow’ moment with a striking composition of furniture and plants,” she says. Her poolside landscape ideas of note? Gerstle melded a glamorous black-and-white color scheme redolent of old Hollywood with limestone decking and boxwoods planted en masse, their tops sheared to “highlight the shape of the pool deck and create visual tension against the softer lines of the mature foliage in the background.” Tall Italian cypresses behind the loungers round out the dynamic surrounds.

PHX Architecture

Poolside landscape by PHX Architecture
Poolside landscape by PHX Architecture
Eric Kruk

The reflective pool stands as though a shadow of the floor-to-ceiling windows of a custom-built dwelling in Paradise Valley, Arizona by PHX Architecture. The airy poolside expanse takes cues from modern museum design, with succulents framed in hardscape akin to paintings on display. “The ‘skylights’ mirror the planter below creating a sundial effect as the shadows move throughout the day,” says Erik B. Peterson, president of Beverly Hills- and Scottsdale-based PHX Architecture. “The landscape areas are controlled and visually artistic,” favoring low-water-usage vegetation like cacti that exude a fitting sculptural quality. Instead of an organic pool design, Peterson adds, which would look out of place here, its lines mimic the home’s.

CreativEscapes

Poolside landscape by CreativEscapes
Poolside landscape by CreativEscapes
Aquatree Designs

Before they had kids, the owners of a single-family home in Richmond, Virginia, traveled extensively, so they were eager to bring that sense of wanderlust to their backyard. Chris Johannsen, owner of nearby landscape firm CreativEscapes, worked with long-time collaborator JDO Pools & Spas on a playful outdoor living space—complete with pool, hardscape, grotto, hot tub, rock wall, lighting, and plant beds—that elicits staycation vibes. Situated on an extreme slope, the property presented distinctive design opportunities, and just like a hotel, there are plenty of loungers that maximize views from various angles. “The grotto holds up the driveway above, so when guests arrive, they have three options to get to the pool area,” says Johannsen. “Go down the rock steps, down the slide, or jump off the waterfall. The resort experience starts as soon as you enter.”

Terren Landscapes

Poolside landscape by Terren Landscapes
Poolside landscape by Terren Landscapes
Stephen Govel Photography

Originally constructed in 1950 as a pool house for a sprawling ranch in Villanova, Pennsylvania, the architectural treasure compelled Mike Ford to fuse nature and craftsmanship when revamping the outdoor living space. Ford, a designer at Terren Landscapes in neighboring Conshohocken, paid special attention to the materials. “The pool coping and deck made from silver travertine sourced from Turkey were chosen for their beauty and practical benefits, such as staying cool to the touch under the sun,” he says, while the bespoke mix of dark gray and black for the pool bottom generates a lagoon-like effect juxtaposed with a seemingly floating white patio. As for poolside landscape ideas, formal planters give way to boulders and timber frames, intentionally and gradually blending “the man-made with the natural,” adds Ford, “reflecting a desire to harmonize with the landscape rather than dominate it.”

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Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest


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