How to Landscape Around a Pool in Miami

Pool Landscape

Bring the beach back to your Miami backyard, pop the champagne, and revamp your pool. Bright lights, low-maintenance plants, and outdoor entertainment –– these pool landscaping tips and tricks will help you kick back and relax after work and party on the weekends.

10 Ways to Landscape Around Your Miami Pool

1. Fix up your pool patio or deck

Pool Deck
Richard Mcall, Pixabay

Every local knows (and longs for) the initial vacation phase of moving to Miami. A cracked, forgotten pool patio shouldn’t make you feel like those good days are over.

Give your pool patio or deck a makeover with a quality design. For a cohesive look, coordinate the materials already around your pool. If natural stone retaining walls already surround your pool, then natural stone may be the best hardscape look for the patio. Other patio and deck materials include wood, poured concrete, and pavers.

Consider expanding your patio to include room for an outdoor living space. Comfortable couches and a cozy firepit will have you relaxing by the pool all day.

Your pool landscaping design also can have open areas within the foundation to grow green turf or low maintenance gardens. These green spaces within the patio or deck’s design will bring relaxing nature up close, and you’ll love the sleek style it adds.

Effort: High. Your new pool deck or patio will be ready in one to two weeks. The hardest part here is patience and not getting to use the pool.

Cost: High. A pool deck’s cost ranges between $3,000 and $12,000.

2. Lay down new turf

Turf Around Pool
Konstantinos Eleftheriadis, Pexels

Your feet will love the transition from a hot, steaming patio to cool, soft grass. But first, you’ll need to consider Miami’s climate and your lifestyle before you spend the big bucks on new green. You may really like the look of tall fescue grasses, but that’s not going to fly here in Miami.

The best grass types for Miami and Southeast Florida are, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, Zoysiagrass, bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass, and bahiagrass.

Warm-season grasses

You’ll want to go with a warm-season grass type. These grasses grow best in the Southern states, where temperatures are relatively warm throughout the year.

Cool-season grasses, like tall fescue, will struggle in Miami’s heat. They much prefer the cooler temperatures in the Northern states.


If you’re planning on hosting any pool parties (that’s why you’re revamping your pool, right?), then you may want a grass that can withstand heavy foot traffic. With partiers coming and going, the last thing you want is for their feet to tear up your turf!

Effort: Easy-Medium. Your effort will depend on whether you buy sod or plant from seed. Lay down sod, and your new turf will be ready to go; no waiting-period is needed. If you’re growing your grass from seed, you’ll need to spend time watering your turf and waiting for the seeds to germinate, which can take between five and 30 days.

Cost: Medium. Depending on the type of turf you want, rolls of sod cost about 28 to 45 cents per square foot. If you have a professional install your sod, then the cost may increase to about $1 to $2 per square foot.

Seeding a lawn will generally cost between $400 and $1,500.

3. Light up the night

Garland light suspended over a swimming pool.
Shutterstock photo

like every nightclub needs a disco ball, your Miami pool area needs colorful landscape lighting. Your blue, pink, purple lights can shine up into the trees, splash across the pool deck, or even light up from within the pool. Want them to change colors? You’ve got it.

With some well-designed landscape lighting, you can turn a quiet evening by the pool into a romantic night, or switch on those wild colors for a weekend pool party.

Effort: Low. If you’re adding landscape lighting yourself, you can make a quick trip to the store for some string lights to hang around your pool landscape.

Cost: Low-High. Hiring a professional to create a complex lighting design for your home may cost between $2,000 and $6,000.

But simple outdoor string lights may cost as low as $15 to $50. Or head to a dollar store, outlet store, or even the seasonal aisle of your grocery store for cheaper outdoor string light prices.

4. Grill at an outdoor kitchen

Outdoor Grill
Skitterphoto, Pexels

Fire up the grill, pop open the cooler, and get ready for some outdoor entertaining around your pool. Your friends and family will never want to leave your pool vacation spot when you have an outdoor kitchen installed. Even your pool parties will run longer than expected (someone has to finish eating up those extra patties, you know).

Having an outdoor kitchen offers more than just outdoor entertainment. Every cook knows a burning stove and a hot oven will crank up the heat and cause the air conditioner to work overtime. Cooking outdoors gives your air conditioner a break and helps save on those utility bills.

An outdoor kitchen also keeps those burning smells away from sensitive noses. No dinner guest likes to smell burnt food in a tight space. Keep the food prep outdoors, and those burning smells won’t be spoiling the air.

Effort: High. You may find that with an outdoor kitchen, you need to work closely with the landscaper. You’ll want open communication, and for that, you’ll likely need to carve out time to explain your vision, what features you want, and what materials you expect for your outdoor space.

Depending on how close construction will be to your pool, you may have to wait between 3 weeks to 4 months before using your pool and new kitchen.

Cost: High. A typical outdoor kitchen costs between $5,000 and $21,000. A luxury kitchen may cost up to $100,000.

5. Add a low-maintenance garden

Succulents and Rocks
Quang Nguyen Vinh, Pexels

Having a high-demand garden to maintain isn’t going to give you more relaxing hours by the pool (unless you can hire the help). Low-maintenance gardens and potted plants can be the perfect fit for your pool, adding both a gorgeous landscape and bringing you closer to nature.

But what kind of garden would you like to add? Here are some ideas:

Succulent gardens

A succulent garden is easy to maintain, and their exotic textures and shapes will pop in your Miami pool landscape. These fleshy plants typically exist in arid or semi-arid climates.

While Miami doesn’t have much of a dry season, you can still have these low-maintenance plants surround your pool deck. To better control their irrigation and soil, grow your succulents in containers. Buy a few charming containers or pots, plant some succulents, and your landscape will have a whole new scene.

Rock gardens

Rock gardens accentuate stones of various shapes, sizes, and colors and are another excellent, low-maintenance garden near the pool. You won’t have to spend much time mowing or watering, and you can feature all of your favorite stones (big, small, bumpy, smooth).

When designed right, a rock garden can provide a calming space that soothes you at the end of the day and brings you back to the present. With the fast-paced city right on your doorstep, a rock garden by the pool can offer the perfect dose of serenity.

Plants to avoid

Before building a garden around your pool, you’ll want to know what greenery to avoid. You’ll want to pass on the evergreens, as their needles may poke your skin on your way to the pool.

You’ll also want to avoid planting a garden with lots of flowering plants that create debris, such as crape myrtle, azalea, honeysuckle, or ash trees. These plants will litter your pool landscape and create a thick blanket of flowers over your pool water.

Effort: Low. We’re recommending low-maintenance gardens for a reason. We want you relaxing by the poolside instead of pulling weeds.

Cost: Low-Medium. Landscaping rock projects cost an average of $600 to $700. But there are plenty of ways to find free rocks for your rock garden.

Consider asking a farmer or construction worker if they have any rocks they plan to throw away. You may happen to find yourself coming home with a giant, new rock. Hunting in your yard for small stones is also an excellent way to collect some of your favorites.

Succulent prices may vary, depending on size. A miniature succulent plant can cost between $2 and $6.

6. Plant some palm trees

Palm Trees and Clouds
Vincent Gerbouin, Pexels

For a slice of paradise, add breathtaking palm trees around your Miami pool. Just remember to opt for hurricane-resistant palm trees. You won’t want to ruin your new landscape design with fallen trees and broken windows.

According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, palm trees survive hurricanes better than woody, broad-leaved trees and conifers. Yet some palm trees, like Washington and Queen, are not as hurricane-resistant as others. Pindo, date, pygmy date, areca, Canary Island date, and sabal palms are all recommended by the University of Florida as storm-resistant palm trees.

When planting a tree near your inground pool, you’ll want to consider the root system. Palm trees have minimal root spread, but it’s a good idea to keep these tropical plants at least five to six feet away from the pool’s edge. Speak to your local arborists to determine the safest distance between your palm tree and pool to ensure the roots don’t cause damage.

Effort: Low-Medium. Your palm tree may require regular maintenance to ensure it’s health. But this can be easily remedied by hiring the help you need so that you don’t have to lift a finger.

Cost: Low-Medium. Planting a palm tree can cost anywhere from $15 to $2,000 depending on your tree’s species and height.

7. Beat the heat

Shade Around Pool
Jason Boyd, Pexels

A pool can help you handle Miami’s heat, no problem. But get out of the pool, and the last thing you want to do is start sweating again.

Install a pergola or umbrellas, and you’ll have the perfect amount of shade to resist the boiling sun. Having a shaded area also helps keep you outside for longer, provides a dry space for cooling off, and shelters you from a rainy cloud passing by.

Effort: Medium. The time it takes to build a pergola varies. It can be as little as one week to as long as 12 weeks. Installing umbrellas around the pool is a faster solution for instant shade.

Cost: Low-High. The average cost of building a pergola is $3,500​. Some pergolas may cost as high as $6,000. Pool umbrellas typically range between $50 and $400.

8. Get a tan

Pool Lounge Chair
Engin Akyurt, Pexels

You’ve got to get your tan right if you’re living in Miami, especially when trying to relive the vacation phase.

Ensure the landscape around your swimming pool offers enough space for a little sunbathing. Is there room on the patio to lay down the towel and soak in the sun? Or maybe you’d like to buy some stylish lounge chairs that match the landscape’s aesthetic and let you work on your tan in comfort.

Effort: Low-Medium. If you love shopping, you’ll love picking out your stylish lounger. If shopping gives you a headache, this task may take a little energy.

Cost: Medium-High. Outdoor lounge chairs can cost between $250 and $2,000 per chair.

9. Watch a water feature

Flowing Water

Turn any pool into a tranquil, backyard oasis with water features and impress your guests with water fountains, waterfalls, and water walls.

Wind down the workday lounging by the pool with a cocktail in hand and listening to the pool’s trickling water. Water features will have you relaxed in no time, and you’ll be transfixed by the flowing, splashing water.

Effort: Low-Medium. The time spent installing your water feature will largely depend on the scale of the project. A simple water feature can take as little as one day to install, while a more complicated pool fountain may require more construction time.

Cost: Medium-HIgh. Installing a backyard water fountain or waterfall typically ranges between $940 and $4,500.

10. Landscape for privacy

Pool With Private Landscape
Mwabonje, Pexels

If you’re planning for some sunbathing or weekend parties, you might want to consider landscaping for privacy. Nothing ruins a good time like onlookers, nosy neighbors, or the wandering eyes from that apartment complex.

Privacy landscapes not only help create an intimate space; they also absorb sound and help control the guest list by keeping out unwanted visitors. Some privacy barriers, like trees and hedges, are excellent at blocking out the noise. So, if your neighbors complain about the music coming from your yard (or you’re complaining about them), privacy landscaping may be the solution for you.

Effort: Low-High. The time and commitment invested in your private pool landscape will vary dramatically depending on your project plans and vision.

Cost: Low-High. Like the effort, your privacy landscape project’s cost will vary depending on many project elements.

A pool that’s perfect for Instagram

Sunkissed skin, exclusive nightclubs, sandy air –– the good old Miami days aren’t over yet, especially when you’ve got a landscape around your swimming pool that says otherwise. With stunning trees, simple gardens, and an elegant patio, you won’t remember the last time your pool has been this inviting (or when your Instagram backgrounds looked this good).

When to Call a Professional Landscaper

Call a landscaping professional near you to turn your backyard pool into the getaway of your dreams. Consider working with a professional designer to ensure your vision exceeds your expectations.

Need a whole new pool? Discuss potential swimming pool designs with a professional. Hiring a professional to design your landscape or pool may help save time, energy, and money.

Swimming pool landscaping with a budget? No worries. Many landscapers market themselves as budget-friendly and are happy to work within a budget to give you the landscape of your dreams.

Main Image Credit: Pixabay, Pexels

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell is a freelance writer and actor in New York City. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and enjoys a warm cup of French press coffee.