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Swimming Pool Decking - What Paving Material Should I Use?

Jun 2, 2008
Selecting a paving material for your pool decking is an important part of your pool design. However, what to choose can often be confusing.

One of the main concerns is often budget. Of course that is always a concern in a landscape project, but with swimming pool decking it is particularly important because of the large amount of square footage that is typically involved.


One of the least expensive materials is concrete. With a little creativity, concrete can be a good choice. Concrete can be scored into a geometric design. Scoring is the creating of lines in the concrete that can create a pattern. You can also add color to concrete. The color should be mixed into the concrete and it should blend well with your surroundings. Do not add color, such as a stain, to the concrete after it is poured, as it will not hold up well.

When using concrete as your paving material, you may or may not use the same concrete for the pool coping material. The coping is the material that edges the pool itself adjacent to the rest of the paving.

If you decide to have a concrete coping, there are a couple of different ways this can be done. The first is to run the concrete right up to the water's edge...a cantilevered coping. There is no break or border around the coping. The entire pool decking area, including the coping, appears as one material and looks unified.

You can also have a concrete coping that resembles a border going around the pool. Here, there is a definite line which is typically a joint defining the coping from the pool paving. However, I prefer the cantilevered look.

Another option is to use an entirely different material. You can use brick, stone or pavers as the coping. This creates a separate border around the pool in a different material and can look very nice. However, it does add on to the cost quite a bit.

Stamped concrete is another paving option for your pool area. The problem I have with this, is that construction joints often run through the pattern, ruining the designs.

Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers can also be used. There are many types available with various color choices and patterns. Pavers can be all one color or a blend of a few different colors. The latter is a nice look and gives a more natural appearance.

When it comes to choosing a paver pattern, mixing different sizes can create an interesting design. You can also choose to use all one size, or just two sizes. The design can be laid parallel to the house or it can be laid on the diagonal. Diagonal patterns tend to make the area look larger.

There is often a matching pool coping for the pavers you select. Paver pool coping has a rounded edge along the water side. Some pavers used for coping are four inches wide, resembling the shape of brick, while others are much wider. This availability will be determined by which paver you choose. Not all coping options are made for all pavers.

Dark colored pavers can be hot on your feet. Lighter colors are cooler and work better for swimming pool decking.

Travertine Pavers

One of my favorite paving materials for pool paving is travertine pavers. They are more expensive than concrete pavers but their beauty and outstanding features are striking.

Travertine is a natural stone. Travertine pavers are made from travertine stone that has been cut into shapes, similar to concrete pavers. Pavers have the advantage over travertine tile in that they are dry laid. Along with their beauty, a very strong reason for considering them is that they are cool on your feet. Your paving will never feel hot.

Natural Stone

Although I love bluestone, I would not recommend it because it can get very hot. However, there are other types of natural stone that can be used which do not get hot. Some of the granites are an example. Natural stone is usually set in mortar. This makes it your most expensive choice for a pool paving material.

When selecting your swimming pool paving, remember that it is everything in the design that will make your landscape successful. The planting design, the design itself, and interesting garden features such as garden ornaments are all just as important as the paving material itself.
About the Author
Susan Schlenger is a Landscape Designer with a degree in Landscape Architecture. You can read more about paving materials for swimming pools at Swimming Pool Decking. You might also be interested in learning more about Concrete Patio Designs.
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