Summer and swimming pools go together like hot dogs and mustard: They’re a timeless combination. When summer heats up, the backyard oasis becomes the focal point of family barbeques, Fourth of July parties and neighborhood gatherings across the country. With so much time spent swimming around, it’s important to give your pool landscape the “splash of color” it deserves.

Poolside container color

Containers of red-orange zinnias add a splash of much needed color to the basic green background surrounding this pool area.

Photo Credit: Rachel A. Margolis

Desert poolscape

In a rocky desert setting, green is a refreshing poolside color on its own, with plant textures playing an important décor role.

Photo Credit: Jenny Hooks

Poolside seating and chiminea

Warm up your poolscape with other accessories like a comfortable seating area and a chiminea.

Photo Credit: Rachel A. Margolis

Pots around water

Be bold with your containers. You can add lots of wonderful interest to an otherwise barren expanse of concrete around nearly any water feature.

Photo Credit: Mark A. Miller

But before we can talk about adding color, let’s focus on the foundation color of almost any landscape – green. Green is the canvas to which you’ll add your color around the pool using seasonal and perennial flowers. This background hue is found in the surrounding grass, shrubbery and often the tropical green foliage used around swimming pools. And the green is what lasts when the flowers fade, so make sure it’s in good shape so your flowers have something great to “pop” against.

With green as your backdrop, almost anything goes colorwise – it’s up to you to choose your preferred palette. One of the quickest ways to add color around a swimming pool is to plant containers of vibrant annuals. In fact, just a few pots scattered around your pool can brighten up the entire area. Just remember that most swimming pools are a source of reflective heat, so choose plants that can take it – and be ready to water every few days. Periwinkles, for instance, can bounce back with a good soaking and still put on a spectacular show if left neglected for a few extra days. (Keep in mind, however, if any plant is allowed to get to what horticulturists call “permanent wilting point,” then all the water in the world won’t revive it.)

If you’ve got room for planting beds around your pool, pack in even more flower power by continuing the show in these areas. To create unity in your design, use the same color scheme you started in your containers. For instance, if you opted for potted red and orange lantanas in your landscape beds brings flow and balance to your poolscape.

Another way to add color around the swimming pool is through furniture and accessories. Good, solid wrought iron or metal furniture is a prime selection for the pool area. Not only is it low-maintenance (add just a touch of paint as needed), it’s less likely to end up in the pool on those extra-windy days. (Pool owners know how much fun it is to fish lawn furniture out of the water!) And remember – those furniture cushions are accessories that can be changed seasonally, too. Add another splash of color by matching them with your seasonal planting scheme to make your seating area really glow.

But don’t stop there – keep the festive spark going long into the night with a fire source and backyard lighting. A chiminea or fire pit makes the evenings more hospitable if it gets chilly, and the orange-red glow from the fire is sure to add charm and coziness to your festivities.

Landscape lighting strategically placed around the pool and garden can also highlight your plantings after the sun has set. While low-voltage lighting is one option, a quick and easy-to-install alternative is solar lighting. Either system is typically available at many retail stores. Tiki torches are also fun, easy-to-find, low-cost choices for lighting options. And don’t forget those lanterns or strings of lights you can hang from nearby structures to enhance the wonderful evening atmosphere.

So before the summer season gets too hot, don’t forget to plan out – and plant up – your poolscape. You’ll be amazed at how a splash of color can help keep backyard festivities afloat!