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Our Favorite Design Elements for Family Friendly Pools

As we bid farewell to summer, let’s take a moment to relive the magic of a beloved poolside hangout. Here at Garden Studio, we firmly hold the belief that a pool is not just a mere gathering spot; rather, it stands as the very cornerstone of cherished memories. Understanding the nuances of family-friendly poolscapes is our specialty as a landscape design firm. Crafting spaces that cater to the young and the young at heart necessitates a delicate equilibrium of aesthetics, safety, and functionality. Believe it or not, the months of September and October are considered the ideal time of year to kickstart your pool design, ensuring it’s ready to embrace the return of summer next year! Without further ado, we can’t think of a more fitting time to unveil our favorite design elements that marry the design of family-friendly pools with space functionality, sparking your inspiration along the way. 

Limestone: The Heart of Family Pools

When designing family-friendly poolscapes, durability and temperature resistance are paramount. Limestone emerges as a versatile champion in this arena. The stone’s natural texture not only adds a touch of elegance but also stays cooler to the touch in hot summer days while minimizing the risk of slips and falls, making it a perfect surface for safe play. Parents can rest easy as their children dash around, knowing that the pool area is designed with their safety in mind. Limestone also provides a resilient foundation that can withstand the exuberance of family activities, ensuring your pool area ages beautifully with time. It no wonder why this stone is a favorite pool deck option amidst our clientele.

We like to custom order our Limestone to fit each client’s preference. From antiqued texture to a smooth tumbled finish, this stone proves to be a versatile option that can compliment any home style.

Pictured above: Antiqued edging + chatted surfaces are great for projects that exude a touch of old-world charm used at our Rancho Santa Fe Project (left) while smoother, clean edges and surfaces complement properties that integrate a more modern approach at our Santiago Paradise Project.(right)

Baja Shelves: Where Little Swimmers Flourish

In the realm of family pool design, Baja shelves stand as an ingenious creation. These shallow platforms offer a safe haven for the littlest swimmers, allowing them to explore the water with confidence..

Baja shelves aren’t just for the young; they also provide an inviting space for family members of all ages to ease into the water. Parents can sit comfortably while dipping their toes, youngsters can splash about, and parents can supervise with ease. This seamless integration of generations fosters a sense of togetherness, making the pool an arena for shared experiences and boundless joy.

Versatile Lounge Decks: Embracing Multigenerational Relaxation

Pictured above: Thermory wood decking used at our East Side Tavern Project

When it comes to family-friendly pool design, lounge decks emerge as a versatile choice. These areas aren’t just about relaxation; they’re about creating a space where generations can connect and unwind together. Lounge decks offer plenty of room for everyone to sprawl out, soak up the sun, and enjoy quality time without feeling cramped, ensuring that every family member finds their slice of poolside paradise. This harmonious coexistence of activities fosters a sense of unity and shared moments that define the essence of family.

Depending on our clients lifestyle, budget, placement, and overall home style, we provide our clients with the two different decking options – Azek and treated wood. While Azek decking is more durable and requires less maintenance than treated wood decking, its cost per square foot is almost double than that of treated wood decking.

Pictured below: Azek wood decking used in an around the pool at the Casa Galloway Project 

On the other hand, Thermory wood decking (aka treated wood) patinas beautifully with time with proper care while providing a natural grounding experience for your family and guests.

Pictured below: Thermory wood decking used at our East Side Tavern Project

Playful Water Features: Delight for All Ages

Water features in family-friendly pools aren’t just decorative; they’re sources of endless entertainment. From gentle fountains to interactive spray jets, these features captivate the imagination of young adventurers. The playfulness of water features turns the pool area into an aquatic wonderland, while adding to the overall aesthetics that elevate the surrounding landscape. Their enchanting sounds and mesmerizing visuals extend even into the heart of your home, infusing every room with a soothing ambiance that brightens every moment, from dawn till dusk.

Illuminating Evenings: Lighting the Way for Family Fun

Pictured above: Sunset at our Eastside Tavern Project

Family-friendly pools are designed to be enjoyed from sunrise to sunset. Creative lighting transforms the pool area into a magical realm after dark. LED lights that illuminate the pool and its surroundings provide a safe environment for evening swims and gatherings, ensuring that the fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. 

Safety First: Designing with Protection in Mind

When it comes to family pools, safety isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. Family-friendly poolscapes incorporate features such as non-slip surfaces, secure fencing, and pool covers to create a secure environment for children and pets. These precautions ensure that every family member can enjoy the pool with confidence. Family-friendly pools are designed with a vigilant eye on safety, allowing parents to create lasting memories without worry. These spaces offer a balance between excitement and security.

While there are plenty of temporary pool enclosure options on the market, our go-to pick for maximum piece of mind with minimal distraction from the beauty of the surrounding space would be using glass enclosures. These climb-resistant glass panels allow for clear views to monitor the pool area, and structured gates with self-closing latches and hinges prevent little ones from slipping past the boundary unsupervised.

Pictured above: glass pool gate and enclosure at our Santiago Paradise Project

Crafting Treasured Moments in Every Splash

In the world of family-friendly pool design, each element weaves together to create lasting moments that can be cherished for years to come. From limestone’s safety and durability to the playful features that delight young adventurers, every choice contributes to an environment where generations come together. It’s a testament to the magic of design that a pool isn’t just a place to swim – it’s a space where bonds are strengthened, laughter echoes, and the joy of family finds its forever home.

As you might have already guessed, the addition of each of these elements comes with careful planning and consideration tailored to you and your families needs and space limitations.

Start your pool planning journey with us today and learn what we can do to maximize the potential of your property for endless family fun.

Photo credits: Riley Starr Photography (, Mellon Studio (

We are a full-service landscape design/build firm located in Southern California. Our projects consist of Custom Residential, Residential Redos, Design-Build, and Commercial and Public Works. Whatever the project, our goal is always the same: Fully utilizing and enjoying outdoor spaces. We believe that well-prepared space planning, aesthetic and durable materials along with our quality craftsmanship are the ingredients to a vibrant and livable outdoor space.