Going Deckless With a Grass-Surround Pool

You’ve heard the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side. Well, for some pool owners there’s a simple solution to this problem – just swim to the other side.

The pool owners we’re talking about are the ones who have grass surrounding their pools. A grass-surround pool is a strikingly minimalist alternative to a traditional pool deck fashioned out of concrete, wood, or pavers. And unlike other posh pool features, it’s actually cheaper than the standard options.

Of course, a grass pool deck also comes with its share of drawbacks, some of which you can probably guess. Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of a grass-edge pool – from the obvious to the obscure.

Advantages of a Grass-Surround Pool

To start, here are the main reasons why you might want to skip a traditional pool deck in favor of a pool with grass around it.

Elegant in appearance. It’s safe to say that most people who choose grass-edge pools are attracted by their clean and classy aesthetics. A pool stripped to its basics and surrounded by a manicured lawn is the very definition of “easy on the eyes.”

Classy inground swimming pool surrounded by real grass
Does it get classier than this?

Space saving. Americans love their grass lawns, for reasons no one fully understands. Whatever your reasons for being enamored of your lawn, you can preserve more of it by passing on the pool deck.

Comfortable for bare feet. Unlike the typical pool deck, grass is soft and doesn’t get overly hot on a sunny day. Grass is also nature’s nonslip surface, making it a safer option than deck materials that get slippery when wet.

Cheaper than the alternatives. A pool deck tends to be one of the more expensive components of a pool project, and can get especially pricey if you choose premium materials such as travertine. In comparison, the cost of maintaining grass around your pool is minor.


We mentioned drawbacks, right? Well, here they are, starting with the most onerous.

More pool maintenance. With little or no buffer zone between the lawn and the water, this type of pool is a virtual magnet for grass, dirt, and other debris. The best way to reduce this is to bag your grass clippings, so they don’t stay on the lawn and end up clinging to the feet of swimmers. Another option is to install a stone walkway for people going to and from the pool. However, the bottom line is that a grass-surround pool typically requires more skimming and cleaning than one with a standard pool deck.

Lawn chemical contamination. What’s the point of having a grass-surround pool if your lawn doesn’t look lush and healthy? Unfortunately, the fertilizer and weed killer used to maintain a pristine yard can easily find its way into the pool. This can discolor the water and might even pose a health hazard to swimmers.

More lawn maintenance. The splashing and extra traffic around a pool can be hard on grass, requiring regular sod replacement, or just extra TLC to keep things looking good. Also keep in mind that by forgoing a traditional pool deck, you’re also forgoing one of its main benefits for a busy homeowner – less lawn mowing.


Of course, when it comes to inground pool design, there’s never only one way to do something. In addition to weighing the pros and cons above, you might want to mull over a few twists on the grass-surround concept. Here are a couple of the more popular ideas.

Artificial Grass

The most straightforward way to tone down some of the issues outlined above is to use fake grass. Compared to real grass, artificial grass is maintenance free and won’t result in extra debris in the pool. On the downside, it’s expensive to install and tends to get uncomfortably hot on sunny days.

Artificial grass by a walkway to an inground swimming pool
For some, only real grass will do. However, artificial grass has some compelling advantages, including the fact that it always looks picture perfect.

You might think that artificial grass also loses out when it comes to appearance. However, synthetic grass has come a long way over the years, to the point where it can pass for the real thing even to discerning eyes. Indeed, the most phony part of it might be the fact that it looks so flawless all the time.

Partial Pool Deck

Another option is to install a traditional pool deck around part of the pool, while leaving the other sides grassy. In such a design, the pool deck typically connects to the home, allowing people to use the pool without ever setting foot on the lawn. This keeps the pool and the grass in better shape.

Inground swimming pool with grass on one side
With this style of pool, you can enjoy all the advantages of having a pool deck without surrendering too much of your yard.

While it has a lot of merit, this compromise option might not appeal to those who are drawn to grass-edge pools because of their minimalist design. To be sure, there’s plenty of room for creativity with a half-and-half approach. However, the end result is unlikely to have the same sleek and uncluttered look of a pool that’s completely surrounded by grass.

The beauty of a grass-edge pool might be undeniable. but as this article shows, there’s much more than just aesthetics to consider when choosing a pool design. Who knew the search for simplicity could be so complicated?