Just picture it: getting out of the pool and walking around on soft, green grass instead of hard, hot pavement. It seems like a good idea — but there are some things to think about when it comes to poolside grass. Will the pool water affect the grass? How do I keep grass clippings out of the pool? Can a grass installation be as low-maintenance as hardscape around the swimming pool? Here’s what you need to know about grass around pools.


    The benefit to a concrete or tile pool deck is the maintenance — or lack thereof. At most, you might power-wash the deck at the beginning and end of the pool season, and it’s an easy continuation of your pool design. It also stands up to heavy foot traffic with no problem. Grass around pools, for all its comfort on bare feet and safety, needs more TLC. Two major concerns are water and mowing — water, because pool water may have an effect on your grass, and mowing because it can make a mess in the pool. But with a little effort, you can keep the grass around your pool from getting into your pool.

    Tips for Keeping a Grass-Free Pool

    • Grow a hedge or install a fence. This provides a physical barrier between the yard and the pool.
    • Invest in a mulching mower to cut the grass blades so finely they don’t blow into the pool.
    • Use a robotic pool cleaner to vacuum debris at the bottom and walls of the pool, so you catch the grass that does get in there.
    • Surrender: Install artificial turf.

    Artificial turf has come a long way in the last few decades, from that plastic, bright green stuff, to synthetic grass that looks real. You and your guests may not be able to tell it apart from natural grass at first glance. Fake grass doesn’t need mowing, fertilizing or watering — but it maintains the same look as real grass. And the best artificial grass will keep your feet cool and cushion any slips and falls as well.

    Artificial grass may also hold up better when doused by the chemicals in your pool. But keep in mind turfgrass can tolerate chlorine better than ornamental grasses and shrubs. If you accidentally spill full-strength chlorine on the lawn, you can flush the chemicals out of the soil with a heavy dose of water. The grass should bounce back without too much trouble.

    Saltwater comes with different rules, and it depends on what kind of grass you have. Certain varieties, like Bermuda grass and seashore paspalum, tolerate saltwater pretty well. Seashore paspalum is used on golf courses, and watered with brackish water. But some varieties such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescues will dry out and suffocate when hit with too much salt.

    Too much salt in the soil will also impact other plants as well as water features, like a koi pond, as the salt leaches into the soil. That’s something to consider if you want to change your landscape design in the future.

    Hardscape Vs. Grass

    A concrete pool deck won’t get quite hot enough to fry an egg, but it can get up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit — definitely too hot to walk on with bare feet. That includes any hardscape surface, like pavers, that are part of your pool landscaping. Grass is a terrible conductor of heat, so it’s safer and more comfortable for you, your family, and your pets in the pool area.

    Slip and Slide

    There’s a reason the lifeguards at your local public pool are always screaming at kids to “WALK!” When you add water and some oily sunscreen residue and wet feet to a concrete pool deck, you’re looking at an easy recipe for injuries. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission posted a warning back in 1974. That warning about slippery pool decks lives on today because the danger is the same as it was more than forty years ago. The CPSC says, “Many severe injuries result from falling on slippery walkways and decks and falling from diving boards and ladders.” While slipping on grass is not impossible, it’s less likely, and the landing is softer. Safety should be a major consideration when designing your pool and deck.

    Whether you’re installing a new pool, or making some upgrades to an existing one, both concrete and grass have pros and cons. Weigh them carefully before deciding which is best for you.