Gorgeous Pools and Pool Houses

From the summer house of an heiress-turned-business maven to the private escapes of top designers, the editors of Flower magazine round up their favorite pools and pool houses

Pavilions and Pool Houses


A pool bordered by allées of olive trees leads the gaze to a Neoclassical pool house in Atherton, California. Architect Eric J. Smith worked with landscape architect Peter Cummin on the formal grounds. The pool house serves as the property’s focal point from the rear of the main house, mirroring the symmetry of the home’s Georgian facade. In Flower magazine’s book review of Renewing Tradition: The Architecture of Eric J. Smith, we show you the view looking from the other direction. Photo by Peter Margonelli

A blue pool leads to a covered brick patio of the pool house, which features wood columns across the front and an aged metal roof and brick chimney


“It’s like Southern style meets Hamptons style,” says designer James Farmer. When the Martin family renovated their historic home in Oak Bowery, Alabama, an old barn on the property found a new life as a backyard pool house. A long porch across the front offers a shady respite just steps from the curved edge of the pool’s entrance, where a wide platform invites wading. Photo by Emily Followill

Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House 2020


The Palm Beach landscape design team of Nievera Williams Design, Inc. designed the pool and garden at the 2020 Kips Bay Palm Beach team. They call the garden a “Palmetto Paradise” designed in the Mughal Style of Persian architecture. Photo © Sargent Architectural Photography. See more highlights from the Kips Bay Palm Beach house.

pools and fountains


When Flower magazine highlighted Hamptons florist Michael Grim in 2013, we got an exclusive peek into the Wainscott backyard of one of his clients—none other than Aerin Lauder, style and image director for the Estée Lauder Companies and founder of the luxury lifestyle brand AERIN. Grim decorated white picnic tables with blue and white hydrangeas for a pool party. Photo by Tria Giovan

A glistening teal pool leads to a beige pool house.

French Frolic

The vaulted pool house of this Dallas home with interiors by Kara Adam provides a gathering spot to escape the heat. The pool side of the pavilion features a charming eyebrow dormer. All of the outdoor furniture is upholstered in Perennials Fabrics. See more from the pavilion and this art-filled family home in “Artfully Designed.” Photo by Michael Hunter

richard keith langham, pool house


Richard Keith Langham often serves pre-dinner drinks in the tented pavilion by the pool at his South Hampton, New York summer home. The plastic pink flamingos keep things playful and fun. Photo by Michael Mundy

Bunny Williams garden, pool house


Designer Bunny Williams’ pool house on her 12-acre Connecticut estate is a rustic ode to a classic Greek temple. Found fallen white oak trees became rusticated versions of Greek columns. For a clever finishing touch, Williams used pinecones to fill in the pediment. The result has become an architectural landmark as well as an oft used space to entertain casually in the summer. Photo by Mick Hales

A round turquoise swimming pool gleams in the setting sun.

In the Round

Blue is a recurring theme outdoors at Grey Gardens, from the garden gates to Liz’s table linens on the East terrace. Munder-Skiles chaise longues, designed by Mark Sikes, accompany the round pool for a charming outdoor tableau. The pavilion beyond was drawn by architects Bories & Shearron. See more of Grey Gardens’ renovation. Photo by Michael Mundy

A scalloped-edge bright green tent stands next to a teal pool in lieu of a pool house.

Lush Life

Architects Richard Bories and James Shearron designed the tent beside Kate Rheinstein Brodsky’s pool to serve as a temporary pool house that packs away during the colder seasons. Appointed in varying shades of green, it blends with the lush landscape. See more of Kate’s garden and outdoor entertaining tips. Photo by Tria Giovan.

Pools for Play and Lounging

elegant pool and patio area furnished with outdoor seating and potted plants


For landscape artist Melissa Gerstle’s work in the Fall 2020 Kips Bay Decorators Showhouse, she created a Hollywood Regency feel for the pool and patio. Poolside daybeds with sleek cocktail tables were designed by Melissa. Photo by Stephen Karlisch. See more of Melissa Gerstle’s designs and our Q&A with the designer.


The collaboration of homeowners Anne and Matt Hamilton, and designer Nick Fobes of Hoerr Schaudt, resulted in a refined melding of land and sea, house and pool that wordlessly underscores the Hamiltons’ respect for this fragile coast, as well as the team’s determination to preserve it. Photo by Kindra Clineff. See more of the Hamilton’s Newport garden made for entertaining.


Expansive views of rolling hills and lemon groves await those lucky enough to be invited for a swim at designer Jennifer Amodei‘s pool. Nestled in a small town in Southern California, the 30-acre property features two acres of formal gardens, as well as a pair of charming stone buildings near the pool that serve as changing cabanas. Photo by Todd Tyler

hamptons houses, pool


Trey and Jenny Laird assumed that a small cornfield at the end of their Hamptons property was communal. Upon discovering it was theirs, they suddenly had room for a pool and pavilion. “We created an outdoor living room where we spend most of our summer days,” says Jenny. See more Hamptons houses in an excerpt from Out East: Houses and Gardens of the Hamptons by Jennifer Ash Rudick. Photo by Tria Giovan

Steve Martino, desert gardens


A smooth, coral-colored wall, complete with a built-in fireplace and lighting, provides a backdrop for the seating area in a poolside garden designed by Steve Martino. Low planters flank the seating area, while another planter, built around two existing palm trees, projects into the pool. Photo by Steve Gunther

Highland Park house backyard, water feature


Living space at this home with Denise McGaha designed interiors extends into a backyard oasis, with porch swings and dining areas set amid stone-lined fountains and a pool. The soothing sound and Zen-like design of the backyard pool and water features provide serenity and privacy, particularly desirable given the proximity of neighboring Highland Park houses. Photo by Stephen Karlisch. See Denise McGaha’s interiors from this Dallas home renovation.

Photo of a courtyard pool. The trellis that garden designer Fernando Wong attached to the surrounding walls features a grid of squares crisscrossed by diagonal bars.


Internationally renowned garden and landscape designer Fernando Wong used a geometric design of confederate jasmine to define the pool area of a Palm Beach home. Photo by Carmel Brantley

Steve Martino, desert gardens


In this Steve Martino-designed garden, the pool reflects Blue Palo Verde trees, the state tree of Arizona. They bloom every spring when desert plants come alive with brilliant colors. Photo by Steve Gunther

charlotte moss garden


Are you surprised this perfectly styled East Hamptons pool belongs to the inimitable Charlotte Moss? Here, she sits poolside with Daisy, one of her Cavalier King Charles spaniels. The McKinnon and Harris sofa is a favorite spot to relax. Photo by Michael Mundy from the book Living Floral by Margot Shaw, Flower magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief

Free-form, zero edge swimming pool


This Keith Williams landscape’s free-form, zero-edge pool provides a calming moment compared to the densely planted areas along the sides and front of the Jupiter Island, Florida house. Photo by Michael Stavaridis. See more from this diverse seaside garden.


Rebuilding an early 20th-century home in Birmingham, Alabama, after a fire meant major construction. Homeowners Patty B. and Dave Driscoll took the opportunity to cut the pool in half, filling it in so they would have more space to garden and entertain. Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Hundred-year-old olive trees create a shady canopy, while the pool evokes what Scott Shrader calls “old school glamour.”


Hundred-year-old olive trees create a shady canopy by a pool, evoking a scene that Scott Shrader describes as “old-school glamour” in his book The Art of Outdoor Living (Rizzoli New York, 2019). See Flower‘s book review. 

The courtyard pool abuts the living room and kitchen in the open-air home


Australian artist Marcella Kaspar and her husband, designer Mark Cooper, built their open-air home based on the premise of five-star resort living. “We love the concept of the indoor and outdoor areas merging, so the house was oriented around a central courtyard with a pool,” says Kaspar. “This means the house is always cool in summer, and we enjoy the wonderful play of light as reflections from the water move through the interior spaces.” Photo by Simon Kenny/Living Inside


The pool at this New Orleans home is nothing short of an oasis, where Queen Palms tower overhead, poolside planters double as fountains, and mosaic containers brim with flowers and greenery. Photo by Eugenia Uhl

Produced by Jason Burnett and Terri Robertson