When the summer sun is high in the sky, its rays drenching you in glorious warmth as the breeze carries gentle, fresh scents and the pool water is in that perfect temperature range - there’s nothing more beautiful than a swimming pool.
However - when you look out the window, there it is, the big ugly pool filter perched on a couple of flat concrete patio pavers surrounded by stone. Gangly PVC pipes arc up then down, bending towards that noisy pool pump sitting atop a couple blocks, and then back to the pool wall, delivering that oh-so refreshing, clean and clear water back to your big, beautiful pool in the middle of your yard.
What are you going to do? Get rid of the pool? Good luck with that in the middle of summer if you ever want to have your kids talk to you again. Get rid of the pool equipment and become the owner of a man-made, mosquito-breeding, algae-growing swamp? Not a good idea, either.
Hide the Pool Equipment Ideas
Hiding pool equipment can lend to great creative decisions since there are endless options from landscaping to ready-to-assemble fence-like screens and boxes at your favorite home improvement store to building something unique on your own or with a skilled carpenter.
Plants or bushes are a natural way to hide ugly pool equipment, and there is a natural upside to using greenery to screen pool filters and other items.
There are several things to keep in mind when deciding to put landscaping around your pool filter, starting with plants Not to Use around a pool.
Plants, trees and shrubs to Avoid around pools:
- Avoid thorny, irritating plants – especially if your pool takes up a sizeable portion of your yard. Swimmers in swim suits won’t like brushing up against prickly bushes very much.
- Avoid large deciduous plants or trees. Falling leaves or twigs can muck up your pool water and its filtering system while adding even more time to your pool maintenance schedule.
- Do not plant trees or bushes that are known to have a sprawling root system. Roots can destroy your pool from where you can’t even see what’s happening to stop it.
- Leave out flowering trees and bushes, too. Fruit and berry trees can stain your pool and deck, and attract insects and winged creatures.
Plants, trees and shrubs that work best around your pool are short to medium-height, low-litter, and evergreen. The specific types of these plants will vary greatly depending on the climate you live in.
Landscaping to Hide Pool Equipment
- Boxwoods are very hearty and go dormant for the winter (at least in the north) but they don’t lose many leaves. Boxwoods grow to be very plush and thick, making these great for screening big and small pieces of pool equipment. They are also easy to trim, giving you the change to be a little creative with the backyard landscape if you choose to.
- Japanese holly and box honeysuckle. These are leafier versions of the boxwoods and can grow rather tall if you let them grow unabated. Like boxwoods, these types of plants are very full and thick, creating a great privacy hedge.
- Daisy bush is a hardy hedge that loves full sun and partial shade, giving you great flexibility around your pool. The daisy bush’s tint is a unique hue of gray for something different, but these plants will need pruning a couple times of year or they can look somewhat unwieldly with lengthy trimming neglect.
- Pennisetum, also known as “Fairy Tails” is a tall, hardy grass that doesn’t seed and isn’t invasive. These plants will give your backyard a charming, whispy touch that will compliment more “boxy” evergreen hedges perfectly. There are many other types of taller, prairie-like grasses that but some grasses die or wilt in the winter time.
- Agave & Yucca are great and low-maintenance, but if you live in a colder climate you will need to take extra precautions like covering the plants to protect them throughout the winter. You should also avoid planting these types of plants with a northern exposure for added winter protection.
- Palm plants and trees are ideal if you live in southern, coastal regions. Chinese Palms can flourish in most parts of the country. There are many varieties of palms that are short, full and perfect as a screen to hide pool equipment. Palms, except for a few taller varieties, are low maintenance and won’t shed fronds into your pool.
Using Enclosures to Hide Pool Equipment
Building a pool filter enclosure, whether it’s a simple flip-top box or an elaborate walk-in shed to hide your pool equipment can be an easy, cost-effective way of beautifying your pool area and backyard space. Choosing an enclosure to hide a pool pump and filter is limited only by your creativity and, perhaps, your woodworking abilities.
Screens to Hide Pool Equipment
Most privacy screens that you can purchase from a home improvement store are made of vinyl resin. Using pre-fab vinyl fence panels has many advantages:
- Inexpensive and easy to install. Most privacy screens have connected stake-like legs on the bottom that secure the screen panels into the ground for stability. Sectional and modular panels are connected to each other with steel bolts, and can be angled into many positions.
- Durable in all types of weather. Vinyl doesn’t fade in the sun and it won’t rust in the rain, snow and ice, which means these enclosures will look new for a long time. When the panels get dirty, spraying them with a garden hose usually is enough to get them clean.
- Variety – There are many, many different types and styles of vinyl screen panels readily available almost everywhere. You can find traditional picket-fence, or prairie-style panels, or go for colors and textures molded to look like real wood panels or bamboo sheets.
Walls to Hide Pool Equipment
Adding a roof to a pool equipment enclosure adds another level of complexity, and may not be as attractive as a 2 or 3 sided tall wall. Faster to construct, and no head-room issues for tall guys like me.
- Wood – Whether it’s natural wood, stained, painted, rescued from a crumbling barn or repurposed from another project, wood evokes an emotional response, and no matter the construction style, wood almost always fits in with any outdoor surrounding.
- Concrete – Constructing concrete walls takes some real talent and special tools, but if you know how to create a concrete enclosure you will certainly have special, unique-looking and highly durable enclosure that can also provide winter protection to your pool equipment. If you choose concrete, remember to use sealer, since it is porous and allows water to penetrate. You can also paint a cement wall to any color or with any design, as well as using stained or colored concrete.
- Stone – This material has incredible variety, from small and round pebbles to long, flat blocks like flag stone, along with different colors, shapes and textures. Like concrete, creating stone walls or enclosures takes a rather advanced skill set, but that work reaps an incredible reward of a natural, classic and ageless look.
- Glass – For ultra-modern homes, glass panels are the ideal material for pool-equipment-hiding enclosures. Depending on your budget, you could theoretically surround your entire pool with privacy glass, creating an open-air feel or more private setting with a protective barrier around your pool.
- Vinyl – Much like the ready-to-assemble vinyl panels you can buy at the big home improvement stores, vinyl is available in board-like planks which gives you the ability to create your own type of enclosure. Many places also offer vinyl boards made from recycled materials, and with life-like wood grain color and texture.
Sheds to Hide Pool Equipment
There’s one more option for the pool equipment enclosure possibilities, and that is building and furnishing a shed or full-on pool house. Ideally, this type of enclosure espouses both form and function, hiding the equipment eyesore in front of you while delivering useful space for storing pool tools, supplies and pool chemicals. Of course, these types of pool equipment enclosures will take either a hefty budget or excellent construction skills. Here are some ideas:
- Pool box – Hiding unsightly pool pumps and filters is the main purpose of a pool equipment box, but it also protects pipes and pumps from rain, snow, sun and downed tree branches. If your pump and filter sits up against a wall, you only have to build 3 sides to your enclosure, along with a hinged lid, or front access door panels. Give yourself plenty of room to work on the equipment, don't box it in too tightly, and no matter what type of pool equipment enclosure you use, be sure to provide adequate ventilation for the pump motor.
- Pool shed – Normally, sheds are used to house garden tools, lawn mowers and other yard maintenance tools and items, but there’s nothing saying you can’t house your pool equipment in a shed, too. Whether you build one from blue prints or get a DIY kit from the hardware store, using a shed to hide your ugly pool filter and pump is a great idea. Most likely you’ll be able to store other items in the shed, too, including yard tools, pool toys, pool floats and even some smaller pieces of pool furniture.
- Pool house – Wouldn’t we all love to have a private, enclosed structure where swimmers can towel off and change clothes without tracking water, chlorine and grass blades through the house. If you have the means, a pool house is the way to go, and depending on your yard space or budget, you can make your pool house so much more than just a pool. Just make sure you have extra room for easy service access to the pool filter and pump, without reaching, twisting or squatting.
Depending on your budget and the effort you want to expend, the choices of ways to hide your pool equipment is as endless as your imagination, creativity and skill set. From basic and inexpensive, to lavish and a budget on par with a small nation’s GDP, research and discover what works for you and your yard. Just be sure to plant, build or install something that is compatible with your regional climate as well as your style and taste.
If you're still undecided or want more ideas, see this previous post by Bob"Should you Enclose your Pool Equipment?"