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River Rock is Best for Stylish Landscaping Around Your Above Ground Pool (2024)

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What kind of rock do you put around an above ground poolLooking to spruce up the area around your above ground pool?

River rock is the way to go.

It’s affordable, comes in a variety of colors and sizes, and helps keep your pool area neat and tidy.

The rounded edges are easy on feet, and the rocks allow proper drainage and prevent messy mulch and dirt from spreading.

With a stylish, finished look that complements any backyard, river rock is the best bet for landscaping around your above ground pool.

Key Takeaways

  • Use landscape fabric weed barrier beneath river rock to prevent plant growth
  • Leave a drainage gap between rock and pool wall
  • Handle materials safely – wet river rock can be slippery
  • Avoid using pea gravel or limestone around the pool

Above Ground Pool Landscaping Materials

Above Ground Pool Landscaping Materials

  • River rock, also called egg rock, is a popular choice for its large, rounded edges.
  • Landscape gravel provides a classic look that’s budget-friendly.
  • Red stone can add a stylish splash of color that complements pool water and decking.

River Rock

River rock provides an aesthetically pleasing and stable landscaping material around your above-ground pool.

Creative arrangements and color combinations of river jacks lend unique installations for pool landscaping.

Their smooth, rounded edges promote safety measures.

River rocks stay nestled in place, drain well, and are budget-friendly options for landscaping around your pool wall.

Landscape Gravel

You’ll also find landscape gravel works well for landscaping around above-ground pools.

Blends of colorful stone add accent colors that complement pool themes.

Rake gravel smooth periodically to promote good drainage.

Mixing river rock and landscape gravel along creative edging makes a striking design.

Take safety measures on slippery gravel, and keep pets off to avoid swallowed rocks.

Alternative materials like bricks suit formal settings.

Red Stone

After checking out the landscape gravel options, you’d do well to consider using red stone around your above-ground pool for a bold, dramatic look.

Pure red landscape stone offers a vibrant pop of color and aesthetically pleasing landscaping, though it’s best used in areas where bare feet won’t be crossing to access the pool.

When incorporated properly, red stone can spruce up pool landscaping with eye-catching hues that complement pool liners and accessories with red tones.

Stay vigilant about preventing weeds and exercising proper pool edge safety.

Benefits of Using River Rock

Benefits of Using River Rock
When it comes to landscaping material for your above-ground pool, river rock is a great option to consider.

River rock:

  • Stays neatly in place
  • Provides good drainage around the pool
  • Has an aesthetically pleasing, natural look
  • Makes maintenance like weeding easier due to its rounded edges

Aesthetically Pleasing

With its rounded stones and natural colors, river rock brings beauty and style to pool landscaping for you.

  • Color Options: grey, tan, burgundy
  • Design Combinations: with textures
  • Seasonal Adaptation: for year-round interest

The texture contrast and creative arrangements possible with river rock make it an aesthetically pleasing choice for your pool’s landscaping.

Stays In Place

You’ll find river rock stays neatly in place around your above-ground pool while allowing water to drain.

The rounded shape and weight of river rock allow it to interlock and resist erosion better than other materials.

This stability also makes river rock versatile to design around.

Avoid loose rocks that could trip pool users by keeping the area well-maintained.

Benefits Drawbacks
Stays in place Can be slippery when wet
Good drainage Price may be higher than gravel
Versatile landscaping Requires maintenance
Resists erosion Supervision required for pets

Good Drainage

Its rounded shape allows the river rock to promote proper drainage around your pool:

  • Prevents standing water and moisture damage
  • Allows rainfall and splash out to permeate down
  • Keeps base of pool wall dry
  • Nest together unlike sharper rocks that shift

How to Install River Rock Around Pool

How to Install River Rock Around Pool

  • Outline the area around your pool, about 2 feet out.
  • Lay down landscape fabric weed barrier.
  • Fill the outlined area with your preferred river rock.
  • Leave a gap between the rock and pool wall.
  • Maintain the rock by:
    • Spraying weed killer.
    • Removing debris.
    • Occasionally rinsing.

Weed Barrier

One must lay down a material weed block between the metal edging and the pool before filling the area with river rock.

This weed barrier prevents unwanted plant growth between the decorative rocks, reducing maintenance needs.

Simply overlap sections of landscape fabric, secure edges with landscape pins, and cut openings for plants you wish to keep.

Then fill with your preferred rock for a stylish, low-maintenance solution around your above-ground pool.

Filling Area

How would you then fill the cleared and edged area with river rock to complete the installation around your above-ground pool?

Using a wheelbarrow, shovel the river rock into the area, spreading it evenly across the installed weed barrier up to the metal edging.

  • Check for low spots to promote drainage.
  • Blend rock colors for visual interest.
  • Leave space between rocks for weeds.


Having installed the river rock around your above-ground pool, maintain the area by:

  • Regularly removing debris and leaves from the rock.
  • Spraying with Roundup to prevent weed growth.
  • Occasionally rinsing the rock clean.
  • Reapplying weed block as needed.

Stay vigilant in:

  • Keeping pets off the landscaping rocks.
  • Properly handling the solar cover to prevent tears.

Stylish edging and good drainage help river rock complement your pool’s aesthetic.

Pea Gravel Not Recommended
You’ll want to avoid using pea gravel around your above-ground pool because its small size allows for easy displacement. The tiny pebbles can get tracked around by feet and simply be swept away, creating safety concerns.

Consider alternative options like river rock instead, which stays neatly in place with its larger, rounded shape.

For landscaping maintenance, focus on periodically spraying river rock with Roundup or similar herbicides to prevent weed growth.

You can create attractive designs using different colored river rock to complement your pool liner.

According to many positive user experiences shared on online forums, river rock not only functions better than pea gravel but also enhances the stylish look of above-ground pools beautifully.

Avoid Using Limestone

Avoid Using Limestone
When landscaping around your above-ground pool, avoid using white/gray stone as it can corrode metal liners due to its limestone composition. Instead, select natural stone in earthy hues like river rock or brown landscape stone.

For slope stability around the pool’s perimeter, use landscape timbers or bricks to create a retaining wall.

Consider how bare feet will interface with your design. Opt for smooth surfaces and rounded edges on hardscaping materials.

Most importantly, create a safe, stylish, low-maintenance oasis for pool enjoyment using the right stone selection.

Shop Landscape Supply for Materials

Shop Landscape Supply for Materials
From avoiding limestone, you can get river rock and other quality landscaping materials directly at Landscape Supply yards.

With options like River Jacks, Brown, and Red Landscape Stone, these specialty retailers offer everything needed for DIY installation around your above-ground pool while meeting safety measures.

Compared to big box stores, you’ll get better weed prevention with professional-grade landscape fabric plus a wider variety of barefoot-friendly, color options for a similar cost.

For landscaping an above-ground pool, no place has the solutions that landscape supply yards do – from materials to advice from seasoned experts.

With the proper materials in hand, transforming the area around your pool into a stylish, functional space is within reach.

Exercise Caution on Wet River Rock

Exercise Caution on Wet River Rock
After shopping for materials, it’s time to think about safety when installing river rock. While beautiful, river rock can become slippery when wet. Since it will surround a pool, caution is warranted. The smooth, rounded edges that make river rock ideal for bare feet also make it hazardous when soaked.

Don’t let injuries put a damper on your stylish new landscaping. Take safety measures by wearing proper footwear like water shoes with good traction.

A few simple injury prevention steps will keep your poolside oasis safe for family and friends to enjoy for years to come. With the right safeguards, river rock’s beauty around your above ground pool will outweigh any slippery concerns.

Keep Pets Off Landscaping Rocks

Keep Pets Off Landscaping Rocks
You’ll want to keep your pets off the landscaping rocks around your above-ground pool to prevent them from ingesting the rocks, which can lead to serious health issues.

Sharp-edged rocks like river rock can damage your pet’s mouth, throat, and digestive tract if swallowed.

Additionally, landscaping rocks around a pool can get slick when wet, causing footing issues for pets.

Consider creating a separate pet-friendly zone in your yard with softer materials like mulch or turf.

When pets must cross the rock area, keep them leashed and pick up any loose rocks they could swallow.

With some simple precautions, you can keep pets safe while still using river rock to beautifully landscape your above-ground pool area.

Proper Solar Cover Handling

Proper Solar Cover Handling
You should fold the edges of the solar cover in as you take it off the pool.

This edge folding technique prevents the cover from dragging on the ground and picking up dirt or leaves.

Store the solar cover in a cool, dry place during winter months or when not in use.

Avoid leaving it sitting wet on a concrete or sandy surface.

When walking on a wet solar cover, take precautions against slips or falls.

Consider storing it on a rack or using a solar cover holder to elevate it off damp surfaces.

For winter care, clean and dry the cover thoroughly before storage.

Adding 1-2 inches of crushed stone around the pool’s perimeter helps level any uneven areas for easier solar cover handling and storage.

Keep pets off solar covers to prevent damage from claws or chewing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size river rock is best for around an above ground pool?

Use large 3-4-inch river rocks around your above-ground pool.

They won’t damage the liner, are comfortable on bare feet, promote drainage, and stay in place better than small rocks.

Layer them 2-3 inches deep after installing weed barrier fabric for low maintenance.

How deep should the rock bed be around an above ground pool?

Dig the rock bed at least 3-4 inches deep around a pool’s perimeter.

This creates drainage and stability for the rocks, preventing shifting while allowing rainwater to filter through.

Deeper is better, but 3-4 inches provides an adequate base layer.

How often do I need to reapply weed block fabric around my pool?

You’ll need to reapply weed block fabric around your above-ground pool every 2-3 years.

This landscape fabric prevents weeds from growing up through the rocks.

Check it each spring and replace any sections that are damaged or degraded.

What kind of edging material should I use to border the rock bed?

Install metal or plastic edging around the rock bed for a clean, finished look.

This neat border keeps the rocks contained and prevents spreading.

Use sturdy, 6-8 inch tall edging that will hold up over time.

Stake it into the ground according to package directions for a secured border around your pool’s rock area.

What is the most cost effective type of river rock?

For price and versatility, medium river rock offers the best value.

Skipping pea gravel and opting for larger river rocks reduces material costs.

Nesting and drainage remain excellent with less rock.

Just ensure edges are smooth for bare feet and to facilitate weeding.


Well, golly, seems we’ve come to the end of our little journey here.

We learned that river rock is the cat’s pajamas for styling up that above-ground pool of yours.

With its breezy good looks and practical nature, this landscape rock checks all the boxes.

Just be sure to lay down that weed barrier first, keep Spot off the stones, and handle that solar cover with care.

With a few easy steps, you’ll be lounging poolside in no time – your summer just got a whole lot sunnier!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.