Walnut Hill Landscape Company built a pool house featuring a kitchen area, a flat-screen TV and a separate pergola.
The pergola offers shade beside a vanishing-edge pool overlooking the Severn River.
McHale Landscape Design created a  pavilion made of cedar-timber beams and a cedar-shake roof.  © John Spaulding
A fieldstone fireplace, grilling station and serving counter surround the dining table.  © John Spaulding
Botanical Decorators designed a pergola featuring low-voltage lights to illuminate the seating area at night.
A fireplace made of Carderock stone reflects the main home's Craftsman architecture.
Fine Landscapes built a barn-style pavilion with a large fireplace and rustic Douglas fir beams.
Across the pool, a pergola shades a dining area while a spa below is flanked by custom cushions.
Kane Landscapes designed a poolside pergola that provides shade and anchors a stone fireplace and grilling station.
A fan, speakers and lights are integrated into the structure.
McHale Landscape Design created a  pavilion made of cedar-timber beams and a cedar-shake roof.  © John Spaulding
A fieldstone fireplace, grilling station and serving counter surround the dining table.  © John Spaulding
Botanical Decorators designed a pergola featuring low-voltage lights to illuminate the seating area at night.
A fireplace made of Carderock stone reflects the main home's Craftsman architecture.
Fine Landscapes built a barn-style pavilion with a large fireplace and rustic Douglas fir beams.
Across the pool, a pergola shades a dining area while a spa below is flanked by custom cushions.
Kane Landscapes designed a poolside pergola that provides shade and anchors a stone fireplace and grilling station.
A fan, speakers and lights are integrated into the structure.

Under Cover

From pergolas to pool houses, well-designed shelters protect against the elements in style

To many, relaxing by the pool is almost as enjoyable as diving in on a summer day—particularly when screened from the sun’s hot rays. Increasingly, homeowners planning a pool project choose to incorporate a shelter into their overall plan. Options range from simple pergolas and pavilions to elaborate pool houses decked out with kitchens and bars, audio-video systems, baths and changing rooms.

Pros advise clients to consider everything from functionality and size to positioning and style when designing a poolside shelter. “More and more people are looking for shade as opposed to full-on sun around swimming pools,” says Charles Owen of Fine Landscapes. He recommends siting structures on the western side of the pool for maximum shade as the sun sets.

While pergolas with comfortable seating can serve as ideal social and dining areas for pools sited close to the house, says Mike Prokopchak of Walnut Hill Landscape Company, a pool house “provides amenities for a ‘destination’ pool located farther away.”

However, Owen cautions homeowners against trying to fit too many features into a pool structure. “Don’t bite off more than you need,” he advises. “Assess what the absolute need is beyond creating shelter from sun and rain. Having a little fridge is not a bad thing, but whether you need running water or a bathroom—those are secondary considerations.”