Whether you’ve had a pool for years and your existing fence is in need of replacement or you’re considering adding a backyard pool but you’re unsure of where to start, you’ll need a fence that is both safe and matches your desired aesthetic. The good news is that there’s certainly no shortage of pool fencing ideas for you to draw on, and instead of leaving you with a blight on your backyard, they can actually enhance the feeling of your outdoor area while also helping keep that pool safe for you and your family.
But the problem is that some types of pool fencing are hardly ideal for the task. Fences that are too low or not robust enough to prevent unauthorized access may not be safe enough for daily use, especially if you have kids or pets. It’s also true that pricing varies wildly from the bottom of the market to the top — and price may not indicate security or reliability, so it’s important to consider everything before making your final decision.
After all, a permanent fence around that backyard pool is a big decision, and going with a temporary solution is no way to safeguard that pool. In fact, many fences are more decorative than functional, merely indicating that a given pool is off limits but not actually preventing that unauthorized access that could lead to some kind of accident. Even if you don’t have kids of your own, your neighborhood likely does, and if you’re away on vacation and an accident happens, you’ll wish you would have spent more time on those swimming pool fence ideas.
That said, just about every pool fencing idea has some value. The secret is to match your needs with the fence you get so that the fence does not only what you need it to do, but that it also doesn’t disrupt your backyard area with more clutter and things that you don’t want around your pool area. But you’ll have to do something. After birth defects, pool drownings are the number one cause of death for children between the ages of one and four, and it only takes seconds for a child to slip by undetected and into the pool area, even if they were last seen in the home.
Here are some pool fencing ideas to keep in mind as you make your decision.
Wooden Pool Fencing Ideas
Fences have been made from wood for hundreds of years due to their lightweight but rigid structure that acts as a great property boundary and a way to signify to others that a given area is off limits.
But when you’re working with wood, just about anything is fair game. From DIY fences to commercial options that may feature prefab sections that can be easily installed at home, a wooden pool fence can provide a classic look — but due to its exposure to nearby water from the pool, they’re also prone to splitting, cracking and rotting, which can jeopardize the integrity of the pool fence itself, as well as introduce hazards to nearby swimmers.
Sure, a raw wood fence looks great and rustic, but if there are splinters all over the pool deck and all that splashing and water inevitably causes the wood to rot, you’ll end up with a deteriorating pool fencing idea that is hardly up to par. To prevent chipping and rotting, most people end up treating or painting that wooden fence, but that also means keeping up on maintenance and ensuring that the wooden fence is kept clean and dry before real damage starts to happen.
From lattice fencing to traditional pickets, wood fences run the gamut from quaint and cozy to huge vertical behemoths and everything in between. Unfortunately, they’re not an ideal pool deck fencing idea because the sustained water exposure can lead to damage in short order even with proper maintenance and care.
Glass Pool Fencing Ideas
For a great pool fencing idea that looks good and provides the necessary security that pool deck areas need, today’s glass pool fencing is made from thick sheets of safety glass called balustrades that are much heavier and more durable than traditional glass. Featuring some kind of metal posting structure to provide rigidity and support, glass pool fencing is ideal when visibility is important.
Unfortunately, glass fencing is also super expensive, running as much as $200 per foot. It’s also a huge maintenance pain as those glass panes attract dust, fingerprints and other grime that will be highly visible through the transparent glass. But if you don’t mind the price and the almost daily need for cleaning and maintenance, a glass fence is one of the most visually striking inground pool fencing ideas because it provides the safety you need while preserving sight lines.
Vinyl Pool Fencing Ideas
Providing a nice alternative to wood fences that need lots of care and attention to prevent the water from rotting and destroying it, vinyl pool fencing ideas are similar to wood in look but without the ongoing maintenance need. Instead of having to keep up with painting, vinyl fencing offers a cheap way to get the security you need without the annoyance of maintenance.
The best part is that vinyl fencing comes in various colors and designs so that you can meet your exact aesthetic need. However, vinyl fencing won’t fool any close-up scrutiny as vinyl looks like wood from a distance but hardly passes muster up close. But if you’re okay with the look of vinyl, it could be a great pool fencing idea as it should last longer than traditional wood fencing, particularly around a pool area that’s exposed to so much water.
That said, vinyl fencing is typically a solid barrier with non-existent or small openings that don’t do a great job at letting the wind through. If you live in a windy area, a vinyl fence could be vulnerable to wind damage; the same thing that makes vinyl fencing bad in windy areas is also what makes it bad for visibility, so if sight lines are important you may want to go with another option.
Alternative Pool Fencing Ideas
Alternative pool fencing options are also available, but for various reasons they’re not ideal in most situations.
There’s bamboo, which is a strong and durable pool fencing option — and they even resist termites. They look great and can provide a unique look for your backyard pool area, especially if you’re going for a tropical theme, and they also can help dial up the privacy around your pool area. However, if you live in a dry area that’s prone to wildfires, you may want to rethink that bamboo option. They combust quickly, which can put your home at greater chance of catching fire in the instance of a local wildfire.
While it won’t win any aesthetic awards, mesh pool fencing is another viable pool fence idea, though it may not leave the same impression of our other options. Primarily used as a stop-gap until you can get permanent fencing up around your pool, mesh fencing is relatively cheap and provides a similar see-through look of glass without the expense. But it’s also one of the less secure options and a sharp object or a knife may be all that’s needed to compromise the security.
The Real Deal – Metal Pool Fencing Options
For many homeowners, the only real fencing option is a metal fence. They’re strong, preserve sightlines and look great, and they’re more affordable than you may think. The three main metal options are iron, steel and aluminum.
The first option, iron, has been used for centuries as fencing around homes and public places, though it’s immensely heavy and hard to work with. Iron will also corrode outside, so it requires regular maintenance to prevent rust and rotting. Today, wrought iron has been largely replaced by lighter, cheaper and more efficient metals.
Continuing with the strength angle, tubular steel is a relatively lightweight metal option compared to iron, though it’s still not immune to weather, wetness and the damage that comes with it. That’s because just like iron, steel rusts, and you’ll need to spend much of your time applying primers and paints to ensure that your steel fence doesn’t deteriorate over time. It’s also relatively expensive.
Which brings us to our final option: aluminum. Unlike iron and steel, it won’t corrode or rot, making it a great option around the wet areas of a pool deck. Aluminum can also be used to create looks reminiscent of old wrought iron fences, which is always a great option wherever you need a secure and stable fence. Rather than wood or vinyl fencing that blocks off the sight lines, an aluminum fence is secure enough to prevent unauthorized access while still retaining visibility from inside the home and out from the pool area.
Because it won’t rust, aluminum pool fencing needs virtually no maintenance to protect its integrity, and it also comes in various colors so that you can match your aesthetic need. If you’d like a classic wrought iron look, black paint can’t be beat. But for more desert landscapes or buildings with lighter hues, a white fence can dial up the security while also blending with its surroundings, giving you the utility you need without disrupting your landscaping.
While aluminum fencing may not be the most private option, it does strike the balance between security, maintenance and cost that other options don’t. But inside or outside of that fence you can easily add shrubs or other plants that can give you privacy while the fence provides the protection and security that you need.
For more on your aluminum pool fencing options, browse our dozens of styles here.