Natural Stone or Decking for Poolside Surrounds?

Both natural stone and decking have their advantages as materials used in poolside surrounds, but which one you should use depends on a number of factors. Here we’ll take a look at those factors and help you decide which one best suits your tastes and the demands of your Orange County, CA project.

Natural Stone

There’s no doubt that a natural stone poolside surround is the luxurious choice. Natural stone provides an authentic natural look and attractive, detailed texture that suits both naturalistic and geometric/modern pool designs. The cost and durability of the project varies greatly depending on the type of stone and where the stone is sourced from, but you can expect a lifetime worth of service from a high-quality natural stone that is selected on its water resistance and ability to endure sun exposure. Granite and flagstone are both excellent non-porous options. Bluestone is another poolside option that is popular because of the non-slip surface it provides.

Pros and Cons

Natural stone is sturdy, weather resistant and, depending on the properties of the stone selected, provides a surface that will not become slippery when wet. Although some fading may occur if not properly maintained, and jointing may require some patch ups every few years, maintenance for a natural stone poolside is few and far between. In fact, with properly installed, high-quality natural stone, a poolside patio or surrounds can last a lifetime with very little hassle. On the downside, natural stone can work out quite expensive if sourced internationally, but the initial outlay can be worth the money you’ll save on maintenance.

Related: Using Travertine in Landscape Construction

Natural Stone or Decking for Orange County CA Poolside Surrounds


Decking is an American favorite, and although many homeowners still prefer the look and feel of real timber, more durable options are now available to save on maintenance. Poolside decking is sometimes a preferable option where stone would be impossible because of topography or quality of the soil. Decking is also a good option for providing a surround to above ground pools and can be used to save on excavation where pools are built into hillsides. Composite decking that is treated against rot and mildew is definitely preferable when it comes to building poolside surrounds.

Pros and Cons

Decking is far less expensive than natural stone, but also not quite as well suited to the water exposure that comes with being so close to a pool. Decking requires seasonal maintenance, particularly when being exposed to pool water. Composite decking will alleviate some of the concerns for rot and mold, but will still require repairs and maintenance over time. Decking can also be quite slippery when wet. Although this is usually countered by grooves that run along the grain of the wood, this only protects from slipping in one direction. To ensure against this, a non-stick sealant or composite treatment is necessary.

Why not try a combination of both?

A feature of many modern homes, the combination of natural stone and wood provides a contrast of color and texture. Combinations of the two can provide the reliability of natural stone and the versatility of decking where multiple levels are desired or where additional patio space is needed as an add on.