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5 Ways to Create Gathering Spots in and Around Your Pool

Swimming pools are ideal gathering places for friends and family. We have five ways to create ideal spaces in an around your pool for people to come together.

Who doesn’t love hanging out at the pool on a beautiful summer day? But if you’re looking for ways to enhance your entertaining spots and encourage a gathering in your backyard space, here are plenty of ideas to get you started.

Your ideal entertainment space offers options. Family and friends love to gather around a big table, but it can be equally valuable to have multiple spaces with different environments that foster intimate conversations.

Swim-Up Bars

Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of the water, but the bar is where the action is! The convenience of a swim-up bar offers the best of both worlds. Swim-up bars are a natural gathering spot that encourages conversation. They also allow more people to comfortably use the pool: Several people may relax at the bar, while several others can continue floating, playing, and splashing.

blue tile covered stools built into pool

Swim-up bars can be included in pools of any shape. Depending on your desired shape, you can wrap the bar around the freeform poolside or opt for a clean line straight across the pool. Bars can be constructed of the same material and color as your pool or a complementary style. Add a shade element, such as a pergola or canopy, to shield guests from the blazing sun.


Use strategic lighting to add a bit of enchantment. Keep your space well-lit with multiple wall sconces rather than a single overly bright overhead fixture. Scatter votives around the space and string up twinkle lights or rope lights for a soft, magical glow.

Outdoor Kitchens

Let’s face it: The kitchen often becomes the main draw at many gatherings. So why not bring the kitchen outside? Yours can be simple and utilitarian or ornate and tricked out with all the latest gadgets. The key is to create a useful space that lets you stay in the middle of the conversation rather than running back inside throughout the gathering.

outdoor kitchen on patio next to home

Families find that outdoor kitchens extend their options even when they aren’t entertaining guests. For instance, if you have kids, they can stay in the pool while you’re making dinner.

Outdoor Dining Rooms

Dining al fresco can be one of the biggest summer joys if you have the right space. Add your own decorative flair to turn your basic patio into a dreamy dining area. Focus on comfort first: Remember, your outdoor dining space doesn’t need to be formal. Instead, go for cozy comfort that encourages those lingering conversations. Opt for extra-soft seating with lots of weatherproof pillows.

sitting area near kitchen with table set in background

Don’t have a table large enough to accommodate all your expected guests? No worries! Set several smaller tables with corresponding linens. Then use a small table for serving – even a garden stool or small side table can be elegantly dressed with a stylish serving tray.


Express yourself through color. Anchor your space with a bright solid color, then layer it with vibrant patterns. For a sitting area, choose a weatherproof cushion and add fun pillows. For a dining space, start with a tablecloth for a pop of color, then layer the look with patterned napkins.

Conversation Pits

For a more serene atmosphere, consider a sunken sitting area. A conversation pit is a cozy hangout that sits slightly lower than the surrounding area. This unique outdoor feature in your outdoor space creates the feeling of separation from the rest of the backyard.

pool with swim up bar and dolphin figurine

Whether you choose stone, brick, concrete, wood, or another material that stands up to weather, you can personalize your conversation pit with outdoor pillows, weatherproof rugs, and even a center table with a fire bowl for ultimate coziness. Be sure to use outdoor furniture that can stand up to the elements.

Conversation pits can act as an architectural option in your pool. For an even more dramatic setting, captivate your guests with cozy seating surrounded by crystal blue pool water.


For a serene, dreamy ambiance, surround your dining area with potted greenery. The natural flair of tall outdoor plants is not only beautiful but adds privacy as well.

Fire Pits

Bonfires can be a centerpiece in all seasons! From s’mores to sing-alongs, a summer party is always more fun sitting around a fire. Your fire pit is sure to become a centerpiece of your outdoor entertaining.

outdoor fire pit with golf course in background

Adding a fire pit allows your outdoor space to be used comfortably even on cooler evenings. A poolside fire pit is lovely for warming up after a swim. Or situate your fire pit in a separate area of your yard to bring family and friends together after swim season is over.

If you don’t want to commit to a permanent fire pit, consider a modular fire pit bowl or fire table surrounded by cozy outdoor furniture that can be moved wherever feels right for a particular event.

Keep the Conversation Flowing

Everything about your backyard gatherings is unique – from the guests to the gastronomy. However you choose to entertain, be sure to offer options that make everyone feel comfortable.

family eating outdoors under hanging string lights