Swimming pools and water gardens add a cooling note to backyards in the summer. Watching the sunlight glint off the water while enjoying a morning cup of coffee gets the day started right. A refreshing dip in the pool at the end of a hard day at work is relaxing. Gazing at the water garden while fish swim among the water lilies is calming.
Palm trees say you're in the tropics. Several varieties of palms do well in pots if gardening space around the pool is limited. Add ferns in the shade of the palms. Canna has wide leaves and brilliantly colored flowers in orange, red, yellow and salmon. Bougainvillea provides a broad swath of color but it does have thorns, so keep it away from the pool area and in the back of the beds. Orchids love humidity and warmth. They don't do well in potting or garden soil. Place pots of orchids in with the ferns. Cover their pots with sphagnum moss. Be generous so your pool area looks lush.
Pools provide resistance training because the water is more difficult to move through than air. Doing leg lifts in a pool makes the leg muscles work harder both lifting the leg and bringing it back down. Outfit your pool with a few additional amenities to enhance exercises. Install lattice work for shade. Grow vines that don't shed much over the lattice work. Vines that drop a lot of debris mean extra work for the pond filter. Lay a mat underneath the trellis for yoga exercises and stretching. Dig out an area and put in a baby plastic pool filled with sand. Running in place on sand is easier than on hard cement. Place a few plants like gardenias, nicotania or angel's trumpets to scent the air while you're cooling down from your exercise session.
Surround the pool with brightly colored terracotta pots filled with yellow coreopsis, red geraniums and blue salvia. Use hot colors like yellow, orange, red and gold with cooling notes of light blue and aqua. Add throw pillows on the lounge chairs in the same colors. Use accessories of wrought iron. Hang punctured tin lanterns filled with candles. Place the lanterns on tables as well. Plant bird of paradise with its exotic flowers in the shape of a bird's head and vibrant colors of orange, pink and blue. When nights are cool, light a small fire in a chiminea.