Pool edging is the lip or coping that surrounds the shape of the pool. Pool edging can vary in profile but generally follows the outline of the pool shape. The end result is an edge detail that looks similar to the edge details on a kitchen counter top---a flat surface that drops and forms an edge profile. Edge details can be plain concrete designs, concrete covered in tile or decorative stone slabs. Homeowners can decorate plain concrete pool edges after installing a pool.
Stencil the Edging
Design a stencil and apply it to the horizontal surface of the pool edge. Find pool and water images by searching coloring books and clip art. Enlarge the designs for pool side use and print them on stiff paper or card stock. Cut the shape out of the card stock and tape to clean, dry, dirt-free concrete. Apply the stencil first with a concrete paint primer and allow it to dry before applying the top coat of color. Use an indoor/outdoor concrete paint and a round stenciling brush or a sponge to apply the paint. Dab the brush or sponge on a piece of scrap cardboard to remove excess paint and then apply to the concrete. Work with no more than three colors for best visual results. Consider painting details on the stenciled image using concrete paint and an artist's paint brush over a solid color background
Build a Curve
Apply a curved tile to flat edges to create a rounder profile. This idea works best on flat, cantilevered pool edges. Use a rectangular or square tile with an arched-convex profile and a flat back. Apply to the edge using grout, just like any other ceramic tile installation. Choose a tile with a height that matches the height of the vertical pool edge for a flat, smooth grout line and transition from the pool deck. Empty the pool before beginning the process. Use a plastic drop cloth attached from the bottom of the pool edge detail, hanging down the wall and out into the pool floor to collect dropped grout easily.
Etch the Concrete
Use a Dremel tool and masonry (concrete) bit to etch designs into the concrete pool edge. Choose images that can be grouted with colored tiles and stones, and paint the interior of the etched image or leave the image as a decorative indention in the concrete. Use a stencil to outline the image onto the concrete before etching. Make sure the depth of the image allows items being placed inside to produce a flat, stumble-free surface. Practice on a concrete sample that matches what is already installed for best results. Start small---the whole edge of the pool shape does not need to be etched.