A large part of how your new swimming pool looks has to do with the area around it or the landscaping and the hardscaping. The term landscaping refers to the things in the dirt which includes plants, turf, large rocks, ground cover and mulching materials. The hardscape refers to the pergolas, patio area and other places that are used to sit on or around.
One of the main things you need to do is to make the hardscape fit your lifestyle. Do you want to be able to easily walk around the entire pool? This will keep you from putting in a water feature (waterfall) that may block the walkway.
Keep maintenance in mind as well. How much work do you want to put into it. Do you like gardening? Or would you rather sit around the pool? Remember on top of the gardening you will be cleaning the pool too. Unless you intend to pay someone to do that. Try to keep grassy areas away from the new swimming poolas it will keep grass clippings out of the new swimming pool, or at least help.
Economy of space may be the watch word for you if you have a swimming pool in a small back area like I do. I have added landscaping over the years as it fit our lifestyle. Initially I wanted a fire pit and could have put one in. I bought a cheap one and rarely used it. It did not fit my lifestyle I guess so I am glad I did not go to the extra expense.
Selecting the new plants for your new swimming poolwill actually set the ambiance for the pool area. There are some practical things to think about though as well:
Is your new swimming pool in a very dry area like Arizona or currently California? These are 2 different situations concerning water as one is permanent and I hope the other is not.
Where do you want to be when you are around your pool? Italy? The desert? A woodland area? (keep in mind trees have leaves and leaves and pools do not mix well.) My swimming pool's landscaping reminds me of my nights in Granada Spain...beautiful. I love it.
Some links that may help give you some ideas: