There’s nothing more inviting than a swimming pool – especially when it’s in your own backyard! A pool isn’t just practical, as it provides much-needed relief on those hazy, hot, and humid, dog days of summer, but it also lends to interest to the aesthetic appeal of your yard; a pool adds interest aesthetic appeal to an otherwise ho-hum backyard, increases the usability of your yard, and makes it more visually pleasing.
If you’ve decided to install a swimming pool in your backyard, there’s no doubt that you’re super excited. You’re looking forward to kicking back and relaxing while floating on the surface of the crystal clear, cool water, and you can’t wait to invite friends and family over for lively pool parties.
Yes, installing a swimming pool is definitely exciting, but there are a lot of factors that need to be considered and decisions that need to be made; namely, you need to decide on a design for the structure – and for your yard.
Obviously, the swimming pool is going to be the focal point of your backyard, and while it will certainly stand out and make a statement all on its own, no matter the shape, style, and size, and regardless of the elements that surround it and the appearance of the rest of your yard, if you want to make the most of installing a swimming pool in your yard, you need to put some thought and effort into the overall design – not only of the structure, but of the rest of your backyard, too.
Wondering where to get started with your swimming pool yard design? Here are inspiring, swim-worthy ideas to consider.
Tips to Help You Design the Perfect Pool for Your Yard
While a swimming pool is certainly an excellent addition, as it will enhance the aesthetic appeal and usability of your yard, and boost your home’s property value, it’s a big investment; according to experts, depending on where you live and the size, shape, features, and materials it’s constructed of, the average cost of a swimming pool installation ranges between about $15,000 to $42,500, while custom swimming pools can cost upwards of $100,000 or more.
Needless to say, you want to make sure that you make the most of your investment, and in order to do that, designing your swimming pool and the yard that surrounds it requires careful consideration. Designing the ideal swimming pool isn’t a simple and straightforward process.
There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to ensure that you create a space that will meet your needs and your expectations. If you’re planning on installing a swimming pool, here are some design and construction tips to keep in mind.
Pinpoint the Swimming Pool’s Purpose
Start the process of designing your swimming pool by considering the reasons you’re installing one in the first place. No doubt, recreation is the primary purpose for installing a swimming pool in your yard. You want a space where family and friends can gather for some good old-fashioned fun while splashing, diving, and having races and handstand competitions.
Exercise may be another primary purpose for a swimming pool installation; a pool provides wonderful opportunities for enjoyable physical fitness. Of course, a swimming pool also provides welcoming respite, making your yard a usable space, even on the haziest, hottest, and most humid summer days.
When you’re installing swimming pool, pinpointing the purpose of the feature is important, as its purpose – how you, your family, and your friends plan on using it – should play an important part in the shape, size, material, and overall design of the structure.
A lot of homeowner’s assume that a swimming pool should be installed right off the back of their houses; however, that isn’t the only location where it can be placed. When choosing the placement for your swimming pool, think about the overall layout of your yard; the size, shape, trees, and sunlight, for example.
While it may turn out that installing it right off the back of your house may be the ideal placement, other locations in your yard may be better suited for a swimming pool; in the side yard, in the center of your yard, or off in a corner, away from the house, for example.
Consider the Look of Your House
This is something that a lot of homeowner’s forget to consider when they’re designing a swimming pool. You don’t want your pool to stick out like a sore thumb; you want it to look like it belongs in your backyard. That’s why it’s so important to think about the style and design of your home’s exterior.
For instance, if your house is contemporary or modern, a geometrically-shaped structure with straight lines and hard angles – a standard square or rectangle, for instance – would be a great choice; if you have a Craftsman- or Victorian-style house, however, a freeform pool, with an indistinct shape and curved edges, for example, might be a better choice.
Keep Safety in Mind
While a swimming pool is a wonderful addition to your yard and it offers so many benefits, it can also be a hazard. To protect your loved ones from potential risks – slips and falls and evening drownings, for example – safety definitely needs to be a top priority when you’re designing your swimming pool.
The depth, for instance, should coordinate with the intended use of the pool; the transition from the shallow end to the deep end shouldn’t be sudden and dramatic, but rather, it should be gentle and sloping. You should also consider the safety equipment, such as the amount and placement of handrails, steps, and ladders.
The material that the pool surround is made of is important, too, as you want to keep the slip-factor to a minimum; flag stone, slate, paving stones, and brick are great materials to consider. Of course, a fence – around your swimming pool, around your yard, or around both – is another important safety feature that you will want to include; installing childproof locks on the gates is highly recommended.
Think About the Features
You’ll also want to consider the features that you’d like to have included in your pool. There are so many different swimming pool features; diving boards, jump platforms, slides, built-in ledges and seats, waterfalls and fountains, lighting, and more.
Features not only add to the beauty of your swimming pool, but they also add to its usability. Think about how you plan on using the pool, and select features that will further enhance its usability and enjoyment.
Keep Maintenance in Mind
This is another important factor that should be considered when you’re designing your swimming pool, yet it’s a factor that is often overlooked. Different styles and types of pools have different maintenance requirements.
For instance, the level and type of maintenance that a vinyl liner pool requires is much different than the level and type of maintenance that a fiberglass or gunite swimming pool requires. Ask the company that will be installing your swimming pool about maintenance requirements.
Last but most certainly not least, you’re going to want to consider the cost of the swimming pool. As noted above, while a pool is certainly a worthwhile investment, it’s also costly. There are several factors that will affect the cost of a swimming pool installation, including the size, the shape, the material, and the features, as well as where you reside. It’s a good idea to set a budget before you start the design process so that you know how much you can comfortably afford to spend and can avoid going over budget.
Design Ideas for Yards with Swimming Pools
Now that we have reviewed the most important factors that should be taken into consideration when you’re designing a residential swimming pool for your home, let’s jump in and take a look at some different design ideas – both for your pool and for your yard.
Swimming Pool Design Styles
From a sleek and modern infinity edge to a tropical oasis, there are so many different types of swimming pool designs and styles to choose from. If you’re planning a custom design, the options really are endless; however, with that said, here are a few popular styles and designs that are readily available for both standard and custom in-ground swimming pools.
A Tropical Oasis
You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to a tropical retreat each time you step out into your backyard – or even just look out over it from your windows –w with a tropical design. This style of pool tends to be the most popular in locations where year-round swimming is possible, such as Florida, California, and even some southern regions in Texas.
If you want to create a tropical oasis in your backyard, a swimming pool with a free-form design would be ideal. If you really want to go all out, consider a zero entry, or more aptly referred to as a beach entry, as the pool resembles, well, a beach.
As you enter the shallow end of the pool, the water gradually gets deeper with each step you take, creating an experience that is similar to wading your way into an ocean or a lake. Not only does a zero entry end a tropical look, but it also enhances the accessibility, as it’s easier for young children, the elderly, and those who have disabilities, to enter the pool.
The shallow entry point can also double as a tanning ledge; lay out directly on the ledge itself while, place portable lounge chairs on the ledge, or have lounge chairs built directly into the ledge, and you can soak up the sun while being surrounded by the refreshing water.
Another way to add to the tropical feel is with a pebble finish, which will give the surface of the pool a sand-like finish, similar to the beach. Examples of some of the design features that may be incorporated into a swimming pool with a tropical design including natural stones, swim-up bars, and waterfalls.
Pull together the look of a tropical-inspired swimming pool with the landscaping. Tropical plants, such as palm trees, ferns, philodendrons, Colocasia (aka: Elephant’s Ear), coleus, canna lilies, caladium, new guinea impatiens, Pentas, begonias, and various types of ornamental grasses would really make it feel as if your yard were an oasis. Tiki torches, fire pits, and stringed lights further add to the tropical appeal.
If you have a contemporary style home, a sleek and modern swimming pool with understated, yet visually pleasing landscaping would work wonderfully well for your yard. While there’s no right or wrong shape or design, to achieve a modern look for your swimming pool, a geometric shape and minimalistic design would be ideal; think simple and understated, such as rectangular or square, with clean lines and hard edges. If you want your pool to have a little bit of a softer look, a kidney bean shape or an L-shaped design would also work well for a modern swimming pool.
For the pool surround, flag stone or stamped concrete would be ideal choices, as they offer a clean look that lends itself well to a modern design. Like a tropical-inspired swimming pool, there are many different types of features that can be incorporated into a modern pool.
Color-changing LED underwater lights would add fun and interest, and would most certainly make your swimming pool the focal point of your yard when the sun goes down. A hot tub attached to or situated directly next to the pool, separated by a curtain of clean and crisp flowing water, also highlighted with color-changing LED lights, would further add to the modern look and feel of your pool – and your yard.
To further enhance the look of your swimming pool, consider having decorative touches or artwork to the interior; for example, multi-colored tiles could be used to create geometric patterns along the bottom or upper edges of the swimming pool, or you could have a mosaic image installed along the bottom or the side of the structure – the first initial of your last name, a monogram, or a family crest, for instance.
To complete the look, consider using white square or rectangular stepping stones to lead the way from your backdoor or the patio, with lush green grass separating each stone. Contemporary furnishings, such as rectangular sofas and chairs, and structural plants, such as succulents, yucca, and cacti would add life and further interest to your landscape design For lighting, oversized lanterns hung overhead would work wonderfully well.
A Mediterranean Retreat
Whether the Mediterranean is one of your favorite vacation destinations or you’ve always longed to visit but haven’t had the chance to yet, yet the design speaks to your taste and style, consider a Mediterranean flare for your swimming pool and your backyard’s overall design.
Mediterranean style is rustic and charming, and has an Old World feeling. It features earthen materials and colors, such as warm terracotta, brick red, golden yellow, grass green, and aqua blues, and copper brass, wood, bronze patina, and cobblestones.
Shaded or sheltered areas, like grottos, gazebos, pergolas, and trellises, covered with climbing vines, such as wisteria, ivy, or even grapes, would all work well for this style. A swimming pool with a simple shape and design – rectangular, for instance – would work well for this type of design; flashy, waterpark-inspired features, like oversized boulders and crazy slides, are out of place in a Mediterranean swimming pool and backyard. Rather, features like urns, arches, and fountains are better suited for an Old World inspired swimming pool and backyard.
An excellent example of a Mediterranean-style yard would be a swimming pool situated in a central courtyard, on which the rooms of your home open up onto. Terra cotta tiles or flagstones with natural edges would be the perfect choice for a pool surround. A pergola, covered in green vines with pops of colorful flowers, situated alongside the pool, with an oversized teak table and chairs situated underneath, would make for a lovely dining area.
To really ramp-up the Old World charm, if your budget allows, consider having an outdoor kitchen installed, complete with a brick pizza oven, and counters topped with neutral, unfinished granite, and a seating area that features an outdoor fireplace as the focal point, with comfortable and cozy outdoor couches and arm chairs, would invite friends and family to sit and relax for a while either before or after taking a dip in the pool.
For the swimming pool, you could opt for a natural-colored pebble finish, or if you’re going for a Greek-inspired look for your Mediterranean-style backyard, you might want to consider having your swimming pool lined with cobalt blue and white tiles that are reminiscent of Santorini, the iconic Greek island. When it comes to the landscaping, drought-tolerant plantings, such as Zoysia grass, lavender, lemongrass, wooly yarrow, thyme, aster coreopsis, lupine, as well as in-the-ground or potted olive and citrus trees (particularly lemon).
The above – or similar – elements would come together to create an Old World inspired swimming pool and backyard design that would make you feel as if you have been transported to a laidback, sun-soaked, charming Mediterranean village, right in your own yard.
Everyone knows the Hamptons. The trendy, “new money”, southern coast of Long Island, east of New York City, is famous as the playground of the rich and famous; however, it isn’t all about posh nightclubs and designer fashions.
The Hamptons are casual, and laidback, and the architectural design is quite eclectic, ranging from classic to traditional, and contemporary and modern. No matter the style, the Hamptons are known for multi-million dollar houses, complete with swimming pools that overlook the Atlantic Ocean to the south or the Peconic Bay to the north.
Whether you live on Long Island or in Australia, if you’re looking to create a tranquil, sophisticated, beach-inspired backyard, Hamptons-style may be just what speaks to your style. A swimming pool with a classic shape, such as a standard rectangle, a perfect circle, or even a long, narrow lap pool, would be perfect.
For the pool surround, the simpler, the better; neutral-colored, such as gray, or even white, concrete, cement, paving stones, or brick, would be perfect for this style. If you want to up the ante with the visual appeal, consider a pool surround that flows directly into a patio, with a cobblestone pattern made of bricks.
Lush green grass surrounding the patio and the pool is a must for a Hamptons-inspired swimming pool and backyard design. Lounge chairs neatly spaced along the edges of the pool serve as the perfect place to soak up the sun before or after a dip, and a seating area that features a sectional sofa or a conversation set, complete with a fire pit, will welcome friends and family to gather, roast marshmallows, and enjoy conversations and laughter after the sun goes down and into the night.
As for the landscaping, flowering shrubs, such as rhododendron and azalea, and hydrangea with large, multicolored blooms, are all excellent choices, as these plantings are all native to Long Island, and will perfectly tie into this look.
Ornamental grasses, hollies, boxwood trees, and oak trees all work wonderfully for a Hamptons inspired pool and backyard design. For the interior of the swimming pool, either cool or dark blues, would be a great choice. As far as features go, you don’t really want to go for anything flashy, like a waterpark-style slide or an Old World type of grotto; rather, opt for features that are simplistic in nature.
A basic diving board, a simple slide that calls to mind the 1950s and 1960s, are really all that’s needed, and would lend themselves perfectly to a Hamptons inspired swimming pool and backyard design.
When it comes to designing a yard with a swimming pool, the options really are limitless. Consider your taste and style, and the intended purpose for your swimming pool, and then base the design for your pool – and your yard – according to your taste and style. The above are just a few of the different ideas to consider, and no matter which design you decide to go with, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is to create a space that is fun, inviting, usable, and safe.