Swimming Pool Design Ideas

Beth Asaff
Basic pool design

Multiple Options

Adding a pool to your yard or garden is a great way to bring not only a new way to use your space, but also a lot of interest to the area.

While backyard pools were once rectangular or circular in shape with little variation, you now have several options from basic pools with subtle curves like this concrete-enclosed model, to pools that include rock gardens and waterfalls.

Raised pool

Built up Pool Rim

Your choice for a pool was once above or below ground. New techniques in building allow you to have both. This pool includes a built-up, decorative pool rim with a raised hot tub in the center. This makes a nice choice for homeowners that want their pool to be both decorative and serviceable. It also allows you to increase pool depth without having to dig in areas where there may be heavy rock beneath a certain depth.

Decorative concrete deck

Decorative Concrete Deck

Concrete tiles are a low-maintenance approach to laying a pool deck. With new colors and marbling techniques available, they can also be an attractive way to lay the deck.

This concrete deck includes a large compass medallion just off the pool's edge, fitted into the curve of the pool itself.

Two-material deck

Two-Material Pool Deck

Give your pool more depth and interest by using a combination of different materials on the deck.

This pool starts with hardwood slats running in the same direction as the pool to emphasize its lines. It then switches to quartzite tiles laid in a multi-piece pattern to showcase the variation of color and texture in the stone.

Pool on a hill

One-Sided Deck

This pool is positioned at the top of a long, sloping hill. To make the transition from the pool deck to the hill, crushed white stone is used to follow the curve of the pool itself, emphasizing its shape. On the other side of the pool is a concrete deck that extends back toward the patio, providing plenty of space for chairs and guests.

Pool with hot tub

Connected Hot Tub

For those that want their pool water to be slightly warmer than average, consider installing a hot tub that feeds water into the pool.

This hot tub sits just off to the side of the pool, heats the water, then pours it into the pool itself. Both are laid in a brick deck that adds a lot of character to the area.

Modern pool

Modern Pool

Pools that abut the house should in some way mimic the rest of the house's style. This pool mimics the house's long, clean lines and minimalist approach. It's the perfect shape and size for homeowners that want their pool for exercise, not decoration.

Enclosed pool

Enclosed Patio Pool

If you use your pool year round, consider enclosing the entire area. This keeps out bugs, falling leaves and debris, as well as eliminating the chance that someone could wander into the pool from off the property.

By enclosing the entire area, it also makes the patio and deck useable at all times, including in the evening when bugs may be out.

Small private pool

Small Private Pool

Even if you don't have a lot of space, you may still be able to put in a pool if you opt for a smaller, private option. This miniature pool can be outfitted with jet streams that allow you to swim against a current for exercise, or it can simply be a great place to cool off in the summer.

Waterfall fillers

Decorative Pool Fillers

If you enjoy the site and sound of running water, consider opting for visible pool fillers like these. The open-topped design brings both a modern and organic look to the fillers, while embedding them in the area behind the pool and surrounding the deck with quartzite completes the design.

Raised hot tub

Raised Hot Tub

If your pool has a view, consider adding a built-up or raised hot tub connected to it. This allows you to sit and enjoy the view, then hop straight into the pool when you need to cool off.

A raised wall along the back of the pool matches the facade of the tub and adds some interest to the entire patio.

Rock waterfall pool filler

Waterfall Rock Garden

Create the impression that your pool is part of a natural pond or habitat with a waterfall rock garden pool filler. Situated up above the pool, the water trickles over the rocks and down into the pool itself. This creates soothing sound and atmosphere for the pool users and anyone on the patio as well.

Pool with slate surround

Slate Pool Surround

Concrete, teak and bricks all make great choices for pool surrounds. When you want a natural stone material, however, slate is a beautiful, low-maintenance choice that adds a lot of texture and interest to the area.

Extending the surround out beyond the pool to the entire patio creates a cohesive look for the area.

Angular pool

Angular Pool

Pools don't have to contain curves to have a different shape than a single rectangle. Consider a series of different angles to make a statement with your pool design and help it fit into the contours of your yard.

From pool decks to outdoor fireplaces, your yard is an extension of your home. Make sure it matches the rest of your home's style to truly make a statement.

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Swimming Pool Design Ideas