What is the one single element that can transform an empty backyard into an incredible outdoor space perfect for relaxation, exercise and refreshing fun for the entire family? A backyard pool! If you are hankering to entertain your friends and family or just while away the afternoon alone, you’ll need to determine which size and style of pool will suit your particular needs.
Before you take the plunge, however, do your homework. Determine your budget, how much space you have for a pool, the amount of time and money you are willing to spend on maintenance, and whether you want an in- or above-ground pool. If you are ready to dive in, sneak a peek at these amazing pools and try to imagine which one will work in your own backyard.
A heated spa is a great idea to transform your pool into a year-round entertaining space. You’ll probably enjoy your backyard spa the most on cool evenings or during the winter months. Without heat, the spa can also be used as a dipping pool during the summer. This spa is an integrated design featuring a stacked stone face with natural boulder detail.
This secluded pool has the feel of a vacation resort and you don’t even have to leave home. Although it is located away from the house, it is equipped with everything your family and friends will need—an umbrella, lounge chairs, dining furniture and, most importantly, a grill.
Locating your pool just outside the door is advantageous for families with older children. This house has a fabulous sliding glass wall system that blends indoor and outdoor spaces. While you’re just inside preparing dinner, you can slide open the glass panels and keep a close eye on the kids while they’re splashing in the pool.
This Craftsman-influenced poolside lounge area ties in with the architecture of the house and is an attractive backdrop for the pool spillway. The triple spillway and bench were constructed with a natural stone slab and stacked slate. This simple water feature creates the focal point of the pool.
A waterfall feature adds interest and soothing sound to your backyard oasis and also helps circulate water. Choose from actual stone or manmade boulders to create the spillway. Here, the waterfall adds to the tropical feel and hides unsightly pool equipment.
Rather than installing those clunky metal ladders that attach to the edge of the pool, consider integrated pool steps. It is a simple concept that can work for virtually any pool size. Pool steps make it easy to get into or out of the water with little effort. They make for a much cleaner and attractive poolscape.
Here’s a dramatic way to illuminate your pool for nighttime use and outdoor entertaining—the stone wall is topped with iron vessels filled with lava rock. Not only is it plumbed to re-circulate water, it is fed with the household gas supply to recreate the look of mini fire pits along the far edge of the pool.
Above-ground pools don’t have to be an eyesore. This homeowner created a deck around one end connecting the pool to the house. They wanted to pool to flow from the house to the lush greenery beyond. To enhance the effect, they also added potted plants on the upper deck and the lower patio.
Adding a small gazebo to the pool area provides much needed shade and a spot to entertain guests after swimming. The homeowners didn’t want an enclosed cabana that would make the pool feel even more restricted. This simple structure keeps the space open and allows for views to the backyard while swimming.
This house needed a splash of color in the pool area. The homeowner chose a combination of refreshing colors and warm tones to create this contemporary contrast. The pool is lined with iridescent blue mosaic tile that literally pops against the redwood deck.
Surrounded by red limestone, this chic desert pool runs the entire width of the house and provides the ultimate private retreat for its lucky owners. The long, narrow pool’s decking material blends perfectly with the natural landscape and makes the most of this compact yard.
Beds of flowering plants and a formal garden frame this bright blue fiberglass in-ground pool. The coping is an extension of the pool liner and the decking surface is simple stamped concrete with a smooth finish.
A diving board or slide will provide the kids with endless hours of entertainment. This slide is a basic design, but there are some that rival the best at water amusement parks. When shopping for a slide or diving board, be aware of minimum requirements for pool depth and width.
This stunning pool serves as both a backyard design element as well as a place for fun and recreation. A smart feature is the tanning ledge. This integrated deck allows the sun worshiper to lie partially submerged along the side of the pool without interfering with lap swimming or water games. It is also a great way to catch rays and stay cool.
As if the wonderful covered patio and guesthouse weren’t enough, the homeowners recently added a pool to their backyard entertaining area. Simple lines and minimal fuss are hallmarks of this pool. Its straightforward design complements the modern architecture of the house.
A courtyard is transformed into a tropical fantasy in this impressive pool design, which incorporates a negative edge lap pool with two outdoor verandas. Ipe decking and limestone coping help create a serene sanctuary in this rural setting.
This intimate backyard gets a dose of style with a pool update. The gunnite was refinished with a sea blue pebble coat finish and decorative glass tile was added as an accent along the pool’s fill line to mimic the movement and color of water. A durable and long lasting composite deck was installed around the pool—composites never need sealing and some feature a matte finish to prevent slips and falls.
Pools in desert settings always look so inviting. The colors and materials used in this pool design takes cues from the surrounding landscape. Slate coping, a stone water feature, rock gardens and cacti create a true oasis in the backyard a Palm Springs residence.
The curvy lines and low-maintenance deck of this free-form pool add loads of visual interest to an otherwise boring suburban backyard. The homeowners installed an attractive steel fence around the perimeter to keep out uninvited neighborhood critters and teens.
Contemporary design elements establish a fresh, hip look in this terraced pool area. The pink clay color palette was created using a combination of porcelain tile and red limestone. Landscape and pool lighting along with the stunning fire pit play up the rosy hue. We think it definitely enhances this poolscape’s nighttime appeal.
If possible, plan your pool to take advantage of views. This indoor-outdoor pool design allows family and friends to enjoy the scenic vista from either the pool or surrounding deck area.
This outdoor lounge makes an intimate connection with the beautiful lap pool. Its infinity edge blurs the lines between water and terra firma, The deck blends seamlessly with the cool blue pool and view beyond. The white linen awning offers shade and helps define the space.
Some pool owners love having the pool near the kitchen. This location offers easy access to the house and makes it much more convenient for serving refreshments to poolside guests.
If you have a large yard, create different activity areas around your pool. Vary your deck levels or delineate space to indicate dining, lounging, playing and swimming zones. That way, if someone wants to relax by the pool they won’t be disturbed by the kiddos doing cannonballs into the pool.
There’s nothing like pampering yourself in a poolside spa, so why not consider adding one to your pool plan. It won’t increase the overall price tag and operating costs by much and your aching muscles will appreciate the soothing warmth and massaging jets after a strenuous workout or hard day on the job.
For backyards with killer views, a negative edge pool is the only way to go! The effect is breathtaking as you gaze off into the horizon—it seems like your pool stretches on forever. This design is no newcomer—it supposedly dates back to a fountain at Versailles.
Create an interesting pool design by mixing the types of materials you use decking and the surrounding patio area. This pool itself is fairly plain, but the addition of the stonework makes it distinctive. The two varieties of stone and coordinating pavers add character and color.
This pool is a contemporary masterpiece. The mid century house needed a pool to match its clean lines and modern personality. The designer/builder made the most of the limited backyard space by including a vanishing edge lap pool, spa and spillway, and a private sunbathing deck.
Here’s what using a separate coping color and material will do for your pool design. It visually outlines the pool and emphasizes the shape. This classic kidney-shaped pool would fade into the pebble decking without the brick coping around the edge.
Picture yourself in the Hamptons. Now picture your dream pool. This is it, right? The design feature that makes this pool design sing is its location in relation to the house. For an estate, the yard is deep and narrow, so the designer decided to create an out-of-the-way area for rest and relaxation further behind the house. The backyard sanctuary features stunning stonework that simulates a natural pond.
English gardens are splendid in their symmetry and simplicity. Statuary and allusions to historic design make this pool the perfect complement to the classic garden. This elegant pool would be welcome addition to any spacious backyard.
White and Aegean blue are a timeless combination. There is something undeniably elegant about this simple pool with its dreamy blue tile and rough stucco surfaces. Not surprising, this glorious creation is the homeowner’s nod to his Greek heritage.
The spa-like atmosphere of this pool is further enhanced by the gentle sounds of the graceful waterfall and tropical plant material. The shallow end of the pool is the ideal spot to relax in the late afternoon sun with an island-inspired cocktail and drink in the incredible scenery.
This pool is the perfect addition to the rainforest canopy resort. The natural river boulders create a stylish surround and the emerald green marble pool tile gives the water a natural coloration that matches beautifully with the surrounding habitat.
No room for a backyard pool on this lot. The only available space was a sliver of side yard running from the front to the rear of the home. So, the designer took full advantage of the limited space and created a dramatic pool perfect for evening entertaining. The blue tile and subtle lighting create an irresistible pairing.
A stunning rooftop pool takes full advantage of the views in this seaside community. Rooftop designs are becoming increasingly popular among the well-heeled set. Whether to grab a little tranquility in the bustling city or to just show off to friends, rooftop pools let everyone know you’ve made it.