There’s a swimming pool type for every outdoor space–even long, narrow side yards or smack-dab-in-the-middle courtyards. From sleek, modern masterpieces to Mediterranean escapes to private waterparks to natural pools, we’ve found every size, style, design, and type of pool you can imagine. Dive in and be dazzled.
Embrace Tropical Appeal
A historic, circa-1850 home was restored and received a few new additions, like a pool house and carport. Bender & Associates Architects designed a pool that is appropriate for the period and design of the house, enhancing rather than overpowering the property. Lush tropical landscaping makes this a home that looks like an island retreat.
Test Out Desert Hardscaping
A rectangular 33-by-14-foot pool comes alive with landscaping designed by Ibarra Rosano, including giant concrete balls by Holler & Saunders of Nogales, Arizona.
A modern backyard by Murray Legge Architecture of Austin, Texas, includes a pool house with a roof featuring grasses, sedges, and wildflowers native to Central Texas. Mortarless cut Leuders limestone on steel was used for the pool decking, while Bisazza mosaic glass tile covers the pool interior. Stools inside the pool were formed with tubes and gunite.
Build a Pool Patio
This spacious pool patio from Living With Lolo includes a lounge area and an adjacent dining and grill space for outdoor dining that is separate from the large backyard.
Take Views Into Consideration
A lap pool at a private residence in Greenwich, New York, overlooks a river. Designed by Austin Patterson Disston Architects, the long pool was built to take in the view and is surrounded by Connecticut stone.
Add a Waterfall Feature
A modern waterfall feature on the side of this pool from Living With Lolo makes it even more inviting to float on these inflatable lounge chairs that can be used in the pool or on the surrounding patio.
Stick with Open and Airy
At a Naples, Florida, house, 41 West created a pool with a natural pebble finish to accentuate the clear water reflecting the sky, especially when it’s pure blue. With the hot Florida sun in mind, the decking is made of cement pavers set in sand so bare feet won’t get burned.
Make It Organic
This midcentury modern Palm Springs pool design from Joshua Smith Inc. has an organic feel. The pool patio is rendered in the same sandy tones as the home, and the hardscaping and landscaping is complemented by desert plants and large boulders to make it feel integrated with the natural surroundings.
Walk the Straight and Narrow
A nearly 16-foot-high living/dining area opens on three sides, one on the west to a lap pool that is a focal point at night when illuminated. Designed by EYRC Architects, natural vs. industrial and rough vs. smooth is played out in materials throughout this Venice, California, house.
Try a Brick Surround
The West Hollywood, CA, home of interior designer Joshua Smith has a cozy pool courtyard with high textured walls built into the landscape and a brick patio that adds warmth and lived in charm to the space.
Install Beautiful Blue Tiles
A modern home in Melbourne, Australia, features a beautiful pool built by DDB Design Development & Building with landscape design by COS Designs Creative Outdoor Solutions. Custom-designed blue Bisazza tiles were used for the spa, while white tiles in the pool reflect the sky and can change. White lights are installed in the pool to intensify the blue tiles.
Add a Minimalist Cabana
This spacious Northern California backyard space from Cathie Hong Interiors includes a minimalist pool surrounded by a concrete patio with understated landscaping and a warm wood and metal cabana lounge space that is outfitted with a modern white outdoor sofa for relaxing and entertaining.
Modernize the Cabana and Pool
A remodel included a pool cabana that replaced an old enclosed back house and a pool with an architectural fountain feature and oversized plant containers. This was a team project that included Key Residential, Pool Environments, Jason Osterberger Designs, and Randy Angell Designs. The cabana includes outdoor ceiling fans and heaters, a built-in mosquito spray system, and a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with a linear fireplace and hearth that extends to the pool fountain.
Bring in Midcentury Modern Pops
A midcentury modern Alexander home in Palm Springs designed by Palmer & Krisel retained the original look and vibe but received some contemporary updates, like an integrated spa, ground-level fire pit, and a mosaic outdoor shower. H3K incorporated clever features like “moats” of grass between concrete slabs and choosing era-appropriate furnishings, like the pagoda California Umbrellas, CB2 chairs, and Surya pillows.
Go for a Wraparound Design
A timber- and steel-framed pavilion (pergola) connects the house to the infinity pool in this Brisbane, Australia, project by Skale Design. The pool surfaces are finished with a pebble pool plaster finish.
Create a Watering Hole Effect
This backyard pool from Cathie Hong Interiors is surrounded by a spacious patch of green lawn and accessed by a walkway to create a watering hole effect that looks perfectly at home with the tranquil zen vibes of the outdoor space with its minimalist aesthetic and mixed materials.
Blend Interior and Exterior Looks
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise and there is no need to stop when the temperatures drop. EB Mahoney built an enclosed room for a lap pool in a modern Philadelphia home, next to a wall with windows for an experience that is closest to nature.
Create a Peaceful Atmosphere
A clean, classic rectangular pool with bullnose bluestone coping and a carpet of green grass that rolls right up to the water’s edge was designed by Thomas Flint Landscape Design & Development for a large property in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Rethink the Entry Points
Proving that not all pools are geometric, this curvy design by Absolutely Outdoors in Houston is a pool for cooling off, exercising, and soaking in the bubbly spa at night—kind of a something-for-everyone situation. And if you want, you can just kick back and enjoy those fountains.
Swap a Pool for a Pond
Is it a natural pool or pond? Amanda Patton Landscape & Garden Design created a swimming pond, with the pool located in the deeper section, while the shallow area houses a planted filtration zone. Patton says one of the pros of a swimming pond is that it looks good throughout the year and doesn’t need to be covered during the winter since it’s a pond.
Landscape the Edges
This tranquil backyard pool design from Cathie Hong Interiors has an organic, effortless feel. Contrasting concrete and wood adds dimension, and the edges of the pool are softened with a mix of grasses and plants that give the space a calming ambiance.
Create a Jewel Effect
Home Consultant added a pool to this Southern California backyard. Gray plaster sets off the pool water for a jewel-like effect, while the grass surround makes it feel like a watering hole. Large urns planted with olive branches help define the space.
Add a Fire Pit Area
This Palm Springs pool from Joshua Smith Inc. has a sleek modern feel, surrounded by white walls and green hedges. The poolside lounge space is outfitted with sleek white furniture and a gas fire pit.
Finish with a Bridge
A large rectangular pool features a Tuscan-style bridge for a change of view or a thrill ride down the slide. Designed by Rosewood Custom Builders, the vine-covered structure is also nice to look at.
Construct a Stone Pool
An existing land depression (dip) on a Vermont mountaintop was an ideal spot for Shepard Butler Landscape Architecture to build a pool that becomes part of the land. SBLA used local stone slabs and stacked them on the south end for a raised sunbathing platform. Stone steps lead to a niche with stone benches and an integrated fire pit. A stone waterfall, sculpture, and dive stone continue the natural look.
Experiment with Freeform Pools
Mediterranean influences are evident in this freeform pool designed by Lewis Aquatech of Chantilly, Virginia. Among them: the use of flagstone, earth tones, accents of bright colors, shaded seating, and an outdoor dining area.
Lay Mediterranean Roots
A Mediterranean landscape in Austin, Texas, was achieved by Brad Sharpe Pools by building a lap pool under mature trees. Sharpe recommends that lap pools should be a minimum of 34 feet in length. The interior finish is Turtle Bay Pebble Sheen by Pebble Tec.
Blend Into the Landscape
For a backyard pool in the Washington, DC, metro area, Poole’s Stone and Garden used a pebble pool finish on the surfaces, then integrated stone and natural materials, for a look that blends with the natural surroundings.
Test Out a Reflection Pool
A steel-reinforced pool features gunite construction and a gray marble plaster interior finish. Designed by Armond Architects, the regeneration area was built with a liner which is finished with river rock.
Utilize Reclaimed Materials
They say the greenest building is the one already built; the same could be said for existing materials. Stone Farm in Connecticut uses reclaimed curbing and accent pieces as coping for swimming pools and outdoor features for a unique, one-of-a-kind look and feel.
Design an Eclectic Eco Pool
Natural pools have been popular in Europe for several years; this eclectic design by Bau-Fritz GmbH & Co. in Germany includes a pergola with a hanging cocoon-like treehouse chair.
Highlight a Vanishing Edge
A stunning modern home on the Costa Rican coast features a pool that is spectacularly illuminated by New York-based Patdo Light Studio in blues and oranges.
Blend Sources of Inspiration
A large pool with a striking and elaborate mosaic tile detail is the centerpiece of this Miami Beach, FL, backyard lounge space from House of One, lending the Mediterranean-style home an elegant resort feel.
Add Patterned Tile Details
Decorative patterned black-and-white tile on the interior, backsplash, and exterior wall of this backyard pool from Kern & Co. softens the modern space and serves as a backdrop for an added water feature.
Make an Urban Retreat
Indiana limestone surrounds a Mediterranean-style swimming pool with integrated spa in the yard of a home in the Chicago suburb of Glenview. Designed by Rosebrook Custom Pools, the private outdoor space includes a vine-covered pergola and pool house.
Surround with Flagstone
Flagstone that flows from the patio carries out to the pool to form natural coping at the pool edges. Designed by Brad Sharpe Pools and Shows & Allen Landscape Architects, the San Antonio, Texas, yard includes water features and a vine-covered pergola.
Embrace a Petite Pool
This beautiful Spanish bungalow in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village features a small pool with hand-painted tiles and a fountain that make it appear larger. Designed by landscape architect Lisa Gimmy and Koffka/Phakos Design, the space includes additional seating inside the pool if you don’t mind getting wet.
Highlight the Surroundings
One of the many California dreams is to live in a vineyard. This property near Yountville, California, features a Craftsman-style house with Mediterranean landscaping by Roche+Roche, with Kennedy & Kennedy Architects, and Le Reve interior design. Bluestone pool decking features brick-inset “carpets” and a custom-tiled spa was designed by the owner and Metolius Ridge.
Build with Rocks and Boulders
More than 200 tons of boulders were used to create the waterfalls of this natural-looking pool in Lodi, California. Liquid FX Pools built pathways, caves, and a 30-foot-long tube slide into the stunning water feature.
Accent With Black
This Southern California pool from interior designer Kim Nadel of Gaia Inspired has black tile edging around the inside of the pool and black accessories, including planters and a poolside bench, that give it a modern feel.
Design a Backyard Theme Park
Oklahoma flagstone set in concrete surrounds this family pool by Rosewood Custom Builders that also features Creme de Menthe Pebble Tec finish and a 30-foot slide.
Try Out Brick Accents
A rectangular swimming pool with brick decking features an integrated spa that also received a brick coping, designed by Brad Sharpe Pools of Texas.
Construct a Freeform Infinity Pool
Design Ecology created an infinity pool that looks over Lake Austin features a sunken kitchen at the water level, along with a private spa. It practically feels like its one with nature.
Create an Oasis Feel
This backyard pool area from Marie Flanigan Interiors has a calming oasis feel, with clean lines and minimal landscaping including a patch of grass that mimics the shape of the pool, a pair of trees, and a seating area outfitted with stylish patio furniture that blends into the surroundings.
Add a Slide
Waterparks are surely a fun place to be, but when your own backyard is equipped with a slide and water features it’s hard to beat. A stone diving rock and slide with waterfalls and native plants distinguish this pool in New Jersey designed by Thomas Flint Landscape Design and Development.
Surround It with Nature
To really up the relaxing atmosphere, think about the plants that surround the pool area. A touch of nature, through trees, shrubs, and potted plants can make this outdoor area feel more like an escape. Create a stylish cabana, like seen here, and be sure to add plenty of cushy seats.
Lock in the Backyard Trifecta
The formula for a perfect outdoor area? Great seating, shade, and a place to take a dip—something this spot excels in. Though there are separate areas for different activities, the way it has been designed makes the space flow.
Curate a Spa-Like Pool Atmosphere
Whether you’re a spa owner or not, your pool can certainly make you feel like you own one. The best way to infuse relaxation is to create choices. Add a variety of different seating types to best cater to guests and what you prefer doing by the pool. Sun loungers are great for catching rays, whereas chairs might be better for eating a snack or reading a book.
Dream Up a Lavish Lap Pool
Lap pools often get flack for being simple and more basic in its uses (hence the name) but this one goes against the assumptions. It’s stylishly adorned with tiles and has a separate hot tub built up from the pool’s level. Even one of the seating areas interacts with it.
Go with the Flow
Many pools are square or angular, but that’s not the only way to go about adding a swimming fixture. Take a hint from this rounded, curvy option that swirls around the patio dining area and has curved stairs to match. Overall, things will simply feel more free-flowing.
Make a Monochrome Sanctuary
For breezy vacation feels year-round, a bright white theme is a solid choice. It’s the perfect backdrop and frame for the aqua of a pool and surrounding nature. A few black accents (like the pendants and sconces) make this pool all the more chic.
Add Greenery and Grass
Pools are often surrounded by pavers or cement, but adding grass or a lawn is a lovely way to make it feel more enveloped in nature. The type of landscaping chosen can completely alter the overall look as well. This one feels rather Tuscan-inspired, but cacti and other plants can create a different atmosphere.
Try Tropical Lighting Effects
Patdo Light Studio of Port Chester, New York, illuminated a backyard swimming pool to accentuate tropical features of the outdoor pool, including landscaping, waterfalls, and hardscape.
Accessorize the Pool
What’s a pool without a fun floatie? The design of this one is fantastic enough on its own with glass panels around the perimeter and fun geometric angles. That being said, the addition of the flamingo makes it that much more fun.
Keep It Compact
Even the smallest pools can have a stunning impact in your backyard. This dreamy area feels even more expansive thanks to the materials used. The glass divider and all-white walls give the impression that there is extra space and the different levels offer more to residents than just a place to swim and sit.
A pool can be the perfect way to experiment with different levels and dimensions in a backyard. Whether the seating area is sunken in, like seen here, or the pool is the spot that must be walked down to, there are many creative options for constructing a little more visual interest.
Incorporate Natural Elements
Plants and wooden fixtures feel ultra fitting near a swimming pool. Think about what kinds of materials make the most sense depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. This outdoor area also shows a great example of incorporating different types of exposure to the sun and elements, too.
Create Multiple Niches
No matter how big or small your outdoor area is, little niches circumnavigating the pool make it more interesting and intriguing to spend time in. This pretty space offers pouf loungers as well as a sun-soaked daybed for a variety of options.
Nail Down Colors and Shapes
Umbrellas, large pavers, and a pool house-meets-bar make this pool a treat to relax by. It’s a lovely area that feels cohesive courtesy of the repeating lines, shapes, and palette. The squares and angles seen throughout the whole space (and monochromatic black and white colors) are clean and elegant. Keep the pool clean and tidy with the help of a robotic pool cleaner, and be sure to keep grass trimmed to maintain the space.
Blend a Play Area with a Pool
Homes with little ones will benefit from having a play area nearby. While adults relax by the pool, kids can play and go for a swim, too. A simple setup with minimal colors and shapes doesn’t take up too much space and fits in nicely with the overarching design style.
Consider the Sun
Before building a pool, think about where the sun rises, sets, and shines throughout the day. This will not only help inform a great pool design, but how to best arrange chairs and tables around the outdoor area, too. Don’t forget to implement shade options if the pool gets hit with direct sunlight for most of the day.
Infinity pools are stunning options not just overlooking oceans, but into any form of nature. This pool drops off and gives way to a breathtaking green nature scape, really enveloping the swimming area in its surroundings.
Go for L-Shaped Luxury
“Floating” pavers and a sculptural fountain in a small L-shaped pool in Texas add interest and continue the materials and lines of the surrounding patio in this design by Pool Environments. Fountains and vivid lighting make the pool a focal point.
Go All Out
A waterpark-like experience with an elegant design that will appeal to all ages is what Pool Environments of Dallas came up with for this entertaining backyard in Texas. The pool features stones, waterfalls and features, islands, colorful landscaping, and inviting artistic elements.
Create Some Privacy
Provide extra privacy for your pool area through thoughtfully-placed walls and plants. The bright white wall and wonderfully landscaped shrubbery and trees here show that adding some seclusion doesn’t have to be sterile or boring.
Provide Plenty of Shade
Once the pool design is decided, don’t forget about the areas and nooks around the space that it’s comprised of. When you’re not swimming, consider the shade options available to you and visitors and make sure there are plenty of comfortable resting spots for in between laps.
Solidify the Stonework
Finishing touches and flooring have a big impact in how a pool area looks and feels. The stonework and tiling around this pool makes the space appear elevated and nods at a tropical getaway—especially with the blossoming tree hanging above.
Try an Indoor/Outdoor Pool
Not every climate calls for an outdoor pool—and even in places that do, a hybrid pool of sorts still reigns supreme. Covered but still exposed to the outdoors, this option shows how perfect this blend can be.
Go for Modern
The look of the pool is important, but to really ace the design, it should blend in with the rest of the house—something this home does beautifully. The sleek, modern architecture is reflected in the shape of the pool and surrounding patio area. The wooden elements on the home are also echoed in the furniture for a super cohesive space.
Think Outside the (Pool) Box
There are plenty of seating arrangements to have by a pool, but what about in one? Cool off while also enjoying the view through the use of water-proof chairs as this setup shows. They blend in with the scene and make jumping in all the more enticing.
Get the Lighting Right
Ambient lighting doesn’t just highlight the best parts of interiors—the right setup can affect how a pool and outdoor area look, too. This pool excels at feeling luxe, part in thanks to the lights within it and surrounding it on the walkways.
Invest in a Pool House
Pool houses are a great way to keep outdoor decor and necessities organized. Not only that, but they keep you and guests in closer vicinity to the pool on hot days. Set up a mini bar or game room within the space or changing areas to make the most of the poolside real estate.
Build a Smooth Transition
Make it easy to slip between the pool and indoors with sliding glass panels. Doors that allow light to pour through make the transition from a cozy living room to a breezy pool area so much smoother. It’s perfect for getting a view of the pool and plants on days where swimming isn’t really an option.