Backyard Pool Designs With Lots Of Flair and Character

The swimming pool is one of the biggest features to add to a backyard and it’s not all strictly related to size. This is a case where functionality and aesthetics go hand in hand and can be combined in various different proportions. A backyard pool design can be focused on many things.

For instance, it can be optimized to maximize a beautiful view or it can focus more on adding a serene and relaxing vibe to the area around it. We can learn a lot just by looking at what has been done before. 

Modern backyard pool designs to take inspiration from

Add a comfortable lounge area by the pool

Backyard Pool DesignsView in gallery

A swimming pool and a lounge area go hand in hand and the cases where one makes sense without the other are quite rare. There’s no need to overcomplicate things so simply setting up a poolside deck with a couple of lounge chairs and umbrellas would suffice. It’s a strategy that really works for this backyard area designed by Richard Beard Architects.

Take advantage of a beautiful view

Take advantage of a beautiful viewView in gallery

Infinity pools also known as zero edge pools are the best at making the most of a site with a beautiful view. This is a case where the aesthetics prevail and where the design is adapted in response to the topography of the site but especially the scenery and the distant landscape. Here studio 05AM Arquitectura kept the whole design super simple. 

Create a combo design

Create a combo designView in gallery

The swimming pool just by itself would not necessarily stand out in a case like this. The fact that there’s a hammock hanging right above it changes the whole perspective and adds a totally new look and feel to this space. All of a sudden this turns into a relaxing, zen area, a perfect place to seek relaxation. This is part of a project by architect Enrique Cabrera.

Create a sense of privacy

Create a sense of privacyView in gallery

The backyard of this beautiful boutique hotel called La Casa sull’Albero is such a wonderful source of inspiration. It’s a fairly small space bordered by a tall stone wall that makes it feel very intimate but also with this little area towards the back that reveals a magnificent view of the distant mountain. 

Consider a lap pool

Consider a lap poolView in gallery

A lap pool is an option worth considering in cases where the focus is a fitness-oriented lifestyle. This is also a type of swimming pool that suits really narrow or shallow residential lots. This one for instance fits nicely along the edge of the site and leaves plenty of room for various outdoor sitting and lounge areas too. This s part of a project by studio Aidlin Darling Design

A big pool as a centerpiece

A big pool as a centerpieceView in gallery

Another strategy can be to turn the swimming pool into the centerpiece of the whole backyard. In this design by Swatt | Miers Architects the pool takes up a large section of the backyard and all the other features are positioned around it and designed in relation to this centerpiece. 

A small pool with a custom design

A small pool with a custom designView in gallery

Given the rugged topography of this piece of land but also a strong desire to preserve and take advantage of the view, Antoni Associates kept the outdoor areas fairly small. The swimming pool in particular has a rather peculiar design with a custom shape that’s been adapted to the overall layout of this area and the design of the house as a whole. 

A design in harmony with the surroundings

A design in harmony with the surroundingsView in gallery

When designing a backyard it’s important to not become limited by the boundaries of the site or to focus solely on the backyard itself. The surroundings play an important role in the design process, especially when there’s the possibility of integrating a nice view into the decor or creating a connection with the topography of the land. This project by Idee architects is a good source of inspiration. 

Think outside the box

Think outside the boxView in gallery

It’s easy to get trapped in a routine and to do things just the way everybody else does it but that doesn’t really show any creativity or outside-the-box thinking. Simply by changing one of the constants you can create something really special. For example, instead of having the lounge area set by the backyard swimming pool why not build a small island in the water? Take inspiration in this design by Biombo Architects

Related: Inspiring Backyard Patio Makeovers For Big And Small Spaces

Build a frame around the pool

Build a frame around the poolView in gallery

There are cases when smooth transitions between different areas or between certain features makes sense and looks good but there are also cases when it’s nice to clearly delineate something like the swimming pool for example from all the rest of the areas and elements around it. Building a frame can create a nice sense of comfort and intimacy.{Photographs : Cortesia de Matías Silva Arquitectos}

Push it to the edge

Push it to the edgeView in gallery

When dealing with a sloping plot or a steep hillside area a good strategy can be to push the swimming pool towards the edge of the site. This way you can maximize the view with a zero edge design and you can have glass railings. Even if you’re only seeing a bunch of tree canopies it’s still a nice way to take advantage of the landscape and nature’s beauty. Check out this project from Argentina by ARarquitectos for more inspiration. 

A dividing feature

A dividing featureView in gallery

There’s lots of different ways to physically integrate a swimming pool into a backyard. One idea is to turn it into a dividing feature, placing it between the garden and the outdoor entertainment area for instance. It’s an idea inspired by a project recently completed by Gallardo Llopis Arquitectos in Spain.

Add layers to the design

Add layers to the designView in gallery

Adding layers always helps a design stand out and have more depth and character, whether we’re talking something small-scale or something big and open like a backyard for example. The transitions can be subtle and the layers can take a variety of different forms. This design by studio DSDG Architects can show a bit what it’s all about. 

Try an L-shape design

Try an L-shape designView in gallery

Not every backyard swimming pool needs to be rectangular. In fact, there’s plenty of other shapes that could potentially work better with certain layouts and designs. An L-shaped pool for instance fits really well in this beautiful backyard by Randy Angell Designs

Build a pavilion by the pool

Build a pavilion by the poolView in gallery

The area around the swimming pool has lots of potential too. A cool idea can be to build a small pavilion by the pool, a little cozy space with a roof overhead, a place to sit down and have a drink or just enjoy some time in the shade. This one by Envision Landscape Studio even has a fireplace and a TV. 

A pool and hot tub combo

A pool and hot tub comboView in gallery

A hot tub is yet another feature that could fit beautifully in a backyard. You can have it built into the deck or place it by the swimming pool, allowing these two water features to complement each other. It could be a nice look for a modern backyard like the one designed by studio Allan Edwards Builder Inc.

Play around with pool fountains

Play around with pool fountainsView in gallery

If you’d like to add a more dynamic feel to your backyard and a simple swimming pool doesn’t do the trick, perhaps a pool fountain can change the perspective. This could look really great if you also add some vegetation or you create some decorative features around the pool. We really like the simplicity of this design by Arrow. Land + Structures. It has lots of character. 

Pool and guest house combo

Pool and guest house comboView in gallery

Doesn’t this little guest house look dreamy? It’s placed all the way at the back of the garden, lining up nicely with the swimming pool. The symmetry actually adds a lot of charm to a setup like this, especially with the farmhouse-style design and the beautiful trees in the background. This was a project by studio Greey Pickett.

Related: Cool Ways To Make Your Summer Better With a DIY Swimming Pool

Embrace the greenery

Embrace the greeneryView in gallery

It’s not really a detail that we think about generally but color is actually very important for a swimming pool. Blue tiles are by far the most common and they can look really great but green has a charm of its own. The emerald water gives this backyard such a dreamy and fantastic aura. Check out studio Anthony Wilder Design/Build for more ideas and inspiration. 

Find the best spot for the swimming pool

Find the best spot for the swimming poolView in gallery

It’s hard to say what the best spot for a swimming pool would be in general because each backyard and each site are different and unique. For this beautiful holiday home designed by Bates Masi Architects the best spot for the pool turned out to be on top of the hill just below the building’s upper floor level. 

Set up a shaded area

Set up a shaded areaView in gallery

Although it can be nice to be out in the sunlight a shaded area is often very valuable for a backyard. We love how that was added here by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos by extending the upper floor and creating an overhang. The roof terrace creates this beautiful shaded area by the swimming pool which ensures a smooth indoor-outdoor transition. 

A gradual transition

A gradual transitionView in gallery

There’s a lot to be inspired by from a design like this one but the detail that we enjoy the most is the way in which this spectacular view of the city is gradually revealed. The backyard creates a very smooth transition between the closed indoor spaces and the fully-open exterior and the swimming pool in the middle point. This was a project by Caramel Architekten

A clean and modern aesthetic

A clean and modern aestheticView in gallery

The architectural style of the house often also influences the aesthetic of the outdoor areas such as the backyard and garden. Here for instance a clean and modern style was applied throughout the indoor and outdoor spaces allowing the transition between them to feel smooth and seamless. This is the backyard of a contemporary house designed by studio Selencky Parsons in London. 

A 2-in-1 design

A 2-in-1 designView in gallery

We’ve actually mentioned before that a hot tub can be a nice addition to the backyard but we didn’t consider the option of having a 2-in-1 design where the tub is actually integrated into the swimming pool. This could also be a cool way to save space in a small backyard like this which was remodeled by studio Two Hawks Design and Development

Fire and water

Fire and waterView in gallery

It’s always fascinating to see two contrasting elements like fire and water being paired together. With that in mind it’s possible to create some really cool designs out in the backyard, like this one by studio DRC Pools. We love the addition of the pool fountains and especially the one that’s hidden inside the fire pit. It’s such an iconic and eye-catching element for this area.