In warm weather, there’s nothing like a backyard pool to add fun and relaxation to a home, whether it is a full-time residence or a vacation property. Swimming pools have evolved far beyond the basic kidney and rectangular concrete styles and there are swimming pool options for homes of every size and location. From smaller plunge or lap pools to expansive types that dominate the property, there loads of ways to add a swimming pool to the yard. Check out these gorgeous backyard pools.
Ideal for Water Lovers
Designed by Bates Masi+ Architects, this home in Amagansett, New York features a large pool for a family that loves the water. Decking is positioned on one side while the other is flanked by the grassy yard. There’s plenty of room for playing and relaxing just steps from the house. The wide steps of the deck go below the ledge of the pool, which is a very attractive and uncommon design feature.
Part of the Landscape
Sure it’s a swimming pool, but at the Fraiao House in Braga, Portugal, it is also part of the overall landscape design. As much a visual water feature as a recreational amenity, the pool sits beside the sweeping glass walls of the home. Rather than using traditional pool decking, the patio area features several different materials and a unique design that looks nothing like what you’d expect to find poolside. Designed by TRAMA Arquietos, the pool is large but does not dominate the landscape and instead is in harmony with the other elements.
Modest Lap Pool
The pool does not have to the main feature of a property, as this home in Durban, South Africa demonstrates. Designed by Bloc Architects, the open living plan of the house was conceived for the region’s sub-tropical climate. Instead of positioning the lap pool in the middle of the backyard or just off the patio, as is commonly done, the designers shifted its placement to the side and perpendicular to the house. Access is still easy, and the placement allows for a large expanse of green yard.
Part of the House
At the other extreme, this home has essentially made the pool part of the house. Designed by Metropole Architects, the coastal South African home features a pool that runs the full length of the house, steps from the main living areas. In fact, from the patio area, steps lead directly down into the water. This design allows anyone inside, as well as people seated, to look across to the panoramic ocean view beyond the pool.
Located in a Durban home, this pool is part and parcel of the design that blurs the lines between interior and exterior spaces. Designed by Bloc Architects in cooperation with Kevin Lloyd Architects, it is divided into two sections, with the first part located beside the covered patio and the second extending along the open space beyond. Plentiful seating areas, both covered and uncovered, make it simple to enjoy the pool in many ways. Looking from indoors, it almost seems like the pool originates inside.
Oasis of Privacy
You wouldn’t think that a home located on an exposed corner lot would offer a swimming pool with plenty of privacy, but the L-shaped design by Bodron+Fruit does indeed. The footprint of the house surrounds the back yard and its long, modern pool and cabana. Artfully landscaped, the vegetation adds to the private feel of the pool. The stone patio extends widely along two sides, turning it into a major architectural feature.
Luxurious Pool Pavilion
Just made for fun and entertainment, this Austin, Texas home has paired a great pool design with a separate outdoor living area and kitchen. Designed by Clark | Richardson Architects, the living and kitchen space is covered by a canopy, which increases the use and enjoyment of the outdoors. Just steps from the main house along a path paved in the same stone as the pavilion, the pool area becomes a major entertainment feature with the addition of the extra amenities.
A Natural Extension
Tucked away behind an 1880’s Victorian home in Melbourne, Australia, this modern home extension surrounds a relaxing space featuring a swimming pool. Designed by Robson Rak Architecture & Interiors, the addition includes a cabana with wood-burning fireplace to enhance the enjoyment of the pool. The large glass windows of the new section look out over the pool and yard. In addition to the cabana, plenty of deck space and a built-in bench offer up space for relaxing and lounging.
A modern home in Casablanca, Morocco, has a slim lap pool that is practically a secreted away in the courtyard gardens behind the house. Set to the side of the home in the walled garden, the slender pool is a water feature as well as a place to cool off in the heat. The unadorned pool with clean, simple lines appears as if it is an extension of the house and side wall, all designed by the Elements Lab. The whole thing truly feels like a secret oasis.
Pool of Serenity
Wide and light, the location of this pool just behind a home in Cape Town feels very Zen-like. Designed by SAOTA architects, the area features built-in stone seating and a modern waterfall feature at the end. The low silhouette of the pool feels in harmony with the natural landscape around it, which was left intact, right up to the edge of the pool and behind the seating. The design also shows how a pool can be installed in a limited area, even if it is part of a larger property.
Shipping Container Pool
You’ve probably read about shipping containers being used as structures for homes and shops, but they can also be used to create a swimming pool with little if any excavation. Their size — 8 x 20 feet — makes them manageable for most yards and they can be moved. Just like other swimming pools, pools made from shipping containers have filtration systems and can have a heater to extend their enjoyment — or to turn them into a hot tub. Depending on the individual situation, shipping container pools can be landscaped into the yard or positioned against a deck or patio.
Integrated Shipping Container Pool
As we already mentioned, a shipping container pool can be landscaped to blend into the topography. In fact, the unique nature of a shipping container pool offers up design options not available with more traditional pools. This Australian home by Gibson Building created a wooden deck that attaches the pool to the main deck area. The most astonishing feature is that the container pool is suspended over the hill, held up by steel posts.
Small Courtyard Pool
By putting a swimming pool in the middle of a courtyard, it makes the entire design revolve around it. This Phoenix, Arizona, home, designed by The Ranch Mine, was inspired by the great artist Georgia O-Keefe and the patio area is an extension of the interior design. Flanked by plenty of space for lounging, a dining area, and an outdoor kitchen, this type of pool setup is perfect for entertaining friends — or just yourselves!
Set beside a 1960s home in Australia, renovated by Architect Luigi Rosselli, this pool has a different feeling, thanks to its set-in style, patterned wall and glass barrier. The location in the corner of the yard gives a better vista to the people inside and leaves enough room for lounging and entertaining on the patio and lawn. The organic shape of the pool itself is appealing and repeats the curved corner of the house that overlooks it.
Now you see it — poof — now you don’t! This wooden deck has a platform that is actually a pool cover. Designed by Octavia, a French company that makes pool covers, the retractable deck does double duty. While this is ideal for a smaller yard where the pool might be used less than the actual deck, it also has an added element of safety. When the deck slides back into place, there are no worries of anyone or anything falling into it.
Infinity Edge Pool
Infinity-edge pools are just the thing for a mountainside home. The location of the pool, with a spectacular view beyond, is the best because it enhances the vista. Sitting directly behind the pool at this Lake Garda home, it will look like the pool blends into the lake. It’s also fun to look at the view from inside the pool because the edge is at eye level without a lip or deck to interfere. Infinity-edge styles are very modern and contemporary choices.
The Center of Attention
This Sydney home has the pool situated as an object of focus because many rooms look out directly onto it. Designed by Lot 1 Design in cooperation with Sydesign, the pool is set right next to the large windows. A strip of wood decking runs along the yard side and is cordoned off by a glass wall. Using a glass barrier ensures safety but also that the view from inside the home will be unobstructed.
Extra Large and Long
In a locale like Miami, it makes sense to have a large pool. This home by Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design sits waterside on La Gorce Island. The long, large pool is the dominant feature in the yard, but there is still more than enough space to entertain. The decking surrounding the pool is made from wood that is set at an angle, which is more stylish than a plain concrete deck. Whether sitting poolside or from inside the house, the view of the water– pool or Intracoastal — is marvelous.
Sized for Small Lots
A small lot is not a barrier to having a swimming pool, as this open plan home in Argentina demonstrates. Designed by Gianserra + Lima arquitectos, the small pool is set at the side of the yard and is still plenty big for cooling off and some swimming. A modest amount of poolside patio surface offers up room for lounge chairs but it still proportional to the size of the pool. The modest size also makes it feel a bit like a backyard pond, especially with the speckled stone bottom.
Roof Top Tropical Pool
Rooftop pools can be found at many urban hotels, but how about on the roof of your own house? This is an ideal solution when the surrounding vegetation or the topography makes it impossible to incorporate a backyard pool in the home’s design. Developed by Studio MK27, this Brazilian home is so nestled into the forest that the architects turned to the rooftop area for a terrace with a pool, along with a shaded section topped with a green roof.
Long With a Secret View
Space is at a pricey premium in Singapore, however, ONG&ONG Pte Ltd were able to include a lap pool in the back yard of this multigenerational four-story home. Set along the width of the patio area — which has a large sliding glass door — the pool still leaves green lawn beyond for enjoyment. Being set this close to the home, the pool was also turned into a feature for the basement media room: A long glass panel allows light from the pool to enter the room and gives the occupants the chance to look at the swimming pool from the side as if it were a large aquarium.
A Reflective Feature
Designed correctly, a swimming pool will do more than just offer recreation. The nighttime view will enhance the house and serve as an attractive water feature, as it does for this Austin, Texas home by Furman + Keil Architects. The negative edge pool offers views into the woods beyond and beautifully reflects the home’s lights because of the plentiful windows.
Minimalist Pool Design
A long, and low-slung modern home in Canada features a large swimming pool that is invisible when viewed from beyond because of the native grasses surrounding it. The wall of the house, designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, serves a barrier on one side while the landscape does the job on the other side. A covered area at the end features a woodburning fireplace and covered seating, which extends the use of the outdoors in the cold northern climate. This type of pool is great for a location where the land is rugged, rocky and uneven, making the typical green lawn impractical.
Glass Pool House
Sometimes the pool house is the special feature as it is in this case. Designed by Nuyken von Oefele and Jürgen Stoppel, the glass poolhouse leaves everything on view from the inside. Sliding glass doors on all sides allow for adjustment for the most comfortable setting, depending on the temperature and the winds. Sitting in this glass pool house offers up more than just a look at the pool. It puts the whole world on view.
Another unique poolhouse is this spa-focused construction in Texas. The green roof is covered with native plants and forms a natural top for the poolhouse, designed by Murray Legge Architecture. In addition, the pool itself features a number of built-in seating features that allow people to sit in the water, staying cool in the hot Texas sun. Even the stairs leading to the pool include touches of nature, with long, thin, built-in planters and grasses that peek up from under the stairs.
Made for Outdoor Living
A pool design that is minimal still adds lots of drama to a home when it is combined with plentiful outdoor spaces for living, dining and entertaining. Designed by Leo Romano, this Brazilian home features lots of sliding glass walls that bring the pool into the realm of everyday living. The stacked sections of the home offer up enough shade poolside that it’s possible to enjoy the area even in the hot afternoons.
Pool for an Art-Focused Home
Another house that blends the outdoors and the indoors is this one designed by Padovani Arquitetos Associados. The rectangular pool has the same orientation as the house and has a deck wide enough for showing off artful outdoor chairs. In addition, the side of the living room can be opened, allowing those who are outside to still enjoy viewing the large artworks that are indoors.
Super Long and Lean
Now that’s a long pool! Designed for this home at Arijuju, Kenya, the lengthy pool was designed by Michalis Boyd. It features an infinity edged that allows swimmers to be up close with the landscape, along with a wide pool terrace on the other side. Trees planted along the center bed cast enough shade onto the lounge chairs to offer respite from the hot sun. This particular terrace also has a large dining area, a pergola and a barbeque.
Meant for Vacation
A beach house designed by NiHu Architectos offers up everything visitors will need, including this inviting swimming pool. Set beside a small pool house, the long pool has a basic concrete silhouette but is accented with floating wooden platforms that allow people to sit at different locations along the sides. It’s shielded from the sun at one end with a pergola and from prying eyes by a natural looking fence along one side. There’s plenty of space for lounging and any other vacation activities.
A Provencal Pool
Set along the Cote d’Azur, this pool and its setting are very evocative of the region. The clean-lined, rectangular swimming pool is paired with a wide expanse of patio, in the middle of a meticulously landscaped yard. Native plants and shrubs create a Mediterranean/Provencal feeling without veering into cliché territory. In fact, the house and grounds, designed by David Price Design, are a grand example of how critical the landscaping is to the overall feeling and look of a backyard pool.
Just outside this house with a butterfly roof, located in Brazil, is a large and organically shaped swimming pool. It is a stylish counterpoint to the angular and modern silhouette of the home, designed by TETRO Arquitetura. Not only is the pool irregularly shaped, but its ledge is also constructed of natural stone, giving it more of a feeling like a natural pond instead of a pool. While it is different from the house, it blends well with the landscape, which is very natural and not overly manicured.
Small Seaview Lap Pool
Set in the jungle of Costa Rica, this sea view home has a small lap pool in the patio slab that adjoins the house. Designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe, the house and the patio offer views across the pool and yard to the ocean in the distance. The lap pool is proportional to the yard and house and does not dominate the area. It’s a good use of the space as the property is surrounded by jungle.
This hillside home in Rio de Janeiro features three stories of stone construction and is accented by the long lap pool that runs along the middle level of the house. Of course, the pool offers relaxation and swimming, but its position also makes it a water feature in the home. The living spaces open out onto the patio, which is attached to the pool. The seating offers sweeping views across the pool to the ocean, making it feel as if both are connected.
Compact Plunge Pool
This Scottsdale, Arizona home has limited space for a pool but manages to include a small but very stylish plunge pool. Set inside a high ledge, the pool is situated just of the patio, which makes it perfectly placed for a quick and cooling dip. Designed by Kendle Design Collaborative, the home and surrounding landscape are nature-focused and blend well with the topography. Often a plunge pool is just enough to add a water feature as well as an outdoor amenity for the whole family.