39 Backyard Pool Ideas to Dive Into

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated October 12, 2021
A man and woman jumping into a backyard inground pool together
Kolostock/Getty Images

Kick back, relax, and make a splash with the backyard pool of your dreams

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Whether you’re in the process of designing your own backyard oasis or looking to add pizzazz to your current backyard, you’ve come to the right place to get inspiration. 

We’ve gathered 39 backyard pool ideas that will make your house the go-to hangout spot in the neighborhood, no matter the size of your yard (and budget). 

Use these pool ideas to design your dream backyard!

6 Pool Ideas for Small Backyards

A small backyard with a small, square swimming pool surrounded by concrete tiles
Linda Raymond/E+/Getty Images

Don’t rule out a swimming pool just because you have a small backyard. There are plenty of options that will work with the space you’ve got—no matter how limited. Here are a few things to try:


  • Custom pool shape

  • Small plunge pool (uses depth to make up for the lack of swim space)

  • Inflatable or portable small pool

  • DIY shipping container pool

  • Stock tank pool

  • Hot tub instead of a pool

6 Above Ground Pool Ideas

Above ground pool with wooden casing on a cement slab
Sergojpg - stock.adobe.com

At first thought, an above-ground pool may seem like an “outdated” option when compared to an inground pool, but above-ground pools certainly have their advantages. 

For instance, above-ground pools are often much more affordable to build and maintain. Plus, there are so many options to choose from when customizing the surrounding area, like an above ground pool deck. 

Consider these ideas to give your above-ground pool a modern makeover:

  • DIY wood siding around the perimeter of the pool

  • Surrounding pool deck

  • Landscaping (stone, mulch, flowers, plants, etc.)

  • Solar lighting along the sides

  • Center fountain feature

  • Underwater LED lights for a colorful setting at night

7 Inground Pool Ideas

An inground swimming pool with an attached hot tub
Elenathewise - stock.adobe.com

One of the biggest advantages to installing an inground pool is that you can customize it to fit your space. From common inground pool shapes like squares and rectangles to funky oblong shapes, there’s a pool design to fit any backyard space.

Exciting features like water slides and poolside lounge areas will allow your family to get even more use out of your pool. Think about adding some of these ideas to your layout design for a hangout spot so nice, you’ll never want to go inside.

  • Attached hot tub

  • Waterslide

  • Surrounding deck

  • Stone waterfall feature

  • Poolside lounge and seating area

  • Diving board

  • Infinity edge

9 Pool Deck Ideas

An above ground pool and surrounding deck with lounge chairs, hammock, and patio table
Lawcain - stock.adobe.com

A pool deck can take your backyard pool from a fun swim spot to a multifunctional space. Whether designing a deck for an inground or above ground pool, you have the option to make it as simple or elaborate as you’d like. 

Choose one of the following nine ideas, or combine several for the ultimate hangout spot.

  • Lounge chairs

  • Small tables for snacks and drinks

  • Grill

  • Sauna

  • Pool house

  • Hot tub

  • Built-in seating areas

  • Built-in outdoor kitchen

  • Firepit with seating

7 Pool Lounge Ideas

A home lounge on a wooden deck including wicker patio furniture
Photographee.eu - stock.adobe.com

If deck space doesn’t quite match your taste (or your budget), add a surrounding lounge area instead. 

Start by deciding whether or not you want to add additional cement slab, tile, or stone flooring to support your new lounge area. From there, you can use the following ideas to turn your pool into a backyard oasis.

  • Tiki bar

  • Cabana

  • Pergola

  • Lounge chair seating

  • Patio set with a table and chairs

  • Fire pit and seating

  • Area for a movie screen and projector

4 Backyard Hot Tub Ideas

An inground hot tub with a stone waterfall feature
Sailing Away - stock.adobe.com

Whether it’s a stand-alone or an addition to a backyard pool area, adding a hot tub is a dream for many homeowners. When it’s finally time to install a hot tub, consider maximizing your space with an exciting accent, such as: 

  • Stone waterfall feature

  • Surrounding wood deck

  • Pergola and string lights

  • Surrounding hardscaping or landscaping

Budget Considerations

There are many budget considerations to keep in mind when deciding to install a pool, deck, or surrounding backyard lounge area. 

Of course, there’s the upfront cost of installing a pool. As previously mentioned, above ground pools tend to be more cost-friendly than inground pools, with options like stock tank pools and portable pools costing the least.

There’s the cost of yearly maintenance (chlorine, proper opening and closing procedures, and cleaning) too. Pools can also raise insurance rates and property tax significantly depending on your state and county. 

Finally, there’s the cost of your desired add-ons, such as decks, lounge areas, cement slabs, landscaping, fireplaces, and safety fencing.

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