How to design a small-space swimming pool

January 17, 2018
swimming pool

For most people, a swimming pool is the most classic and desirable backyard feature. With the development of pool building technology, design ideas and materials in recent years, having a pool has become more affordable.

However, in addition to these technologies, you must also carefully consider the land space you have available for a pool.  With plot sizes for new home homes increasingly becoming smaller, there’s not always much room left for a luxurious swimming pool.

swimming pool
Hotel Costa Rica Swimming Pool

Fortunately, there’s a solution. The size doesn’t have to be an issue; it’s all about the fundamental design, function, and form.

Smaller pools may impose certain restrictions as to what you can do but if you reconsider your expectations and desired features, you’ll be able to create a comfortable zone that caters to most of your needs. The children will enjoy their pool time, no matter the size. As for the adults, with a stylish seating in the corner, shade and drinks, everyone will enjoy summer entertainment by the pool.

Here’s how to successfully design an impressive swimming pool in a small space.

Initial considerations

Small spaces are challenging and when designing a pool to fit there are certain considerations you need to bear in mind, such as aesthetics and function. But, before you even start thinking about the design there are critical, technical elements that must not be overlooked. You need to consider the adjoining property protection works, town planning, building code requirements, fencing and boundary restrictions. All of these issues are usually magnified in small spaces.

Professional design

The first step is to hire a professional designer. It all starts with a great design and professional designers have the knowledge and experience needed to overcome challenges of small spaces and avoid possible mistakes.

swimming poolAnother tip is not to go overboard with design. In small spaces, every inch counts and you should try and keep things simple so you don’t end up with a space that is cramped and uncomfortable. Consider adding just a few stylish and exciting elements, such as an accent wall as a backdrop or a small water cascade.

Size and positioning

Appropriate size or a balance of scale is what really matters here. Be sure the pool fits well in the space as an integral element but not as a dominant one. As for the pool position, make sure it is close to a boundary, since there are certain engineering requirements when digging near the boundary, which means you might need property protection works in order to protect the neighbouring property. As a general rule, you’ll be able to avoid these issues if you keep the pool one metre off the boundary.

Concrete or fiberglass?

Basically, there are two types of pools available on the market: the cookie-cutter, prefabricated fiberglass pools and concrete swimming pools.

swimming poolThe former is quicker to install and cheaper, but offers a limited choice of design and possible issues with pool fencing compliance requirements, whereas the latter gives you much more freedom in terms of design, shape, size, and adaptability to available space.

They are also more suitable for tricky terrains, close-to-boundary buildings and blending in with surrounding structural elements.


Compliance with pool safety standards is one of the requirements you need to think through carefully. These standards cover issues such as the height and strength of barriers, gates and latches, direct access areas, and mandatory non-climbable zones.

For example, a pool barrier needs to be 120cm high but it can also block the view of the water. A smart design solution here is to build the pool 90cm above ground and add 30cm of deep sunken mote or gutter of either pebbles or non-climbable planting to make sure you comply with 120cm vertical compliance requirements.

Author bio:

If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on LinkedIn.

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