One of the biggest obstacles for people who want pools is often a lack of space in their backyard. But it’s not as big of an obstacle as you might think. 

With a little creativity and the right approach, even a small lot can be a good home for a fully functional pool with a lot of character and charm. 

The key is to use the space effectively and know a thing or two about pool design. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to make the best use of your space with small swimming pools along with what to avoid when choosing a small pool. 

The Best Type of Pool for a Small Backyard

Before you start thinking about designs and shape, you should consider what type of pool you want to invest in. There’s the choice of what material you want the pool to be made of and whether you want an inground or above ground pool. 

Inground or Above Ground

Above-ground pools can be a good fit for small yards. But they also present some challenges. 

The first challenge is they’re limited to the premade shapes offered by manufacturers. In other words, if you don’t find a prefabricated shape that fits your property, there’s not much you can do about it. 

The other problem is an aesthetic one. For some people, even the best-looking above-ground pool doesn’t compare to traditional pools. But if you’re not one of those people, and you find a pool that makes good use of your space, by all means, go for it. 

The Right Material for a Small Inground Pool

If you go for an inground pool, you’re left with choosing what material to use. The three basic choices are fiberglass, vinyl, and concrete. 

Fiberglass presents a similar problem as above-ground pools. Fiberglass pool shells come in premade shapes, and you’ll need to luck out to find one for your backyard. That said, there are hundreds of shapes available, and you won’t have to get all that lucky. 

Concrete and vinyl-lined pools can be made in any shape you want and, therefore, usually make the best choice for small yards. Ultimately, it’s a decision between how much maintenance you want to put into your pool. 

Concrete pools need a little more maintenance but last decades. Vinyl-lined pools are a little cheaper and easier to maintain, but you’ll need to replace the liner every 10 to 15 years. 

Small Pool Construction 

Regardless of the material you choose for your pool, these design features will help you use your space efficiently and keep your yard looking modern and elegant. 

A wide angle panoramic view of a luxurious in ground pool and patio

Choose a Shape That Works With Your Space

If you have a small rectangular yard (most people do), it’s usually not a good idea to choose a round or oval pool. There’s nothing wrong with those shapes, but they’ll often make it difficult to use the space most economically. 

Furthermore, pools usually need to be some distance from property lines per municipal regulation. Odd shapes can make it more difficult to meet code requirements.

In short, use a shape that flows with the shape of your yard rather than one that clashes with it. 

Use A Wide Step as a Baja Shelf

Just because your pool is small doesn’t mean you need to give up some of the luxuries of a larger installation. You’ll just need to be creative about how to incorporate them. 

A Baja shelf, also known as a tanning shelf, takes up a lot of space in a pool—as do steps. But if you combine them both into a single feature, it’s a great way to do a lot with a little room. 

Essentially, this means installing steps into your pool with an extra-wide first step that doubles as a tanning shelf. 

Make the Edges of Your Property Work for You

Another way to save space in two ways is to use your property’s existing edges to mark your pool’s shape. This approach means using a corner or a side of your property to act as sides of the pool. 

On the one hand, it will maximize the way space is used around the property boundaries. It will also remove the need to eat up yard space with a deck on that side of the pool. However, you’ll need to make sure that there are no code violations when you design the pool, and one of our pool installation experts can help you with that. 

Build Up Instead of Down

Many homeowners focus on a pool footprint more than anything else. But pools are about a lot more than just a basin with water. There are numerous vertical features that you can incorporate to improve your pool aesthetically and to add practical capabilities. 

For instance, rock waterfalls are a great way to improve your pool’s appearance and presence while taking up hardly any yard space. And there are countless other small pool ideas you can choose from to spruce up your pool, such as fountains, deck jets, and statuaries. 

At the same time, you can save space by keeping your pool shallow. If you choose a single low depth for the pool, there’s no need to include a space-hungry descent into the deeper end of the pool. If you try to incorporate a sheer descent, it can make the pool feel awkward for users. 

Moreover, a shallower pool needs less water. Less water needs fewer chemicals and generally lends itself to cheaper maintenance more readily than a deep pool. 

A waterfall in to a pool in a luxury backyard with tropical landscaping

Only Deck What you Need

There’s no need to make the deck an equal width around the entire pool. Strategically varying the width of the deck maximizes how much of the yard is left for other activities. 

You’ll need about seven feet of the deck where you’d like to place pool furniture, but there are no such requirements for unused areas of the poolside. A deck just wide enough to satisfy basic needs is perfectly acceptable.

Opt for a Propelled-water Pool

If your goal is to have a place to exercise more than you want a place to relax and soak up the rays, a compact swimming pool is a great option. 

Endless Pools, SwimEx Pools, and several other brands make swimming pools that use water jets to move the water around you as you swim. The result is a small pool (about 9’ by 15’) that you can use to swim as long as you want. 

They’re a great way to get all the benefits of swimming while making great use of the space in a small yard. You can also try to arrange a bespoke version that’s inground, but that will depend on your pool installers. 

Small Pool Ideas on a Budget

Hopefully, by now, you have a better idea of what kind of pool and what design you want for your small backyard. Most of the ideas listed here won’t make a massive dent in the pool’s overall price, yet they’ll deliver a lot of value. 

If you have any specific needs you want to meet from a small pool or have your own ideas to share, let us know. Leave us a comment below right now. 

And if you’re ready to invest in a small pool, we’re ready to help. Not only do we service the entire Miami area but other places as well, so give us a call right now, and one of our experienced pool installation professionals will provide a free quote for your project.