Last Updated: September 10, 2021

9 Most Popular Pool Shapes & Designs

Written By: Pool Care Guide

Most Common Swimming Pool Shapes 

Are you thinking about getting a pool? If so, you’ve got plenty of exciting decisions to make. One of the most important is your pool’s shape.

The pool shape you choose should depend on various factors, such as what kind of outdoor space you have and your personal style. Let’s take a look at the most common swimming pool shapes available today. 

1. Kidney-Shaped Pools

 

The kidney-shaped pool is an elegant classic we see in many backyards. This shape has been a mainstay of pool design in the United States since the middle of the 20th century. It first came in style in California, and it spread out from there. 

This pool shape was first developed by Alvar Aalto, a Modernist architect in Finland. He created a home called Villa Mairea in 1939, and that is where he first showcased a kidney-shaped pool. A kidney-shaped pool looks just like it sounds: it is shaped like a kidney. 

While the kidney-shaped pool isn’t quite as popular as it was once, many homeowners still choose it for their properties. It has a retro appeal that many consider chic and on-trend. It may also be the perfect fit for your space and preferences. 

2. Free-Form Pools

A free-form pool can be any shape, and your space often determines the shape. There are many kinds of free-form pools with different styles and motifs. 

While some free-form pools are just the general run-of-the-mill backyard pools you see everywhere, others are specifically meant to imitate a natural body of water. 

If you’d like, you can design a free-form pool to have features imitating the natural world, such as waterfalls and rocks. Some designers like creating free-form pools that look like a natural oasis, a pond, or a lake. 

Free-form pools first became popular in Hollywood. It would end up becoming the most prevalent type of pool throughout the 20th century. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford’s famous estate Pickfair had a free-form pool. This was just one example of many iconic Hollywood stars who caught onto this style. 

If you have relatively limited outdoor space and you want the perfect pool shape to give you room for other things, a free-form pool is a perfect choice. Do you enjoy holding poolside parties? Keep this in mind. 

3. L-Shaped Pools

The L-Shaped pool is one of the best choices for swimming and diving enthusiasts. With this shape, you can keep the smaller area set off as the shallow area. 

A significant advantage of having an L-shaped pool is that you can create an extremely clear differentiation between the shallow and deeper ends of the pool.

If you have a family with young kids or people come over who aren’t strong swimmers, this will help you keep everyone safer. Make sure your L-shaped pool design includes having the different depths in the areas you want. 

Another advantage of an L-shaped pool is that it might be the ideal fit for your property. It’s great when you need to tuck one part of the pool around a corner. If you get a good designer and have them properly examine your property, you may find an L-shaped pool will be the perfect fit. 

4. Rectangular Pools

The rectangular pool is exactly what it sounds like. It is a perfect rectangle, with exact 90-degree corners. If you’re a serious swimmer, this may be the right pool for you. 

There is a certain amount of flexibility with this shape. For example, you may decide that you don’t want the angular corners and will go with rounded ones instead. 

Rectangular pools are perfect for narrow and long outdoor spaces. If your space is extremely narrow, you can create what some refer to as a “skinny rectangle.” With this kind of pool, you may have a width as limited as just eight or 10 feet. You’ll need a decent length, however, if you want to swim laps. 

5. Geometric Pools

As implied by the name, a geometric swimming pool may have one or more of a variety of shapes. Does your home have a distinctively modern and contemporary, even edgy, look? A fun geometric pool would be the ideal touch. 

If you want a truly unique touch for your property, a geometric pool may be exactly what you’re looking for. Some homeowners have even created heart-shaped and triangle-shaped pools. 

Does your home have a distinctly modern or edgy architectural style? A geometric pool might be perfect. 

As geometric pools tend to include a custom design as well as more footage on the perimeter, be prepared for a higher price tag than you’d have with more well-known designs. 

6. Roman-Style Pools

A Roman-style pool has a shape reminiscent of ancient Rome and its villas. This kind of pool has edges that are straight and long. Each end is shaped into a half-circle resembling an arch. 

Of course, the Roman-style pool’s history stretches back thousands of years. Did you know the Romans were the ones who invented the concept of the swimming pool? 

The Roman-style pool is popular today, especially on higher-end properties. This kind of pool is distinctly elegant, and it always creates an impressive look. 

7. Grecian-Style Pools

The Grecian-style pool is extremely similar to the Roman-style pool. With the Grecian-style pool, the corners of the rectangle are cut. If you love ancient Greek architecture, consider a Grecian-style pool for your home. 

Both the Grecian-style and Roman-style pools always add upscale elegance to any space. 

8. Circular Pools

The circular pool is gorgeous and impressive, but you’ll need a lot of space to accommodate it. Its shape means it won’t make the most efficient use of the space. Perhaps you associate round pools with above-ground pool varieties, but you can use this shape for an in-ground pool too. 

The round shape of this kind of pool helps promote better filtration and water flow. If you have an exceptionally large backyard and the shape of this pool appeals to you, consider adding a round-shape pool to your property.   

9. Oval Pools

The oval-shaped pool is more popular than the round shape for in-ground pools. However, it’s less prevalent than several of the other shapes, such as the free-form pool. 

They’re certainly beautiful, though. The oval shape is considered more of a vintage style, and it’s even found on Victorian-era properties. 

Unlike the round shape, the oval pool is more likely to be suitable for swimming. This, of course, depends on its length. It’s important to think about what you want to get out of your pool when deciding what kind to get. 

Plunge Pools and Lap Pools: What’s the Difference? 

A plunge pool can be much smaller than a lap pool. It is big enough to immerse yourself in and enjoy, but not large enough for real swimming. A lap pool, on the other hand, is long enough for swimming laps. 

You can find small plunge pool designs that are only eight or ten feet square. If you want a lap pool, it should usually be at least 60 feet long and between six and eight feet wide. 

Finding out about plunge pools can be a revelation for homeowners who always assumed their backyard wasn’t big enough for a pool. With a small plunge pool, you can enjoy relaxing and cooling off in the summer. 

Some people refer to plunge pools as dipping pools. Even if you have a large outdoor area, you might prefer a plunge pool if you don’t want all your space taken over by a long lap pool. 

A plunge pool is also a more economical choice for most homeowners. Not only is it cheaper to install, but it’s also less costly to maintain. 

While plunge pools are a great option, they do have limitations beyond the fact you cannot swim laps in them. A significant one is the fact that not many people will fit in this kind of pool at once. 

Usually, only three or four adults can fit in a plunge pool. Also, they can present a danger if you have kids. This is because this kind of pool only has shallow water, and if your kids try to jump in, they can get injured. 

What Kind of Pool Shape Should You Choose? 

Of course, the amount of space you have to play with is key when deciding on a pool. You’ll also want to consider other things you will have in your outdoor space. Let’s take a look at some things to think about when choosing the perfect pool for your property. 

Space

Be realistic when considering your outdoor space, as well as your family’s needs and preferences. Don’t get carried away with the thought of an enormous lap pool, only realizing after it’s installed that you don’t have room for anything else. 

Do you enjoy spending time in your backyard on other activities? Keep this top of mind. 

Budget 

Your budget is a critical consideration when planning your pool. Remember, it’s not only the substantial cost of installing your pool that will take a bite out of your pocketbook. 

There are several ongoing costs involved with having a pool. If you feel that building and maintaining a pool is going to stretch your budget, think again. At least go with a less expensive option. 

Landscaping

Think about the landscaping that you currently have and, if you want to make changes, the landscaping you will create around your pool. Make sure that you’ll love the whole package of how your yard looks, not just the pool itself. 

As touched on earlier, make sure the pool and all the other landscaping elements will still allow you to do your other favorite backyard activities. 

Additional Features 

There are several additional features you can include in your pool. For example, cascading waterfalls are an increasingly popular option. Others include dynamic jets and underwater lighting. Consider whether you will want any of these before you build your pool. 

It’s best to include these from the very beginning. Don’t plan to add them years later. Retrofitting is much more difficult and expensive than you anticipate. 

Your Lifestyle 

Think about your lifestyle and how much time you will be able to devote to pool care and maintenance. Once you have a pool, it’s critically important to keep it well-maintained. Don’t take on more than you can handle. 

Wrapping Up

There are a wide array of swimming pool shapes to choose from. Take your time choosing the right pool and finding the best contractor to build and install it. 

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