Pool Design Ideas, Sorted By Concept

Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to come up with the perfect idea for your backyard or indoor pool. Here are some of my favorite swimming pool designs we’ve compiled over the years. I sorted everything by concepts and features to hopefully make it a little more scannable, unlike all the generic (and frankly overwhelming) “top 50” pool design articles out there. Anyways, let’s get started! Feel free to use my handy table of contents below to jump down to a section that peaks your interest.

Freeform Pools

Pretty much the definition of freeform pool design right here. A wonderful design that overlooks a beautiful view of the channel. This pool also has wonderful coping around the perimeter with a draining system and design that allows the pool to be filled to the brim, giving the overflow look.

Photo credit: homedesignlover.com

Lots of curves in this smaller residential pool. The small waterfall and separate spa area help create a lot of individual hangout spaces that make the pool area seem bigger than it actually is.

Infinity Pools

A great infinity edge pool overlooking the lake in Reynolds, Georgia. The water flows into a lower pool where folks can also hang out and take in the wonderful views. Please take a look at my infinity pool design guide for more inspiration.

Photo credit: presidentialpools.com

This smaller infinity edge dives into a lower pool with large bubblers and LED lighting. The deck jets and spa up top add to the waterworks in this design. The fire pits are also a great touch, making this a wonderful spot for entertaining.

Garden-Inspired Backyard Pools

The custom stonework and landscape design around this pool really blend well into the surrounding environment. The trickle of the waterfall also provides a calming sound that drowns out everyday distractions as you’re relaxing. Garden pools are one of my favorite design approaches, check out my full design guide for more garden pool design ideas.

Photo credit: texaspoolsandpatios.com

This Grecian garden design feels like it takes you back a few hundred years, doesn’t it? The natural stone work that outlines and connects the pool area has wonderful contrast to the rest of the landscape.

Plunge Pools

This plunge pool spa is surrounded by wood decking that is perfect for entertaining. The jets and heating system in the pool also make this design a viable option to use in the colder months. I really like the waterfall that trickles in and provides some privacy. The glass fence also doesn’t obstruct your view of the surrounding landscape. For more on fence options, check out my guide on pool fence design.

Photo credit: Folio Design LLP

The above ground plunge pool design is also a popular option. This design really separates the pool from the house, giving it a bit of a “getaway” feel. The walkway spilling into the pool area is a great touch as well.

For more inspiration, read my full article on plunge pool design ideas.


This is the underground spa grotto at the Grove Park Inn, located in the mountains of North Carolina. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Photo credit: lucaslagoons.com

This design by the famous Lucas Lagoons group has a lot going on. The grotto and waterfall provides a great area to relax and the use of natural stone really gives it a natural feel.

This designer decided to put the spa inside the grotto, which provides a great private area to relax. The stone work in here is also well done and a mix of a couple different styles.

Considering a grotto? Check out my full grotto design guide.


The Olympic pool is a classic lap pool design that you typically only see in commercial pool builds, not much in residential. I really like the dome cover on this indoor Olympic pool.

This Olympic pool in Munich has quite a unique ceiling design that dives into a hot tub/spa area for cool downs. A very interesting concept that has inspired a few other large builds over the years.

Indoor Pools

This indoor pool is so simple, yet elegant. The sliding doors that open up towards the forest really brightens and enlarges the space.

Photo credit: impressiveinteriordesign.com

This circular indoor pool let’s in a ton of great natural light and looks like a delight in the evenings. The stone pillars hold up a second level that overlooks a great view to the outdoors.

Photo credit: impressiveinteriordesign.com

This pool is a bit more enclosed and private with minimal outdoor light getting into the area. To the right of the pool, you have a more traditional living room, which can be an option that a lot of folks may want vs. more natural light.

For more ideas, please browse through my full article on indoor pool designs.

Natural Pools

Photo credit: ferncreekdesign.org

This natural pool has so much going for it. A walk in entrance, high grass on either side for privacy, and a great wooden deck towards the back that connects to the yard for a wonderful entertaining space.

Photo credit: outdoorhouseplan.com

The terraced design of this natural pool looks like a wonderful and seamless addition to the overall outdoor space. The small footbridge to get from one area of the backyard to the other is also a nice touch.

Check out all of my natural pool design ideas for more inspiration.

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Other Pool Ideas?

There you have it. Did I miss any concepts or types of pools you were looking for? Let me know! Be sure to check out my favorite water feature inspiration and popular pool shapes articles as well. Ultimately your pool design is entirely up to your personal preferences. Just remember to consider the surrounding landscape and environment you’re putting it in. If you relay the concepts you want to your pool builder, they should be able to come up with something special.

Good luck in your search and shoot me a note if I can help with anything.

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