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 piques your interest.

Freeform Pools

That is 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 excellent 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 many 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 beautiful views. This pool also has a great beach entry. Please take a look at my infinity pool design guide for more inspiration.

swimming pool infinity edge close up

This smaller infinity edge dives into a lower pool. The water wall is lined with natural stone pieces that I hand-selected for a rugged and natural finish. In the background, you can see some bench seating as well.

infinity edge pool with wood and stone decking

This is a very fun swimming pool I built that has an infinity edge, natural stone coping, and a wooden deck overlooking the river.

Garden-Inspired Backyard Pools

The custom stonework and landscape design around this pool 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 complete 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 stonework that outlines and connects the pool area contrasts wonderfully with 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 provide a great area to relax, and the use of natural stone gives it a natural feel. Check out my lagoon pool design ideas article for more inspiration like this pool.

This designer decided to put the spa inside the grotto, providing a great relaxing private area. The stonework here is also well done and a mix of a couple of different styles.

Considering a grotto? Check out my complete 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 ones. I 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 cooldowns. An exciting 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 towards the forest brighten and enlarge the space.

Photo credit: impressiveinteriordesign.com

This circular indoor pool lets in great natural light and looks like a delight in the evenings. The stone pillars hold a second level that overlooks a great outdoor view.

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 many 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 beautiful entertaining space.

Photo credit: outdoorhouseplan.com

The terraced design of this natural pool looks like a beautiful and seamless addition to the overall outdoor space. The small footbridge 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.

Rooftop Pools

This rooftop pool has a glass wall, an infinity edge, and a fantastic view of the city skyline.

Head to my entire article on rooftop pool design for more inspiration.

Other Unique Pool Designs

roman style swimming pool with tile

I built this swimming pool several years ago that has a Roman-style to it with columns in the middle, a statue, and classic tile work.

swimming pool lounge area with table

Here is a lounge area I built into a swimming pool with a custom concrete table and bench seating.

swimming pool spa area with overflow

I love incorporating a spillover feature around the entire spa area of a swimming pool, like this one I built.

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Download my free, printable pool planning checklist to guide you through the entire design and installation process.

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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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