Pool Scuppers Design Ideas, Types, & Considerations

Written by Michael Dean
June 2, 2023

pool scuppers

Pool scuppers are a very popular addition to a lot of swimming pools. The term “scupper” originates from marine culture – a scupper is an opening in a boat that allows water to escape and flow off the boat deck. It’s also a common term in architecture, referring to a structure used to drain water from your roof. Hopefully, that paints a pretty clear picture for you – a stream of water using the power of gravity to move from one place to another. In swimming pools, scuppers can bring water from a spa or another feature into the main pool. In this article, I’ll cover the main benefits and drawbacks of scuppers, the types of scuppers you can install, go over some design inspiration, and finish with how you can get started installing a scupper in your pool. Ready? Let’s go!

Main Benefits

Scuppers have a few main benefits; here are the important ones.

Design Aesthetic

If designed correctly to fit the broader pool structure and your home, scuppers can be a wonderful accent to your pool design and backyard environment. As you’ll see from some of the design inspiration below, they can range from very modern to an ancient Roman feel. Both of which can be appealing for the right type of home.

Drowning out Distracting Noises

With water flowing into your main pool, scuppers add the calming sound of water rushing to your pool environment. It can drown out the nearby traffic, noisy neighbors, or the loud kids around the house.

Water Flow and Keeping Your Pool Cool

Keeping your pool water moving is important to cooling down your pool temperature. As new water rushes in, it introduces oxygen to your pool water, cooling it down as it moves around the pool.

Watch Outs

The only major downside to installing pool scuppers is cost. Make sure to get an estimate from your pool builder on how much it will cost to install this extra water feature. Depending on the design you want, it could add a couple of thousand dollars to your total pool installation cost.

You’ll also want to clean your scuppers regularly to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and algae. If you have natural stone scuppers, they can accumulate quicker.

Types of Swimming Pool Scuppers

Scupper designs can be endless. However, you can choose from a few common materials and design concepts.

Most metal scuppers come in copper, stainless steel, or bronze. Personally, I’m a fan of copper scuppers for several pool design concepts. Their color really pops against natural stone or concrete, but doesn’t distract from the natural environment around your pool.

Regarding design concepts, scuppers can range from very ancient to contemporary. Grand Effects has some great examples of several varieties, like a traditional pipe flow, thin sheet flow, or a deeper trough of various shapes and sizes. Be sure to check out their site (linked to above) to see some of the different varieties.

As you’ll see from the examples below, you can put scuppers just about anywhere. The options are endless, from a standalone water feature alongside the pool to the spa, to a retaining wall next to the pool.

Pool Scuppers Design Ideas

freeform pool with spa and scupper

Here is a pool I built that features one large scupper along a natural stone wall at the back of the swimming pool.

Here, we have scuppers flowing from very modern water features alongside the pool. Created by Bianchi Designs out in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A very long scupper underneath the pool deck creates a unique waterfall effect. Thanks to Creative Environments for this photo.

I love these deep trough copper scuppers coming out of the stone wall.

Here is a wider variety of the photo above.

Small pipe scuppers protrude from a wall that separates the pool from the main entertaining area. Image from formywife.info.

Here is a combination of a couple of designs – long scuppers coming out from the wall and one falling from the spa above.

An example of a “sheet flow” scupper with a thin opening at the front creates a wide, thin water flow into the main pool. Image from designingidea.com.

These scuppers help create an older Roman spa feel. Image from thespruce.com.

These are a much more modern look, which many pool owners may be going for. Image from installitdirect.com.

Installing Scuppers In Your Pool

Thinking about getting scuppers installed in your pool? I would definitely recommend getting a professional contractor to help you with this project. While it is technically possible to DIY, the number of steps you can mess up between the plumbing, concrete work, and everything else would be too much of a headache. Plus, these guys are professionals – they can design custom concepts that no one else has, making your pool truly one of a kind.

Need Help Building Your Pool?

I offer design consulting services to help you build your ideal pool. I'll work with your contractor, create build-ready designs and specs, and much more.

Questions on scuppers or other water features? Let me know, and I would be happy to help.

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