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Installing a pool can be expensive and high maintenance, but don’t let that squash your dreams of floating around in your own backyard swimming hole on a hot summer day. You can incorporate a pool into your design (and not just a portable pool), no matter how short on square footage you may be.
Thankfully, you don’t need to sacrifice all of your yard, either. While the sizes and dimensions of pools vary, anything that’s about 10 feet by 10 feet or smaller is typically considered a small pool. In terms of depth, three feet is standard for soaking and floating, and four to five feet and above is the best depth for lap pools. From there, it’s up to you.
Elongated rectangles can give a pool a modern edge or a mediterranean vibe, while circular pools offer a more boho or even a rustic feel. You can cover the walls and circumference with mosaic tiles, add fun water features like waterfalls, or spice up the scene with plants, pool floats, and patio furniture.
So if you’re considering upping the cool factor of your outdoor space, get inspired by these small pools that make a big splash.
Even if your pool is tiny, you can still sit by it in style. We’re obsessed with the outdoor couch and pergola setup adjacent to this petite pool.
This plunge pool is the perfect addition to a home on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. It’s approximately 12 feet by 7 feet, for reference.
Everything from the lounge chair cushions to the swan pool float makes this pint-size swimming pool look like it’s straight out of a dollhouse. We love that there’s still plenty of room for sunbathing and sipping coffee.
This teeny round pool in a yard designed by DCLA is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day without taking up too much space.
This Portland home’s pool setup looks like it’s straight out of Palm Springs, the capital of mid-century modern. The mini greenhouse and vibrantly-colored accents bring major saturation to the oftentimes gray, rainy days of the Pacific Northwest.
Looking to go beyond a traditional shed? If you’re not planning to have your pool take up your entire backyard, a mini pool house, like the one outside of this California home, is the perfect complement to a small pool. Think of it as a permanent cabana—it’s just big enough to fit a sofa and a set of side chairs.
Stepping outside the door of this cozy Houston home and into the backyard instantly introduces a spa-like vibe. That’s because of the pool. Its utilitarian silhouette and cement contrasts with the river rock walkways and natural wood patio furniture. The result is a calm and cool place to have a little fun in the sun.
Small Circle Pool With a View
This stunning pool from The Joshua Tree House, owned by Sara and Rich Combs, shows that size has nothing to do with the relaxing benefits that come with a pool—and the ability to enjoy the view from your backyard. A circular pool takes up little space, is low maintenance, and makes it easy to channel some chill vibes after a long day.
Backyard pools are often categorized into two extremes: large in-ground pools or plastic cylinders sitting on your lawn. But this stock tank-style from Colleen Sherman proves above-ground pools can look super chic and cool in your backyard. The bistro lights, patio umbrella, and pretty pavers certainly up this setup’s style game, too.
This stunning pool by Clayton & Little, shot by Jake Holt, is a dreamy ode to mid-century modern design. The matching turquoise chairs and table reflect the water and boldly stand out against the backyard’s mix of wood walls, cement, and greenery.
One of the best rules to follow when decorating and designing a small space is to build vertically. And you can do the same with a pool. While you may not have the space to spread out a large rectangle across your yard, why not create two pools stacked atop each other like the one at this cool San Francisco home? Patterned tile makes the setup look like a fancy resort pool.
Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann