Amazing Small Pool Designs

Installing a small pool isn’t just for those with a small backyard. A few considerations to make before googling ‘backyard pool ideas’ include thinking about the size and shape of your backyard, the operating costs and what you can afford to run, the style of the backyard, the type of plants, foliage, and hardscaping design you desire, where in your backyard gets the most sun, and of course the seating, dining, and lifestyle arrangements you’d like to create around the pool. 

As experts in pool design, we always encourage our customers to think deeply about these important factors. With so many options for small pool designs, choosing the right one for your space takes effort. In the end, the bigger the pool, the more expensive it will be to filter and operate. Of course, splashing around is also less fun when you’re shivering, so ensuring the pool gets enough direct sunlight, and if possible, room for some shade to retreat to is just as important. If you’re wondering what small pool designs you’re left with that can help you turn your backyard into your own private, summer oasis… keep reading on. 

The 10 best small pool designs

Want to live big in a small backyard? Below are some of 2023’s top small pool designs that are making a splash.

1. Circular design pool

Need something that doesn’t look too obtrusive? Opting for a pool design that creates a stunning secluded area for a quick dip? The round or circular pool design is perfect for hiding off to the side or making it into a beautifully fitting focal point for the smaller backyard. Complete the look with some rustic stone pavers and enclose the area with some beautiful foliage to really define or enclose the space without making it feel cramped.

What makes this different from a plunge pool?

A plunge pool is no larger than 12 feet in length and is designed for cooling off, relaxing and even gaining the benefits of cold hydrotherapy depending on the temperature. Low maintenance and super energy-efficient, you can create a serene and peaceful atmosphere just as you would with a circular designed pool, but with the added health benefits of reducing inflammation, relieving muscle soreness, and improving circulation.

2. Long and narrow pool AKA the lap pool

A long and narrow pool, also known as the ‘lap pool’ is perfect for those with limited space and can look especially grand lined parallel with the house. Typically rectangular in shape, a lap pool can measure anywhere from 8 feet wide to 50 feet long, depending on the space available.

Perfect for keeping fit, swimming laps, or simply cooling down on a hot day, the iconic lap pool can squeeze snuggly between your house and fence line and be finished off beautifully with some lined pool lights and paving.

3. Spool


Can’t decide between a spa or a pool? Why not have both? When looking for pool ideas for small yards you certainly can’t go past the super progressive pool/spa combo.

Smaller than the standard pool, these designs usually vary from 10 to 16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide.

Fit with all the luxury features of a premium pool design, the in-built seats and jets make it a versatile style of pool that can be used in both the warmer and cooler months by simply heating it up to the temperature you desire.

4. Above ground pool

Don’t have the budget to spend on an in-ground pool? The above-ground pool is no less rewarding. Available in a range of shapes and sizes, these fiberglass, steel, and aluminum built pools are easily installed or removed, making it the perfect choice for those wanting something fast or temporary.

As experts in landscaping and hardscaping design, we also have some tricks up our sleeve with how to create a below-ground pool look with some simple decking, depending on the positioning of the pool and proximity to the patio or pergola. Add some deck chairs, daybeds, and a wide-brimmed umbrella for an ultra-luxe look.

5. Infinity pool

Have a view or live on the edge of a cliff or hill? The infinity pool also known as the vanishing edge pool usually has water that runs off one or more edges, making the pool appear to blend with the scenery.

The resort-style look is extra luxurious, giving a dramatic effect that can surprisingly be achieved in even the pokiest corners or tight spaces as well as large expanses. A little pricier than most, this must be one of the most premium choices for small swimming pool ideas.

6. Free-form, organically shaped, or kidney-shaped pool

patio with inground pool

For the irregular-shaped yard, or space requiring something that looks a little less structured and more organic, you can’t go past the free-form or kidney-shaped pool.  With softer edges that look to blend with the landscape, you can even get creative with the type of natural materials used to create a sand-bank-looking pool entry.

On the downside, these pools are not ideal for the serious swimmer. Super kid-friendly with options for depths and child-safe entryways, install this pool with the assumption of lounging and minimal movement. This is more about cooling off than keeping up your aquatic fitness.

7. Clear pool fencing

Need to zone off the pool to protect children or pets? Finding the best pool fencing to install is just as important when looking at pool ideas for small yards. If limited in space a frameless glass, lucite, or Perspex pool fence is an aesthetic way to create a safety barrier without obstructing the view.

Of course, semi-transparent pool fencing with bars made from galvanized steel can be just as effective.

8. Receding steps into the pool, pool fountains, and lighting

nashua inground pool

It’s the details that count. By designing a pool with receding steps, you can make for an inviting entryway into the pool. This type of pool features a set of steps that gradually recede into the water, creating a shallow area for lounging or playing. Receding step pools are perfect for families with young children or for those who want to enjoy the water without having to swim.

A decorative pool fountain is certainly an easy way to create the wow factor with minimal space. Available in a range of designs and sizes, a pool fountain not only looks stunning but also helps to circulate the water in the pool so that it doesn’t remain stagnant.

Want a beautiful ambient space both day and night? Get selective with your lighting. Both above-ground lighting in the form of wall sconces, to paver lights and in-pool lighting, each set of lights will have its own unique effect… the choice is simply which you prefer.

9. Modern villa pool design

Going for a more modern landscape aesthetic? You can recreate the sleek and minimalistic features of a contemporary pool with more squares, angles, and edging, inbuilt seats, and by using lighter materials that mimic the white sand, and crystal blue water look that so many of the most prominent resorts and hotels are already onto.

Surrounding landscape design of course is just as important here, manicured lawns, white concrete planter boxes, oversized umbrellas, and anything that shouts a little extravagance and continuity with your modern-styled home is key. Our landscape design services can help you if you’re feeling a little out of your depth.

This leads us to the importance of exploring different pool patio ideas to really create the look you desire

10. Pool patio ideas for your premium pool design


As your full-service landscape design and maintenance team for a beautifully curated outdoor space all year round, we certainly have a few ideas to share when it comes to patio ideas for small areas.

A few suggestions you can make your own: less is more, so remember not to crowd your space. Ensure your furniture is decorative but also where possible multi-functional, for example, a storage box that can also be used as seating.

Next, remember to balance out the constructed look of the pool with the natural beauty of the space. If you don’t have enough room to add a garden bed, think about adding a vertical garden on a nearby wall, or potting some plants to neatly line the pool. 

A pergola is also a reasonable consideration for your poolside patio or some semi-permanent sails to provide some shade or coverage to part of the pool. This is extra helpful for those scorching hot days. 

Then, of course, festoon lighting, lanterns, downlights, wall sconces, you name it… however, you wish to add light, think about the mood it sets. If the name doesn’t already give it away, patio design and installation is something we’re well-versed in, here at The Patio Company, so be sure to get in touch if you’re looking for a team of experts for the job.

So, what do you think? Are you inspired and ready to make your small pool design dreams come to life? Let us help you design and install a pool for your yard, no matter the size or requirements. Contact The Patio Company today.

Contact us today to start your project.