Pool Design Ideas

Swimming pools are heavenly during hot Australian and New Zealand summers and are the perfect way to cool down, relax, entertain friends and even get fit. A pool can also create visual interest, especially when you consider features like coloured pool tiles, lighting and landscaping. If you are short on space, you might still fit a lap pool, plunge pool or swim spa, all of which could be focal points in your small garden.

As you plan your pool design, map out your space and determine what size, shape and style works best for you. Browse the photos on Houzz for design ideas for above ground pools, inground pools, as well as pool landscaping and novelty features like pool slides or water features. Then, save your favourite photos to an ideabook, and get in touch with the experts behind your favourite picks.

What type of pool should I install?


The dimensions of your backyard will determine the type of inground pools you can install. Take into account boundary restrictions and pool fencing compliance. Fibreglass versions are cheaper, and quicker to install; whereas concrete constructions are better suited to tricky sites and give you more freedom in design. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to commit to an inground pool, above ground pools are a more affordable alternative. If you only have a small backyard, a plunge pool is a great solution, and can easily run along a boundary wall or down the side of a house. This option is also low maintenance, can be heated for use in winter, and can do double duty as a swim spa. A long, narrow space, on the other hand, could fit a lap pool, whereas a water feature could fill an awkward space. If your backyard features a stunning vista, consider an infinity pool to accentuate the view.

What pool fencing options are available?


While the specifics vary from state to state, fencing is required of most pool designs. However, pool fencing doesn’t have to obscure your pool design. Glass fencing is increasingly popular for this reason exactly, and is available framed, frameless, semi-frameless and even in-ground. A cheaper alternative is aluminium or steel fencing, which, again, are available in a variety of styles: flat top, loop-top, double-top and wire-based.

What pool landscaping features should I consider?


To get the most out of your pool, design an area that offers multiple hangouts. Include a nearby barbecue, dining area, seating for lounging and outdoor shower. Having shaded areas will give you more reason to stay poolside longer, too. Timber decking and stone paving are popular choices for pool surrounds, and are also helpful in creating zones. Just imagine a raised timber platform with a daybed – a luxurious, resort-style addition to any pool design. Leafy trees and rocks will create a more natural-looking oasis, and will help provide more privacy for swimmers. Where you want your landscape to be the main focus, keep pool equipment and furnishings to a minimum.
Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with a pool house and concrete pavers.

Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with a pool house and concrete pavers.
Like the windows on the pool room - sarahwarfe

This is an example of a large modern backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Our clients wanted a complete outdoor entertainment area with a resort feel to escape their busy lifestyle. The design was to include a 10m x 4m swimming pool with central raised 2.4m diameter spa. The circular spa has a full perimeter overflow which is also curved on top to create a subtle look. This required expertise in tiling as the mosaics had to curve of both planes, meaning they had to be laid individually rather than by the sheet. . Across from the spa a bluestone clad wall supports a large outdoor entertainment screen whilst also providing good cover for the filtration equipment. Adjacent to the pool is a cabana including sauna and shower facilities that completes the resort quality amenities. Generous entry and relaxation areas are evident in the pool with 3 x long entry steps on one side of the spa with a large swim out ledge on the other. The spa includes both single, double and quadruple jets to assist with massage and a large single jet is included in the pool for those requiring a bit extra. George Kochukdiyil

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Photo of a contemporary rectangular lap pool in Sydney.

Photo of a contemporary rectangular lap pool in Sydney.

Contemporary pool in Sydney.

Ashleigh Lane
Contemporary pool in Sydney.

Transitional backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with a pool house and decking.

Mark Wilson
Transitional backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with a pool house and decking.
Pool/guesthouse - hal_tupaea

Contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with decking.

Contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with decking.
- French doors - Elongated deck - Infinity plunge pool - Wouldn't change floor texture between indoor/outdoor - klgillott

Design ideas for a mid-sized contemporary backyard round aboveground pool in Melbourne with decking.

Rachel McDonald
Design ideas for a mid-sized contemporary backyard round aboveground pool in Melbourne with decking.

Contemporary pool in Sydney with a hot tub.

Contemporary pool in Sydney with a hot tub.

Inspiration for a contemporary rectangular pool in Melbourne with a hot tub.

Inspiration for a contemporary rectangular pool in Melbourne with a hot tub.
would work well if Spa raised further to give 12m for laps pending stair design - simonblakers

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Photo of a contemporary backyard l-shaped lap pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and concrete pavers.

Jenna Fayey-White
Photo of a contemporary backyard l-shaped lap pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and concrete pavers.
Like lounging area right beside pool - andreacoull

Design ideas for a contemporary courtyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with a water feature.

Design ideas for a contemporary courtyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with a water feature.
Indoor outdoor pool - nmewin

Photo of a small contemporary backyard rectangular natural pool in Sydney with a pool house and natural stone pavers.

Katherine Lu
Photo of a small contemporary backyard rectangular natural pool in Sydney with a pool house and natural stone pavers.
Outdoor ‘floating’ pavilion space with balance of green/blue nature/water - bbryant81

Design ideas for a mid-sized contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Landscape design: Bayon Gardens // Photograpgy: Tim Turner
Design ideas for a mid-sized contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.
like the tile edge could we do this at the end of a pool on the slope??? - chrisandglennys

Design ideas for a small contemporary rectangular pool in Brisbane with tile.

Peter Taylor
Design ideas for a small contemporary rectangular pool in Brisbane with tile.

Transitional backyard custom-shaped pool in Melbourne with tile.

Transitional backyard custom-shaped pool in Melbourne with tile.

Design ideas for a contemporary custom-shaped pool in Sunshine Coast.

Design ideas for a contemporary custom-shaped pool in Sunshine Coast.
vaulted ceiling in outdoor area, no grass - all paving? - alexandra_cullen46

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Small contemporary rectangular pool in Melbourne with a water feature and decking.

Patrick Redmond
Small contemporary rectangular pool in Melbourne with a water feature and decking.
Swimming pool. Close to fence... - chrissmithhomeemail

Photo of a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with concrete pavers.

Photo of a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with concrete pavers.
Would love the ability to have a lap pool! - eilatan44