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.
Contemporary pool in Sydney.

Ashleigh Lane
Contemporary pool in Sydney.

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

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Design ideas for a large transitional backyard custom-shaped pool in Brisbane with a pool house and tile.

Design ideas for a large transitional backyard custom-shaped pool in Brisbane with a pool house and tile.
Back deck onto Pool (including jump steps) Inspiration - bripolkinghorne

This is an example of a contemporary pool in Sydney.

This is an example of a contemporary pool in Sydney.

Photo of a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with a water feature and concrete slab.

Photo of a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with a water feature and concrete slab.
I like the garden bed at the back, maybe not as high or so close to pool edge.... - karina_dorrington

Contemporary courtyard rectangular pool in Canberra - Queanbeyan with tile.

H Creations
Contemporary courtyard rectangular pool in Canberra - Queanbeyan with tile.
Bench, tiles and pool - luc_mathery

Large contemporary backyard pool in Melbourne.

Floor to ceiling windows and doors blur the lines where the inside ends the the outside begins. Giving watchful eyes full view of the swimming pool.
Timber deck, fence, step down to tiles around pool - fourmccarthys

Modern backyard rectangular infinity pool in Brisbane with decking.

Scott Burrows
Modern backyard rectangular infinity pool in Brisbane with decking.
idea for back of the block where the pool reaches down to the trees - blumingwell

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

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Inspiration for a small contemporary side yard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with decking.

Landscape design & construction by Bayon Gardens // Photography by Tim Turner
Inspiration for a small contemporary side yard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with decking.
Screen on fence and across as pergola. - kingers_j

Inspiration for a midcentury backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with natural stone pavers.

Inspiration for a midcentury backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with natural stone pavers.

Photo of a contemporary courtyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne.

Photo of a contemporary courtyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne.
Wall at back - vicwhit

Design ideas for a mediterranean backyard custom-shaped pool in Sydney with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Design ideas for a mediterranean backyard custom-shaped pool in Sydney with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Photo of a large contemporary infinity pool in Gold Coast - Tweed with a hot tub and tile.

Picadilly House
Photo of a large contemporary infinity pool in Gold Coast - Tweed with a hot tub and tile.
contrast of green tiles on sandstone colour - george_clark28

Tropical courtyard rectangular pool in Perth with tile.

Tropical courtyard rectangular pool in Perth with tile.
wooden are cap possibly street end of poil - sharon5370

Contemporary backyard custom-shaped pool in Perth.

Contemporary backyard custom-shaped pool in Perth.
Good layout, the house wraps around the pool - hanna_azimai

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Traditional backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with concrete pavers.

Justine Carlile LANDSCAPEdesign has designed a stunning water feature to enhance the front entrance of this magnificent home. Clean lines with a traditional garden provides formality and structure to the garden. The swimming Pool is surrounded by Ocean Road Outdoor Furniture to create resort styled living. Justine Carlile
I like the way the pool runs length wise to the garden, and the way there is chair space on one side of pool with plenty of garden on the other side - sdanna58

Inspiration for a modern rectangular lap pool in Los Angeles.

Architects: B.E. Architecture Photographer: Derek Swalwell
Inspiration for a modern rectangular lap pool in Los Angeles.
Stairs to yard - developit