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.
Photo of a contemporary pool in Perth.

Denise Rix Photography
Photo of a contemporary pool in Perth.
Covered area and tiling - dmaginness

Contemporary pool.

Edge Commercial Photography
Contemporary pool.
Natural lights and complimented by paint colour - sandeep_balakrishnan

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Design ideas for a contemporary pool in Sunshine Coast.

Manson images
Design ideas for a contemporary pool in Sunshine Coast.
I like the pool and how the pond connects - scarman2811

Design ideas for a transitional pool in Melbourne.

Design ideas for a transitional pool in Melbourne.
- Vertical and horizontal lines - Outdoor entertaining - Glass house exterior - klgillott

This is an example of a mid-sized contemporary backyard custom-shaped pool in Wollongong with decking.

Evening pool shot, looking into kitchen and dining. Photo: Tom Ferguson
This is an example of a mid-sized contemporary backyard custom-shaped pool in Wollongong with decking.
Like colouring and mixture of materials - scottymac60

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

Inspiration for a contemporary rectangular pool in Melbourne with a hot tub.
Great size pool, maybe without spa - webuser_648761193

Contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with decking.

Contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with decking.

Inspiration for a large contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Landscape design & construction by Bayon Gardens // Photography by Tim Turner
Inspiration for a large contemporary backyard rectangular infinity pool in Melbourne with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.
Like the stairs idea coming down to the pool - trish_jones21

Inspiration for a large contemporary backyard custom-shaped natural pool in Brisbane with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.

Professional Real Estate Photographer, Martyn Wilson
Inspiration for a large contemporary backyard custom-shaped natural pool in Brisbane with a hot tub and natural stone pavers.
Size of Pool Inspiration - bripolkinghorne

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Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with concrete slab.

pool view exterior photography : derek swalwell
Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with concrete slab.
planting in front of box if no room in box - nambiti

This is an example of a contemporary backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with natural stone pavers.

Pilcher Residential
This is an example of a contemporary backyard rectangular pool in Sydney with natural stone pavers.
Modern Mediterranean vibe and style - roomandboarddesigns

Contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with a water feature and decking.

Contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Perth with a water feature and decking.
Pool /alfresco and water feature - webuser_711101166

This is an example of a mid-sized tropical backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with decking.

This is an example of a mid-sized tropical backyard rectangular lap pool in Melbourne with decking.
Angled pool copeing - chelsruss

Design ideas for a large contemporary backyard pool in Melbourne.

Urban Angles
Design ideas for a large contemporary backyard pool in Melbourne.
Loungers and steps into pool - sandyinnes

Contemporary pool in Melbourne.

patrick redmond
Contemporary pool in Melbourne.
pizza oven inside and inside/outside woodwork - kate_jarman13

This is an example of a large contemporary backyard rectangular pool in Melbourne with a water feature and natural stone pavers.

Sam Martin - Four Walls Media
This is an example of a large contemporary backyard rectangular pool in Melbourne with a water feature and natural stone pavers.
colors, lighting, tile in hot tub? - jdemot08

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Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Gold Coast - Tweed with decking.

Inspiration for a contemporary backyard rectangular lap pool in Gold Coast - Tweed with decking.
Planter box to soften the fence line - marcel_seale

Photo of a beach style backyard rectangular infinity pool in Sydney.

Extending from the Eco Outdoor Crackenback Free Form Wall is a pool featuring Burleigh Daybeds. Architect: Koichi Takada Architects Developer & Landscaper: J Group Projects Photographer: Tom Ferguson
pool tiles - joshua_nelson97