These Small Backyard Pools Show How to Make a Splash in the Tiniest Spaces

updated Mar 5, 2022
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Is there anyone who would say no to a pool in their own backyard? Imagine stepping outside in the warm months and seeing that glimmering blue water staring back at you, just beckoning you to come for a dip. If a backyard pool is your dream, but you don’t want to spend a ton of money and time on installing and maintaining it, you might want to consider a small pool. That’s right – it’s totally possible to incorporate a pool into your design (and not just a portable pool), no matter how short on square footage you may be. And our round-up of small pool ideas is the perfect jumping off point. See what we did there? 

What is a Small Pool? 

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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. 

Small Pool Ideas: Shape and Design

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. Design elements like tiling and even concrete stamping can add to the aesthetic you’re aiming for, many of which you’ll see here. Once you’ve nailed down your pool’s design, be sure to incorporate things like potted plants, pool floats, and patio furniture that add to the vibe. 

So if you’re considering upping the cool factor of your outdoor space, get inspired by these small pool ideas that make a big splash.

1. Cedar Siding

An endless pool is a great solution for small pool ideas, since it allows you to swim laps without having a large pool. This above-ground model rests on a solid concrete slab, and is surrounded by attractive cedar shake siding for a zen-like vibe. 

2. Privacy Screen

There’s simply no better than a stock tank when you need a small pool solution. This one is doctored up with a wooden deck that’s perfectly fitted to the circular design. A zen-like faux bamboo wall provides the perfect touch of privacy. 

3. Stenciled Design

This tiny stock tank from The Shack Attack is just large enough to soak in. But when it comes to small pool ideas, you go with whatever works if you have extremely limited space. Soak in style with a painted exterior and chic stencils. 

Credit: @plungeplus

4. Plunge Pool

This tiny plunge pool by Plunge Plus is just big enough to cool you off in the hot summer months, regardless of the size of your backyard. This rectangular model is set against an expansive patio, with plenty of room for entertaining. Short on space? Reduce the size of the surrounding patio for a diminutive dip.

5. Pergola Paradise

Don’t forget to incorporate a comfortable place to lounge in your list of small pool ideas. 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.

6. Hollywood Glam 

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.

7. Tiny Round Pool

A circular pool is one of our favorite small pool ideas. The shape immediately makes you think of a relaxing hot tub, and it facilitates conversation among friends, since everyone is facing each other. 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.

8. Palm Springs-Inspired

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.

9. Itty-Bitty Poolhouse

If you’re short on space or just want to minimize your pool’s impact on your backyard, we love the idea of converting a shed into a pool house. A mini pool house, like the one outside of this California home, is the perfect complement to a small pool, and one of our favorite small pool ideas. Think of it as a permanent cabana—it’s just big enough to fit a sofa and a set of side chairs.

10. Modern Cement Pool

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.

Sara + Rich Combs

11. 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.

Credit: Colleen Sherman

12. Slick Stock Tank Pool

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 are a must-add to your list of small pool ideas. 

Credit: Jake Holt

13. Mid-century Modern Pool

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.

14. Double Decker Pool

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.

15. Above-Ground Style

Sarah Kress’ above-ground pool in Charleston, South Carolina looks chic paired with surrounding tiles and a boho seating area. 

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann