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What Size Pool Should I Get for My Backyard?

what size pool for my backyard

That is a question everyone will ask who is looking into new pool construction, and it will have a different answer depending on who is asking it. Zeroing in on the ideal backyard pool sizes involves looking at numerous factors. The first is simply to consider the size of your backyard and your property’s layout. 

Also, think about what the pool will look like in use. If you have young children, you will want it large enough to include shallow areas. If your kids will be using it to play with their friends, you simply want to make sure it is large enough to accommodate those activities. If you want to swim laps, you will need it to have an extended straight section. 

Questions to Ask When Determining Backyard Pool Size

To get a sense of factors to arrive at the best backyard pool sizes, ask the below series of questions:

What Depth Is Needed?

As indicated above, your use plans for the pool will drive its required dimensions. When you are assessing pool sizes, it may be easiest to start with depth.

Standard depths that you will want for various types of activities are as follows:

  • Diving — 8 feet minimum
  • Lap-swimming — 4 feet minimum
  • Lounging on floats — 4 feet minimum
  • Water sports — 3 to 4 feet at each end (i.e., two shallow ends — see below)
  • Kiddie pool — 3 feet.

Positioning deep areas

Two key approaches to deep areas are as follows:

  • Offset shallow areas – Traditionally, pools have started at a depth of 3 or 4 feet and gradually descended to a depth of 5 to 9 feet. This design creates pools with shallow and deep ends. That plays out a bit differently depending on the shape of the pool. Owners of L-shaped pools, for instance, often want to be able to use the long foot of the L for swimming laps and the short foot for play; for that reason, the long part is the deep end, and the short part is the shallow end.
  • Deep in the center – An increasingly popular way to design pools sets aside the traditional design and puts depth in the center of the pool, with two shallow ends. If you are concerned about creating as much usable space as possible so there is more available room to stand, you can limit the deepest spot to 5 or 6 feet.

What Are The Different Types Of Pool Users?

Thinking about your family members and others who will be enjoying your yard with you will help you in considering pool sizes. 

This evaluation starts with sheer numbers. A large family will benefit from a more sizable pool so they can have space. Also, keep in mind that having a pool could make your home a magnet location for get-togethers. Think long-term: your family size will grow over time, but some members may become less interested in the pool too.

Another key factor is age. While you will want a shallow part of the pool for children, if there are any kids or grandkids present, you will likely want to keep the water deeper if only adults will use it (so you have a larger total swimming area).

At the other end of the spectrum, think about the mobility of elderly pool users. One way to make it easier to get around the pool is with sloped transitions between depths; however, that means you need to lengthen the pool. In terms of entering the pool, you can provide a beach entry or steps into the shallow end so older family members can avoid the ladder.

What Is Your Budget?

It is important to mention money since you will need more labor and materials for larger backyard pool sizes. In fact, size is the top cost factor for backyard pool installation! Depending on your budget for the overall project, you may have to make a tough choice between your dream materials and your dream dimensions.

Is The Pool Prefabricated?

You will have to accept the size determined by the manufacturer if you go with a fiberglass pool or a pool kit. Note that the former type is produced and then shipped over public highways, so its size is strictly limited.

What Are Your Maintenance Plans?

While you know that a larger pool will cost more upfront, your key ongoing issue is maintenance. In many cases, maintenance translates to time. Many people find regular pool cleaning calming and enjoy the additional exercise. Others do not like it and hire a service to clean and balance the chemicals (incredibly important to slowing the speed at which your pool ages). Anyone who plans to clean themselves should be aware of how maintenance relates to backyard pool sizes.

How Do You Plan To Use Your Backyard Pool?

Will you use the pool to swim, or is it mostly going to be a place to dunk in your feet and splash water around with loved ones? Do you plan to swim laps, or lie in a floating pool chair and occasionally jump in and cool off in the water? Are you going to throw frequent pool parties? The answers to these questions will help guide you to the right size.  

While you want to control costs and not build a huge pool unless you will use it, a big pool could be a good fit. If you have three or more people in your family, making it larger will allow you to use it in various ways and have plenty of room to do so.

If you want to use the pool to swim as exercise, you will want it to be sufficiently deep that you never scrape your hands on the bottom (meaning you want it at least 4 feet deep — see depth discussion above). Beyond that, your options are diverse in length and width:

  1. a lap pool;
  2. a pool long enough to allow reasonably long end-to-end swimming; or
  3. a swim spa or smaller pool that makes it possible to swim in place through the use of water jets.

What Else Do You Want?

Think about other possible components of your backyard that will take up space. Will you want a play area for the kids, a deck, a patio, a fire pit, or an outdoor kitchen? What about a spa? How much room do you need for each element, and will you want some open yard? Determining other components will mean reducing the size of the pool.

It is also necessary to think about extras when it comes to the pool itself. Will you want a slide and/or a diving board? Be aware that a diving board translates to significant pool length. 

The Right Backyard Pool Sizes & Shapes

Are you considering a backyard pool and need to narrow down your options? At Olympus Pools, we can help you determine the right size for your property and the best ways to use the area around your pool. With over 150 years of combined experience, we provide the highest quality of new pool construction available.

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