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What Shape Is Your Swimming Pool?
When it comes to pool design and choosing a shape, sometimes simple is the best solution. A rectangular, rectilinear, or geometric-shaped pool will be easier to build, give you maximum room for swimming—especially laps—and complements most homes' architectural styles.
The available outdoor space in which you have to work is a major determining factor in deciding on a pool shape. So is location—think about the placement of the pool and if it will be easily accessible via the house. Other considerations involving planning and logistics:
- Will it be located near your neighbor's wall? If so, do you need to create privacy?
- Will large construction equipment be able to access the space without tearing down walls (including your neighbor's)?
- Is there a power line overhead? While it can be moved, this will add to the cost of your project.
- Most cities have safety codes. Your pool builder should check and know this, as codes can affect the size and shape of a pool.
- Materials: some types of stone and tile work better applied to geometric forms rather than freeform or curving.
- Ideally, a pool should have a southwest exposure to allow the maximum amount of sunlight. Think about this when choosing a location.
Why Simple Shapes Work
While a smaller version of the local water theme park may be on the drawing board, simpler pool shapes will blend better with a landscape and boost the appeal of your home. Simple geometrics and rectangles can enhance your property's landscaping.
Plan the pool size and shape with your contractor before digging further into a project. In the following examples discover just how versatile something as basic as a rectangle can be. Many of the pools featured are award winners, including the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) annual Awards of Excellence.Continue to 2 of 26 below.
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Rectangular Shaped Pools
A still pool at night that is as beautiful to look at as it is to actually swim in. As a source of exercise, the long, straight lines of a rectilinear pool make sense for pool owners who want to swim laps. Traditionally, reflection pools are rectilinear in shape.Continue to 3 of 26 below.
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The First Pools in Southern California
Not counting the ancient pools of a few select kings and rulers in places like Babylon and Rome, the history of residential swimming pools pretty much began in Southern California. Starting in the mid-1930s, newsreels and magazine photos of movie stars posing by their swimming pools sparked a trend, which became more popular during the post-World War II housing boom. By 1947, there were 11,000 pools in the United States.
The first private backyard swimming pools were rectangular in shape and did not have elaborate wood or flagstone decking or built-in water features. Silent film star Colleen Moore, who posed languidly on her carpeted diving board as she teasingly dipped a finger into her pool, was the quintessential flapper and style icon of the 1920s. Here, she represents everything then-glamorous about the Hollywood lifestyle.Continue to 4 of 26 below.
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Swimming pools come in all shapes, sizes, styles and designs. Some are used for specific purposes: lap pools for health and fitness, infinity pools to make a landscape architectural statement or take advantage of a breathtaking view, novelty pools to express the owner's personality or interests, and naturalistic pools that blend in with the landscape. Designed by Southerwind Pools, this rectangular pool features an integrated spa that echoes the lines on a slightly elevated level.Continue to 5 of 26 below.
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Pool With Pergolas
Materials were matched for all components of this project in Tenafly, New Jersey, which includes a pool, spa, decking, coping, and pergola. Designed by Tranquility Pools, other outdoor features include a fully equipped kitchen, custom fire pit, tennis court, basketball court, large patio, and a cabana.Continue to 6 of 26 below.
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Infinity Pool Overlooking Park-like Setting
This infinity pool in Peachtree City, Georgia, looks like a smooth sheet of glass. Selective Designs likes to use a technique called "Water in Transit" for infinity overflow pools that are complemented with mood-enhancing features like landscape lighting and fire features.Continue to 7 of 26 below.
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Pool in Big Backyard
A sprawling, terraced yard in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, features a classic rectangular-shaped pool that was built by Arrow Master Pools with a raised foundation to make it level with the terrace upon which it was constructed. Beautiful local stone that is stacked gives it an old world look, and the materials are repeated on the steps that flank both sides of the pool and the adjacent spa. A waterfall spills from the main pool into the spa for a dramatic effect.Continue to 8 of 26 below.
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Iconic Stahl House in LA
This iconic house perched on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles is probably one of the most famous examples of mid-century modern residential architecture. Designed by Pierre Koenig, the Stahl House was part of Arts & Architecture magazine's Case Study program, which featured notable architects who designed homes using modern industrial materials during the postwar era. Built in 1960, Case Study House 22 used large pieces of glass and dramatic roof overhangs for this modern masterpiece.
Photographer Julius Shulman's images--particularly one of two women lounging in the corner window with the LA lights down below—showed the world the design promise and potential of the Stahl and other modern homes of the era. In 2016, the image was named one of Time magazine's "100 Photos: The Most Influential Images of All Time."
The rectangular pool complements rather than competes with the home and further emphasizes the beauty of the Southern California lifestyle.Continue to 9 of 26 below.
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Rectangles are perfect shapes for infinity style pool designs, because they blend with the line of the horizon and take advantage of a view—especially something spectacular like an ocean.Continue to 10 of 26 below.
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Rectangle With Squares
A traditional rectangle shape transforms into something different with the addition of squares that cut into it: a connecting spa in the shape of a diamond, along with square pedestals on each corner of the pool. Designed by AAA Custom Pools. the Florida pool is zero-entry, giving it the appearance of being seamless with the patio surface.Continue to 11 of 26 below.
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Mid-Century Modern Outdoor Living
Need inspiration for your pool and landscaping? Consider your decorating style, the home's architecture, environment, and natural landscape. Here, a fire pit seating area reflects the shape of the pool and house, while providing a nice view of everything, including the surrounding landscape.
The mid-century modern architectural style typically has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, is one level, and blends the indoors and outdoors. A rectangle echoes the clean, simple lines of the house and surrounding patio. Continue to 13 of 26 below.
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Stone House and Patio
Designed by Pool Environments, a Dallas area full-service pool and landscaping firm, this pool shows that a rectangular shape fits nicely on a smaller-sized lot. While the pool is made of concrete, the stone used for the decking and surrounding patio match the house, tying together all elements.Continue to 14 of 26 below.
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Zero-Entry in Georgia
A pool environment in Atlanta is located on a sprawling property. Rectangles are perfect for vanishing-edge pools and this one designed by Thrasher Pool and Spa features a large spa that repeats the shape of the pool and is on a slightly higher level, accessible via steps on both sides. Fountains and waterfalls give the pool/spa a dramatic presentation on the edge that drops off from spa to pool, and from pool to the vanishing edge. Materials are used throughout the yard, including the covered outdoor kitchen and patio area for a sense of continuity.Continue to 16 of 26 below.
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Pool With Fountains
Located in the Woodlands, Texas, a traditional rectangular pool designed by Texas Pools is right at home in this formal outdoor environment that uses cut stone placed into diagonally-placed square pavers, evenly spaced and interplanted with grass. Adding to that formality, the pool is surrounded by more stone and pillars that hold fountains that spill into the pool, creating a beautiful focal point for the well-appointed backyard.Continue to 17 of 26 below.
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Located in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, France, this pool with surrounding wooden deck is made by the French pool-building firm Diffauzer Piscenes and is made of watertight reinforced concrete. Most of the company's pools are constructed of concrete and are available in a variety of coatings.Continue to 18 of 26 below.
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Desert Lap Pool
One of the best pool shapes for modern or contemporary style architecture is geometric or rectangular. This house in the desert is geometric, so the lap pool continues the form outdoors. Even the succulents and cacti are considered architectural or geometric in shape, as opposed to something like a fern, which is more detailed and delicate.Continue to 20 of 26 below.
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Modern Geometric Pool
A courtyard pool and adjacent spa from Caviness Landscape Design is the focal point of a yard in Edmond, Oklahoma, and can be accessed from several rooms that surround the flagstone patio.Continue to 21 of 26 below.
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Palm Springs Pool
A sleek, mid-century modern house in Palm Springs has a long, cool pool to echo the lines of the home's roof and covered patio.Continue to 22 of 26 below.
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A Yard for Entertaining
From Aqua Technics' Caprice line, this rectangular pool in Perth, Australia, measures 26 x 10 feet and features an azure blue finish. The outdoor entertaining area, kitchen, and lounge were built at the same time as the pool and spa and features wood ceilings that match the pool and spa decking.Continue to 23 of 26 below.
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Stone and Mosaic Pool
This Boerne, Texas-area pool by Dynamic Environments packs a lot into a small amount of space, offering its owners privacy while still offering views. Materials were chosen to reflect the natural environment and are rich, deep brown stones and mosaic tiles that complement one another.Continue to 24 of 26 below.
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Coastal Texas Beauty
Built about 10 feet from a ship channel on the Texas coast, this pool and spa from Austin Water Designs blends with the coastal architecture. Materials used include travertine decking, glass tile in the pool and spa, exposed aggregate interior finish, and fire bowls on the zero edge. The environment comes alive at night with LED lighting.Continue to 26 of 26 below.
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Quiet Little Hideaway
This pool area gets a designated spot in an area away from the house, against a shrub and tree-lined wall and adjacent to a similarly rectangular swath of green lawn. Although not a large space, the mature plants provide a relaxing, private getaway.