When you have a smaller space, having a full-sized pool may seem like the stuff of dreams, but the truth is even petite spaces can do it all. Cocktail pools are the perfect solution, offering a mini oasis that fits seamlessly into most urban spaces.
Marrying the best of both worlds when it comes to fun and function, cocktail pools are naturally great for small yards given their limited dimensions. However, they are also great options for larger yards as they offer more space for other amenities. Plus, there are so many design options—whether you want seating, heating, lighting, or more. Interested in one of your own? Here’s everything you need to know about cocktail pools—from cost to sizing to best features, and more.
What Is a Cocktail Pool
Cocktail pools, also known as compact pools for their tiny footprint—or spools for their combined spa-pool function—are pools that are smaller than a regular-sized pool.
Cocktail pools were born in the South as a space to cool off during sweltering summers. Unlike their full-size counterparts, cocktail pools aren’t used for swimming. Rather, they act as more quaint spaces to relax and wade.
Types of Cocktail Pools
Because of their smaller footprint, cocktail pools are quite versatile when it comes to how and where they can be designed. They can be constructed outdoors, but also work well indoors for year-round use. Just like full-size pools, cocktail pools can be designed as in-ground or above-ground pools—with options for decking and railing for the latter. Plus, cocktail pools can be used as a starting point to create unique infinity pool designs if you have a larger yard.
Cocktail pools often have unique features like seating around the edges. They can get even more elevated with visual elements like lighting, bubblers, and fountains. Spa or hot tub elements are also popular features in cocktail pools like jets and heaters to stay warm during colder months. Various materials can be used to construct the pool itself, with concrete and fiberglass options on the more affordable end, and cedar and copper on the higher end.
Cocktail Pool Size
Cocktail pools are generally about 168 to 300 square feet, according to HomeAdvisor, maxing out at 400 square feet. And these pools don’t have a deep end: they’re typically no more than four feet in depth. In other words? You won’t be doing a lot of swimming or cannonballs—cocktail pools are designed for standing and quick plunges. In terms of capacity, these pools top off at around 10 people. Within these size constraints, though, there are lots of opportunities to play with shape. You can have circular cocktail pools, Grecian-style ones, or a tried-but-true rectangular shape.
Cocktail Pool Cost
The average price of a cocktail pool is listed at $22,650. This is about half the cost of a full-size pool, which runs at $48,645 on average. However, the price can vary depending on the different features and materials used. For cocktail pools with more add-ons like lighting or copper finishes, the cost can go up to $50,000 on the higher end.
On the flip side, cocktail pools can run as low as $5,500 if you use more affordable materials and do some of the work yourself. Don’t forget maintenance costs, too: upkeep can cost about $900 to $1,600 per year. This is a lot lower than full-size pools as their small size means there are fewer chemical and electrical needs. Due to the vast range of prices, it’s always a good idea to ask for a custom estimate before building begins.
Drawbacks of Cocktail Pools
While cocktail pools have lots of benefits, there can be some disadvantages depending on what you’re looking for. Due to their compact size, you’re naturally not going to be able to fit a lot of people in the water—meaning pool parties aren’t really feasible. Rather, cocktail pools work better for smaller, more informal gatherings.
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