Backyard Pool Sizes: What You Need to Know

backyard pool with slide

Building a backyard pool is an exciting and permanent decision. Once you decide on pool size, shape, and depth, there’s no going back. That is why it’s important to know all your options before you make this life-changing decision.

Pools come in different shapes and sizes. Although most people ask if there’s a perfect pool size, the answer depends on the purpose of the said pool. For instance, if you’re hosting large events, you’d want a big pool that you can accommodate a lot of people. For exercise purposes, however, you’d want a straight lap pool. If it’s built for both adults and kids, then you’d want a rectangular shape with different depths.

The standard pool size for most backyards has a typical 2-to-1 length-to-width ratio. Most backyards come in the same sizes, which is why the average pool sizes are 15’ x 30’, 16’ x 32’, and 20’ x 40’.

Understandably, you’d want your pool to accommodate everyone, but you wouldn’t want it to occupy too much space in your yard either. In this article, we will discuss the common standard sizes for home pools and the different depth options and pool shapes that you can choose from. We’ll also give you some safety features to ensure that you enjoy your pool.

Click here to read our article: What you need to know about above ground pools.


What Is the Average Size of a Backyard Swimming Pool?

As mentioned earlier, the most common dimensions for rectangular backyard pools (or pools of a similar shape) have a 2-to-1 length-to-width ratio. This also applies to other shapes, like round, square, and smaller sizes.


Average Size

The average size of a backyard swimming pool will depend on its style. A small in-ground swimming pool has an average size of 10′ x 20′ (3 x 6 meters), while a large in-ground pool will measure around 20′ x 40′ (6 x 12 meters). Meanwhile, most lap pools have an average size of 10′ x 50′ (3 x 15 meters).


Average Depth

The average depth of a backyard swimming pool also depends on its purpose. If you’re planning to put a diving board on it, the depth should be around 7 to 7 ½ feet deep. For lap pools, it should be around 4 to 5 feet deep uniform, from one end to the other. If the pool is made for children, it should not be deeper than 3 feet. Finally, if the pool is used by both adults and children, one end should be shallow (3 feet) and the other should be around 5 feet deep.


Here’s a quick table to guide you:


Purpose of the pool Depth of the pool
For children’s use No more than 3 feet
For both adults’ and children’s use 3 feet for the shallow end and 5 feet for the other end
For exercise 4 to 5 feet (uniform depth)
For recreational use with a diving board 7 to 9 ½ feet


What are the costs involved in building a pool? Click to read the article.

Backyard Pool Shapes

There are numerous backyard pool shapes. Before choosing the one you want, you must consider the size of your backyard. Not all shapes can complement a house, which is why it’s important to talk to your local pool builder for them to guide you.

Here are six of the most common pool shapes you’ll find in a backyard:

  1. Rectangular

It is the most common pool shape you’ll find in a backyard. Not only does it look good in almost every backyard but it also fits efficiently. With a rectangular-shaped pool, you’ll be able to decide to either make the depth uniform or make one end deeper than the other. Most lap pools come in a rectangular shape.

  1. Round and square pools

For homeowners who don’t have enough space in their backyards, round or square pools are more appealing.

  1. Oval

Oval pools are rectangular-shaped pools with rounded edges to make them look softer.

  1. L-Shaped

L-shaped pools are two connected rectangles with one shorter than the other. In most cases, the shorter length of the L shape has a more shallow depth for a play area for children, while the longer length of the pool is for adults and lap exercises.

  1. Kidney

Kidney-shaped pools look more like the number 8. Pools with this shape allow an area for landscaping, a hot tub, or a patio.

  1. Freeform

Freeform pools don’t conform to the other shapes mentioned above. If you want to put a personal touch on the shape of your pool — let’s say, multiple curves in the middle of the pool — then this style is for you.


How to Choose the Right Pool Size and Shape for Your Family

As mentioned earlier, choosing the right pool size and shape is a decision that you cannot easily change every now and then. Although it’s more of a personal choice, there are a few guidelines and limitations that you would want to consider.

To help you narrow down your choices and decisions, here are some questions that you can ask yourself regarding the pool that you want:

  1. Who will be using the pool and for what purpose?

Here are some things to consider before you answer this question:

  • If it’s built solely for kids, it should be shallow and small to avoid accidents.
  • If it’s built solely for exercise purposes, it should be deep and long enough to make the laps easier.
  • If it’s built for luxury and to make your yard more appealing, you would want a freeform pool.
  • How many people are you looking forward to using it? If you have a large family or if your house is the go-to place for your relatives or neighbors, you would want a pool that is large enough for everyone to fit in and enjoy. Additionally, a pool can instantly make your place a magnet for every kid, which you also need to consider in the long run.
  • The last thing you need to consider is if you would want to have a slide or diving board. In this case, you would need to check with your local laws and insurance firms to ensure that you’ve got everything covered, even for accidents.


  1. What’s your budget and how much space do you have?

Like every feature you add to a house, it’s important to know how much space you are willing to sacrifice for this new project. If you have a small backyard, a round or square pool is ideal to ensure that it doesn’t look overcrowded.

You also have to look at your existing budget. Even if you want a big pool in your massive yard, you wouldn’t be able to do that if you have a low budget. You should notably check how much you’ll willing to spend on the materials, manpower, and more.

  1. How close will the pool be to your house?

The last question you should ask yourself is how close the pool will be to your house. This is an important question to ask because you’ll obtain different appearances if the pool is close or far from the house. Here are a few factors to consider:


  • If the pool is far from the house and looks like it’s a standalone feature, then it’s best to go for a freeform shape with lots of curves. This will make it blend better in your yard, creating beautiful scenery.
  • If the pool is close to the house, it would be better if it had sharper angles, like a square or rectangular shape, which would match your home.


Although, these tips are just basic principles and the final decision will fall on you.


Safety Features to Remember

Before you start planning for the pool you want to build, here are some safety features you’ll want to remember:


  • Pool alarm – It is crucial to ensure that nobody gets hurt in your pool. With a pool alarm, you’ll know if somebody falls or enters your pool.
  • Pool cover –  Pool covers are important to minimize the upkeep and maintenance of your water feature. You’ll find manual covers and automatic ones to save you time.
  • Underwater pool lights – You’ll need underwater pool lights to be able to properly swim at night.
  • Fencing – Fences around the pool may be optional in some states, but it would be a good idea to put one up for your, your family, and your guests’ safety.




Before deciding on the size of the backyard pool that you would like to build, make sure to consider the shapes and sizes we’ve mentioned above. Choose one that fits well in your backyard and that your family will enjoy.

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