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How to chose the right pool shape for your yard


Most customers end up choosing a rectangular or kidney-shaped pool, but that doesn’t mean the decision on pool shape is easy. Some know exactly what they want and there’s no swaying them (even when another shape might better suit their landscaping or fit their space). Others agonize over the decision—and we don’t blame them. It’s not like you can change your mind once the pool’s installed. If you’re undecided on shape or there’s a difference of opinion in your family, consider these 6 factors to make the decision easier.


1. Space.

What’s the shape of your yard, and how much room do you have? Where will you put the pool? Are there any trees or other landscaping features that you want to preserve? Do you want to add features like a lounging area with an outdoor fire, eating area or outdoor kitchen? If so, where do you want them in relation to your pool? The regular shape of a rectangle makes it easy to create “zones” in your yard for different types of activity. An irregularly shaped property may be a good choice for a free-form, figure 8 or kidney-shaped pool. Have an ‘L’-shaped yard? Go for an ‘L’-shaped pool. Wondering what these different pool shapes are? We’ve got an article on that, too!)

2. Appearance.

Consider the architecture of your home and any other buildings on your property. The best way to do this is to stand in your yard and look at the back of your home, then go inside and look out at your yard. What shape would complement both views? A modern home with strong geometry may lend itself better to the straight lines of a rectangular or ‘L’-shaped pool. A rambling home or English cottage could suit a free-form shape, which can mimic a pond and works well with rocks and other natural landscaping features. A bungalow from the 50s or 60s or a contemporary (but not “modern”) home might be perfect for a kidney shape. Classical architecture and formal landscaping pair best with a Grecian or Roman design.

3. Functionality.

Rectangular pools are best for laps or sports. Do you want to be able to dive? Choose a shape, such as a rectangle, lazy ‘L’ or kidney that can easily include a deep end. If younger children will swim in the pool, consider a regular shape for safety’s sake, since irregular curves and hidden corners may make it more difficult to keep track of little swimmers. If lounging is your priority, a round, oval, kidney or free-form shape would fit the bill. Want to designate certain areas of the pool for specific activities? A figure 8, kidney or L-shape works well.

4. Features.

Think about the structural and decorative features you want to include in your pool project. An attached hot tub will change the shape of your otherwise plain rectangle, for example. If you want a water feature, what “look” do you like—formal fountain, rock waterfall or something else? Kidney shapes offer opportunities to add bench seating or a tanning ledge at the indentation point. Rectangular pools are very versatile in terms of ledges and in-pool seating. Would a slide look better with a kidney or free-form pool in your particular yard?


5. Budget.

In most cases, pool shape doesn’t influence the price of a vinyl-lined or fiberglass pool. If you’re considering concrete (also known as gunnite), however, the more intricate the shape the more expensive the installation. (If you can afford a concrete pool maybe price isn’t an issue for you, though!)

6. Type.

If you want a vinyl-lined pool, the only limitation on shape is your imagination. A fiberglass pool, on the other hand, comes in a limited range of predetermined shapes.


Now you’ve got everything you need to choose a pool shape, how about landscaping? This article covers our top tips for landscaping around pools to keep your plants—and your pocketbook—happy.

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