Top Pool Designs: Infinity Pools, Lap Pools, Beach Entries, and More!

By Patti Plummer

There are a wide variety of swimming pool designs, and by discussing your options and preferences with a professional pool designer, you can choose the best one for you based on your property’s surroundings, your home’s architecture, and how you plan to use the pool. Once these questions have been answered, the designer will determine the ideal pool design for you, along with the best swimming pool shape and size to meet your needs.

Here are the top six pool design features to get your ideas flowing:

Pools by John Clarkson splash pool swim up bar sunken seating1. Splash Pools

Also known as play pools, splash pools contain a shallow area for recreation or lounging, making them fun for kids and adults alike. Many splash pools are shallow enough to accommodate lounge chairs, enjoyable for children to splash and play, and just deep enough to host an in-pool volleyball or basketball game.

Splash pools can be attached to multi-depth pools and cordoned off for privacy, although some homeowners prefer to build just the splash pool. For numerous homeowners, a play or splash pool is the perfect solution for settings that are too small and cannot accommodate deeper pools.

Above: This elegant splash pool is perfect for relaxation and entertaining: It features multiple shallow tanning ledges (also called sunshelves), a swim-up bar, a sunken seating area with a fire pit, and a path to a separate portable spa. The shape of the pool, along with the wall of features and design accents on the tanning shelves, make this pool visually stunning.

To see more beautiful pools by Aquatech pool builders, check the photo gallery of award-winning pools >>

Designed by Krent Wieland Design; photographed by Ben Brewer for Aquatech Pools by John Clarkson, Jacksonville, Florida

A & G Concrete Pools infinity pool lake view2. Infinity Pools

Known by a variety of names, including vanishing edge pools, negative edge, disappearing edge, and flooded edge, the infinity pool is ideal for properties overlooking spectacular scenery like the ocean, a lake, or a mountain.

How do infinity pools create the amazing effect of disappearing into the horizon? The water flows over a weir wall and into a waiting catch basin that re-circulates the water back into the pool; the water acts as a blurring agent, blending the line between the pool and the adjacent view.

Many designers finish the pool to match the adjoining scene. A skilled pool professional can capture the hue and tone of the surrounding environment and determine the perfect color that unifies the pool and its setting into one harmonious unit.

See more photos by members of Master Pools Guild in the award-winning pools gallery >>

Photo courtesy of A & G Concrete Pools, Inc., Fort Pierce, Florida, member of Master Pools Guild

Lewis Aquatech perimeter overflow pool mirror effect night3. Perimeter Overflow Pools

A perimeter overflow pool creates another interesting effect in which the pool resembles a sheet of glass. It produces a reflective surface by circulating water over the pool’s sides, into a container or holding tank, and then back into the pool in a constant motion that creates a smooth surface with no discernible ripples to destroy the illusion.

Many perimeter overflow pools are set at ground level, with the water flowing into a slot or grate, producing a mirror-like surface while others are elevated and formed into a preferred shape.

Either way, the ebb and flow that results in traditional pools as water hits the sides is not a factor. Perimeter overflow pools always retain their glass-like qualities—that is, until someone jumps in!

See more pools by Aquatech pool builders and designers in the photo gallery of award-winning pools >>

Photo courtesy of Lewis Aquatech Pools

Advanced Pools beach entry pool tropical pool4. Beach Entry Pools

Ideal for lagoon-style or tropical themed settings, a beach entry pool features a gradual sloping from the pool deck into the depths of the water—just like a natural beach.

Also called a zero-entry pool, the beach entry pool does not usually include stairs or ladders and can be finished in a variety of colors and textures to mimic sand or other organic materials.

Right: This tropical style pool features a beach entry that gives the effect of wading right into the ocean of a tropical Caribbean island. The Pebble Tec interior finish and natural rock waterfalls recreate the look and feel of a private beach resort without ever having to step foot outside your backyard.

Photographed by Rick Legnon for Advanced Pools, Rancho Cordova, California

Anthony & Sylvan Pools lap pool swimming stone wall5. Lap Pools

A lap pool is built to provide a straight-away for swimmers training for a sporting event or for those who swim for exercise. Usually long, narrow, and rectangular in shape, a lap pool can be any length, although most average between 50 and 60 feet.

Although usually built for athletic pursuits, lap pools do not have to be sterile in style or finish. Many pool builders surround a lap pool with attractive backdrops like stack-stone walls or they include water features that can be activated when no one is using the swim lanes.

See more swimming pool photos by Anthony & Sylvan Pools >>

Photo courtesy of Anthony & Sylvan Pools

Galloway Pool infinity pool connected spa6. Pools with Connected Spas

The best of two worlds, a pool with a connected spa is designed to provide homeowners with a place to swim and enjoy warm therapeutic benefits. In fact, swimmers can easily slip into the bubbling spa after physical activity in the pool.

Based on the pool’s shape, a connected spa can be placed anywhere along the pool’s framework or depths: on the pool’s edge, elevated and doubling as a water feature, or within the pool itself.

Additionally, by including a spa during the planning stages, a homeowner can guarantee that the spa and the pool will integrate completely with each other as well as the setting.

See more photos of beautiful swimming pools by Master Pools Guild members in the award-winning pools gallery >>

Photo courtesy of Galloway Pools, Corpus Christi, Texas, a member of Master Pools Guild