Building the Ultimate Party Pool

Two young women sitting poolside on loungers, making a toast with fruity drinks

One of the joys of having your own backyard swimming pool is sharing it with friends. After all, swimming is more fun with other people. Besides, given how much you’re investing in your new pool, it would be a shame to keep it to yourself.

Fortunately, getting people to show up for a pool party isn’t hard. The words “if you build it, they will come” apply here. Just about any pool is great for hosting parties, whether it’s for a child’s birthday, the Fourth of July, or just because it’s summer.

Having said that, some pools are better than others for entertaining friends. Why? Because they’re designed for it. If hosting events is one of your main motivations for getting a pool, here are some features to add to your wish list.


Before you start thinking about glamorous, attention-grabbing features to wow your guests, make sure you have the basics down. That means planning for a pool area that can comfortably accommodate a group of people. Here are some essentials:

A Spacious Pool Deck. “I built my pool deck too big,” said no one, ever. Underestimating how much pool deck you need is a common mistake for pool owners, and one that’s especially regrettable for those who like to throw a lot of parties. While it’s admittedly not cheap, a large pool deck is necessary for all but the smallest of gatherings.

Comfy Furniture. It’s a given that you’ll want to invest in a nice, big patio table with comfortable chairs. You may also want extra loungers, kiddie furniture, and/or a set of folding chairs to pull out when needed. It all depends on the size and nature of the parties you’re planning to have.

Backyard pool with attached spa and lots of attractive plants around it
A nice pool deck in a scenic location is the perfect place for entertaining.

Lighting. For evening parties, lighting is a very big deal. Not only is it a practical necessity, but it does more to create ambiance than any other element of your poolscape. Consider adding lights along pathways to welcome and guide visitors, and colorful LED lights to dazzle them while they’re poolside.

Good Organization. Hosting a party often means getting pulled in a thousand different directions, as you’re trying to greet people, chat, serve food and drinks, give tours, and so forth. Having a well-organized pool area with plenty of storage allows guests to help themselves more often, taking some of the pressure off of you. It also increases the odds that when you’re searching for something, you can actually find it.

Those four things are all you really need to host some great pool parties. But if you’re looking for the next level, there are plenty of party-enhancing options that can get you there.


You could go crazy (not to mention bankrupt) adding features to keep your party guests entertained. Here are some of the more popular ideas that just might be worth the money:

Outdoor Stereo System. There are lots of ways to play music at your gatherings, starting with the humble boom box. More elaborate setups include weatherproof speakers, indoor/outdoor controls, buried wires, and all sorts of other outdoor stereo options.

Picture of an inground swimming pool with a basketball hoop and diving board
Features like basketball hoops and diving boards add to the fun.

Outdoor Kitchen. At the very least, consider investing in a top-notch grill that allows you to barbecue for a crowd. If you’re really serious about backyard entertaining (or outdoor living in general), a full-featured outdoor kitchen might be the way to go.

Tiki Bar. Obviously any sort of outdoor bar is great to have for grownup parties. However, if it fits your backyard decor, a tiki bar is an especially fun option for pool owners.

Fire Pit. Fire pits always draw a crowd. But there’s something about fire and water in the same setting that is truly captivating.

Jacuzzi. A jacuzzi is a great place to have grownup conversations. The water relaxes people, encouraging them to open up and perhaps even spill a secret or two. It’s not one of the cheaper options, but a jacuzzi is an ideal thing to have for more intimate gatherings.

Outdoor Movie Theater. Showing movies in your backyard is surprisingly easy these days. All you need is a projector and a screen, both of which you can find online at relatively affordable prices. It’s a great way to entertain guests as they float in your pool.

Games. If you’re entertaining a more active crowd, you may want to consider a diving board, slide, or any number of waterpark-style features. For more competitive gatherings, you might want to plan for a basketball hoop, volleyball net, or the like. Bear in mind that adding these sorts of features could impact how you think about pool depth.

Feeling overwhelmed right now? Keep in mind that you don’t need all of this stuff to host a great pool party. In a way, a pool is really just an excuse for you and your friends to get together more often. Everything else is a bonus.