Pool Placement: 3 Keys to Finding the Perfect Spot

Where are you going to put a pool? It’s probably the first question that pops up when you start to dream about building your own backyard oasis. After all, you can’t envision yourself splashing around in the pristine blue water of that new pool if you don’t have some idea about where it’s going to go.

Unfortunately, pool placement can also be a major stumbling block. There are lots of competing factors to weigh, many of them based on the size and shape of your property.

Plus, when you’re talking about an inground pool, there are no do-overs. You can’t just drag your pool somewhere else if you decide you made a mistake.

The good news is, the issue of pool placement really isn’t that complicated when you reduce it to its basic parts. To help keep things in proper perspective, here are the three things to focus on when looking for the ideal place to build your pool.

Inground swimming pool with surrounding deck, red house in background
Pool placement is everything.

1. Space

If you have a small area to work with, then your options for pool placement are obviously limited. You will likely want the pool near (if not next to) the house. This suggests other design decisions, such as a geometric shape and materials that complement your home’s exterior.

If you’ve got a wide open space, then your choices are wide open as well. There are still many valid reasons to build close to the house. On the other hand, you also have the option to set your pool further back and make it a separate space, possibly with its own unique look.

In any case, when thinking about how much space you have, don’t forget to make room for all the “extras” you’ll want for your poolscape. The big extra is the leisure space around the pool – the pool deck, patio, and any other areas where you’ll be spending a lot of your time when you’re not in the water. You may also want space for a hot tub, diving board, or any number of other features.

Small inground swimming pool and concrete deck with white house in the background
If you have a small yard, your options for pool placement are limited.

2. Slope and Other Practical Matters

For a variety of reasons, some areas of your yard may be off limits for pool installation. Others may simply be more challenging, resulting in higher installation costs.

For example, an inground pool needs to be built on level ground. Yes, you can always carve into a slope and build a retaining wall to make a flat space for your pool. However, that’s a whole project in itself, one that comes with a serious price tag.

Other things that may get in the way of installing a pool include:

  • Low-lying areas that are prone to flooding
  • Windy areas causing excessive water evaporation
  • Buried utility lines
  • Local building codes on easements and/or setbacks
  • Accessibility for pool construction equipment
  • Actual property lines (often misunderstood)
Closeup of grass in a sloping backyard, with trees in the background
If you want to build your pool into a slope, you’ll have to shell out for a retaining wall.

That all sounds terribly complicated, but a good pool builder can help you sort it out. Just be aware that your first choice may not be feasible for any number of technical reasons. Be ready to make adjustments.

3. Aesthetics, Convenience, and Other Personal Preferences

After taking stock of all those annoying rules and restrictions, your options for pool placement tend to shrink considerably. Assuming you still have options left, you should base your decision on what best suits you and your family. There’s plenty of advice about pool placement floating around, but it ultimately boils down to your own preferences and priorities.

Most people want their pool to look good, which is why they fuss over things like pool shape, materials, water features, and so on. The location of the pool is also key in this regard. Do you want it close by, where you can enjoy its sights and sounds as much as possible? Or would you rather keep it as a private getaway in its own corner? Both choices are valid.

View of an inground swimming pool from the vantage point of inside a house
Being able to see your pool any time you want is a definite plus.

Also, consider the view from the pool. When you’re lounging on your pool deck or on a pool float in the water, what do you want to see?

Here’s a list of other considerations you might want to weigh:

Your answers to questions like these, and how you rate them in terms of importance, should guide you in deciding where to build your swimming pool. It always helps to have the guidance of a professional pool builder or designer. But as with many other pool design decisions, an informed homeowner is the only qualified person to make the final decision.