A Roundup of the 7 Most Popular Pool Shapes

Group of people sitting around a round swimming pool on a summer day

Swimming pools can be practically any shape – that’s one of the beauties of pool design. However, it can also be a double-edged sword for someone who’s trying to sort through the options. With a seemingly endless number of pool shapes to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

Well, you can start by looking at what’s popular. While pools can take almost any form, the vast majority fall into a handful of broad categories. These common pool shapes tend to be the most attractive, functional, and affordable for the average pool owner.

Here’s a quick roundup of the inground pool shapes you’ll find over and over again in backyards across the country and around the world. Keep an eye out for one that fits your property and your lifestyle.

1. Rectangular

The rest of this list is in no particular order, but it’s important to list rectangular pools first because they are hands-down the most common. That probably has something to do with the fact that this shape is well-suited to just about everything a typical family likes to do in a pool – lap swimming, sports, lounging, etc. While not as versatile as the typical rectangular pool, square pools are a good alternative for a smaller pool or spool (spa/pool combo).

Rectangular inground swimming pool next to an upscale home
Rectangular pools come in a variety of sizes, but are generally twice as long as they are wide.

2. Oval/Round

Oval pools have a lot of the same advantages as rectangular pools, but many people find the rounded shape to be more appealing or complementary to the surrounding landscape. Round pools are the compact alternative here, and work especially well as spools or inground kiddie pools.

Oval swimming pool
Oval pools offer elegant looks, while still being practical for everyday use.

3. Kidney/Figure 8

Kidney shaped pools are rounded, with a slight bend that often serves as a dividing line between the deep and shallow ends. This iconic pool shape has a lot going for it, including its retro looks.

A figure 8 shaped inground swimming pool
A figure 8 pool is essentially a more symmetrical version of a kidney shaped pool.

4. Freeform

Freeform pools vary a lot, but all have a meandering shape intended to mimic a natural body of water. They’re often surrounded with lush landscaping, and set back from the house to create a peaceful oasis. These types of pools go by different names and have a variety of subtypes, including lagoon and mountain lake style pools.

Freeform shaped inground swimming pool
Freeform pools feature the sorts of random curves you find in nature.

5. L-Shaped

Like kidney pools, L-shaped pools are great for dividing a pool into two separate zones. One “leg” of an L-shaped pool is often used for stairs or a tanning ledge, but the options don’t end there.

L-shaped inground swimming pool next to a modern home
L-shaped pools are divided into two sections or “legs,” which opens up a lot of design options.

6. Roman/Grecian

Roman or Grecian shaped pools bring a piece of the ancient world to your backyard. While these pools can have all sorts of embellishments, many simply feature the so-called “Roman end” with its rounded half-circle.

Roman-style inground swimming pool
Roman shaped pools often have sharp corners and rounded ends.

7. Custom

Finally, it’s time to circle back to the original point that pools can come in virtually any shape you can dream up. Thus, there are a significant number of custom pools out there that are heart-shaped, guitar-shaped, or even Texas-shaped. More often, however, custom pools are simply variations on the above shapes designed to meet the owner’s particular needs or desires. The bottom line is, you can shape your pool however you like, provided you have the budget and the imagination.