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Swimming Pool Design Guide: Friendly Advice From A Pro!

By: Jason Hughes on May 25th, 2016

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Swimming Pool Design Guide: Friendly Advice From A Pro!

Pool Design Guides

G36 rectangular pool with lawn chairs and a pergola

Are you looking for inspiration for your new backyard pool?


After helping hundreds of folks in Virginia and Maryland design and build their dream pool over the years, we would like to help you get your project off on the right foot.

But if you're like most people, the prospect of finding the perfect pool can seem daunting.

Well, you're in luck, because today we're going to walk you through a simple step-by-step process to finding the right pool shape, size, and features for your backyard space.

Let's jump right in!


Step One: Determine Your Pool Size

Here are some questions to consider:

  • How much space do I have to work with?
  • How many people does the pool need to accommodate?
  • How do I plan to use the swimming pool?

And here are some pool size guidelines:

  • The average pool size in America is roughly 15'x30' although sizes vary greatly from region to region.
  • The smallest pools are usually about 10'x20' and the largest are typically around 40' long.

There are three types of inground pools: fiberglass, vinyl liner, and concrete.

Vinyl liner and concrete pools are more flexible from a design perspective because the shape and size can be customized.

However, the vast majority of concrete and vinyl liner pools installed in America are "cookie cutter" designs that are selected from a brochure or catalogue.

Fiberglass pools, because they are constructed from an existing mold and shipped to the job site in one piece, are not customizable. However, because of their beauty, low maintenance benefit, durability, and speedy installation, a rapidly increasing number of people across the country feel that fiberglass pools are a good fit for their family.

Consequently, the popularity of fiberglass pools has tripled over the past decade.


Step Two: Determine Your Pool Shape

In terms of pool shapes, the sky is the limit, but there are several predominant styles to choose from that constitute the majority of pools installed today.


Rectangular Pool Design

T40 rectangular pool shape

The most popular pool shape of all time is the tried and true rectangle.

Its basic geometric shape and proportion make it a fitting style for most outdoor spaces.

If you are considering a fiberglass pool, you may be happy to know that we at River Pools have many rectangular designs ranging from 10'x20' to 16'x40' to choose from. Feel free to check out our pool designs if you're interested.


Freeform Pool Design

River Pools freeform O30 fiberglass pool

A freeform pool is basically a non-linear pool with flowing lines, and they can take virtually any shape.

Some of our most popular freeform pool designs are the O Series and C Series.


Lagoon Pool Design

lagoon-style Wellspring fiberglass pool construction

A lagoon design is a freeform pool with an enhanced serpentine shape.

Thursday Pools' Wellspring design is a great example of a lagoon-style pool.


Roman End Pool Design

Roman Lounger fiberglass pool

A roman end is a squared end with a centered arch.

This classic design is popular in many different settings.

Our L36 model is a great example of a roman end pool design.


Vanishing Edge Design Pools

Infinity vanishing-edge fiberglass pool

A vanishing edge (also called an infinity edge), is where one or more sides of the pool are lowered so water can spill over the pool lip, giving the appearance of a vanishing waterline.

Thursday Pools' Infinity model is a vanishing edge fiberglass pool.


Step 3: Select Special Pool Features

Perhaps there are certain pool features you'd prefer to integrate into your backyard design such as a tanning ledge, attached spa, or water feature.

Check out our pool options and accessories guide to learn about neat pool features and see how they can fit into your backyard oasis.


Well, we hope this has helped you determine which swimming pool design might be best for you. If you are in the process of determining your pool budget, you may want to check out our inground pool pricing guide.

If you think a fiberglass pool could be an option for your family and would like to speak to a representative, fill out this short form, and we'll be in touch very soon.

And if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

Thanks and happy swimming!

Next: Everything You Need To Consider About Inground Swimming Pool Designs

How to Buy a Fiberglass Pool in 2018 ebook

Editor's note: This blog article was updated on April 17, 2019.