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DIY: 11 pools for small backyards

Leigh Leigh
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Got a small backyard but want a pool? Well, good news—it's possible.

swimming pool can be essential for surviving summer in South Africa. Having a spot where you can have a nice cool dip, play with the kids or host a braai around can change the whole layout and functionality of your home. It also encourages people to spend time outside, which means less mess inside!

Building a pool can be a great option, especially if you're on a budget. It can be time-consuming and still entail some costs, but it can also be a fun DIY project for the whole family.

Before we explore some stunning South African pools to get you inspired, have a look at this article: What To Know Before Building A Swimming Pool.

Now let's go and look at some fabulous examples and get inspired by the dazzling blue and cool depths of some incredible swimming pool designs!

1. Sunk in a wooden deck

Brooklyn Housing Estate. Umhlali. Modern houses by Sphere Design & Architecture Modern
Sphere Design & Architecture

Brooklyn Housing Estate. Umhlali.

Sphere Design & Architecture

This design, by professionals Sphere Design & Architecture is a wonderful example of how stylish and fabulous a swimming pool can look when it is sunk in a wooden deck.

The warm tones of wood contrast beautifully with the icy blue colours of the pool water. Wood is also budget-friendly, looks great and is durable too!

2. Simple does it

You don't have to have a ridiculously large swimming pool, especially if your garden size is limited. A little swimming pool in a simple square shape can hit the spot.

3. Sleek and sophisticated




This swimming pool is long and rectangle in shape, positioned effortlessly in the corner of a spacious terrace.

If you're building your own swimming pool, remember that you want the entire exterior space to work in harmony. If sophistication is the name of the game, make sure your pool falls in line!

4. Capitalise on the views

Plettenberg Bay - Beach House by DV8 Architects Modern
DV8 Architects

Plettenberg Bay—Beach House

DV8 Architects

The spot where you decide to build your swimming pool is very important. You want it to make the absolute most of the exterior space available to you.

In this image, we can see how the pool has been built in an infinity design, overlooking the ocean. If you're going to build a swimming pool, you might as well make it a beautiful one.

5. Time to call the experts

Roca Llisa by ARRCC Modern

Roca Llisa


If you want to build an Olympic-size swimming pool, it may be a good opportunity to gain some expert opinion. Speak to builders and architects about the design you are looking for as they may offer some insight. You may also need some help with the digging!

6. In the corner

Ellerman Villa 2 by DV8 Architects Modern
DV8 Architects

Ellerman Villa 2

DV8 Architects

You don't need to build your swimming pool in the middle of your garden or backyard either. You can simply position it in the corner, where it doesn't interfere too much with the rest of your outdoor design.

Another tip would be to add an umbrella to this space so that the pool can be enjoyed without worrying that the kids are getting enough shade!

7. In cement

Cement can be a simple, cost effective and industrial-chic way to design a swimming pool, as we see in this design by Urban Landscape Solutions.

Cement is budget-friendly and very durable, making it a great material for around the pool. It's also non-slip, which means accidents are less likely to occur when people get into and out of the pool.

If you opt for cement slabs, make sure that you lay them down so that they are straight and in line.

8. Integrated areas

The point of an outdoor space and swimming pool area is to create an interactive area where family and friends can spend time together. Build your swimming pool so that it works in harmony with the terrace and garden.

9. Don't forget the pool accessories

House Grobler, De Zalze Winelands & Golf Estate (Stellenbosch) Minimalist house by Reinier Brönn Architects & Associates Minimalist
Reinier Brönn Architects & Associates

House Grobler, De Zalze Winelands & Golf Estate (Stellenbosch)

Reinier Brönn Architects & Associates

There are some other factors to consider when it comes to building a pool—like the accessories! Don't forget to budget for the fun items such as the sun loungers, pool games and umbrellas.

10. In an L-shape

Don't feel like you have to go for a traditional shape when it comes to building your pool. Work with the space available to you and adapt the shape to your needs. An L-shaped pool can be very savvy as well as a kidney-shaped pool. You may even want to opt for a circle!

11. Lighting

One final touch to your swimming pool is to install lights throughout, giving it a beautiful and romantic glow. It also means you can swim at night!

Also have a look at these 10 South African homes with pools to dive into.

Which swimming pool design would you like for your home?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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