Small backyard pool designs: a pond or a small pool?

Ned Kampmann

The summer heat brings thoughts of water, bathing and lakes. People are no longer thinking about whether to have a pond or a pool or not, and are accommodating them in even the tiniest of yards. If the nearest river or lake is far away, it is essential to have your own pool, so that you can relax and cool off during the summer months. However, before you can go ahead and get building, you will face a number of questions: whether to choose a pond or pool for your garden and what criteria should guide this choice. Our images will also help you decide which small backyard pool designs to choose.

Small backyard pools

It is by no means uncommon to want both! Actually, this is also quite feasible – for example, if you build such a pond-bath as in the photo above. Here the charm of a decorative pond is very successfully combined with the practicality of a garden pool. Or you could build such a pool specifically for a small yard if you are limited for space.

Check out the article on How to bild your own natural pool DIY

Among the downsides of combining a pond and a pool is the need for very careful maintenance. Of course, any pond or pool needs maintenance, but it is important that the water is suitable for the plants, that their habitat is not violated, and that the water is safe for swimming because naturally, swimming in stagnant water is fraught with problems.

A compromise designs for small backyard pools

Another type of compromise would be to have a separate pond and inflatable pool, in this way combining beauty and practicality. And when we say that the garden pool can decorate the landscape, words do not do this justice. Just look at this picture:

With a creative approach, you can seamlessly blend any kind of water feature into your garden. The only thing that is important is to choose wisely the size, shape and details when designing your backyard pool.

Small pool designs

What is most important is the size and how much space you have to work with in your yard. If you find yourself trying to “cram” in your yard everything you dream about, it’s probably best to forget about a full-sized pool. An excessively small pool will likely provide a miserable experience, and will be uncomfortable for swimming, but for a large one you’ll have to sacrifice something. In this case, it’s probably better to focus on setting up a beautiful small pond.

Backyard pool designs: decorative pond

Sometimes the pond is part of the garden composition as a whole. For example, in rockeries, ponds, streams and waterfalls often complement and enrich monumental boulders. Of course, swimming in this pond is not possible – it is built exclusively for aesthetic beauty.

Read here about unique pool landscaping ideas

Small backyard ideas with pool

On the other hand, here is another example: a backyard recreation area including a gorgeous pool and a small rockery. And they are very different but complement each other perfectly, so this is clearly an example of design excellence:

Pool designs with fountains for small yards

It is often argued that a pond is a better option that a pool if you want to have a fountain in your yard. Yes, of course, there are certain people who love to swim among fountains, but in the main we have them in order to enjoy the sound of the water and admire its splashing in the sun. Therefore, the fountain and the pool are often separate.

Backyard pool designs with fontain

In this picture you can see fish in the pond. For them too, a pond devoid of people is better, although here we can see a child splashing in a pond with goldfish, and they are not taking any notice.
This is an example of a pool design for a small yard.

Small backyard pool designs: pool vs pond ideas

There is no definitive correct answer to the question of whether a pond or pool is better. There are a lot of arguments in favor of one option or the other, and everyone has their own solution to this challenge, but some conclusions can still be drawn…

It’s better to choose a pond, if…

Backyard pool designs backlighted pond

  • you desire a pond more for aesthetic beauty, and you prefer to bathe in a nearby river;
  • you lack the space to install a full-size pool and can fit only a miniature pond in your yard;
  • you want to make the pond part of a landscape composition, with the addition of a fountain, waterfall, or stream;
  • you want to have fish, waterfowl, or aquatic plants;
  • you simply prefer this option

It’s better to choose a pool, if…

Pool designs for small yards

  • you have enough space;
  • the nearest river or other natural water is far away, and you can’t imagine a summer vacation without bathing;
  • you have the ability (and desire) to take care of the pool water. Read more on how to clean a pool
  • you are sure that you have the required safety: a pool attracts kids like a magnet, and, unlike with many decorative ponds, it is unwise to leave children there unattended;
  • you have found or come up with a project that will perfectly fit into your landscape.


Small backyard pool ideas: prefabricated frame pools

Prefabricated frame pools can be embedded in the ground or installed on the surface. If there is space available, it is suggested that you dig a pit for the pool and position it there, otherwise there is a risk that the design will not catch the eye and may possibly ruin the surrounding area. If you have small children, you just need to enclose the pool to avoid accidents.

These pools come in several shapes: round, oval, rectangular, and in the form of a figure eight. The construction of prefabricated pools is very rigid and made of a plastic or metal frame, which makes them strong and durable. As for the price, this type of basin is widely affordable, especially in the summer when you can get quite good discounts on them.



Pool ideas for a small backyard: inflatable pools

Small pool designs: inflatable pool

The most practical and easy-to-install pools are inflatable ones. You can store them anywhere, and if necessary, take and inflate them at any time. The abundance of shapes and sizes of inflatable pools means that you are sure to be able to find one you like. If the inflatable pool is large, then it is advisable to use an electric pump. Manually filling it with air is very time-consuming and discourages swimming.

Pictures of small backyard pools

Here are some more ideas for small backyard pool designs:

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