Exterior Pools & Water Features

11 of the Best Backyard Swimming Pools We’ve Ever Seen

From waterfalls to waterslides, dream big with these out-of-this-world swimming pools.

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Pool Goals


Whatever your swimming skill level, these backyard retreats will have you dreaming of a pool of your very own. If you already own a pool, you may wish to consider upgrading your landscaping and lighting features to boost function and ambiance. Whether your idea of paradise is a tropical island or a massive waterslide, these 10 custom-built pools are certainly fantasy-worthy.

Lagoon Lounge

Shehan Pools

Just add sand—and a vanishing edge, rock waterfall, slide, and geysers, too. This lagoon-style pool, designed by Shehan Pools, is a little slice of the beach in your own backyard. The addition of ferns, palms, and large sun umbrellas complete the relaxation station.

Swim-up Bar

Designed by K2 Design Group, Inc. & RG Designs, Inc. Bonita Springs, FL 

Glamour meets futuristic design, thanks to American Institute of Building Design’s swanky swim-up bar. Clean white lines and blue tiles are used to best effect in the open-plan lounge. The infinity-style pool showcases panoramic riverside views for a relaxing and inspiring sip and dip.

Related: 10 Energy-Wise Ways to Lower Your Pool Maintenance Costs

Rain Curtain

Mark Johnson Custom Homes, Wilmington, NC

If you prefer a little privacy with your wow factor, consider a rain curtain, like the one at this pavilion built by Mark Johnson Custom Homes. The waterfall awning has a practical function: soothing sounds and stress-reducing white noise—in case you have noisy neighbors.

Infinity and Beyond


There’s nothing like an infinity pool to make you feel like you’re on vacation. This outdoor retreat in Austin features imported tile and a waterfall, courtesy of TimberTown. The deep-blue pool looks like a heavenly runway, launching you straight into those beautiful treetop views.

Backyard Paradise

Unique Landscapes

A pool should cool you by day, and dazzle by night. Illumined from below with deep blue lights, this Phoenix pool could be mistaken for a beachside resort. Palm trees dance in the wind, and twin fire pots are poised atop natural rocks near a waterfall, thanks to the unbelievable poolscaping of Unique Landscapes.

Zero-Edge Peninsula

Splash Pool and Construction, Chino, CA

Erase a pool’s edge and what do you get? Pure beauty, like this manmade beach in Orange County, California, complete with its own peninsula by Splash Pool and Construction. The subtly graded approach allows guests to walk straight from the outdoor patio into the water. The peninsula is planted with multi-trunk king palms, perfect for creating shade and visual drama.

Touch of the Tropics

Keith Zars Pools

Take a backyard cruise to a tropical island. This stone-encased cove, designed by Keith Zars Pools, shows off the natural materials in their best light. The waterfall and elevated hot tub are surrounded by low walls for privacy. After dark, cool LED lighting encourages guests to linger for a late-night swim.

Related: 10 Reasons to Reconsider the Aboveground Pool

Suburban Spa

Artisan NJ

A pool doesn’t need to be big to be beautiful, and this custom pool, courtesy of
Artisan NJ
, is proof. To provide privacy and a suburban tropical escape, the pool is surrounded by palm trees and plenty of bright flowers. Instead of drab concrete, the poolside area is paved with smooth gray slate in varying shapes and sizes.

Mirror, Mirror

Luxe H2O

Simplicity never goes out of style. With its infinity edge, this minimalist mirror pool designed by Luxe H2O gives the illusion of dropping right off the edge of the building. Perfectly situated on a rooftop deck overlooking the hills outside L.A., the dark tiles lining the pool bottom give the illusion of glassy black depths.

Staycation Inspiration

Claffey Pools, Photography by: Vernon Wentz

Let your kids—and your inner kid—out to play. This aqua blue quatrefoil pool by Claffey Pools is beautiful, but the piece de resistance is the massive waterslide. If that’s not your speed, hang out in the hot tub, or lay back in the submerged loungers for cool, poolside conversations.