How Much Space Do You Need for a Backyard Pool?

If you want to add a backyard pool, you need to determine how much space your family will need. The size of the pool depends on how many people it will hold, kids or adults, and how many activities you plan to do in it.

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Although a backyard swimming pool is an excellent addition to your backyard, it also involves a good deal of thorough planning. One of the most important things you need to consider is the amount of space you have in your backyard for a pool. The average backyard pool is about 20 by 40 feet, but there are also other sizes that you can choose from. If you want a bigger pool, you need a bigger backyard and vice versa.

So, how much space do you need for a backyard pool? Typically, the amount of space you need for a pool depends on your preferred pool size. Small swimming pools measure about 10 feet by 20 feet. These swimming pools require at least 100 square feet of space. On the other hand, medium swimming pools usually have dimensions of 12 feet by 24 feet. These types of pools need at least 144 square feet for installation. Lastly, most large pools measure 16 feet by 32 feet and require an area measuring at least 256 square feet.

Are you planning on installing a pool in your backyard but don’t know how much space you need? This post discusses how much space you need for a backyard swimming pool while highlighting crucial factors to bear in mind when choosing your pool’s size and design.

What Are the Most Common Pool Sizes?

Before we dive deep into discussing space requirements, let’s first take a look at the three most common pool sizes. This will give you an idea of how much space is needed for each type of pool.

1. Small Pools

Small pools have dimensions of 10 feet by 20 feet and need about 100 square feet for installation. These are ideal for small backyards or patios and can accommodate up to four people at a time.

2. Medium Pools

Medium pools measure 12 feet by 24 feet and need at least 144 square feet of space. These are perfect for at least 200 square feet backyards and can comfortably fit six people.

3. Large Pools

Large pools typically measure 16 feet by 32 feet and need an area of 256 square feet. Some of them can be as big as 20 feet by 40 feet. These types of pools are best suited for backyards that are at least 400 square feet and can accommodate up to eight people.

A happy family having fun at the swimming pool.
This will leave you with plenty of space to create an entertaining area around the pool.

Deciding on how much space your backyard pool will take mostly depends on your requirements for the outdoor area. Generally, you need to ensure that the pool and pool surroundings occupy approximately 25% of the backyard.

This will leave you with plenty of space to create an entertaining area around the pool or a kids’ play area if you have a young family. You can use the remaining space to position a shed, build a veggie patch or even install a clothesline.

To maximize your usage of the pool’s space, consider having a paved or decked area around the perimeter of approximately 50% of the overall pool’s surface area. This will provide you with enough space to navigate your backyard pool safely.

Critical Factors That Determine the Amount of Space You Need for a Backyard Pool

So, is your backyard big enough for a swimming pool? The following factors are critical in determining how much space you need for a backyard pool.

1. The Size of Your Pool

The size of your pool is the first factor you should consider when installing one in your backyard. As we’ve discussed, pools come in different sizes, so you need to ensure that you have enough space to accommodate your preferred pool size.

Keep in mind that the size of your pool also determines the amount of space you need for the surrounding deck or paved area.

A small backyard pool.
You need to ensure that you have enough space to accommodate your preferred pool size.

If you have a small pool, you won’t need as much space around it compared to if you had a large pool.

2. The Shape of Your Pool

You might have noticed that most backyard swimming pools have a rectangular shape. Typically, these pools have a 2:1 ratio. It means that they are twice as long as they are wide. However, it doesn’t mean that your pool must be rectangular.

In fact, this shape doesn’t always work for every backyard. If you have a small backyard, for example, a rectangular pool might make the space look even smaller. In this case, you might want to consider a round or oval-shaped pool.

These shapes are also ideal if you’re planning to use your pool for lap swimming as they provide more swimmable space than pools with other shapes.

3. Depth

A typical swimming pool requires a distinct shallow end and a deep end. The deep end can be up to nine feet deep, but this option is not always ideal. If your pool is relatively small, you don’t want it to be that deep.

Children and adults legs underwater on the swimming pool.
The deep end can be up to nine feet deep, but this option is not always ideal.

Also, if your shallow end transitions to the deep end too quickly, you might end up creating a safety risk for swimmers. Therefore, you need to ensure a gradual depth transition from the shallow to the deep end.

In terms of depth, most backyard pools have an average depth of five feet. This is ideal for most recreational activities such as swimming, wading, and playing in the pool. It also provides a safe environment for young children still learning to swim.

If you’re planning on using your pool mainly for lap swimming, on the other hand, you might want a deeper pool. In this case, you can have an average depth of six feet or more. Ensure that the transition from the shallow to the deep end is gradual to avoid accidents.

4. The Number of Swimmers You Want the Pool to Accommodate

If you plan to enjoy your backyard pool solo or with your partner, a relatively small pool will do. However, if you have a family and plan to construct a pool that accommodates everyone, you may want a larger pool.

Additionally, if you plan on using the pool to entertain guests, you need to ensure that it can accommodate a good number of people without feeling too cramped. In this case, you might want to consider a larger pool size as well.

Most public pools usually limit the number of people that can use the pool at any given time to minimize the safety risk for swimmers.

5. Pool Type

The pool type you choose for the backyard will also have a significant impact on the amount of space required.

Fiberglass pools tend to fit quite nicely in relatively smaller spaces, but not all backyards can accommodate this type of pool because the pool shapes and sizes are prebuilt in a factory and are not customizable.

If you choose a fiberglass pool, you need to ensure that your backyard can accommodate the pool type and size you want.

A modern fiberglass pool.
This type of pool because the pool shapes and sizes are prebuilt in a factory and are not customizable.

Concrete pools offer more customization options in terms of shape and size, but they require a larger space. This is because the concrete needs to be poured on-site, which means that the pool needs to be built from scratch.

If you have a large backyard and you want a pool that can be customized to your liking, a concrete pool might be the better option for you.

Vinyl liner pools may fit in medium spaces since most of them measure around 12 feet by 20 feet. They also offer limited customization options, although you can change the default size and shape of the pool.

In most cases, you will need to contact your vinyl liner pool manufacturer directly to find out how they can customize your pool size and shape.

Before choosing your pool type, take time to explore all the possible options. The primary objective is to find a pool type that blends well with the size of your backyard.

6. Extra Features

Lastly, you also need to consider the extra features you want to add to your pool.

For example, if you want a pool with a waterfall or a slide, you need to ensure enough space in your backyard to accommodate these features.

Pool noddle on the swimming pool.
You need to make sure that you have enough room in your backyard before you start planning for them.

The same goes for if you want to add a deck area or a paved area around your pool. These features will require additional space, so you need to make sure that you have enough room in your backyard before you start planning for them.


In conclusion, your preferred size, shape, and depth of your pool are all critical factors that will determine how much space you need for a backyard pool.

If you’re looking for a small pool to fit in a tight space, there are many options available; but if you want a large pool that can accommodate multiple swimmers and extra features, you’ll need plenty of room.

Note that these are just general guidelines – if you have any specific requirements or want to install extra features like a slide or diving board, your final dimensions may vary.

Keep these things in mind as you plan your dream swimming oasis!

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