14 inspiring pool designs your neighbours will be drooling over

As much as we love getting our hands dirty with the excavation and pool construction process, every project starts with a dream—and in many ways, this is the most fun part. We've put together this post featuring 14 inspiring pool designs to fire up your imagination. In no time you'll have your neighbours peeking over the fence with envy!

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Less is more. This riff on a rectangular pool emphasizes simplicity. The design of both the pool and the landscaping emphasize minimalism, proving that sometimes what matters most is what isn't there.

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Drama-rama. Cascading waterfalls, strategic lighting, hidden stone steps and a cleverly disguised slide all add mystery and drama to this multi-level concrete pool. Outside of the price range of most of us mere mortals, we can apply some of the design principles to landscapes with less complex and costly vinyl-lined inground pools.

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When in Rome. The subtle terraced effect in the yard is beautiful to look at and creates a feeling of privacy, without closing in the space. Planters at the four corners of the pool create visual rhythm, while the pergola at the far end of the pool offers visual weight and anchors the space.

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Photo: Buds

Cottage without the commute. Mature trees and a cute cabana, combined with a rock garden, give this yard the feeling of a private retreat far from the city.

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Photo: Buds

Light it up. Strategic lighting of specific garden features creates a beautiful evening and night-time experience in this suburban yard. (Can you see the neighbour peeking from behind the cedar privacy hedge? Just kidding.)

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Photo: Buds

Woodland retreat. This pool and hot tub combo creates a peaceful, unified backyard experience. The variety in shape and colour found in the pavers surrounding the pool offer subtle visual interest, as does leaving the patio edge jagged. The space around the pool is open and airy, with the trees as a beautiful natural backdrop.

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Photo: classicsbeauty.com

Lead the eye. Using different patio materials creates a focal point and a subtle direction to pool users as to where to enter the pool. Setting an umbrella on the tanning ledge is a simple and cost effective way to add visual interest and solve the practical problem of too much sun.

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Photo: Buds

Gorgeous curves. The beautiful coping on this pool, coupled with a curvilinear patio shape that is accented by contrasting border stones, puts the emphasis of this pool squarely on the curve. It's a relaxing, rhythmic design that makes us want to, well, put our feet up with a glass of wine.

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Small but beautiful. This yard is really nothing but pool. Instead of apologizing for this, the designers have embraced it wholeheartedly by giving the effect that the perimeter is actually floating on the top of the pool's surface.

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Green with envy. The simplicity of the grass perimeter of this pool puts the emphasis on the unique shape of the pool itself, with its tanning ledge set up for lounging. The wall behind the tanning ledge helps create a feeling of protection and privacy, as well as adding visual interest.

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Photo: patio-yard.com

Something for everyone. This backyard design integrates a covered lounging area into the patio and tanning ledge into the pool so there's something for sun lovers and those who crave shade. The variety of seating around the pool adds visual interest, as well as choice.

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All in the angles. This uniquely shaped pool echoes the architectural lines of the main house (see how at this time of day the roof line is reflected in the pool water!). The patio colour and material are reminiscent of the main building, creating a calming, integrated feeling to the house and yard.

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Photo: classicsbeauty.com

Step right in. Lighting is used to full effect in this pool to emphasize the dramatic curves, beautiful stairs and unique seating inside the pool itself. Dining, lounging (both in the water and out of it) and fireside seating are all on offer in different zones in the yard. Colours in the patio stones are picked up in the annual plantings around the pool.

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PHOTO: caldwelldressage.com

Au natural. Pond-like pools are all the rage, but can be very expensive and may be difficult to maintain. This design keeps the pool simple and puts the emphasis on the "natural" water feature with multiple cascading waterfalls.

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