What Pool Size Is Right For Me?
What Pool Size Is Right For Me?

What Pool Size Is Right For Me?

You’re ready to build a pool in your backyard, but aren’t sure what pool size you want. This is a big decision to make and it can be overwhelming to consider all of the options that are available. The last thing you want to do is make a bad decision and be stuck with a pool that you aren’t happy with in your backyard.

There are a variety of pools that you can choose from, all built for different activities and in different sizes. Every home and backyard presents its own unique environment and space that is available. When it comes to the size of your pool, you need to choose what works best for your backyard, lifestyle and budget. While that sounds great, it also probably leaves you saying something like “How do I know what size and style of pool is right for me?”

You might not be familiar with the style of pool that you want in your backyard, but we are here to help!

At California Pools & Landscape, we’ve been building pools of all shapes and sizes for more than 36 years. As a custom pool builder in Arizona, we’ve created inground shotcrete pools of all sizes for customers throughout the state. Whether you’re looking for a pool to relax, entertain, or to swim laps in, we can build the right pool for your backyard.

In this article we will list the most popular sizes of pools that we build and who they are a good fit for. You will also be able to view photo galleries to help see the differences between each type of pool.

By the end of this article you will have a better idea of what differences there are between styles of pools and what pool size is right for you.

Spool Pool

A Spool, or small pool, is just as it sounds; a small pool with spa-like features. You can tailor your spool to be a large spa by adding a heater, jets and benches. If you prefer the feel of a small pool, you could add in a baja shelf for a nice place to relax.

Spools are utilized in backyards that aren’t able to accommodate a standard pool or for those seeking a smaller aquatic feature. A spool is typically 20ft to 22.5ft long and 10ft wide, but those dimensions are customizable depending on what space restrictions exist in your yard.

Spools can provide the benefit of year round usage, serving as a pool during the hot Arizona summers and a large spa in the winter. Design options are endless whether you’re looking for an area to relax or entertain. You can also build your spool to maintain your fitness goals at home, by building in a jet to create a current to swim against.

Looking for some further inspiration? This Phoenix spool delivers maximum relaxation while maintaining a small footprint in the backyard.

Who is a spool pool right for?

A spool is a good fit for homeowners with a small backyard or those looking for a smaller pool to enjoy. Beyond that they are viable in a yard of any size for those on a smaller budget or for a small family.

A spool will create the smallest footprint in the backyard environment, leaving other areas available for entertainment or activity. Because of it’s smaller size it is easier to maintain and requires less electricity, water and chemicals.

Cocktail Pool

A cocktail is similar to a spool as it is smaller in size. It is not designed for swimming, but for entertaining and creating an environment to cool off while enjoying a cocktail. Typically cocktail pools are a plunge style pool that are 3ft to 5ft deep and offer a great option to escape the heat. They are much smaller than a standard pool, typically 24ft long x 12ft wide.

Who is a cocktail pool right for?

A cocktail pool is a great fit for homeowners that are looking to downsize their pool or create a smaller water feature in their backyard. If you have a smaller backyard or restrictions with available space, a cocktail pool is a good fit. Design options are endless and there are several customizations available to make a cocktail pool the star of your backyard.

Play Pool (Standard Pool)

A standard inground swimming pool or play pool is a 75ft perimeter pool, which means it is 75 feet around the pools edge. While all of our pools are custom built, a play pool is typically a rectangular pool that is 28ft long x 14ft wide, or a freeform design. One popular geometric configuration has a depth that typically starts at 3ft in the shallow end, goes down to 5ft in the middle and then back up to 4ft. Another common configuration starts at 3ft in the shallow end and goes down to 5ft in the deep end.

Pools with these dimensions are great for playing aquatic sports like volleyball and basketball. Baja or Sun shelves are also a popular option added to these pools to create an atmosphere for play and recreation.

This is the most popular size of swimming pool as it fits in most backyards and offers an environment for multiple activities. Here at California Pools & Landscape a standard pool would also include 350sf of decking, which adds additional areas for activity, relaxation and entertaining.

If you’d like to learn about how a play pool can transform a backyard living space, dive into this Peoria Play Pool!

Who is a play pool right for?

A play pool is a good fit for those seeking the ability to both play & relax while having a more conservative budget to spend on a pool. Watersports like pool volleyball, basketball or swimming are all possible in a play pool. One would also need a backyard space to accommodate at least a 12.5ft x 25ft pool size while still meeting city pool building requirements for setbacks.

Diving Pool

A diving pool has a deep end on one side, that typically is 8.5ft to 10ft in depth on its deep end, providing the option to dive in or practice your best cannonball. A diving pool is larger than a play pool in depth and overall dimensions to provide a safe diving environment. Often diving pools feature a diving board, jump rock, or waterslide for a stylish entrance into the deep end.

To see a classic version of a diving pool, jump into our feature on this Buckeye Classic Clubhouse.

Who is a diving pool right for?

A diving pool is a good fit for families or customers looking to enjoy diving and jumping into their pool for aquatic activity. This style of pool can also be a fit for water sports like pool volleyball or basketball, but only on the shallower side. If you want to accommodate both driving and water sports a good design is essential because the pool will slope down towards the deep end, which leaves less shallow area to play sports in.

Having a medium to large sized yard will be necessary to fit a diving pool.

Lap Pool

A lap pool is just as it sounds, a pool designed to swim laps in. These are typically long pools, 35ft – 40ft on average, even up to 75ft in length, and have a narrow width. All dimensions are customizable if you’re looking to utilize the available area in your outdoor environment. If you have a year round fitness goal, keep in mind you will want to add a heating element to the pool to handle the Arizona winter.

To see a lap pool in action, watch the video from this Paradise Valley backyard.

Who is a lap pool right for?

A lap pool is typically best for those looking to workout or utilize their pool for fitness. A lap pool can still double as an area to entertain or relax after your workout. A lap pool is a good fit for people with narrow backyards or shallow yards that are looking to maximize the pool space. They can also be the focal point of a larger backyard.

Spool vs Lap Pool vs Cocktail Pool vs Play Pool vs Diving Pool

Type of PoolTypical GallonsTypical Pool Dimensions
(length x width)
Typical DepthTypical Use
20’ x 10’
22’-6” x 10’
3’ - 5’Large Spa/Small Pool
Cocktail Pool8,000
23’ x 12’
26’ x 13’
3’ - 5’Small Pool
Standard Pool12,000
28’ x 14’
30’ x 15’
3’ - 5’Play Pool -
Swimming & Aquatic Sports
Diving Pool23,000
35’ x 16’
38’ x 18’
3’-6” - 5’- 8’-6”Swimming & Diving
Lap Pool16,000
36’ x 14’
40’ x 16’
3’-6” - 5’- 4’Swimming Laps

What pool size is right for you?

The pools that we listed in this article are the most popular styles of pool builds and listed with their own typical sizes. Design options are truly endless when you choose the style of pool that is right for the size of your backyard and budget.

After considering the aspects of your home and the activity that you’d like to do in your pool, the right pool style should be an easy choice for you to make.

Once you know the style of pool that you want, you can move forward with design elements like choosing your shape or building materials. If you’re looking for design inspirations, visit our learning center for our Pool Design Ideas Series.

If you’re ready to move forward with a pool style for your yard, schedule an appointment with one of our talented designers to get your dream pool started today!

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