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Pool Inspiration & Designs to Make Your Backyard the Place to Be

January 17, 2021

Straight Line Pool Designs & Pool Inspiration

There’s something so exciting about putting a pool in your backyard, It’s no wonder many of our clients reach out to us each year. It’s our job to keep up-to-date on the current — and classic — trends, whether it’s combing through design magazines or scouring the internet, we have our finger on the pulse to bring you the swimming pool inspiration you’re seeking. 

We thought you’d love to know what types of pool designs are trending right now and which ones the top designers love. Explore modern pool designs to get inspiration for your pool project, or just enjoy the beautiful views.


Modern pools are all the rage right now. Clean lines and minimalist decor create a sophisticated look in your yard. Because of its shape, a modern pool is a great option for the homeowner with less space to work with. Designers know how to combine the elements with pops of color and interesting textures to soften the look.

Typical modern pool designs are rectangular and play on geometry. You can add furniture with funky silhouettes and make the space truly yours. Mid-century design elements make these pools fit for an upscale design magazine — you never know when yours will be a showcase!

Liven up your modern pool design with elements like fire, a water feature, or both. A sunning shelf will add a place for guests to relax and kids to play in shallow water.


Freeform pools are a great type if you have plenty of space to play. The best thing about them is the possibilities are endless. Consider organic shapes and natural features such as boulders and waterfalls, with a combination of concrete and real boulders. If you want a real pool inspiration idea, incorporate grottos and natural waterfalls to create a lagoon setting.

Another cool trend is to create a beach feel with a sand entry. You’ll corner the oceanfront property market in Arizona, right? 

Ok — not really, but you’ll feel like you have your own private beach as you relax poolside. Even if you don’t use sand, forgoing traditional steps and building a pool that gradually gets deeper or has shelf access to the water is a great alternative. One of our pro tips? Using white concrete or stone, you can get that beach look.

As with any complex pool design, hiring an experienced designer is a must — this is one area you don’t want to cut corners. With the complexities of pumping water and the intricate concrete work, you want a great designer and experienced contractor to pull it all together.


Infinity pools have been popular in the hotel industry for a long time but only in recent years have they been coveted as a home pool design. In infinity pools, the water runs right to the edge of the pool, which creates the visual effect of water that keeps going forever — the water blends right into the skyline.

One of the best pool designs in 2021, infinity pools are also known as negative edge pools. They’re for backyards with a view. An infinity pool is perfect for homes that back onto a canyon or have elevation changes. They’re what you want to get if you’re going for the resort look, and you have a big budget.

This pool requires a weir catch basin to catch the water at the bottom which can really drive the price up. You’ll also need a system to pump that water back into the pool, which increases installation costs as well as your monthly electric bill. The nice thing is this weir basin will help keep the pool clean.

You’ll want the right contractor for this type of pool as they’re harder to install. Look for a designer and pool contractor that has extensive experience with infinity pools.

If all that sounds like too much, you might consider a raised infinity hot tub where the hot tub water flows into the pool. Hire an experienced designer who can tell you all the pros and cons of infinity pools and can create the look you want with your budget in mind. Straight Line Landscape has experienced designers who can help you create the right look.


One reason people install pools in their backyard is for fitness reasons. Perhaps you’re a current or aspiring athlete. Maybe you feel like swimming is the best full-body workout and desire one that you can exercise in. For these reasons, a lap pool is the best type to install. 

These rectangular pools typically encompass 40-foot “lanes” for you to swim unobstructedly. Additionally, they don’t need to be very wide, which makes them ideal for smaller yards. 

Swim spa pools have a smaller footprint as well. What defines this type are the jets that provide a constant current to swim — or float — among. 


If you’re sorely limited on space and really, really want that pool, there are smaller options called plunge pools. You won’t be able to do a lot of swimming in them, because they’re compact and shallow, but if you love wading and lounging, it’s a perfect option. 


Pools are perfect for lazy summer days, but the temps can drop during the evenings. During these cool nights, you’ll probably want a nice warm hot tub or spa where you can relax. These can be round or square, attached to the pool, or stand-alone. They can be jetted or not — it’s all up to you.

If you want to make a real impact, consider a raised hot tub with water cascading into the pool. It can create a feature waterfall area with colored stone or glass tile that has your friends and family clamoring for your designer’s number.

If you want a healing experience, a therapeutic acrylic spa may be the right choice. A good designer, like those at Straight Line Landscape, can even build these spas into the landscaping, which means a cohesive look throughout your backyard.


Some homeowners are now forgoing traditional concrete pools and adding tile to the interior of their pool. Whether you choose to have your entire pool tiled or just the decking and backsplash, they add extra shimmer to the water and are a beautiful accent to any pool, dialing up the WOW factor. Tiles are decorative, but they add much more to your layout. They’re more durable than concrete, and when added to the edge of steps, for example, increase visibility.

Mosaic tiles are a popular option. Whether you choose a multicolor mosaic or monochromatic tile, they can be a stunning addition to your pool area. Glass mosaics really shimmer in the sun and reflect the water beautifully. You can also use this tile to create an image such as the sun, a geometric design or an entire scene that adds elegance and sets your pool apart from the rest of the neighborhood.

Glass tiles, in general, are an excellent choice for the pool. They shimmer beautifully and add a luxurious look. Glass tiles come in all shapes and sizes from small square mosaic to subway tiles. If you want a unique showpiece, this is the way to go.

Stone tiles, which never go out of style, add a sophisticated elegance to your pool area. They come in a wide range of colors and styles. Travertine is really popular and the natural color blends with most decor.

Some brick and porcelain tiles also work well for pool surfaces. Depending on the style of your pool and yard, these could be good options. For the wood look in the Arizona climate, without the potential for warping or damage, you might consider porcelain tile that looks just like real wood.

Not all tiles can be used in a swimming pool, so it’s important to find the right designer. They’ll give you tile options that fit the look you’re going for, and each one will be pool-friendly.


For families with kids, a slide or diving board is a must — just think about the squeals and giggles that will encompass your backyard on a hot summer day.

There’s no better way to cannonball or dive into a pool than from a diving board. The platforms can be concrete, metal, or even surrounded with stone veneer.

If you have the room and the budget, a water slide is a great choice for a backyard pool. Choose an open one or a tunnel slide that adds even more fun to get-togethers. You can choose a slide that’s bolted into the ground, or for a real wow factor, build one into your landscaping.


Why spend a fortune on your backyard pool and landscaping and only really see it in the day? You don’t want your pool lit only by a few porch lights. The right lighting can showcase its best features and create privacy if correctly done. Of course, you want your pool lighting to allow you and your guests to get around the yard safely as well.

Colored lights add a festive feel and create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Use blue lights to give your space an almost out-of-this-world feeling. Multicolored lights make the party. You can even install adjustable lights and change their color based on the mood.


Why spend a fortune on your backyard pool and landscaping and only really see it in the day? You don’t want your pool lit only by a few porch lights. The right lighting can showcase the best features of your pool and can create privacy if correctly done. Of course, you want your pool lighting to allow you and your guests to get around the yard safely as well.

Colored lights can add a festive feel or create a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. Use blue lights to give your space an almost out-of-this-world feeling. Multicolored lights make the party. You can even install adjustable lights and change their color based on the mood.


Many people are creating an elemental experience in their homes with the combination of fire and water. Build a fire feature right into your pool area for a space that will delight the senses. You can also integrate a fire pit or fireplace area in your pool landscape — just think about the romantic, cozy nights you can have outdoors.

Your pool will have some water sound naturally as the water laps the pool edges. Add even more drama to that sound with a trickling fountain or a full waterfall. These can be integrated into the pool area, designed as a stand-alone feature, or built into a wall or other area of the landscaping. For a look that truly represents the Arizona landscape, install a waterfall that trickles down stones.

Want to do even more? Consider a fountain. These bursts of water add a tropical feel to your pool and can add even more drama to the outdoor elements. There are some that move easily, so you can create a centerpiece when the pool’s not in use, then move it off to the side when you have multiple people swimming.


Let’s face it, the pool is simply one area and if it’s surrounded by nothing but desert dirt, it’s not going to be the oasis you dream of. When you’re planning to install a pool, no matter what type you decide on, it’s important to consider the overall design of the yard, too.

What plants will complement the design and space? Do you want a lush, green oasis with tall plants and flowers surrounding your swim area, or do you like the minimalist approach that capitalizes on native plants? Keep these considerations in mind when imagining your backyard escape and talk to your designers about how you can make it all come together in a neat, little package.


No matter what kind of pool you choose, you’ll want to take time to consider the safety of the pool area. Most cities have strict laws for fencing off pool areas. Depending on city regulations you may even need to have a fence with self-closing gates and doors. There are also height requirements that must be followed.

Wrought iron or plexiglass fences are the most popular options. Plexiglass is an excellent choice if you don’t want the fence interfering with your sightlines at all. If you want the option of removing it for parties or just putting up the fence when the grandkids come over, you can choose a removable pool fence.

As with the other aspects of your pool design, a good designer will help you consider safety options for your pool area. The designer will also let you know what type of fencing the city will require.

At Straight Line Landscaping, we get all the information about your family and who will be using your pool and design a safety concept around your needs.

No matter what type of pool you have in mind, we can create the dream pool design and landscaping that you want. Our expert designers and pool contractors have the experience and knowledge to make your dreams a reality.

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Author: Holly Banghart

Holly, our senior designer and sales manager since 2010, brings expertise in design, industry certifications, and Master Gardener qualification. She crafts functional outdoor spaces tailored to clients' needs with manageable maintenance. Holly excels in conquering design challenges, turning yards into captivating landscapes. If you seek to enhance your outdoor space, Holly stands ready to transform your vision into reality.

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