10 Small Backyard Pool Designs in NJ

During hot Bergen County summers, a backyard swimming pool provides the perfect way to cool down. Whether you enjoy relaxing on the pool deck, pool parties with friends or splashing around with the kids, a backyard pool offers years of outdoor enjoyment for your home. With proper planning and creative NJ pool designs, you can turn your small backyard into an outdoor oasis.

When you have a small backyard, you can still install a swimming pool, but your options for size and style may be more limited. Fortunately, there are a lot of smaller pool options for limited space that are both functional and beautiful. A landscaping company that specializes in custom swimming pools, like Borst Landscape & Design, can help you create NJ pool designs that fit comfortably into your Bergen County backyard.

Lap Pools

Lap pools provide a great way to relieve stress and get daily exercise. They are long and narrow with straight edges and can be built to any desired length, so they work well in small backyards. Since lap pools are designed for swimming laps, they are usually designed for just one swimmer, but they can be designed wider to accommodate several swimmers at once. Lap pools are long and narrow, so they don’t take up much space in the yard. They provide modern pool design appeal for Bergen County homes with small backyards or homes in urban areas where outdoor space is a commodity.

Since lap pools are smaller and require less equipment, they are less expensive to build than full-size swimming pools. They can be installed in any backyard with adequate space, as well as indoors for people who want year-round use of their pool. Just like full-size pools, lap pools can be heated and built with various depths. Since most lap pool interiors contain fiberglass or vinyl liners, lap pools can be installed in-ground or above-ground in about three weeks.

pool designs NJExercise Pools

Exercise pools create a resistance current for swimmers. Rather than swimming laps from one end of the pool to the other, swimmers swim in place against a current created by resistance jets. In an exercise pool, swimmers can adjust the current to create more or less resistance while swimming. Since exercise pools have special equipment that produces a current, the costs for pool designs in NJ are higher, but many homeowners prefer swimming against the current for better exercise.

Exercise pools, also referred to as swim spas, don’t require as much length as lap pools. To access and maintain equipment easier, exercise pools are usually installed above-ground. They can be installed in-ground, but installation costs are higher and regular cleaning and maintenance are more difficult. Exercise pools provide a good swimming pool option for homeowners with smaller backyards and smaller budgets.

Plunge Pools

Recent trends towards smaller swimming pools have led to the popularity of plunge pools. These pools are typically small and rely more on depth than on width and length. They’re built for the purpose of cooling off or wading, rather than swimming and exercising. Plunge pools are popular with many homeowners who have small backyards where larger pools are not at option. Their smaller size, easy maintenance, lower construction costs and reduced water requirements make them a good option for small backyard pool designs for many NJ homeowners in suburban areas.

Although plunge pools aren’t designed for swimming, they are good for low-impact water exercises that focus on kicking the legs and feet and stretching legs, arms and abdominal muscles. When located next to outdoor spas or hot tubs, they’re often used for cold-plunge therapy which is known to provide therapeutic benefits after an intense workout or heated spa or sauna session. In Chinese medicine, cold-water plunge pools have been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic effects on the body.

pool designs NJSpools

A spool, a relatively new swimming pool innovation, was developed specifically for small backyard spaces. Spools, also referred to as cocktail pools, combine the features of a swimming pool and a spa. Typically, they are oversized spas or smaller versions of swimming pools that take up about 12 to 14 feet of space in the yard.

Although spools are small, they are not always less expensive to build than a swimming pool because of the added spa-like features such as therapy jets, resistance swim jets and seating benches. However, they are typically less expensive than building a swimming pool with an attached spa. Spools or cocktail pools are a great option for Bergen County homeowners with small backyards. These unique NJ pool designs are great for water aerobics and comfortable relaxation, and the small size makes upkeep and maintenance easier and cheaper than a regular size swimming pool.

Sunken Spas

pool designs NJModern NJ pool designs often include hot tubs, spas and sunken spas. They function just like above-pool units, but they are hidden beneath the water. Sunken spas, sometimes called integrated spas, give modern swimming pool designs a level water surface all the way around the pool which creates clean, modern lines. The spa can be built into a corner, side or end of the pool, depending on the pool shape and location of utilities. The pool and spa are separated by a wall that keeps the cold pool water from getting into the heated spa.

Although the spa is an integral part of the swimming pool, it can be built in any size or shape. It can also be finished in different materials or plaster color to provide contrast between the pool and spa and give the spa its own distinctive border. Sunken spas offer homeowners with small back yards the luxury of a pool and a spa within one continuous space. Sunken spas provide modern pool designs for NJ properties that take up less space in the landscape.

Free-Form Pools

Free-form swimming pools are most often constructed of concrete or vinyl. After the ground is excavated and the framework is in place, concrete can be poured to create any size, shape or configuration. Vinyl-lined pools can also be made into free-form pool designs in a variety of sizes and shapes that work well for small back yards.

Free-form swimming pools are common in small backyards because they allow more space for interesting landscaping and decking. Free-form pools are designed in an irregular or naturalistic shape and style with curves and flowing lines that offer a natural look in the landscape. Many free-form pools are surrounded by lush plants and foliage and incorporate natural rock waterfalls or fountains. Pools that feature rock waterfalls and faux boulders often resemble natural ponds with materials that reflect those found in nature. The natural, organic shapes of free-form pools create a simple, unstructured appeal in the landscape that complements any style of architecture.

pool designs NJL-Shaped Pools

L-shaped swimming pools consist of two rectangular areas joined at a right angle. They can be designed and built in any size widths and lengths to fit any size back yard. L-shaped pool designs are particularly well suited to small backyards that have side yards because the pool can wrap around two sides of the house.

When designing an L-shaped pool, each section can be designed and built for specific needs. One section can be designed with deeper dimensions to give swimmers diving options, while the other section can be shallower to provide safety and play areas for the kids. The width of each section may only be five or six feet, but the length of each section may be quite long since it wraps around two sides of the house. The combined length of the two L-sections creates a swimming pool that’s great for swimming laps and exercising.

Natural Pools

If you live in a rural area or just enjoy the beauty of nature, consider a natural pool for your small backyard. By creating the look of an outdoor pond, natural NJ pool designs easily blend into the landscape and terrain. Natural swimming pools don’t use chemicals or sterilization systems that disinfect the water. They have biological filters provided by natural plants that are used as part of the pool environment. Natural swimming pools are usually divided into two areas – the swimming zone and the regeneration zone.

Swimming Zone

The part of the pool used for swimming. It can be designed in any shape with various accent features.

Pools with Water Features

Custom water features are popular swimming pool trends for today’s homeowners. They add visual interest and focal points to the pool and create unique areas for activities and relaxation. In a small backyard setting, water features in the pool can create a unique style and outdoor atmosphere.


Pool waterfalls can be designed to flow over pool ledges, as well as attached walls and landscape features. They create visual interest and relaxing sounds.

Bubblers and Jets

Bubblers and jets add interest to the pool by creating movement in the water. If installed near seating areas, they provide a type of therapeutic massage for swimmers.

Water Slides

Water slides are great pool features if you have kids. They provide exercise and fun activities for pool parties and swimming.

Pools with Underwater Lighting

pool designs NJIf you plan to use your swimming pool at night, proper lighting is essential for pool safety. Fiber-optic, underwater lighting provides soft, bright lighting for NJ pool designs. It’s decorative, as well as functional and creates a wonderful ambiance for swimming after dark.

Fiber-optic lighting is made from fine strands of either glass or plastic. Both materials transmit good, clear light without generating any heat or electricity, so they can be used safely as underwater pool lighting. Fiber-optic pool lighting offers a lot of design flexibility. You can run the fibers along the perimeter of the pool to create a neon light effect or place the fibers at different places in the pool to create bright spots of light. Fiber-optic pool lighting can be used to illuminate or define pool areas and accent special water features.

If you are looking to install a swimming pool for your backyard, contact the professionals at Borst for popular NJ pool designs. We can design, build and install a swimming pool that’s the perfect size, shape and style for your Bergen County home.