Every good designer knows the old maxim, “form follows function” and there’s no better time to employ this useful saying than when deciding what shape of swimming pool you want to have in your backyard.

Getting a grasp of the different pool shape possibilities is not the confusing process it might seem at first. We’re here to guide you through it to ensure the shape you pick the perfect shape for your home and lifestyle.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pool Shape

Before embarking on a new swimming pool project, the first things to consider are your needs, wants, and limitations. There are plenty of beautiful options that can work for any family in almost any size yard but we’re looking for the perfect marriage, not just a great first date.

  • What sort of space do you have in your backyard?
  • Where in the space do you envision the pool’s location?
  • How many family members will be using the pool?
  • Are you already planning big pool parties? Or just keeping it all to yourself?
  • What shape is the most functional for your needs?

Today, we’re going to take a trip to the extensive land of pool shapes to find one that checks all of your boxes and looks amazing in your outdoor space.

1. Rectangular Pools

Descended from ancient reflecting pools, rectangular swimming pools are a true classic. Designed for practicality and exercise, the long, slightly narrow rectangular shape makes them perfect for lap pools that are also beautiful to look at.

Rectangular pools can fit in most backyard spaces, as long or narrow as you wish. Really the only downside is that pools with edges are less hydrodynamic when it comes to efficient circulation and are not ideal for water features.

2. Circular Pools

Circular pools are simply pools with a perfectly round shape. They have their roots in the heyday of vintage Hollywood. Originally dreamed up by Philip Ilsley who built pools for the stars in the 1930s, these simple, yet sophisticated pools broke the mold of the traditionally rectangular-shaped pools.

This type of pool is great for big, wide-open backyards since they require a lot of space. If you prefer to swim in the shade, it’s a sinch to build a circular cover or enclosure for your brand new circular dipping pool.

3. Oval Pools

The original “backyard oasis,” an oval pool looks stunning surrounded by palm trees, excellent landscaping, and a picturesque water feature. With an Old World aesthetic, oval pools match well with Victorian or historical homes.

Oval-shaped pools have a classic, elegant look that are perfect for large backyards as they take up a fair amount of real estate.

4. L-Shaped Pools

This category actually has two types: the “true L,” which is a perfectly-shaped capital “L” and the “lazy L,” which las a much shorter bottom section. Either one works well for a lap pool with a side lounge or can actually form a rectangle when a hot tub is placed in the empty square the two legs make.

L-shaped pools work really well for oddly-shaped backyards or even courtyards and can easily do double duty as a lap and lounge pool at the same time.

5. Geometric Pools (Multi-Sided Pools)

Not to be confused with freeform pools, geometric pools are free of curves. This type of pool shape can have sharp patterns or lines going in any direction you wish to completely customize the shape of the pool to the space you’re working with.

Geometric pools can fit any artistic vision — and any backyard space. With endless variations of lines, angles, and area, these pools can squeeze tastefully into a tight space or look like a work of art on a large, open canvas.

6. Kidney Pools

No, not your internal organs — these pools are actually shaped like the bean. You’ve seen them before: a classically simple freeform pool that lends itself very well to gorgeous grottoes and water features. The kidney bean’s irregular shape is hydrodynamic and actually helps to circulate the water from a fountain or waterfall, rather than letting it crash against the sides.

7. Figure 8 Pools

Just as the name suggests, a Figure 8 pool can be a flawless hourglass or an asymmetrical set of two connected circles. Rounded on both ends like a barbell, these pools are connected in the middle by a tapered, narrow link in the center.

With lush, round curves, figure 8 pools are excellent at circulating water around without splashing, making for a beautiful whirlpool effect when combined with a water feature.

8. Freeform Pools

This is where you get to let your imagination soar. The only limit is your acreage (and your budget). Freeform pools can be any shape or size, endlessly customizable, with some incredible curves.

Probably a descendent of the simpler oval pool, freeform pools lend themselves extremely well to creating an opulent backyard oasis. You may have also heard this shape called a Lagoon, Key West, or Pond-style pool.

9. Roman Pools 

To wrap your head around a Roman pool, picture a sparkling Roman bath, surrounded by columns and cypress trees. This type of pool is based on ancient styles and is every bit as grand as the Roman emperors must have had.

Formed by a large, rectangular pool with arches or half-circles on each end, Roman pools come in two types: single Roman or double Roman. A single Roman has only one arch whereas a double Roman has an arch at each end.

These arches make a grand entrance for a set of stairs and a relaxing place to sunbathe in the pool. They are spacious and elegant, perfect for an extensive backyard and large groups of swimmers.

10. Grecian Pools

With a wide and spacious design and classical, geometric features at the corners, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped into the pages of a history book on ancient Greece when seeing one of these pools.

The complete shape is a rectangle, but with the 4 corners removed at a 45-degree curved angle, like someone took a perfect bite out of each corner. These lavish pools give an exquisite richness to the surroundings that makes any space feel almost palatial.

The Perfect Fit

Choosing the most desirable shape for your new swimming pool is the first step to an unforgettable backyard pool experience. With a good location and a creative eye, picking the best pool shape for you and your family has never been easier.