Backyard In-Ground Pool Shapes & Sizes

in ground pool shapes and sizes

Backyard Pool Shapes and Sizes

Which Shape and Size of In-Ground Pool is Right For You?

When it comes to choosing the size and shape of your in-ground backyard pool, your options can seem almost limitless. From plunge pools to lap pools, rectangular to free-form, backyard pool sizes and shapes are available to suit every backyard, every taste and every budget.The size and shape of in-ground pool that best suits your backyard will be determined by a number of factors including:


  • The size of your backyard and where you want the pool to go
  • If the terrain of your lot is flat or terraced
  • Your budget
  • What you will want to use the pool for
  • The number of people that will be using the pool

Before setting your dreams on a certain shape or size of pool, make sure to speak to a local pool designer or installer such as Ottawa Home & Garden, who can give you some expert advice on what will best fit your needs

Common Sizes for Backyard Pools

Although in-ground pool sizes can range from as small as 3 meters by 3 meters, to as large as 12 meters (40 feet) long, there are some dimensions of swimming pools that are most commonly seen in backyards. 

For pools based on a rectangular shape, a typical length to width ratio is 2:1 to look aesthetically pleasing. Of course, custom or freeform pools will have measurements to suit the space they are designed for.

The following sizes of in-ground pools suit most average sized lots while providing enough room for the whole family to enjoy the water:

  • 3 x 6 m – Suits smaller families who are looking for a spot to cool off and splash around.
  • 5 x 10 m – holds more people at one time with space for ball games or exercise.
  • 6 x 12 m – good for a larger family or those who want to do some aquatic exercise such as swimming laps.

Compact pools, also known as cocktail pools and plunge pools, are smaller than regular pools, with edges no longer than 3 or 4  meters, as they are intended only for cooling off.

Lap pools can be as long as 12 meters but are usually a fairly narrow 2 or 3 meters as they are used for swimming lengths primarily.

Bear in mind that the bigger your pool gets, the more expensive it will be and the more maintenance will be required. If you want to retain some patio space, an outdoor eating area or garden, you will also need to factor that in when deciding what size your new pool will be.

Popular In-Ground Pool Shapes

Shapes for in-ground pools range from the simple and classical rectangular based to eye-catching custom shapes and everything in-between. 

One good thing to consider when choosing the shape of your pool is do you want to maximize the swimming space, or would you prefer a shape that naturally creates a poolside patio?

Popular in-ground pool shapes include:

  • Rectangular – A simple and practical shape that works for games and swimming. Linear pools are complementary to a more formal garden and can be dressed up with water features.
  • Roman – A rectangle with an arch or curve at one or both ends. Gives a classical twist that softens up the geometric lines.
  • Square – Usually reserved for plunge pools or cocktail pools, a great option for small gardens where the pool is intended to be a statement rather than practical
  • Round or Oval – These shapes are usually chosen for their design appeal. Although not ideal for lap swimming, they can make a great space for socializing and playing.
  • Kidney – Like an oval but with an indent on one side that creates a natural patio space. Popular as their natural shape blends well into most gardens.
  • L-Shaped – This shape is great when you have multiple purposes for your pool. The long pool can be deeper for lap swimming while the foot of the L can be a shallow play space or tanning ledge.
  • Lap – Long and narrow pools designed for length swimming. Lap pools are a good option for a narrow lot. Use of decorative tile, water walls or spouts can dress up this simple shape.
  • Freeform – This style has lots of curves to its edges giving it an organic look. Can be adapted to fit around the garden landscape and incorporate natural or faux rocks to create a backyard oasis.
  • Custom – Different to freeform, custom pools are usually in a specific shape. Think of a rock-star with a guitar shaped pool for example. Custom pools take longer to manufacture and cost more, but are completely unique. 

For some inspiration on how differently shaped pools can enhance a backyard see this gallery of stunning in-ground pool designs.

How Do I Know Which Size and Shape of Pool is Right for My Backyard?

The right shape and size pool for your backyard will depend on a number of factors, such as:

Backyard Space: 

  • How much of your garden space can you allocate for a pool?
  • Do you want to retain space for a deck, dining area or garden?
  • Do you want a pool close to your house or set back in the garden? Straight edges are better close to your home walls.


  • Larger pools and unusual shapes will cost more to install due to additional ground work, finishing materials and labour required.
  • Concrete pools are more expensive initially, but require less maintenance and will last longer than a vinyl liner. 

Planned Use:

  • Is the pool intended for lap swimming, games, relaxation or to add a luxurious centrepiece to your garden?
  • Who will use the pool most? Do you need to consider accessibility issues in your chosen pool design?

A pool design company will talk through all these considerations with you to determine the best size, shape, depth, location and materials for your backyard pool. 

Ottawa Homes & Garden Designs and Installs Pools of All Shapes and Sizes 

If you are considering a new in-ground pool for your Ottawa-area backyard, make sure you talk to your local experts at Ottawa Home & Garden first.

Our team has been designing and installing backyard pools in the Ottawa area for over 20 years and we would be glad to advise you on the optimum size and shape for your pool.


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