How much space do you require for a swimming pool?

A swimming pool can be a visually appealing feature and the main focal element of your outdoor living area. When deciding whether to install a pool, you’ll want the goal of your design to seamlessly integrate it into your outdoor space so you can use it all year round. Determining how much space you’ll need for a pool and the amount of room you have left over is essential for the overall success and functionality of your space.

Consider position and allocation of space

This means the focus should be on the positioning of the pool and allocating enough space around the pool. After all, you don’t want to open your doors and virtually land in your pool with a splash!

In order to maximise the usage of your outdoor area, consider the following:

  • Do you want a grass area for kids to play or for your pets?
  • Are you picturing yourself lazing beside the water’s edge on a daybed?
  • Is outdoor entertaining on your priority list?
  • Do you wish to have added features such as a shower or pool house?
  • Is privacy required from overlooking neighbours?
  • Do you want garden beds and soft landscape surrounding your pool?

Beyond your own personal requirements for your outdoor space, you’ll need to look at your survey to find out the actual the usable space of your backyard. Key areas to look at when planning a swimming pool are:


Side and rear easements will greatly determine where you can position your pool as these are required for utility companies to run underground services.


As a general rule, it is prohibited to position permanent structures such as a swimming pool within a floodplain without significant engineering work. Failure to do so could cause floodwater to accumulate in the area and compromise the integrity of your pool structure.

Distance from the residence:

Some municipalities will require the swimming pool to be located a specific distance from the residence.


When planning your pool, you’ll need to conform with your local pool fence regulations which may dictate its location and size. It may be wise to start with the pool fence before you design the pool itself.

Pools serve as a practical feature, especially when the weather is glorious. However, it’s important to remember when not in use, a pool serves purely a visual purpose. You’ll want to ensure your outdoor space not only looks great but also functions optimally.

Most common swimming pool sizes

Pools come in many shapes and sizes which are generally only limited by the dimensions of the yard and your budget. Rectangular pools remain the most popular with a common, however, plunge and lap pools are great options for those with restricted space. This translates to the following sizes from smallest to largest:

Family sized pools:

  • 7 x 3 metres
  • 8 x 4 metres
  • 9 x 4 metres

Plunge pool:

  • 5 x 3 metres
  • 6 x 4 metres
  • 7 x 3 metres

Lap pool:

  • 9 x 2.5 metres
  • 10 x 3 metres
  • 15 x 3 metres

Deciding on how much space your pool takes up in your yard will depend on your requirements for the outdoor area. As a general guide, the pool and the pool surrounds should occupy approximately 25% of the total outdoor area. This will allow space to create an entertaining area or a play area for the kids. You can use the additional space to position a shed, install a clothesline or build a veggie patch.

To maximise your practical space surrounding the pool, consider the paved or decked area around its perimeter to be approximately 50% of the pool’s surface area. This will give you enough space to navigate around the pool safety, as well as position outdoor furniture at the water’s edge.

For more pool tips and advice, take a look at the pool section of our Learning Library.

Lead image: Preston Lane featuring Mollard Granite paving.