The Best Types Of Outdoor Pools: An Ultimate Guide

Investing in an outdoor swimming pool for your home or property can be one of the best decisions you ever make. After all, who wouldn’t love having the ability to swim whenever they want or to enjoy a relaxed party atmosphere with a few drinks around a beautifully-lit pool.

However, with such a vast array of outdoor pool types to choose between, identifying the right one for your garden can be a fairly difficult decision.

From calculating the size you want it to be to considering how much maintenance you want it to need, there are a number of different things to think about when it comes to choosing the right pool for your circumstances.

With this in mind, we thought we’d compile an ultimate guide to the types of outdoor pools currently available on the market, featuring useful information on who we think they’re best suited to and why they’re such a popular option.

Before We Dive In…

While many people may believe that outdoor swimming pools are a bad investment, this simply isn’t true.

Research has found that owning a high-quality swimming pool can actually add value to your home, while also reinvigorating your mind and body.

What’s more, since swimming uses virtually all of your muscles, it is one of the most effective forms of exercise you can do, taking the stress away from needing to pay for expensive gym memberships to keep in shape

Take The Plunge…

OK, without further ado, listed below are the variety of different outdoor pools available on the market and the key reasons why you should think about investing in one.

1 – In-Ground Outdoor Pools

When you imagine a garden swimming pool, chances are that you’re thinking of an in-ground outdoor swimming pool. These types of pool are the traditional swimming pools you see in gardens all across the land.

One of their key benefits is, due to being outside, they are much easier to install and come available in a range of sizes. That said though, building any pool can come with its complexities so fitting one in your garden would still require significant design and project management expertise.

Most traditional garden pools are built using a concrete shell. This involves, in effect, digging a large pool-shaped hole into the ground and then building the pool from scratch in the newly-dug hole.

While this may sound simple in practice, concrete outdoor swimming pools are a lot less durable than other types of pool design, tending to crack or leak after less than ten years of use.

The carbon fibre ceramic composite shell we use here at Compass Pools, on the other hand, are designed and developed in house to the exact size and shape required. The unique structure involved in the shell means that the installation process is a lot quicker and the pools themselves are a lot more durable.

Key Benefits:

  • The Classic Look
  • Quick To Install
  • Easy To Maintain
  • Reduced Need For Chemicals
  • Wide Range Of Designs

Perfect for… larger gardens or homeowners looking to have an outdoor pool as they’ve seen on TV.

Above Ground Swimming Pool image

2 – Above-Ground Pools

If you’re looking to get the outdoor pool experience without the need to dig a hole into your garden, then an above-ground pool could be a good solution.

Typically cheaper to install due to the removed need to excavate, these pools are the main type of swimming pool you see in many films and TV shows and are largely seen in the homes of working and lower-middle-class families.

As their name suggests, above-ground pools sit on top of your garden surface, meaning they are easier to work with certain types of land, such as rocky areas. Plus, being ‘above ground’ in design, this allows homeowners to take them with them should they ever decide to relocate.

While they may not look as aesthetically pleasing as an in-ground alternative, they are generally a cheaper, family-friendly option with increased portability.

Key Benefits:

  • A Practical Design
  • Less Complex Installation
  • Traditional
  • Improved Portability
  • Family-Friendly

Perfect for… working and lower-middle-class families and homeowners looking for increased portability.

3 – Plunge Pools

An ideal solution for homeowners with smaller gardens, plunge pools offer a great alternative option to larger, more expensive swimming pool options.

Available in a wide range of styles and sizes, these pools can be installed using concrete, liner or – as we’d recommend – a one-piece carbon fibre ceramic composite shell.

Largely associated with Chinese medicine and the Ancient Romans, plunge pools are commonly used by swimmers and athletes, due to their proposed cold-water healing properties.

While they can be added to a larger in-ground or pool, plunge pools can also be built independently to give homes an area to relax in and can even be heated to offer a more spa-like experience.

If you’re looking to swim as well, plunge pools can utilise a number of solutions to help. An Endless Pool, for example, can provide you with a constant stream of water that you can swim against without moving, giving you the option to exercise within a much smaller space.

Key Benefits:

  • Cheaper One-Piece Design Option
  • Ability to Exercise
  • Easier to Maintain
  • Ideal for Smaller Spaces
  • Potential Health Benefits

Perfect for… smaller gardens and homeowners looking to invest in a swimming pool without it taking up too much space.

4 – Infinity Pools

If you’ve ever stayed in a fancy five-star hotel, chances are you will have come across an infinity pool while you were there.

Adding a real slice of luxury to a garden, it’s safe to say that infinity pools are probably the best-looking types of outdoor swimming pools available.

Typically found in homes lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful scenery, infinity pools allow users to take in the views while standing at the edge of a seemingly never-ending stream of water. This, in turn, makes it appear as if the pool is continuing indefinitely into the surrounding landscape, creating an experience unlike any other.

However, that experience does come at a fairly significant cost. Infinity pools are the most expensive type of outdoor swimming pool available, largely thanks to the logistics behind their installation and design.

However, while complicated, their unique design makes infinity pools one of the most efficient types of garden pools you can own, since the overflow system recirculates the water that overlaps from the pool’s edge. Therefore, they are much easier to maintain, with any dead leaves or insects simply flowing over the edge, out of sight and out of mind.

Key Benefits:

  • Stunning Aesthetic
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Unique Design
  • Intuitive System
  • Has That ‘Wow’ Factor

Perfect for… hotels, villas or properties surrounded by beautiful landscapes and scenery.

5 – Natural Pools

Natural pools are designed to offer the same kind of experience of swimming in a lake or the river.

The key advantage they offer, therefore, is the fact they don’t require chemicals to run, since they use natural resources to keep the water clean. As such, they are a much more eco-friendly option, since you won’t need to worry too much about the heating and running costs involved.

Using a combination of a specialist reed bed technology with a filtration system, these pools use a system which oxygenates the water and pumps molecules around the pool bed. This, in turn, helps circulate the water around the pool, moving any debris that’s built up into the filter system where it is then removed.

As a result of this, stagnant water isn’t able to build up and any bacteria is swiftly killed off after entering the pool. This, in turn, keeps the water is clean and safe to swim in.

Key Benefits:

  • A More Unique Design
  • Cheaper & Easier to Maintain
  • Much More Sustainable
  • No Chemicals Required
  • Supports Garden Wildlife

Perfect for… eco-warriors and homeowners with sustainability as one of their core values.

Spool pools image

6 – Spool

An outdoor pool fast-growing in popularity, a spool combines the relaxed elegance of a spa with the smaller design of a swimming pool.

Another ideal choice for smaller gardens, these custom-built spools enable homeowners to have the luxury spa experience from their very own back garden.

Whether you decide to use it to relax, entertain or simply cool off after a hot day, these pools – albeit the smallest option available – offer a unique solution to homeowners. Plus, due to their size, they are easy to clean, maintain and install.

However, if you’re looking for a pool you can actually swim in, then this isn’t the right type of pool for you.

Key Benefits:

  • Designed For Relaxation
  • Reduced Running Costs
  • Unique Design
  • Easy To Maintain
  • Quick Installation

Perfect for… smaller gardens, spa lovers and homeowners looking to take their hot tub experience up a notch.

an inflatable swimming pool in an english garden

7 – Inflatable Pools

If you’re looking for a low-cost, budget pool option, which you know you’ll only use now and then, an inflatable pool could be the best choice for you.

Perfect for families and young kids, in particular, inflatable pools are the complete other end of the spectrum in terms of pool design, offering a temporary solution you can put up and take down at your leisure.

Being inflatable, these pools aren’t particularly long-lasting and, unless you really look after them well, will only last a couple of years at best.

However, they are a much cheaper alternative and come available in a wide range of shapes and sizes so you can find the perfect solution for your garden at a low-cost price.

Key Benefits:

  • Cheapest Option
  • Portable
  • No Chemicals
  • Perfect for Kids
  • Temporary

Perfect for… kids and homeowners looking for a very temporary, short-lived swimming pool solution.

0333 4567 111 Find a pool builder Free Brochure Online quote