backyard of a palm springs home with a modern pool area
Merah Bond’s pool at her Palmer & Krisel home in Palm Springs has just what you need for a well-stocked relaxing space: Room for a couple different lounging areas plus an outdoor bar top for summer eats and sips. Photo by Bret Gum.

Everyone dreams of that killer backyard space that can be enjoyed all year round. And if your vision involves a pool, you may be wondering how to plan for a pool that makes the most of your lot while seamlessly integrating into your modern design aesthetic. Take a look at these backyard beauties that teach a lesson or two on modern pool design ideas for any budget.

A Good Fit

The best modern pool designs make the most of your backyard’s available space. This means it integrates nicely into the landscape but also allows for plenty of function. You’ll want to take into account your local city ordinances about size and distance from the home and your property lines, but keep in mind the flow and use of your space. Much like you might think of kitchen floor plan strategy, decide what other areas of the backyard you want to integrate (seating area, dining area, bbq area and any other amenities like fire pits or play zones) and make sure the flow and spacing for all of this in your back yard’s floor plan makes sense for how you’ll want to use them.

Related Reading: Alohaus By The Pool: A Modern Outdoor Design Renovation

a modern rectangular pool with orange lounge chairs and breeze block fencing behind
Breeze blocks surrounding the pool enhance the mid century look. Color plays a role here too– the adjacent garage in a minimalist grey along with the bright turquoise garden door help to accents the modern vibes. Photo by Bret Gum.

Modern Pool Design Elements

Once you have flow and function nailed down it’s time to focus on ways to infuse mid century modern style. Keeping things angular and geometric with either your pool shape, your surrounding landscaping–or both– is an easy way get that clean modernist look. Of course a rectilinear, curvilinear, angular or free form pool might make more sense for the shape of your property and the design flourishes you choose will bring out the modern look.

Your pool tiles will be big style statement makers. When you interview or consult your pool builder, check out their tile selection early as many contractors have a fixed selection. Or find out if they are willing to order from a new vendor that you find. Some of our favorite pool tile manufacturers are Modwalls,  Dal Tile,  Oasis Tile and Fujiwa Tiles.

Other hardscaping elements can add the modern vibe too. Breeze blocks can instantly add retro vintage appeal. Trim existing walls with them to modify the look. A small feature wall positioned to complement the pool can be a great option, too.

Plants enhance and compliment your pool's design. Choose varieties that match your pool's style. Here the palm trees and flowering shrubs along with the modern Alcapulco style chairs add to a tropical look.
Plants enhance and compliment your pool’s design. Choose varieties that match your pool’s style. Here the palm trees and flowering shrubs along with the modern Alcapulco style chairs add to a tropical look. Photo by Bret Gum.

Modern Pool Ideas: Make an Oasis

The plants you choose for the planting areas closest to the pool will enhance the mood you are trying to create. Palms, ferns and flowering shrubs can help create a tropical or retro feel. Stick to cactus, succulents and sculptural varieties for a dessert modern look. Just remember to choose plants that won’t produce too much leaf litter and require extra pool cleaning and maintenance.

Related Reading: Lounge Time:Mid Mod Patio Furniture Picks

modern pool with a simple modern lounge chair and red umbrella next to it.
Your pool tiles and pool furniture all contribute to the modern aesthetic of your pool’s design. Photo by Bret Gum.

New Modern Pool Features

Design bells and whistles can drive home the more eye catching side of modern pool design. Things like fountains, waterfalls, lighting– even your pool steps can be designed to add drama and a distinctly modern point of view. Other pool features like a Baja Shelf— or that shallower platform area of a pool that is submerged under only a few inches of water, can be impressive custom features that will help you enjoy the pool the way you want to. Beach entries are another new pool design trend. This is a smooth and gently downward slope that allows you to wade into a pool rather than step down into it. Bubblers are a fun touch– these are a single pipe or series of pipes that blow air below the surface of the water to create a small fountain feature. This adds a motion and sound elements which can be a soothing feature for your backyard. In-pool cocktail tables are exactly what it sounds like, a small usually round pedestal table mostly submerged under water. Only the tabletop protrudes a few inches above water to provide a surface for pool drinks! Infinity edges are also a luxe touch if your pool orientation and property allows for it.

long rectangular modern pool
Decide how you’ll use your pool. If exercise is your focus, choose a size and shape that works like a lap pool. Photo by Jim Brown.

Looking for more mod backyard inspiration? Check out these 8 Stylish Mid Mod Backyards

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