11 sensational backyard swimming pools

Dive into paradise.
Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes

On a really hot summer’s day, nothing beats the luxury and convenience of a backyard swimming pool. Forget lugging beach towels, sunscreen, goggles and a change of clothes down to the public pool just to vy with every man and his dog for a spot to do your morning laps in peace. Not only does a private pool give you the ability to have a swim at a moment’s whim, it can also become an eye-catching feature of your garden if you get the design just right.

If you’ve got kids, it’s important to create a pool with great visibility. Being able to watch from a shaded deck, cabana, or a kitchen window is one way to ensure you always have eyes on what’s happening in the water. Then there’s the pool landscaping to think about.

Here, we’ve rounded up eleven of Home Beautiful’s most popular pool designs, which range from a mid-century-inspired oasis to an expansive family pool complete with a clever Hamptons-style cabana.

Hinterland swimming pool with outdoor living room and deck
An infinity swimming pool at a renovated home on the Gold Coast creates a luxurious resort-like feel. (Photography: Louise Roche)

What is the most affordable type of backyard pool to install?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Some affordable pool types, such as vinyl liners and above ground pools are relatively cheap to install, but may equire costly repairs and maintenance down the line. One of the most popular and best value swimming pools you can install is one made from fibreglass. Fibreglass is resistant to cracks and algae growth and won’t require the same kind of upkeep as other pool types.

Does my backyard pool need a fence?

In Australia, all backyard swimming pools must be enclosed by a fence. Requirements vary from state to state, but a fence of at least 1200mm in height is a must. Gates must also be child-proof as well as self-closing and self-latching. Some states also require the display of specific CPR signage near the pool. The maximum fine for pool non-compliance in NSW is $5,500, so it’s important to get it right.

Inspiring backyard swimming pools

The outdoor pool and entertaining area with loungers and an arbour with climbing plants.
(Photography: Simon Whitbread)


Federation flair

The pool zone in the resort-style entertaining area of this 1930s Brisbane bungalow was upgraded with glass fencing and the surrounding travertine was extended to increase the outdoor living space. Poolside loungers are scattered with cushions to provide a comfy vantage point on the elevated quarter-acre block to enjoy sweeping views of Brisbane City and the hinterland Scenic Rim.

A modern country style home with an outdoor pool and spa.
(Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)


Byron beauty

The Byron Bay hinterland drew one couple to northern NSW, with its rolling hills, village feel and generational farmers. This house in the hills was a dream come true for Ali, an interior designer originally from the UK, and Michael, a builder who together transformed a 1920s Queenslander, enhancing its size, comfort and connection to the scenic surrounds, including the new alfresco area, which overlooks rolling hills and the distant Nightcap National Park. 

Pool surrounded and tropical plants by outdoor entertaining area.
(Photography: Ess Creative)


Garden glamour

Transformed from a concrete jungle, the pool in this tropical garden in Sydney’s east is surrounded by limestone pavers for a softer look. The same limestone was used for the stepping stones and stairs that connect with the outdoor entertaining space. A kitchen and dining area were added as part of the work, with a new timber gazebo structure providing shade and channelling the view to the pool from indoors.

(Photography: Simon Whitbread)


Iron maiden

“Beautiful but not precious,” was the design-mantra behind the renovation of this Mosman home, and it extends right to the home’s outside zones, including the pool area. Here the pool has been edged with limestone pavers and encased by a gently weathered deck. But the real design feature here is the iron fence, which looks minimal and chic, and is much easier to keep clean than frameless glass panels.

(Photography: John Downs)


Cool cabana

The key to a truly functional family swimming pool is creating a zone for the parents to relax and keep an eye on the kids. In this Gold Coast home, a resort-style pool house meets the brief, constructed with a Colorbond roof and semi-enclosed with plantation shutters to control the amount of sunlight that streams through. “The water is a big part of our lifestyle,” says homeowner Michelle. “Our girls are in the pool all summer.” 

contemporary swimming pool with white home exterior and arched architectural details
(Photography: John Downs | Styling: Carlene Duffy)


Star quality

A luxurious, resort-style pool that’s fit for AFL star Buddy Franklin and wife model/author/entrepreneur Jesinta Franklin. The expansive magnesium pool is surrounded by lush greenery and even has its own swim up bar – perfect for poolside parties. 

Contemporary swimming pool with custom curved concrete daybed
(Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes) 


Dreamy daybed

“Take me to Greece,” was the inspiration for this pool area, explains the owner of a postwar home not far from Brisbane’s CBD. An all white colour palette of Dulux Natural White sets the scene, while ‘Glamrock Crema’ tiles from Edge Tile & Stone creates a crazy paving effect. Then to complete the look, they created an arched concrete daybed and topped it with comfy cushions covered in custom upholstery.

French bulldog sitting on day bed by pool
(Photography: Simon Whitbread)


The scent of summer

You know warmer weather is on the way when fragrant star jasmine begins to bloom. A green wall – created by training jasmine vines up landscaping wire set in a diamond pattern – softens the area. “There’s a sense of slight formality with the wire work in the pool, but everything else was kept loose for joyful movement in the garden,” says landscape designer Lyndall Keating

(Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)


Staycation vibes

A crisp white breeze block wall hides a vegetable patch from view and gives this pool a secluded, mid-century vibe, says homeowner and interior designer, Nikki. “Being able to see the kids in the pool from the kitchen bench is something I couldn’t imagine any other way,” she says. 

(Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)


Pool party

With one-hectare of land to play with, the owners of this modern farmhouse just outside of Brisbane, decided to go big with their pool. “We also thought it would be so much better for the kids when they had all their friends over,” says owner Kristy. ‘Smoked oak’ decking from Millboard surrounds the pool and flows into the poolhouse, (which actually a Mimosa ‘Burleigh’ wooden gazebo from Bunnings that the team from Front Porch Properties customised). The pool also happens to be visible from the main bedroom. “It’s such a pretty spot to enjoy a view over the pool and all our back paddocks.”

(Photography: Simon Whitbread)


Sideline sensation

This resort-style swimming pool is the hero of the backyard in this spectacular beachside new build in Sydney. Thoughtfully landscaped for maximum outdoor pleasure on lazy summer days, there is plenty of lush green planting to surround sumptuous outdoor furniture, while the recycled blackbutt decking runs the entire length of the pool, hugging the vined pergola and taking in a spa at one end.

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