Is My Yard Big Enough for A Pool?

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and we can tell you from experience that they are absolutely right. You may have a patio in your backyard, a treehouse, and a trampoline with room to spare, but if your neighbor has an empty backyard with nothing but a BBQ grill in it, you will like it and may actually think that it is better than yours!

With so many pool types and sizes out there, you can always find one that fits your backyard, no matter how crowded it may be. However, what if you are trying to fit your dream pool in it? Is your yard big enough for the pool of your dreams?

Massive pools are only a good fit for equally massive backyards. As a general rule, your pool should occupy around 25% to 35% of the available space – 45% if you are passionate about it. For a small or medium-sized pool (20-30 square meters), you will need a yard of about 150 square meters. Then, there is the question of the type of pool to consider as well. Let’s take a closer look at the same.

Typical Size of A Swimming Pool – Is My Yard Big Enough For A Pool?

Is my yard big enough for a pool?

The biggest consideration to make when analyzing your yard is the size of the pool you are looking to buy. Above-ground pools come in a range of different sizes, and no matter the size constraints of your yard, you can easily place an above-ground pool there. You might not be able to deep-dive into it, lap around it, or play Marco Polo with friends and family, but you can definitely soak in them.

Above-ground and onground pools are generally circular but there are some rectangular options available as well. Their average depth is about 5.5 feet, so you can swim in it.

Then, there are in-ground pools that offer a much broader spectrum in terms of size and depth. Typically, swimming pools dimensions include:

  • 10 x 20 feet (200 sq feet)
  • 15 x 15 feet (225 sq feet)
  • 12 x 24 feet (288 sq feet)
  • 20 x 20 feet (400 sq feet)
  • 15 x 30 feet (450 sq feet)
  • 20 x 40 feet (800 sq feet)

There are larger options pools as well, but they might be too large for a typical backyard and start going into the “luxury” section.  A 12 by 24 feet or 15 by 15 feet in-ground pool costs around $25,000 if you are looking for a basic swimming pool.

For the pools mentioned above, we recommend you have a yard at least 3 times bigger than their square footage. However, if you want to ‘stuff’ your pool in no matter the size constraints, we recommend you have at least 40 feet spare after the pool is installed to meet code requirements.

When placing a pool in your yard, it is equally important to consider whether your property and local regulations. They might not allow for a pool with just 10-feet padding around it. Failure to comply may lead to excessive and regular fines until you get your pool removed.

For example, many homeowner’s associations (HOA) often want all the houses to have a similar outlook and simply won’t allow a pool to be constructed in the backyard. In this case, you have no other option but to go for an in-ground pool.

In other areas, the pool may require 8-feet padding from your property line along with the 10-feet restriction from the house walls. This further restricts how much space you have. Some associations allow residents to come within 2 feet of the property line but require that a splash guard be installed around the pool which is at least 5 feet above the pool’s height.

Some properties also have easements, further limiting what you can do with your property. These limits can be rather frustrating since these are nothing more than just invisible lines drawn by the associated (seemingly for no reason) that you can’t build beyond. These lines are usually drawn due to underground or overhead utility lines.

To find out about your property’s easements, you can either contact your HOA representative, city or county records office or simply call up the utility companies and lay your predicament in front of them.

The Best Place for a Pool

When considering your yard is big enough for a pool or not, you should first consider whether it is in the right position or not. If you are passionate about swimming pools, make these considerations when buying a new house.

Sunlight

Generally, it is a good idea to place the pool where it gets exposed to sunlight. This is because sunlight helps moderate the pool’s temperature, allowing swimmers to stay in the water for longer periods. We would recommend pointing your swimming pool, be it in-ground or above, southwards or westwards.

This is why pools are often on rooftops of commercial buildings.

Trees

Sunlit patio with stone fireplace and trees in the background
Sunlit patio with stone fireplace and trees in the background

Trees also play a major role in where you position your pool. Trees are a good source of shade and make for a great place for the family to sit and socialize, especially if it’s an evergreen tree. They help clear the air and add beauty to your home as well.

However, they can cause numerous problems for your pool. From excessive debris in the water all the way to filters clogging up, wild animals turning your pool into their personal oasis, roots damaging the pool shelf, and more; all of these issues can end up increasing how much maintenance effort you need to put in.

Positioning

It is usually a good idea to place the pool against your property’s edge. You can dig into a slope that is inclining towards your home and build a retaining wall there to get more room. The slope can also give you more room for going deep or building multiple levels, thus adding to your pool’s aesthetic. However, this is only possible with in-ground pools.

If you have an above-ground pool, you can consider placing it directly behind your house and close to the entrance. If you have children, you can place the pool in a position where it is visible from your kitchen or room’s window as well.

Code Requirements

And finally, there are the code requirements to consider. The first most important consideration here is that when positioning your pool (regardless of the type), make sure it isn’t underneath or close to any power lines or the septic tank. Whoever you contact to set up your pool will help you get in touch with the authorities and check for any utility lines close by.

The national standard also that when installing an in-ground swimming pool, it should be at least 10 feet away from the house walls. This is to protect the electrical wiring in your house from splashes and leaks.

The guidelines above show that when considering whether your yard is big enough for a pool or not, measure your yard and subtract 10 feet from every corner. For example, if you have a yard 10,000 sq feet yard (roughly a quarter of an acre), it is recommended that you get a pool 12 x 24 feet (288 sq feet) pool or smaller (1/3rd of the yard’s size). However, if you don’t want anything else in your yard, you can also go for a 20 x 40 feet (800 sq feet) swimming pool.