What Designers Are Loving in Pool Design Now—from Lagoon-Pool Chic to Sprawling Spas


Following last week’s heat wave, when temperatures across the U.S. spiked to ten degrees higher than normal levels, many are seeking the cooling relief of backyard pools. But beyond their ability to chill us out, a home pool can be a major design amenity—one given a boost by increased time spent at home over the past year.

AD PRO asked designers all over the country for their top trending pool design requests. Here’s what they revealed.

Pool design and patio by Isa Bird Landscape Design, built by Becker Studios.

Photo: Jethro Acosta

Go long—or embrace the spa

Isa Hendry Eaton, owner of Isa Bird Landscape Design, points out that a pool is like an outdoor centerpiece: “A well-designed pool not only serves a function but it can be a stunning focal point in a garden, like a giant gorgeous water feature,” says Eaton.

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Douglas Friedman

Lap pools and plunge pools rank highest among Eaton’s client requests. Plunge pools, sometimes called “spools” (a portmanteau of “spa” and “pools”), are small enough to be heated easily but large enough to make an impression.

Lap pools—the narrow, refined cousins of the old-school backyard pool—“look so elegant,” says Eaton. “Often clients want the length, but don’t need the width,” she says, adding that lap pools may also be more cost effective to build. And there are benefits for the smallest swimmers, who may get tired swimming across a standard pool: “With a lap pool, that’s not an issue.”

Finally, don’t overlook the spa. Eaton recommends “going big” on this feature. “I encourage my clients to build a spa along the width of the lap pool,” she says, pointing out that the majority of pool users seek out the warm water. “And for most couples,” she adds, “one part of the couple is the lap swimmer and the other just wants to sit and enjoy a drink.”

Swimming pool and pavilion at the home of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, from AD’s June 2021 issue.

Photo: Douglas Friedman

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