12 Popular Pool Design Trends of 2023

August 29, 2019

Having a swimming pool in your backyard can be a great addition to your custom home design. And, it’s one that you’ll probably be happy you included as the temperatures heat up! As you think about the details of your dream custom home, here are some popular pool design trends of 2023 to provide some inspiration for this backyard feature:

1. Saltwater Pools

Traditionally, swimming pools were disinfected with chlorine and other chemicals. The smell of chlorinated pools and summer fun went hand-in-hand for many years. Now, we have other options – one of which is saltwater pools.

Chlorinated pools can accumulate a buildup of chloramines, often resulting in irritated eyes, irritated skin, and even asthma-like responses in some people. There are pros and cons of saltwater pools too. But, one of the big pros is that saltwater pools avoid this buildup of chloramines by using electrolysis to dissolve the salt and provide a continuous supply of sanitation to the pool.

Generally, this results in a similar level of disinfection without a lot of the annoying side effects that can come with traditional chlorine-based systems. When it comes to swimming pool pros and cons, one of the biggest drawbacks is maintenance. Saltwater pools can alleviate this concern for some homeowners as these pools also tend to be easier to maintain.

2. Built-In Features

When you get the chance to design and build your own custom home, you also get the chance to pick out the details of every element – including your swimming pool. One of the most popular pool design trends of 2023 continues to be built-in features. The luxurious side of this trend shows popular resort features making their way into residential pools to enhance and create incredible outdoor living spaces.

Swimming pools aren’t just for swimming. They’re often used for lounging and relaxation. Plus, they often become the focus of any summer gatherings you host. Why stick with a standard pool design where you’re limited to sitting on the edge or using a pool float when you don’t have to? Instead of limited options, a custom-designed pool allows you limitless possibilities! In fact, not opting for some customization is one of the pool design mistakes to avoid.

Think about how you might want to use your pool. You can still have plenty of space available to swim laps, but you can also incorporate built-in features to enhance your experience. Consider built-in stairs, a built-in ledge or submerged sun deck, sun shelf, tanning lounge, Baja shelf, etc. for lounging, a bubbler fountain, or even a built-in bar with seating for the ultimate in summer social seating!

You can even create a “dry” seating area in the middle of your pool with a fire pit for a totally new pool experience! Relaxing outdoor living spaces are features to consider in custom home construction and a pool with all the right built-in features could be part of that for your home.

3. Integrated Slides

When it comes to custom design and build, the possibilities are practically endless; and that’s true for pool design and built-in features as well. Usually, your only limit is budget and space. In addition to more functional built-in features like stairs or ledges, slides are another feature that continues to gain popularity in 2023.

Although you can add a slide later, integrated rock slides are coming out on top with new pool designs. Generally, these are showing up as a rock waterfall or grotto with a slide built into and integrated into the structure. In some cases, it’s a slide that is integrated into the rock structure. In other cases, it’s a custom slide flume, or landscape slide, that is built of similar materials and is made to look like the same rock as the rest of the structure.

4. Swim Jets

The size and shape of your pool will depend on what you want, your lot, your budget, and more. If you enjoy swimming laps regularly, having a pool large enough for that is useful. If you don’t want to give up that much of your yard and prefer a smaller pool, you can still get your laps by installing swim jets.

Simply turn the swim jets on to create a current and get the resistance you need to be able to swim “laps” without needing a full-size lane. With swim jets, you can get an “endless pool” and essentially turn your pool into the swimming version of a treadmill.

Controls allow you to easily adjust the speed and the strength of the current to the pace you need. Then, just turn the swim jets off when you’re done and your pool is back to normal and ready for relaxed recreation.

5. Wildlife-Friendly Ramps

In addition to other built-in features, one of the popular pool design trends of 2023 is to add on or build in animal-friendly ramps. Pools are notorious for attracting animals looking to cool off or sometimes accidentally falling in.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult for some animals, especially smaller ones like raccoons, frogs, and more, to get out of the pool on their own. By having a ramp available, you make it easier for animals and people to get out of the pool. This is also one of the pet-friendly custom home design ideas that’s helpful if your pet ends up in the pool and is particularly useful if you have pets that love to swim.

6. Smart Technology

Smart technology has been popular for several years. As it continues to evolve, smart home devices just get more popular as more integrations become available. When it comes to your pool, here are a few areas to consider for smart technology integrations:

Smart Pool Lighting

When it comes to your pool, lighting is important. But, you’re no longer limited to floodlights or standard recessed lights. With smart lighting, you can continue to incorporate lighting into your hardscaping, but you can also program it and customize it to your mood.

You can put it on a timer or add motion activation. You can also control the color and brightness of the lights. Depending on the technology and integrations you choose, you may even be able to add customized effects!

Smart Automation

Another way smart technology can be used to enhance your pool is to reduce the energy it uses and how much maintenance you have to do for it. Automated cleaning and filtration systems can make your pool more energy-efficient while also reducing the amount of manual maintenance you have to do.

You can also add features like automatic pH monitoring systems, automated pool covers, voice control systems, and more to help you manage your pool maintenance more efficiently. If you’re opting for a heated pool, you can also get granular with temperature monitoring to improve efficiency and comfort.

7. Darker Interior Finishes

Pools have traditionally maintained lighter interior finishes, but it’s not the only option. As pools become more about relaxation and lounging and less about just swimming laps, they’ve also become more focused on aesthetics in addition to function.

This has led to modern swimming pools taking on a more lagoon-type feel and darker interior finishes. Not only does a darker interior pool finish give your pool a completely different look, but it also provides some benefits as well.

If you have a heated pool, you’ll use less energy to heat the pool with a darker interior finish as it will attract and retain heat better than a lighter finish. It also gives a better appearance overall because it doesn’t show dirt and debris as much as lighter finishes.

8. Glass Tile

Although darker interior finishes are gaining popularity, lighter interior finishes are also still popular. In 2023, glass tile continues to gain popularity for a durable pool interior that looks interesting and luxurious. There are also a lot of pool tile ideas and a lot of flexibility when it comes to color and decorative design with an all-glass tile pool.

You can go with something more monochromatic or play around with bold colors. You can even get creative and opt for a mosaic to incorporate multiple colors, give the bottom of your pool a unique design, or accent a different area. This is a classic way to incorporate tile accents into your custom home design.

When it comes to mosaics of specific shapes, sea-life mosaics are one of the most popular options. Sea turtles, fish, dolphins, starfish, and more are all some of the sea-life mosaics that are popping up in pool designs. There are even glow-in-the-dark tiles available to bring your sea creatures to life at night!

9. More Plants

Water slides, rock features, and more have become more popular in pool design. Along with these features, adding more plants around your pool has become a more popular pool design trend and is one of the pool landscaping ideas.

Adding plants and shrubs around your pool and incorporating them into your other features can give your backyard an interesting look. This is also one of the ideas for outdoor living spaces that can enhance your backyard overall and also adds to the serenity and tranquility around your pool.

A good balance of natural features around your pool can add some privacy while also making you feel like you’ve escaped to an island getaway in your own backyard.

10. Water Curtains

Water curtains, also called rain descents or rain curtains, are add-ons that are becoming more popular. These add-ons create a solid sheet of water that cascades into the pool like a waterfall. In addition to a unique look, water curtains also add the sound of falling water, which can help create an even more relaxing atmosphere.

11. Integrated Spas

There are several hot tub considerations and even more when there are more water features. When there is a hot tub and a pool, it’s common for them to be close to each other or attached in some way. This is still one of the popular pool design trends.

But, continuing in 2023, the spas continue to be integrated into the pool design to give the appearance of one cohesive body of water. Instead of an obvious and clear separation between the pool and the hot tub, there is just a dam wall between them to help create a seamless look while still preventing the pool water and heated water from mixing.

12. Combining Fire and Water

One of the popular pool design trends that continues to be popular in 2023 is to combine fire and water by integrating your fire pit into your pool. There are many fire pit options available if you want to include one in your backyard, but you’ll need something special if you want to build it into your pool design.

For these fire and water bowls, you’ll need a fire bowl. This can be in a column or built into a retaining wall around the pool from which water cascades down into the pool. Another option is to build a fire pit with benches directly into the structure of the pool.

Bring Your Dream Custom Home to Life

Looking at trends can sometimes help you figure out what you do and don’t want in your own custom home, and can help you prioritize needs & wants in custom home design. These popular swimming pool design trends of 2023 can help you with some details in your backyard, but what about the rest of your custom home?

That’s where an experienced custom home builder with an in-house design/build process can help. If you’re ready to get started on your dream custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to make it a reality!