Best pool and spa design ideas (Backyards, decks, new builds and more)

Looking for fresh ideas for your outdoor space? Thinking about installing a spa, pool or swim spa? In this article you’ll find all the design inspiration you’ll need to start planning your new-look backyard!

Spa pools, swim spas and plunge pools can be a fantastic addition to your home – bringing a whole lot of fun, relaxation and touch of luxury. They’re a focal point for entertaining and family time, and add the ‘wow factor’ to any backyard.

If you’ve been looking at your backyard and thinking "it’s time for something new" – a great place to start is with some design inspiration.

We’ve selected some of our favourite backyard designs and spa pool and swim spa installations. Many of these have been sent in by our very own customers. There’s something here for every property style, budget and size. Enjoy!

Spa pool in a small backyard? Of course you can!

Spa pools come in a range of sizes, from 2-person spas to large 8-seater entertainer spas. With a little planning and careful preparation, you can install a spa pool in all sorts of spaces – including small courtyards or decks.

Take this installation from one of our customers, for example. The elegant spa design makes great use of a small, shaded space by the garage.

What was once a thoroughfare between the house and garage, is now a peaceful haven to relax and unwind in.

By using glass instead of traditional timber fencing, the owners have made the area around their spa pool feel more spacious, while allowing the spa and plantings to be seen and enjoyed. Good job!

How about an indoor spa pool? Easy access, privacy and shelter in one!

Creating a purpose-built covered area in your back garden can open up a world of possibilities.

This glamorous indoor/outdoor living area is a great example. It’s got everything you need for entertaining, lounging with family and friends,and date nights.

Every inch of this backyard makeover has been carefully thought out. From the inground spa pool that’s integrated into its surroundings, to the built-in bench seats – perfect for stretching out on long, warm nights or cozying up in the cooler months.

The dining area is also undercover, but with views to both the spa pool and outdoor swimming pool. This versatile space will take you from private oasis to entertaining area with ease.

Don’t forget the best part! A huge flat screen TV tucked into the wall right in front of the spa pool. The perfect spot to watch the rubgy or for romantic nights in. If this was ours, we’d never leave home again!

Oh, for a magic spa spot like this under the stars...

If you’ve got large backyard, installing a spa pool and entertaining area is a great way to create a focal point and a connection between your house and garden.

This gorgeous outdoor lounge and spa is set up for day and night enjoyment; with lighting, a beautiful gazebo, hanging baskets and a spacious 8-seater entertainer spa pool.

While it’s a fair way from the house, it still feels connected due to the style of materials used, matching gazebo pillars, colour scheme and welcoming feel.

Contemporary garden design and spa pool

If you have a more modern property, you could use plants and landscaping to add structure and straight lines around you spa area – as the owners of the garden below have done.

As with the previous example, the pergola not only provides shade but can also be an architechural feature.

When designing your own outdoor lounge area some things to consider are: Where will you put it? What style do you want? Formal, romantic or casual? Will you use it more during the day or night? What about lighting and shade?

Talk to one of our spa experts for more installation ideas and information.

Pool or spa? If you’ve got the room – have both!

Another great design idea for a large property is a dedicated pool and spa zone. Add some stylish, durable outdoor furniture and you have the perfect summer hang out spot for all ages!

For year-round fun, a swim spa with a cover might suit you better than a pool as they’re designed to be used in all seasons and are significantly cheaper to heat and maintain.

Learn more in this article comparing pros and cons of swimming pools vs swim spas.

How about an outdoor kitchen for next level bbqs?

What’s better than indoor outdoor flow? Having your kitchen, dining, swim spa or pool together in one place!

This contemporary design is ideal for modern families who love entertaining outdoors. It’s got everything – even the kitchen sink!

With a fully covered kitchen and bbq area, easy access to the house and spacious swim spa with hydrotherapy massage – this set up gets our pick for the best backyard barbie spot.

Apartment living with a backyard lifestyle...

Apartment living is no barrier to owning a spa. Depending on your building rules, you can install a spa pool inside or outside, on the balcony or in the rooftop courtyard.

This balcony spa is perfectly positioned to make the most of the spectacular views. There isn’t a lot of room but with that outlook – who needs it!

When installing a spa in an apartment you’ll need to consider accessibility as installation can be a little trickier than with a standard garden or backyard setting.

Before diving in and buying a new spa for your apartment balcony, you’ll want to check a few things first. Think about access, building requirements or rules, and any weight or loading restrictions. Contact us for more information on installing an apartment spa.

Lift your Airbnb® game – add a private hot tub

Spa pools are high on the list of priorities for Airbnb® guests.

If you're an Airbnb® host, installing a hot tub will make you stand out in the crowded holiday rental market and could also increase the value of your listing.

Got an Airbnb® listing and looking for inspiration? Any guest would find the secluded spa setting above hard to resist. The expensive champagne helps too!

And who could go past an outdoor hot tub under the stars...

Notice the paving stones between the house and hot tub? A nice touch for keeping feet clean and dry. The outside lighting is good too, especially for new guests who might not know their way around your property!

If you do decide to install a spa pool at your Airbnb® property, we would strongly suggest providing guests with very clear instructions for how to use it and what to avoid.

We’ve heard too many stories about guests clogging up filters with sunblock, putting bath bubbles in the spas (terrible for filters and pumps), and even using it as a bathtub! Make life easy - email guests a copy of your spa user guide and leave it by the pool to be safe!

Nothing but the spa...and a million-dollar view!

There are lot of things you can do to create an amazing outdoor space. But, when your view is as spectacular as this one below – keeping it simple is often the best way to go.

Just remember to take the gumboots off before jumping in!

If you are thinking about installing a spa in an outdoor setting or under trees, having a cover that’s easy to remove will help keep leaves out and also insulate your spa to keep running costs low. A cover lifter to make light work of lifting the lid on and off, is also a good investment.

After a family-friendly backyard and pool area?

Children grow up so fast! They go from toddlers to teens in the blink of an eye.

The truth is, when you have kids,the best time to start a family-friendly backyard renovation is now. The sooner you start your reno project, the sooner you can start creating those happy memories to last a lifetime.

If you are planning a family outdoor area with a spa, pool or swim spa – there are a few things to think about.

You’ll want to consider how you’ll use the space over time and how your needs might change as your children grow up. Ideally, the space should be able to adapt with your family’s changing needs - afterall you don’t want to be redoing it in a few years’ time!

Will there be separate spaces for different ages? If you’re into outdoor dining where the bbq go? Is there easy access to the kitchen? Will you use decking, tiles, grass or a mix of materials? Timber decking looks great, but it can be higher maintenance and more expensive than concrete or tiles. or, you could do as this family has below, and use a mix of materials.

How about fencing? What are the pool and spa fencing requirements in your area? On that topic, barely-there glass fencing is often the way to go. As you can see above, it minimises visual disruption and opens up the spa or swim spa to its surroundings.

Of course, with any family backyard design – protecting children from the harsh sun should be a priority. Make sure you factor in shade solutions early in your planning. There are lots of options out there – from custom built gazebos to high quality sun umbrellas or electric louvered pergolas.

Outside shower by the spa? Yes please!

A shower before you spa is always a great idea if you want to keep your spa clear and extend the life of your pumps and filters. But let’s face it, it’s a bit of a hassle.

Not if your shower is outside right next to your spa! Top marks for this brilliant (and practical) idea.

It’s extra details like these that you’ll appreciate in the long run. A dry path to the spa, shade solutions, somewhere to hang your towels, and a cover lifter – are all extras you’ll be grateful you thought about beforehand.

Low maintenance backyard = more fun, less fuss!

Not everyone wants to spend hours in the garden. If you're after an easy care backyard that’s all about the pool – choose hardy, easy care plants and low maintenance building materials.

Take this clever idea of using artificial grass around an inground swim spa,. It’s got the look of grass but without the hassle. If it’s not better than the real thing – it’s certainly easier!

Can you build a swim spa into a deck? Absolutely!

Inbuilt or inground swim spas are a great option for a deck. A swim spa slipped into a weathered timber deck looks fantastic, is easy to get in and out of and doesn’t block the view. Just make sure you have easy access to the pumps and filters so you don’t have to go ripping up timber later on!

The swim spa can be semi inground (above) or fully inground (below), depending on your needs and the look you're after.

To finish it off add a matching pergola or gazebo to frame your pool, provide shelter from the sun, and protect your outdoor furniture from the elements.

Louvred pergolas like the one below are a great option for swim spas as they can be open or closed depending on the conditions. Add some colourful, comfortable deck chairs and you’ve got the perfect hangout spot – whatever the weather!

Need help planning your spa pool or swim spa installation?

We hope this article has given you some ideas and inspiration for your new outdoor space.

No matter if your home is small or large, modern or traditional, formal or casual – you can create a spa, pool or swim spa design setting that’s just right for your space.

If you need help or installation inspo, advice on what to avoid, or just want to bounce some ideas around – please, contact us at Spa World™! After all, we are the spa experts – having installed thousands of spa pools and swim spas over the 30 years we’ve been in business.

Whether you have a small courtyard, deck, large backyard or anything in between – we can help you create the ideal space for you, your family and friends!

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