Pools and spas go together like peanut butter and chocolate. There’s nothing better than taking a refreshing, energizing swim, followed by a relaxing soak in bubbly hot water. Whether you’re actively planning to build your own pool and spa combo, or you just like to dream, we have 18 fantastic swimming pool spa designs for you to consider.
1. Geometric Shapes
There was a shift at the turn of the millennia towards smooth, rounded shapes and away from the stark, sharp corners that used to be the fad for swimming pools. However, there’s been a recent resurgence of the creative pool and Jacuzzi designs using geometric shapes like squares, diamonds, and even triangles to create modern, futuristic looking hardscapes.
The trick to keeping your pool from looking like a utilitarian dystopia is color – vivid blue or green tiles inside the pool will give your water a dreamy look, while rich brown wood decking and furniture will add some rustic charm. Keep your options open to new ideas.
2. Resort Styles
We all wish we could stay on vacation forever. Instead of that, many homeowners are choosing to bring the resort home with them by creating luxurious backyard landscapes with crystal blue water, rocky waterfalls, and sumptuous spas. Complete the look using tropical plants and bamboo furniture around the deck, a swim-up bar or kitchen, and lounge chairs with fluffy white cushions.
The opposite of geometric-shaped water features is the freeform movement. Pools and spas are shaped without any regard for symmetry, making them look as if they were naturally carved by eons of running water. These pools and spas work wonderfully when combined with natural rock waterfalls, grassy lounge areas, and an abundance of plants and trees.
4. Integrated Spas
Rather than keeping your spa or hot tub separate from your swimming area, you could consider incorporating the two. There are many ways to connect your spa to your swimming pool without making it look like an afterthought, which we will discuss below. That can add to its value and functionality.
An overflow spa is exactly what it sounds like – the water level in the in-ground spa is intentionally kept as high as possible, so the wall between the spa and the pool is just below the surface and water is able to overflow. This creates the illusion that the pool and the spa are one continuous body of water, though in reality very little of the spa water ends up in the pool, thanks to cleverly designed backflow systems.
A spillover spa is similar to an overflow, in that water is intentionally allowed to flow over the wall of the spa into the swimming pool. With a spillover, though, there are specific channels or crevices in the wall that the water spills through, creating a waterfall effect as the hot water cascades down to the colder pool water below.
If you want your spa to be the star of the show, try constructing it right in the center of the pool! Some designers keep the walls of the spa just a few inches above the water level in the pool, so you can swim right up and climb in.
Others set the spa up on a platform, with stairs leading up from the pool. Another neat idea is to create a bridge leading from the deck to the spa, that pool users can swim under, so you can access the spa without needing to go through the colder water. You’ll be glad that you took this extra step.
5. Tiered Water
If you have a smaller yard, or if you’re just looking for a unique design, you could try setting your pool and spa on different levels or tiers. You could place your spa several feet above the pool level, with stairs connecting the two and even a waterslide leading from one level down to the other. Or build a spillover spa on the upper tier to create a fountain or waterfall leading down to the pool below.
If you want both a pool and a spa, but you don’t have space for both, consider a “spool,” or a swim spa. These are many times smaller than a standard swimming pool, but larger than your typical hot tub. You can use them as a lap pool or swimming spa, with water currents pushing back against you allowing you to swim in place, or turn on the heat and the jets to transform it into a spa. They’re a great compromise, allowing you to have both a pool and a spa without breaking the bank or requiring an enormous yard.
7. Au Naturale
If you live in a rural area with beautiful nature views, you should take advantage of it by designing your pool and spa to blend in with the surrounding environment. If you live on a mountain, using natural rock formations to line your spa and pool can make it seem like you’re bathing in a hot spring. If you’re in a country garden, use grass and moss to cushion the surrounding hardscape to add to the vibe.
8. Grotto Style
Speaking of the natural look, if you need to find a way to shelter your pool and spa from the harsh rays of the sun or annoying summer showers, you could consider building an artificial cave at one end. That will create the illusion that you’re swimming in a secret hideaway in a tropical cave, especially when combined with cool lighting and exotic plants.
Infinity pools and spas are all the rage right now. Allowing the water level to rise at or above the outer walls gives the impression that the water is stretching beyond the horizon. This design is perfect if you’ve got a good view, such as in the mountains or beside a sea or lake. The effect that they add to the setup is priceless.
Firepits are an excellent addition to any outdoor recreation space. Safer and more stylish than a bonfire, fire pits can offer some added warmth on a chilly night to allow you to keep enjoying the water after the sun goes down. Install it between the spa and pool to create a stunning visual demarcation, or put it on a raised platform in the center of the pool to create a stunning visual focal point.
If you dream of being able to swim indoors during the winter, but you also want the option of being poolside out in the summer sun, a combo indoor/outdoor pool and spa is the best of both worlds. That usually involves two separate pools with a small swimmable channel connecting them under a dividing wall. The channel can be blocked off in the winter to keep the indoor pool water warm.
The newest trend for outdoor living is outdoor kitchens, allowing the cook to mingle with guests at their backyard party while still preparing the food. When you combine that with your pool and spa setup, you create a seamless outdoor entertaining experience. Imagine if you could take a dip in the pool while still keeping an eye on the oven? Or prepare yourself a cocktail without ever leaving the hot tub? Now THAT is luxury. And you deserve it.
13. Spa Theater
Speaking of entertaining, some people just can’t get into the spa experience because they get too bored. Not everyone can completely relax and forget their troubles unless they have something to do! That’s why outdoor projector screens are popping up by backyard pools all over the world. Not only could you lounge in the warm water while watching your favorite drama, but you could also use the screen for outdoor movie nights with the kids.
14. Waterpark Fun
Speaking of kids, if you’re looking for a way to make your pool and spa more family-friendly, you could add waterslides, a tennis net, or a basketball hoop to transform the pool into a lively waterpark. Keep your kids more active and disconnected from their phones by creating an atmosphere of summer fun right in your backyard.
15. Romantic Flames
Is there anything cozier than a fireplace? You can experience the warmth, charm, and romance of fire without ever leaving your hot tub by installing a wifi-controlled fireplace next to the spa. With the press of a button, you can get that fire roaring in moments, allowing you to enjoy your spa thoroughly even in cold weather.
There’s a reason there are hundreds of image results on Google and Pinterest when you search for pool spa designs – not only is it a growing market in a younger population that’s moving outdoors, it’s also the ultimate symbol of success and luxury. Use one or more of these designs to guide you, or create something unique – the sky’s the limit!