Budget-Friendly Backyard Pools: Small Space, Big Splash!

A personal oasis steps from your backdoor is a dream for many homeowners. Yet often, visions of stylish pools become washed away by budget constraints. I’m here to share that you can soak up serious style without draining your wallet! With intelligent design choices and cost-conscious materials, you can create a gorgeous backyard poolscape tailored to your space and price point. Let’s dive into savvy strategies, creative options, and tips to keep your pool build affordable yet fantastic!

Prioritize Your Pool’s Purpose 

Before plunging into plans, think about how you’ll use your pool. Matching its design and features to your lifestyle is critical for maximizing enjoyment and value. Here are some everyday pool purposes to consider.

Small backyard pool ideas

For Relaxation

Opt for a simple rectangular or plunge pool design if you envision leisurely laps or unwinding by the water. These sleek shapes with expansive water surfaces promote a serene vibe. Built-in benches and corner steps invite lingering. Infuse tranquility with neutral tones, minimal decking, and little fuss. A basic rectangle or oval design often costs less, too. Bliss for less!

For Kids & Fun

Plan for cannonballs and games? Above-ground pools can provide a budget-friendly go-to gathering spot. Their installation is simpler than in-ground options; you can take it down later. Choose a fun shape like an octagonal, or customize the depths for safe play. Punch up the fun with colorful accents, inflatables, and pool toys!

For Aesthetics

Are you dreaming of a resort-worthy oasis? Refrain from breaking the bank on lavish materials. Natural style comes from stone, greenery, gravel, and wood elements. Turn an old horse trough into a charming plunge pool. Edge with locally sourced rocks. Accent with potted palms for an exotic yet attainable look.

Go Above Ground 

Above-ground pools offer an affordable entry point for getting your feet wet with pool ownership. Let’s dive into their money-saving perks!

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You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune to Have a Luxurious Backyard Pool

Frugal Foundation

Above-ground pool kits provide the most budget-friendly way to make a backyard splash. Many big-box stores offer kits containing the vinyl liner, wall panels, supports, and other components needed to install a primary above-ground pool. Smaller, entry-level oval or round pool kits often cost under $1,000! 

DIY Setup

Installing an above-ground pool kit yourself can shave thousands off professional installation. Most kits include clear instructions and don’t require complex tools or skills. You can set it up on a weekend for an elementary small pool. Or enlist a handy family to help with the process. Just follow all safety precautions.

Style & Décor

While above-ground pools inherently cost less, you can decorate around them to enhance their style. Elevate with a private hedge or bamboo fencing surrounding the exterior. Build a modern wood deck as a luxe launchpad for plunging in. Accent the waterline with potted palms for a resort feel. Little touches make a big difference!

Get the same luxury for less by building a small pool

Customize for Safety  

Ensure kids can safely enjoy your above-ground pool with intelligent design choices. Opt for a uniform depth for little ones. Add a kiddie staircase entry. Select smooth navy blue liner colors to see the pool floor better. Install child safety fencing that attaches to the pool frame. Prioritize safety without blowing your budget.

Go Smaller

Think a dreamy backyard oasis has to be Olympic-sized? Au contraire! Petite pools save money upfront on materials and cost less over time on maintenance. Here are stylish options for downsizing your water footprint:

Plunge In

Plunge pools provide a compact yet decadent dipping experience. They deliver a lush look, from small rectangles to freeform shapes, without requiring vast square footage. Plunge pools allow custom tailoring to your exact space and desires. Infuse luxury with built-in seating, water features, or tropical greenery.

small backyard lap pool

Pick Shape & Size

Make the most of limited space with oval, kidney-shaped, and freeform small pools. An oval design can fit into slender spots, starting at around $3,000. Or carve out an irregular pebble-shaped pool amidst garden beds for an artful look. Measure carefully to select the right scaled-down size and shape.

Use Affordable Materials  

You don’t need top-tier finishes to fashion a fabulous poolscape. Intelligent material choices balanced with splurges in key areas help keep costs contained. Here are budget-friendly options:

Liner Luxury 

For the pool, vinyl liners offer an affordable alternative to pricier concrete or fiberglass options. Liners range widely in patterns and rich hues to suit your style. Though replaced more frequently, vinyl liner pools allow flexibility in shape and cost $5,000 to $10,000 less upfront than concrete.

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Add some luxury to your small pool with lighting, water features, and decking

Natural Accents

Quality materials like imported tile and exotic wood can bust the budget quickly. Use locally sourced and natural elements for decking, edging, and landscaping. Gravel makes a charming, low-cost substitute for pricey imported stone tiles. Area boulders or broken concrete create a striking irregular edge.  

Salvage & DIY

From the pool deck to lounge chairs, repurposed and homemade elements inject personality. Upcycle wooden pallets into chic loungers. Construct your cabana from reclaimed corrugated metal roofing. Visit salvage yards to discover unique accents at steal-worthy prices. Put your DIY skills to work!

DIY Landscaping & Decor

You don’t need a squad of landscapers to style up your poolscape. A little strategic decorating and TLC transforms plain pools into party-worthy spaces. Try these budget-friendly ideas:

What is the cheapest pool to install

Frugal Plantings 

Skip pricy tropicals that guzzle water and opt for low-maintenance greenery. Succulents, grasses, and bamboo offer texture without the fuss. Choose varieties that don’t shed and add workload. Visit local nurseries for great deals on plantings.

Savvy Surfaces  

Forego fancy tile and decking for gravel, stone, or pebble surfaces surrounding your pool. This creates a chic yet natural look for less. Just use landscape edging between gravel areas and turf to contain stray rocks.

Handmade Furniture

Outfit your poolside in style on a budget by making your furniture! Upcycle wooden pallets into loungers or a striking slatted screen. Sew your sunshades and toss pillows from outdoor fabrics. Craft mosaic tables from salvaged tiles and concrete. Your creativity is the only limit.

Can I put a pool in a small backyard

Multifunctional Features

Savvy design solutions pull double duty, providing multiple functions without blowing your budget. Consider these clever ideas:


Maximize your investment in an in-ground pool by incorporating a built-in spa area. Many companies offer combination spa-pool options to enjoy both features without installing completely separate units. Just get a large enough heater to maintain proper hot tub temperatures.

Movable Magic 

A pool cover that can convert into a flat entertainment space expands your usable square footage. Look for heavy-duty covers that attach at one end and have Evenload support beams underneath. Close it up while swimming, then later wheel it out to create an instant activity deck.

Turf Toppers

For above-ground pools, turn the surrounding area into multipurpose turf. Install removable fencing around the pool’s exterior. When not swimming, remove fencing to open the entire lawn for play, parties, yard games, and more. Opt for safety gates that can be padlocked to keep kiddos secure.

Small backyard pool with landscaped surrounds

Save on Equipment & Maintenance  

Pool mechanicals and upkeep quickly consume budgets. But you can swim and save with wise equipment and maintenance choices:

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Pump Efficiency

Variable-speed pumps cost more upfront but circulate water more effectively than single-speed models. This allows lower pump speeds to filter and heat, significantly cutting energy costs. The ENERGY STAR calculator shows savings of up to $800 per year!

Salt Savings  

Saltwater pool systems lower chemical usage over traditional chlorine options. After the initial purchase, ongoing salt to generate chlorine is cheaper than liquid or tablet chlorine. Saltwater feels silky soft on skin and gear versus harsh chemical pools.  

DIY Upkeep

Assume pool care duties to avoid costly professional cleaning services. Establish a routine for testing chemical levels, cleaning, shocking, and filter care. Perform maintenance and preventing issues is cheaper than repairing problems that arise!

Budget backyard pool

Seek Out Deals & Discounts

Even when building your backyard oasis, continue hunting for bargains. Here are insider tips for scoring deals:

Buy Offseason 

Purchase pool installation supplies like liner material and decking in the fall when companies offer discounts to clear inventory. Negotiate pricing since you’re completing work during their slow season.

Shop Secondhand

Search classified listings and community boards for used pool equipment and furniture listed by homeowners. Resale sites like Craigslist offer major mark-downs on lightly used pumps, rails, and other gear. 

DIY Demolition

Save big by removing an existing pool yourself before installing a new one. Rent a jackhammer, backhoe loader, and dumpster to tackle the demolition. Then, contract for new installation without this pricy preliminary step.

Above groound backyard pool with landscaped surrounds

Negotiate Contracts 

Don’t accept the first bid when hiring contractors. Communicate your project vision and expectations upfront, then negotiate pricing, timelines, and materials. Being reasonable but firm can result in significant savings. 

Are you still dreaming of an idyllic backyard oasis? Don’t resign yourself to staying pool-less this summer. With clever design adaptations, thrifty material choices, and strategic deal hunting, you can dive into personal pool paradise! Maintain perspective on which elements impact your daily enjoyment most. Allocate the budget to those key areas, then get resources to save elsewhere. You’ll soon be hosting poolside gatherings and making memorable summertime memories without breaking the bank. Let’s get this pool party started!