Pool Tour: Backyard-Turned-Paradise

Discover a basic backyard turned tropical getaway -- complete with a pool, outdoor kitchen, and guesthouse -- and get great ideas for designing and outfitting your pool.

01 of 14

Backyard Destination


When the homeowners first bought this property in San Antonio, the long, narrow backyard offered little for a growing, young family. To fix that, they designed a space that the whole family could enjoy -- one that resembled a tropical destination. The tricky part: It all had to fit in an 80x50-foot backyard. The renovated backyard is now the perfect space to escape and a favorite spot for family gatherings.

02 of 14

Poolside Cabana


The improved backyard boasts a cabana with a small guesthouse on one side and an outdoor kitchen-dining area on the other. The guesthouse provides a place for the family and guests to change clothes easily. A covered outdoor kitchen allows for outdoor dining even on rainy days. The cabana was built on the west side of the property to shade the pool from the afternoon sun.

03 of 14

Built-In Spa

outdoor pool with waterfall feature

The spa integrates well with the pool and outdoor living space. The vine-covered rock walls with waterfalls create the illusion of a secluded swimming hole in a tropical rain forest. The palm trees and lush vegetation that surround the backyard add to the illusion while screening the neighbor's house.

04 of 14

Outdoor Kitchen


An outdoor kitchen with a grill, sink, and refrigerator makes poolside living even easier. A ceiling fan circulates air, keeping the kitchen cool, and lighting allows dining to go late into the night.

05 of 14



Waterfalls on each end of the pool add soothing sound to the backyard retreat. They also protect the illusion of a tropical destination by hiding the pool equipment. Anchors on the side of the pool allow for a volleyball net and basketball hoop.

As seen in this pool tour, half the fun of owning a pool is accessorizing it to fit your family's needs. In the following slides, discover fun and unique ways to accessorize your pool.

06 of 14


Pool with Spa

Pamper yourself with a poolside spa, which can be a cost-effective addition. The pool and spa often share operational equipment, and building costs are distributed between the two.

07 of 14

Spa Spillway

Pool with Spa

Add another layer of enjoyment by designing a spa with a spillway effect next to the pool. Water from the spa will cascade into the pool like a natural waterfall.

08 of 14

Negative Edge


Install a negative edge that allows pool water to spill over its boundary; the water is captured and circulated back into the pool. This is an especially appealing feature for a pool with a great view.

09 of 14

Beach Entry


Instead of a traditional pool edge, create a gradual sloping entry like you'd see at a beach. You'll find it easier to get in and out of the pool and have a ready-made sunbathing and play area.

10 of 14



Make it as simple or elaborate as you like. A waterfall can be an almost-silent, grasslike sheet of water; a rushing mountain spring; or something in between.

11 of 14



Choose from floating and permanent built-in varieties. The force provided by the pool's circulation pump or an auxiliary pump can create the desired effect.

12 of 14



Direct an arching stream of water into the pool from a raised area on a deck or pool wall. Scuppers come in an array of sizes, shapes, and finishes.

13 of 14

Diving Board and Slide

Pool with Diving Board

Add a diving board or a wet-and-wild ride with a waterslide. Today's diving boards offer more spring and come in many colors, but they require minimum pool depths and widths.

14 of 14


Pool Lights

Illuminate your pool for nighttime use, as a safety precaution and to spotlight water features and create a mood. Choose from incandescent, perimeter, floating solar, and fiber-optic lights.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles