Selecting a pool for your yard can be a complicated process. Here's a guide to help you sort out which type is best for you.


The type of pool you choose affects the cost, construction and the way you'll use your pool. Here's a brief look at issues to consider when choosing among above-ground, in-ground, and specialty pools.


Most above-ground pools are constructed with aluminum, resin or steel sidings with vinyl liners. Patterned walls are available.


  • They are the most economical pools.
  • They are not permanent structures so you can take them with you if you move.
  • They can be assembled and dismantled with relative ease as a do-it-yourself project, or many retailers offer delivery and installation.
  • They have several shapes and sizes so they are suitable for small yards.
  • If access to your yard is limited, above-ground pools are suitable. They arrive in pieces which can easily be carried to the pool site for assembly.


  • While they do come in a variety of shapes and sizes you are limited to those offered by manufacturers.
  • They can be difficult to disguise in a landscape although carefully planned patios and decks can help blend them into your space.
  • Their lifespan is not as long as in-ground pools. Vinyl liners typically need replacing every five years.

Helpful Hint:

Also popular are the most basic above-ground pools, the type easily filled with a garden hose and stored away when not in use. Because they require no filtration equipment they must be regularly drained, cleaned and refilled to provide a clean swimming environment.


Concrete pool

Concrete, fiberglass and vinyl-liner pools are the most common. Your contractor can work with you on the choice of construction. Materials are typically chosen for strength and flexibility.

Fiberglass Pools

These are made at the manufacturer and delivered in one piece. Typically they are more flexible than concrete pools and are a good choice in earthquake prone areas. Also available are fiberglass panel pools which are constructed on site and allow more design flexibility.

Concrete Pools

Often the most costly to build, concrete pools are poured on-site. You may custom-design virtually any shape or size. Several finishes such as plaster, paint and specialty coating materials such as Pebble Tec are available in a range of colors.

Vinyl-Liner Pools

These pools are built with panel walls that are fastened together and sit on a concrete foundation. A custom-made vinyl liner then covers the entire pool.


  • Flexibility in design. Most in-ground pools can be designed to fit any shape or size yard and fit your specific needs from fitness swimming to water polo.
  • They can be easily designed into the landscape.
  • There are several accessories and features available such as diving boards, slides, water games, water fountains, and specialty lighting such as fiber optic lighting.


  • Typically more costly to build.
  • The construction duration can be lengthy.

If your primary reason for owning a pool is fitness, consider a lap pool or swim spas.

Lap Pools

These are long, narrow pools designed for fitness swimming. They are ideal for small yards because they require minimal space. Also, they serve as a reflective landscape feature.

Swim Spas

A hybrid of a pool and spa, swim spas have water jets that allow the swimmer to swim against a constant flow of water. Ideal for small yards, they can also be heated for dual use as a spa and a swim spa.


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