A Guide To Small Spaces: Small Pool DeSiGN

You’ve always imagined a dream pool. Your own sanctuary that you don’t have to share with anyone else. That extra reason to entertain in summer. But of course, you can’t have a pool. You live in Sydney with a small backyard, terrace or patio. Pools are only for those privileged enough to have a large home and extra outdoors space.
Or are they?

It’s true that space, especially outdoors, is at a premium in Sydney. This doesn’t mean that your dream can’t become a reality.  In fact, we here to provide you with many reasons how you can have an awesome pool in a small space.

This article will show that size… when it comes to pools isn’t a big deal: it’s all about the fundamental design, function, form, the space and… how you use it.

The best way to work through designing and managing a small pool project is broken down into a few steps. Covering these tips will transform your small outdoor space into one that will tick all the boxes for your desired lifestyle for a long time to come. Just ask anyone with a pool!


WHAT Access DO YOU NEED To Build A Pool?

One of the first things to take into consideration is access to your backyard. Many Sydney pool building companies, landscape designers and home renovators forget this very important first step which can then lead to an unexpected budget blowout. Don’t make that mistake!

It’s important to understand that backyards in Sydney vary from suburb to suburb. For example, Mosman backyards often need cranes and or boat access and Northern Beaches pools need council approval. You need to consider the adjoining property protection works, town planning, building code requirements, fencing and boundary restrictions. All of these issues are usually magnified in small spaces.

Carefully considering what access you need is an important step. If you are not sure, Caleb our Director at we are boutique is an expert in advising difficult to reach backyards and there hasn’t been one we couldn’t navigate.



Beautiful small pools and design take into consideration the space, the lifestyle flow and ensures that the area is broken into even parts.

A pool can innovate a backyard and turn it into a beautifully landscaped luxurious living space. Balance and scale are the key, making sure that the pool fits well in the space as an integral element. We can help you work out the ideal size for your space with our boutique formula that calculates the ultimate pool space to open space ratio.

When positioning the pool, it is really important to consider how close to your boundary you would like it to be as there are certain engineering requirements when digging. This may mean that you need property protection works in order to protect the neighbouring property. As a general rule, you’ll be able to avoid these issues if you keep the pool one metre off the boundary. A good pool company will help you navigate these requirements



When designing your small pool, first determine how you would like to use it. A current trend is plunge pools. They can be enjoyable for a quick cool off, plus with some built in seating, fantastic for cocktails in the pool. They are functional but and also be aesthetically pleasing.

If your block is narrow, you can consider a lap pool. A lap pool could run the length of your house or along a fence line. This would give you the function of being able to exercise and making the best use of your space. Other ideas are small infinity pools if your block is sloping or freeform pools if your yard meanders through garden.

We recommend not going overboard with design. As with any small space, too much going on can make it cluttered and uncomfortable. Simple is best with well thought out additions to keep it stylish and welcoming. Perhaps an accent wall as a backdrop or a small water cascade. Clear walls and infinity water features give an illusion of space. And we are huge fans of a good fire pit which can be a great feature in your pool area.

Once you’ve decided on the kind of pool design you would like, you will next decide on what it will be made of.



Fibreglass pools are prefabricated, therefore quicker and less expensive to install. However, they offer limited choice of design and less choice when it comes to fencing compliance requirements.

Concrete pools give you more freedom in terms of shape, size and adaptability to space. They are more suited to difficult terrain, small spaces, close to boundary buildings and have more opportunities to blend in with the surrounding structural elements. From our perspective concrete pools work best with small backyards.

“The main reason I chose a concrete pool instead of a fibreglass one – to give me flexibility in design.”

Three Birds Renovations


WHAT POOL sHAPE Is best for a small space?

Every yard is different, so a key thing to remember is that a curvy pool, like a kidney shape, will lose some water space. But their freeform characteristics allow for more decking space. This makes freeform pools a very popular choice in a small yard. For example, if you would like a lounge chair on your pool deck, you seven feet of decking space. If you would like to fit a table with chairs, you will need even more. Choosing what you want and need in your space and how many sqm you need to allow for things can be a challenge. That’s why we love to create 3D Designs. They help our customers visualise and feel the space, just like trying on your wedding dress, you wouldn’t buy a wedding dress without seeing it on, right? Seeing your pool in your space is even more important… the investment is way more than a dress, why not try it on?

Sydney is home to some natural beauty like sandstone and Triassic shales. You could turn your backyard into a stunning space surrounded by nature by incorporating natural materials such as stone for the pool. Also, give it an organic shape and maintain the same characteristics for the rest of the landscape. For more landscape ideas check out our inspiration page.

Safety is a major concern when designing a pool. Compliance with pool safety standards includes fencing and is one of the requirements you need to think through carefully. These standards cover issues such as the height and strength of barriers, gates and latches, direct access areas, and mandatory non-climbable zones. For example, a pool barrier needs to be 120cm high. 

So, a smart design solution here could be to build the pool 90cm above ground and add 30cm of deep sunken mote or gutter of either pebbles or non-climbable plants to make sure you comply with 120cm vertical compliance requirements. Designed well and thought through properly, you can achieve a safe and compliant pool as well as a an aesthetically pleasing usable space.

The Benefits of Small Pools?

It may be that your backyard will only suit a small pool, but there are actually some real advantages. An average pool contains 45,000L of water whereas a small pool contains only up to 20,000L. This means that a small pool ends up being more cost effective to operate and maintain when you consider power and chemicals. They are more efficient if you choose to have heating. And, of course they are easier to maintain. Now the small pool is really starting to shine.

“I can’t bang on enough about how important it is to choose the right company to build your pool”

Three Birds Renovations


Now that you are equipped with knowledge and some design ideas, you can finally see your dream becoming a reality.

Remember, good design is about creating a balance between aesthetics and function. Keep it simple and elegant to make your small space seem open and welcoming. Keep it safe by incorporating safety compliance regulations into the design. And choose the right professionals to help you get this all right from the beginning to the end of your project saving you time, money and hassle.

Simple is the new trend… let’s help you make your simple small space become one you’ve always dreamed of and give you the lifestyle you desire.

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“The team at Boutique are inspirational, they took our backyard and transformed it into an amazing space that I didn’t think was possible”


we Can Transform your Small Space...

“The team at Boutique are inspirational, they took our backyard and transformed it into an amazing space that I didn’t think was possible”



Northern Beaches Landscape Designers