When we began to talk about putting in a swimming pool I knew I wanted a rectangular pool with a spa. Like with any home project, I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to turn out, but getting from that vision in my head to reality was challenging. We have finally completed it, and I am so happy with how it turned out!
The design process can be very intimidating. Options are literally limitless, and there is so much to learn. Did you know you can choose the color of the water in the pool? I had no idea! I had never once looked at the color of pool water and been able to discern it from any other pool, but I’m an expert now! I wanted to document all the materials used and design choices we made in hopes it will help make the process easier for someone else building a pool.
shape: rectangular swimming pool with spa
When you design a pool, you are really only limited by your yard. We have a relatively flat, rectangular shaped yard. I knew I wanted a rectangular pool for a few reasons. For one, I like the more modern shape, and it fit better in our yard. We knew we wanted a big pool, and that that would take up the majority of the yard. We may have gone with a free form shape if we were trying to preserve some grass space on one side.
Another main reason for a rectangular pool is that we plan to get a solar blanket to help heat the pool, and this shape will make that much easier to put on and off.
spa or no spa
We went back and forth on this for a long time. Would we use it enough to justify the cost?Would we prefer a stand alone spa that would allow more customizations? When it was decided that we were contracting the pool ourselves, we decided to put that cost savings into a spa.
Many people like a stand alone spa rather than one built into the swimming pool. You can customize the seats and the jets, get a bigger spa, and it is consistently heated and always ready. However, they aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, which if I’m being honest was the most important thing to me.
While bingeing Selling Sunset on Netflix, I noticed all the spas had an infinity edge, and I was obsessed. Most in ground spas have a spill over feature, and this is the same concept. I love that the spa and pool create one cohesive eye line. I also love that the spa is still very much in the action on the Cabo shelf and the rest of the pool. I wasn’t immediately on board with the spa (I was sold the cost was worth it!), but I’m so glad we have it. It will also help extend our swimming season by making the pool space usable in cooler months.
tile: Rectangular Swimming Pool with spa
The tile around the spa and on the bond beam is Toscano 12″ x 24″ tile in Grigio (affiliate link). I wanted a large format tile that had a neutral pattern. There are some gorgeous tiles out there to choose from, but I didn’t want anything too busy, or something that I wouldn’t like in five years. The large format and the simple design played well with the modern shape of the pool, and I am so, so happy with it.
There are so many different types of finish to choose from. There is the traditional plaster, quartz, or an aggregate type finish (PebbleTec is the most common brand). I knew I didn’t want PebbleTec because it is very rough on your feet, especially if you swim daily like I knew our kids would. Plaster is less durable, so we went with Diamond Brite in Aqua Blue.
This was the most stressful part of the design process for me. All pool water looked the same to me before. But now that I knew different options existed, I couldn’t see anything else. Originally, I wanted a more teal colored water, but to get that effect, you need a tan bottom. Knowing this wouldn’t work well with the gray tile, I opted for something with a whiter hue.
One thing I did know is that I wanted a lighter color. Dark colors are great for keeping the water warmer, but it can also be hard to see to the bottom. Knowing that my kids would swim frequently, and eventually have friends over to swim, I didn’t feel comfortable with a darker bottom pool. Aqua Blue is the perfect shade of blue and while I still wish for that tropical teal color, I’m really happy with what we have.
There are so many options for pool decks. We opted for standard brushed concrete because it was the most cost effective for how much we needed.
We also opted to not do any coping lines around the pool. We felt like this kept the look cleaner and in line with the modern design we were going for. It’s not slippery because there is not finish on it. It does get hot, but almost any type of decking does in the hot Northern California sun.
- Swim space dimensions: 15’x30′
- Spa dimensions: 7’x7′
- Cabo shelf: 6’x8′
- Shallow depth: 3.5′
- Deepest depth: 6′
- Total gallons: 16, 800
- Lights: two Pentair on the stairs, one Pentair in the spa and the deep end
I hope this helps you if you are in the design process of your pool. It’s a daunting process full of lots of decisions and ups and downs, but I am so excited with how our rectangular swimming pool with spa turned out and can’t wait to make tons of memories with my family and friends!
Lisa Friedman says
Great tips—thanks. What are the dimensions of the seats under the sheer descents? I’m concerned that the seats in the pool we are building are not deep enough from the pool wall to allow the water to hit our shoulders.
There are no seats under the sheer descents. I knew my kids would use the bond beam as a jumping wall, and I didn’t want anything obstructing them.
Hello… This appears to be the perfect pool for our new house in Lake Havasu City, AZ. How would we go about finding more information or even the plans/blueprints of this gem.
Jeff & Annette
I would show the design to an engineer who can draft plans for you. Dimensions will be specific to your yard and local municipal codes.