If you’re a competitive swimmer or someone who enjoys a cool splash every evening, installing a pool in the backyard is a great idea!
In fact, with the lack of space in most apartments and other residential areas, lap pools have become quite popular among homeowners. They are narrower than regular pools, and the design is quite practical for those who want to practice multiple laps in the privacy and comfort of their own homes.
Ideally, lap pools are at least 45 feet long, but designs had changed from when they were introduced during the Greek and Roman eras. So, in this guide, we’ll be discussing how to design the perfect lap pool, so you can make the most of it while adding that oomph factor to your property!
How It Started
The Romans and Greeks began building such pools wherein they trained for the military and nautical games. The pools were an integral part of the ancient gymnasiums, known as “palaestras.” Most Roman emperors also owned private fish pools known as “piscinas.”
However, the late Cleo Baldon was the first to introduce lap pools in California in the 1970s. She later popularised her designs in a book, “Reflections on the Pool: California Designs for Swimming,” which she co-authored with her husband. Her designs eventually transformed the fitness scene all over the world.
Interestingly, the irrigation trenches between orchards are what inspired her lap pool design. She aimed to create narrow pools for athletic swimmers to swim comfortably and practice strokes. Hence, her initial designs were 8–9 feet wide and 45 feet long.
Types Of Lap Pools
Due to the design constraints of a lap pool, you don’t get much flexibility in style. Most builders will recommend getting offset entry steps or narrow internal steps when it comes to the entryway.
Depending on your preferences, you can choose acrylic sheets, vinyl, or concrete as the material. You can also select between a chlorinated pool and a saltwater pool.
And in case you don’t have enough space for a lap pool, you can consider a spool pool wherein one can swim against artificial currents.
Things To Consider For Designing The Perfect Lap Pool
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of design and equipment, there are some key points you should keep in mind while designing a lap pool in the backyard.
Although Baldon’s design is ideal for a competitive swimmer, you don’t have to adhere to her dimensions to the T; but a length of at least 45 feet is advisable.
According to the space available on your property, you can opt for something as long as 80 feet, too. The lap pool should be long enough for you to practice swimming without taking too many turns. Anything less than 45 feet will serve as a regular pool for casual use.
On the other hand, the width of the pool depends on the number of people using it at a time. If you are a solo swimmer, a 4-foot wide pool will suffice. However, if two or more people are swimming together, you might want the pool to be 8-10 feet wide.
Lastly, the depth of the pool should be at least 4 feet for the swimmer to quickly tumble and turn for another lap. But if you want to dive into the pool from one end, consider increasing the depth to 6 feet approximately.
2. Pool Cover
While indoor pools are great if you opt for all-year-round heating, they can get relatively expensive. Plus, you won’t be able to enjoy the outdoor view, which we think is a must during the hotter summer months!
Investing in a pool cover will save you some unnecessary electricity expenses. You could also opt for a retractable polycarbonate dome to enjoy a covered pool’s privacy and the serenity of an outdoor swim with a view.
3. Uses And Versatility
Although the main purpose of a lap pool is to act as a practice area for swimmers, if designed efficiently, it can serve multiple purposes. For instance, you can add an integrated spa at one end, which will make the pool more versatile and enjoyable.
You could also add steps with a metal railing for easier and safer access to the pool.
There are different methods for heating a lap pool, and the one you choose depends on both personal preferences and the prevailing weather conditions. For example, you should opt for a heat pump if you wish to swim all year round. Conversely, solar heating will be suitable if you want to swim only during the summer.
5. Surrounding Area
While installing a lap pool in your backyard, deck, terrace, etc., it is imperative to consider the material of the surroundings. You may require concrete paving, a completely tiled area, or a wooden surface around the pool to allow easy access, prevent waterlogging, etc.
Hence, a little planning beforehand will save you a lot of money, time, and effort that might go into maintenance and untimely repairs.
Installing A Lap Pool
As mentioned earlier, you don’t get much flexibility while designing a lap pool. Hence, for most lap pools, the installation process is the same.
The basic steps for installing a lap pool include excavation, adding pool pumps, and installing filters and skimmers. You may invest in some landscaping around the pool to enhance the area’s overall look.
If you are experienced in building and construction, you could also check out a DIY lap pool kit. However, we believe in letting the professionals do what they are best at. Plus, they will be able to get council approvals, handle all the paperwork, get your pool constructed efficiently, and offer maintenance advice.
Maintaining A Lap Pool
Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a lap pool is significantly more accessible and cheaper than other pools. Lap pools are mainly constructed for fitness purposes, so they usually do not have any add-ons like waterfalls. As a result, you won’t spend a bomb on maintenance and repairs.
Cost Of A Lap Pool
While a lap pool’s width is narrower, the cost of installing it is similar to that of a traditional pool due to its length. However, the price may vary depending on the material of the pool. Note that a vinyl pool will be cheaper, while a concrete pool comes at a higher cost.
On top of that, if you opt for extra features like an attached hot tub or a wet wall with jets, the cost will increase accordingly.
Creating Your Dream Lap Pool
We’ve reached the end of this brief yet informative guide to designing the perfect lap pool. After going through the factors mentioned above, we hope you’ll be able to visualise your requirements and preferences better and design a suitable lap pool.
The Pool Co are Sydney’s leading pool builder, offering high-quality premium pools and spas. If you need any assistance in designing or installing a lap pool at your home, please call us!
Just remember to consider when you want to use the pool and how many people will be using the pool with you before getting started with the construction.