How To Design A Lagoon Pool

lagoon pool with palm trees and boulders surrounding the pool

While choosing the aesthetic for your backyard paradise, it often becomes overwhelming. There are infinite different ways you can bring your yard to life.  There’s the angular and sharp edged formality of the modern pool scape. Then, there are the natural looking free-formed pools and patios we call the lagoon pool. In this article we explain what a lagoon pool is, how to design them and offer some great lagoon pool ideas for your water features, interior finish and surrounding patio.

What Is A Lagoon Pool?

You know a lagoon pool when you see one. They are the free-formed, spacious pools that look tropical before the first palm tree is planted. A lagoon pool is much less “uniform” than your standard rectangular pool.

lagoon pool in backyard with screen and lots of plants and rocks around the exterior
Courtesy of Lucas Lagoon Pools

Lagoon Pool Design Considerations

One thing to consider when designing a lagoon pool is how the pool will wrap around a corner. Or, otherwise, not be entirely predictable in shape. How will you break up the shape of the pool so it’s not so obviously a pool?  The use of planters and boulder placements can make the difference between a free formed pool and a lagoon pool.

Lagoon pools must be designed to feel like you are stepping into nature. Often to maximize the effect the use of natural boulders will be pronounced.  Also, there’s the green element of nature which must be close to the water, often only the thickness of the gunite shell away from the pool.  To build a lagoon pool you must think ahead for where you will need irrigation for the plants, where you will need to place large boulders, and so on.  

Courtesy of Robles Pools

Lagoon Pool Ideas For Water Features

Water features are especially important for lagoon pools.  Nothing says lagoon like a beautifully crafted natural waterfall.  By integrating the natural sounds of flowing water you can also drown out your neighbors and create a serene experience.  Also, you may consider building a grotto cave into your lagoon pool. These are built with a bench tucked into the side of the pool with a rock waterfall over top of the bench.  The water then falls in front of you as you sit on the bench.  This can be a great place to cool off in the shade on a hot summer day.

Lagoon pools aren’t be complete without integrating a tanning ledge or sun shelf.  A free formed sun shelf with space for lounge chairs will really set off the entry and help create an environment of nature you can get into without any trouble at all. Consider adding some bubblers to the sun shelf or a grouping of boulders on the sun shelf with a bubbler between them.  

Lagoon Pool Ideas For Interior Finish

Creating a natural looking lagoon pool also requires you to consider the interior finish selection.  It’s common to use pebble interior finishes like Pebbletec Pebblesheen or Wet Edge Signature Matrix.  These finishes have a range of options which can suit any design, especially lagoon pools.  One of my favorites is the Tahoe color which mimics the color of Lake Tahoe.  It’s a beautiful color for any pool but especially successful as a lagoon pool color.

lagoon pool with massive waterfall and sun shelf in deep end

How To Plan Your Surrounding Patio

The patio around the pool should be thought of as an extension of the pool. Use the same sweeping lines and free formed shapes to create intentionally designed seating areas and lounge areas. Integrate thoughtful boulder placements where it makes sense to use a boulder for the transitions. Additionally, you can use boulders where you want to create a divider between the patio and the plantings. 

For patio materials, you can use anything so long as you don’t forget the color scheme. If you are using a gray boulder for example, it’s not a bad idea to stick with grays on the patio color.  A honey or brown boulder would free up some earth tones, and so on.  

Some real challenges come along when you want to integrate an outdoor kitchen which is usually angular in shape.  Sometimes if you integrate a boulder placement next to one side of the outdoor kitchen, you can help disguise the angularity and help it feel a bit more like it’s part of the lagoon pool design.


Lagoon pools are one of the most challenging to design well. However, they are also are some of the most rewarding to enjoy when complete. I would encourage anyone to consider a lagoon pool if they find the free formed sweeping lines, plantings, and boulders attractive. These are largely considered the best pool when you’re trying to turn your backyard into a resort.