What Is A Pool Bench? How To Design Them

backyard pool with patio furniture and pool bench feature

Adding an inground pool to your backyard is a magical moment. There are many pool features that make the experience even better. One of the most popular is a pool bench. What are is this feature and why is it becoming so common? In this article, we will explain what a pool bench is and what questions you should ask yourself when adding one to your pool project.

What Is A Pool Bench?

A pool bench is a place to sit and enjoy the pool without having to tread water. Usually a pool bench is offset 18 inches from the pool’s wall and between 14” and 18” deep.  A pool bench can be attached to the entry steps or on it’s own.  Pool benches really allow you to enjoy the pool and relax.

backyard patio and pool with spa and pool bench

Pool Bench Vs. Swim Out

Oftentimes pool benches are confused with swim outs. As a homeowner, you might wonder, what’s a swim out?  You may hear the term swim-out or swim-out bench.  These refer to benches installed in the deep end or the end opposite the entry steps to be used as egress points.  These ‘swim-outs’ take the place of ladders in the traditional inground pool.  

inground pool with pool bench and yard in background

What Types Of Pools Have A Pool Bench?

Benches are most common in gunite swimming pools. This happens because gunite pools can be customized to have any features you desire.  However, you will see pool benches integrated into modern fiberglass and vinyl liner pools as well.  Traditionally it was common to have a small bench attached to the entry steps. Some builders still include a bench attached to the steps in their base pool.  

Using A Pool Bench In Your Pool Design

If you have a view to look at you may have considered an infinity edge pool, but decided they were just too expensive.  Another great way to design a pool with the view in mind is to install a pool bench along the length of the pool.  This gives you a dramatic feature which helps guide swimmers to the best place to sit and enjoy the view.  

backyard living room and pool with spa, long pool bench and plants

Maybe you want to create a place for good conversation.  In Europe, it is common to create a conversation area inside the pool. This is typically done with a circular or rectangular pool bench.  This provides a conversation pit experience. Furthermore, it gives you a place to lounge and socialize.  If you build a conversation pit, you may also consider adding a table.  In Arizona, a tiled table is a common feature to add to your pool.  With an umbrella sleeve in the top of the table, you can create both a place to hang out, and a place to get out of the sun.

Don’t Wait, Ask Your Pool Builder

Benches are one of the most common features, but don’t hesitate to tell your pool designer you want more.  Sometimes a pool designer will not ask the questions necessary to find out how you will use your pool and whether you should have more benches or less.  In my opinion, having the space to do nothing in the pool is very important. It will extend the amount of time that you spend in your pool. This would include benches, a sun shelf with lounge chairs, and maybe even a pool spa combo.

pool steps and pool bench entry way for an inground pool

How To Make A Pool Bench Even Better

When designing a pool bench in the deep end, you may want to consider adding a step or two. That way, you can easily use the bench to get in and out of the pool.  When designing a pool, it’s important to imagine where someone will be entering and exiting. If you have a diving board or a pool dive rock, you might want to add a second set of steps or add a step or two to the bench to make it easier to dive over and over.


Whatever you do, adding a pool bench is rarely something you’ll regret.  Not including enough pool bench seating is why adding benches is one of the most common pool renovations. Therefore, if you have a pool without enough seating, don’t worry.  It’s commonplace to add benches to gunite pools, so definitely ask about adding a bench when it comes time to renovate.