8 Before-and-After Swimming Pool Transformations

Need inspiration for your pool remodel? See how these pools were transformed from unsightly messes to beautiful oases.
By: Mina Hochberg

Before: Just Another Pool

When the owners bought this Michigan home, previously owned by author Elmore Leonard, they remodeled the house and expanded the north wing. The new layout begs for an equally dramatic pool makeover.

After: Majestic Masterpiece

Michigan landscape designers Zaremba & Company convert the freeform pool into a rectangular pool that sits perpendicular to the house, rather than parallel with it, creating a majestic symmetry to the yard. The extensive remodel spotlights an elevated spa at the head of the pool.

Before: Forlorn and Uninviting

Due to a lack of shallow ends, the pool at this Michigan estate is far from kid-friendly. It also clashes with the architecture of the home and is not conducive to outdoor entertaining.

After: Two Pools is Better Than One

Rather than destroy the existing pool, Michigan-based Zaremba & Company adds a second pool that overlaps the original pool. The second pool has shallow ends and a vanishing edge over which water spills into the original pool below. The multi-tiered design provides a safe play area for children and introduces plenty of spaces for lounging and entertaining.

Before: Rocky Horror

The faux rock wall adorning the swimming pool of this contemporary Phoenix home is a major eyesore. The cheesy rock formations are not helped by the chaotic landscaping and generic decking.

After: Serenity Now

Phoenix pool builder Kirk Bianchi removes the “artificial penguin exhibit” and replaces it with an ironwood tree salvaged from the desert (one of three he places around the yard). He declutters the landscaping, introduces new decking and adds overflow to all sides of the pool, enhancing the lovely mirror effect.

Before: Subterranean Mess

The owners of this Oregon house want a pool room that is relaxing and consistent with the home’s midcentury modern aesthetic. Exposed pipes, unappealing columns and clinical-white walls give the indoor pool a vibe that was more utilitarian than inviting.

After: Northwest Oasis

Fieldwork Design & Architecture transform the pool room into a zen retreat by ensconcing the room, floor to ceiling, in Western Red Cedar and slate tile. The sliding glass doors are replaced with a 32-foot wide single sliding door to create a seamless portal to the verdant outdoors. An unfinished utility area is converted into a wine cellar and changing room.

Before: Dated and Dull

When the owners purchased this Maryland home, it came with a figure-8 vinyl pool straight out of the 1980s. The nondescript pool is a blight on the beautiful waterfront landscape.

After: Pool With a View

Maryland pool builders Aqua 74 convert the figure-8 pool into a rectangular pool with pebble interior and travertine decking. A vanishing edge is introduced, creating a seamless transition to the backyard and lake beyond. All this for an approximate budget of $100,000.

Before: Concrete Nightmare

The aggregate concrete deck is not a flattering look for the dated pool at this Dallas home. The owners want to beautify the pool and make it fit for 21st-century living.

After: Dallas Dream

Texas pool designers Pool Environments gut the pool and replace the aggregate concrete with travertine paver in a Versailles pattern. They build a raised spa, one-foot wall and sheer descent waterfalls. The space is opened up by removing a portion of the driveway and adding an outdoor fireplace and seating area.

Before: Welcome to the Jungle

This Dallas pool looks so neglected you’d never guess it was designed by an acclaimed Texas landscape architect. The overgrown landscaping makes the plain Jane pool ripe for renovation.

After: Modern Transformation

Pool Environments frames the pool with oversized stone slabs and a band of Mexican beach pebble, giving the pool a sleek, geometric look. The undergrowth is cleared, allowing an overhanging Bois d’Arc to become a focal point at the far end of the pool.

Before: Bad Case of Blues

The pool at this Florida residence is as basic as pools come, with an electric blue hue that feels artificial.

After: Perfect Hue

Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture replaces the interior finish, giving the pool a more natural hue of blue. On a $45,000 budget, they replace the patio, line the pool with stones and break up the ho-hum rectangular shape with a stone walkway, creating an attractive square-shaped pool and two smaller decorative pools.