pool depth

Deep Diving: What Is the Perfect Pool Depth?

What if your biggest home addition was a huge waste of money?

For many homeowners, a pool is the biggest addition they will make to their home. And, of course, one of the most expensive additions.

In order to get the most out of your pool, you need to get the depth just right. Unfortunately, it is difficult to calculate pool depth without doing a lot of research.

Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you. Keep reading to discover our guide to the perfect pool depth!

The Good News

Why is pool depth such a big consideration? It’s simple: there are many different pool activities, and these activities have different ideal depths.

However, the primary pool activity will always be swimming. And most people can reasonably swim in depths as low as 3.5 feet.

Keep that in mind as we explore different depths for various activities and purposes. Since the depth will never be lower than 3.5 feet, you’ll be able swim regardless of the exact depth or exact area of the pool.

Different Depths

Wondering how to research different depths for your own pool? You can simply cast your mind back to the kinds of pools you have used before.

Most pools will have a more shallow area upfront. This is good for kids or shorter people and provides a place for people to relax in the water without actively swimming.

In a multi-depth pool, things usually get deeper towards the back of the pool. The “deep end” is typically no deeper than 9 feet.

Creating a pool with multiple depths helps different friends and family use the pool in different ways. However, to save time and money, it is possible to create a pool with a single purpose and a single depth.

Different Purposes

We’ve talked about the different depths you may wish for your pool to include. However, which purposes are best suited to which depths?

You may want a dedicated kiddie area. Depending on child height, this area may have a depth as little as 3 feet. Because this is a lower depth than the main pool area, you may need to make certain design considerations (more on this later).

Athletic people may like the idea of playing various sports in the pool. Activities such as pool volleyball will need a depth where everyone can safely stand.

Less athletic people may simply want to relax. They need an area where the water is no more than waist-high. That lets folks enjoy getting wet while also wetting their whistle with a relaxing cocktail.

Finally, you will want a depth suitable for diving. And it will need to be deep enough that head-first divers don’t put themselves in danger when jumping in.

Check the Heights

Most of our recommendations are based on general guidelines and average heights. However, it’s worth taking your family’s specific heights into consideration.

In a couple with dramatic height differences, you may need to split the difference on certain depth levels. Otherwise, what is waist-deep for one person might be chest or even neck-deep on another!

Child height is also a consideration. It may be tempting to create a separate kiddie pool for a very young child. But children grow taller very quickly, and you may find yourself with a kiddie pool you no longer need or use.

With these factors in mind, let’s “dive in” (so to speak) about the exact pool depth you need for different purposes.

Fun Depths

The first depth is what we call the “fun depth.” This is a depth that is ideal for playing recreational sports or doing very shallow dives.

We recommend a depth of 3.5-4 feet for these purposes. This allows people to move quickly enough for games like volleyball while also providing a safe depth for someone to make a shallow (and not head-first) dive.

Again, height may be a consideration. If you have many really tall friends and family members, you may need to raise this depth accordingly.

Chill Depths

What about the people who just want to chill out and lounge in the pool? Believe it or not, 3.5-4 feet is generally the perfect height for their needs as well.

These people may not be moving super-fast like sports players. However, they will still want waist-deep water to feel like they are comfortably immersed within the pool.

Between young kids and relaxing adults, this may well end up being the most-used area of the pool!

Diving Depths

Our last category concerns diving. What is the safe depth for those who might be diving into your pool head-first? 

This section should be a minimum of 9 feet deep. Any shorter than that puts divers at risk of head or neck injuries that may change their lives forever.

Of course, diving typically comes with a diving board. But you may want to hold off before ordering a board for your pool.

Some cities and states have special requirements for homeowners adding a diving board. You may need to obtain a special permit first or even pay additional insurance after making this addition!

Design Considerations

As we said, most pools have multiple depths. But what is the best pool design if you’re intending to add such depths?

The classic design of such a pool is one, big rectangle. It starts out shallow on one end and gradually deepens into the deep end.

Sometimes, homeowners may want the shallow end to be separate from the rest of the pool. For example, you may want to leave a shallow area for hanging and a longer, deeper area for swimming laps.

If that’s the case, you may want to go with an L-shaped design or other custom shape. This helps you separate the shallow area into its own separate and convenient space.

Pool Depth: Jump Right In

Now you know the secrets to ideal pool depth. But do you know who can help bring the pool of your dreams to life?

We specialize in pool financing, construction, and maintenance. To see how we can help you stay cool in a pool, come request a no-cost consultation today!