Most people prefer private to public pools. There are only around 300,000 public pools in the U.S., but over 10 million residential pools.

Do you want to build your own inground pool? Are you unsure how deep it should be? Swimming pool contractors can generally install your custom pool depth, but there are many factors to consider first.

How deep is deep enough? This guide will help you reach optimal pool depths. Read on for everything you need to know about choosing the best deep end for your pool pleasure.

How to Choose the Right Pool Depth

Pool benefits are endless, from fitness to keeping kids occupied in the summer heat. Your pool depth should be deep enough for everyone to have fun and work out without mishap or boredom.

Your pool also has to comply with many laws and regulations. So the best pool depth depends on weighing many factors.

1. Family Size and Age

A custom pool should be a good fit for your family and friends. Cramming a large number of people into a tiny, shallow pool will detract from the fun. But a huge pool that’s barely used can be a waste of money and resources.

Pool depth is also tricky with young children. You may want a pool depth of only 1-3 feet at first, but they’ll outgrow this shallow pool quickly. A sloped pool bottom or pool shelves will add a kid-friendly area without sacrificing overall pool depth.

2. Pool Activities

Depth is very dependent on what pool activities will take place. Pool depth should be sufficient so you and your pool users won’t smash or scrape along the pool bottom.

For casual pool lounging with the occasional cooling-off dip, you only need a minimum of 3-5 feet. For swimming laps, experts recommend at least 5 feet for depth and 25 feet for length.

Pool-related sports and games like volleyball and Marco Polo work best with a 5 feet deep pool area. This allows most people to play without hitting the bottom or being unexpectedly submerged. For younger users though, you can lower it to 3-4 feet.

Your family and friends may want to make waves. For cannonballs and other regular jumping ins (excluding diving and slides), 5-6 feet should buffer jumpers from the bottom, as long as they aren’t jumping from trees or rooftops.

3. Diving Board

Diving into a pool is fun, exciting, and a great way to impress people with your form skills. But it takes careful consideration between diving height and pool depth to ensure safe dives.

Most experts recommend at least 8-9 feet for a low diving board. For high dives, pool depth should be anywhere between 9-16 feet.

Diving also generates a lot of momentum, so divers have to consider pool length to avoid banging into the pool sides.

4. Pool Slides

Pool slides are fun for kids and adults alike. Like diving boards, however, it can result in hitting the pool bottom if your pool depth is too shallow.

Very small slides for younger kids are usually fine with 2-3 feet, as long as the slide isn’t very steep or fast. Moderate or twisty slides may need at least 3-5 feet. Tall, steep, and/or fast slides should consider 8-10 feet or higher.

5. Pool Size and Shape

Pool depth should also work with your pool size and shape. A 10-foot pool depth would be an odd pairing with a small, round pool, for example, unless you’re specifically going for a blue hole aesthetic to practice your freediving.

There are many different types of pools with different shape designs to consider, including:

  • Square
  • Rectangular
  • Round or oval
  • Kidney bean
  • Figure-eight
  • Lazy-L
  • Geometric
  • Roman or Grecian
  • Freeform

The interplay between size, shape, and depth also determines factors like water volume and weight. Many people choose freeform pools to accommodate their custom pool designs.

6. Budget and Upkeep

Pools are usually more affordable than most people realize. But if you have a set budget, pool depth is definitely a monetary factor.

Increasing a moderate-size pool a foot deeper can raise your pool cost above board. A deeper depth also means more pool volume to treat and maintain.

Fortunately, there are still ways to get that desired depth for your money. Swimming pool contractors set pool installation prices based on factors such as square footage and material type.

If you want a deeper pool to stay within your budget, you can adjust the pool’s size and shape, or choose different materials. Your pool contractor can help you design your ideal pool so it doesn’t break your bank with installation and maintenance costs.

7. Pool Laws and Regulations

Sloppily installed or poorly maintained pools can create safety and hazard issues. While there’s generally not a hard limit on how deep a residential pool can be, adhering to other requirements can affect how much pool depth is practical.

For example, federal law mandates pool drain safety standards, and state laws mandate fencing enclosure requirements. Many regulations have minimum depths for diving. Like your budget, you can adjust pool size, shape, and depth to be in compliance.

Expert pool contractors will know all the applicable laws and regulations. They’ll work with your desired depth so it doesn’t result in future fines or penalties.

8. HOA Regulations

Some neighborhoods have Homeowners Associations with their own set of regulations. HOA’s may restrict or require certain pool aspects for safety and property value reasons.

HOA’s are usually the strictest out of all regulators. Their requirements can include:

  • Pool color
  • Pool shape
  • Pool depth
  • Pool size
  • Pool volume
  • Pool location
  • Pool add-ons (slides, diving boards, waterfalls)
  • Pool inspections
  • Pool maintenance
  • Pool safety (signs, covers, enclosures)

You may also need HOA approval before you can build your own inground swimming pool. They can also require you to submit your pool plans to architectural experts or a review board first.

Don’t Miss Out on Any More Swimming Fun

Now that you know which pool depth is right for you, you’re one step closer to getting your dream pool come true. It’s time to get your backyard ready for summer!

Contact us for more information or a free consultation. The Sahara Pool Builder team has the expertise and experience you need for your ideal backyard transformation.