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15 Incredible Backyard Pool Ideas on a Budget

Sunny summer days are meant to be spent splashing in a pool! Or, if not splashing in a pool, at least lounging by one.

Either way, if you’ve got warmth and sunshine on your mind, you’re not going to want to miss this list of 15 backyard pool ideas on a budget to level up your summer fun!

The national average cost to install an inground pool is between $50,000 to $60,000. You heard me right; the average is around $60,000!

Now, if that price tag sounds as hefty to you as it does to me, you’re definitely going to want to keep reading this list of backyard pool ideas on a budget! From options less than $50 to options that slash that $60,000 in half, there is something for every budget on this list!

Backyard Pool Ideas on a Budget

Things to Know Before Getting Your Backyard Pool

What Activities Do You Want Your Backyard Pool For?

The most important question you should ask yourself before diving into a backyard pool project is “what am I going to be using this pool for?”

Are you simply lounging? Great, no need for a deep end.

Do you want to host a weekly cannonball competition for your friends? Space and depth will be your best allies!

Knowing what activities you’ll get up to will help you narrow down your decision on which backyard pool idea to pursue.

How Much Space Do You Have for Your Backyard Pool?

Whether you only have a few square feet or an entire yard to dedicate to your backyard pool, deciding how much space you want to use for your summer splash pad is of the utmost importance. The amount of area you’re willing to convert to pool space will help you further narrow down your options!

What Kind of Water Do You Want to Use?

Chlorinated water is not the only option for backyard pools nowadays!

HYDROTOOLS BY SWIMLINE Mini Chemical Dispenser For Spas and Personal Pools| Compatible With Bromine & Chlorine, Supports 1’’ Tablets | Adjustable Control Ring For Customizable Flow Rate

Some pools you just fill with a hose and then drain, with others, you can toss in a floating chlorine dispenser, and some even have salt-water systems that have benefits for your skin. Decide on what water you want to submerge yourself in because you’re about to be in that water a lot!

What Is Your Budget?

This list of 15 backyard pool ideas on a budget will guide you through some amazing swim setups that are way more affordable than the average backyard pool. Before diving head first into purchasing though, make sure the pool you choose to go with fits your budget!

And don’t forget ongoing maintenance costs. For permanent backyard pool installations, depending on the size and filtration method, you should budget $500 to $3,000 a year for professional upkeep services.

Inflatable Backyard Pools for Budget-Friendly Fun

1. The Classic Inflatable Pool

Kicking off this list of 15 backyard pool ideas on a budget is none other than the classic inflatable pool!

Inflatable Swimming Pool Family Full-Sized Inflatable Pools 118" x 72" x 22" Thickened Family Lounge Pool for Kids & Adults Oversized Kiddie Pool Outdoor Blow Up Pool for Backyard, Garden

Built for flexibility and convenience, inflatable pools will have you floating with your friends all summer long! This amazing and classic option is a great place to start for some budget-friendly fun. For less than $50, treat yourself to an inflatable pool big enough and comfortable enough to accommodate up to four adults!

2. Small Inflatable Pools

Small inflatable pools are a necessity for keeping kids and pets cool and entertained in the hot summer months! Splash around with your little ones in this easily inflatable pool that’ll cost you less than a dinner out.

3. Luxury Inflatable Pools

From built-in lounge chairs to heated water, inflatable pools are definitely far more luxurious than they once were.

Intex Swim Center™ Inflatable Family Lounge Pool, 90" X 86" X 31", for Ages 3+

For less than $100 relax in this inflatable lounge pool. Or, if you’re looking for some real luxury that can warm you up in the winter months, consider this inflatable hot tub for a fraction of the cost of the real thing!

Aboveground Backyard Pools

4. Small Aboveground Pools

Loved for their easy setups and the way they transform small outdoor spaces into backyard paradises, small aboveground pools are a great option if you’re looking to cash in on all of the benefits of an aboveground without cashing out at the bank.

You can even find some small aboveground pools for less than $100.

5. Metal Frame Aboveground Pools

Coming in all different shapes, sizes, and depths to meet all your backyard needs, metal frame aboveground pools are a great option for swimmers looking for sturdier siding and more space to play.

Bestway Power Steel 16' x 10' x 42" Rectangular Metal Frame Above Ground Swimming Pool Set with 1000 GPH Filter Pump, Ladder, and Pool Cover

Ranging from $100 to $1000 upfront, these are perfect starter pools for families looking for a semi-permanent installation that can endure some rowdier pool shenanigans.

Heads up for those considering this purchase! Metal frame pools will have some ongoing maintenance in Minnesota winters. Whether you choose to take down the pool in the colder months or leave it up and cover it, just keep in mind there may be a little bit of seasonal work each year!

6. Hard-sided Aboveground Pools

Hard-sided aboveground pools are a permanent installation option for those willing to spend a little more on their backyard dream pool! Designed to remain up year-round, these pools will give you an abundance of space for summertime water-based fun and are extremely durable.

Costing between $1,000 to $5,000 upfront, with an added installation cost of around $1000 to $3000 if you choose not to do it yourself, these are a great alternative to an inground pool at a tenth of the cost!

7. Deck-style Aboveground Pools

Get the inground pool feel for aboveground pool prices! Surround your hard-sided aboveground pool with a gorgeous wrap-around deck.

Immediately elevating the aboveground pool experience, deck-style pools create the perfect lounging environment. Or, if you’re looking to cause a bigger wave, the perfect platform to belly-flop off of!

Deck Pool

With an average cost of $5,000 on top of the cost of an aboveground pool, this project will yield a stunning backyard oasis at merely a fifth of the cost of the average inground pool.

8. DIY Aboveground Pools

Consider yourself handy? There are plenty of ways you can make your own DIY aboveground pool with nothing but a waterproof tarp and some materials that you can stack for walls!

A super popular option is an aboveground hay pool. Gather yourself some bales of hay and stack them in the pool shape you desire. Secure a waterproof tarp on top and fill up your pool! Add extra durability by laying another tarp down on the ground first, before stacking the hay.

Don’t have hay? Feel free to get creative! Other great alternatives for building your DIY aboveground pool walls are wooden pallets or mounds of gravel.

Inground Backyard Pools

9. Semi-inground Pool

Feeling conflicted about whether to choose an inground or aboveground pool?

Semi-inground pools are the perfect solution for you!

Partially dug into the ground and partially exposed, these pools are more affordable than a fully inground pool and are a unique backyard feature that not many people have (so definitely don’t forget to show it off to your neighbors).

Semi-inground pools can also be significantly deeper than their aboveground counterparts. Tie this added depth into the fact that the average cost of a semi-inground is only $12,000—a mere fifth of the cost of a full inground—and you might be hard-pressed to find a reason not to get one!

10. Small Inground Pool

Get the inground pool experience without the full price tag by cutting down on size!

Small inground pools (10ft by 16ft or 10ft by 20ft) range in price from about $15,000 to $25,000 depending on the material you choose (vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass) and can generally be up to 7ft deep.

Small Inground Pool

At about half the cost of a full-sized inground pool, a small-sized version can get you everything an inground pool has to offer while taking up a much smaller footprint in your backyard—and a much smaller footprint on your energy bill!

11. Shipping Container Inground Pool

Shipping container pools are a super trendy alternative to the traditional inground pool. Starting at around a third of the price, shipping container pools are sure to wow!

These innovative pools are easy to install, great for small backyards, and can really add to the entire aesthetic of your outdoor space.

12. DIY Inground Pools

For the real DIY enthusiasts out there, or if you’re just looking for a fun challenge—and I do mean challenge—DIYing your inground pool might be the budget route you choose!

Handy DIY inground pool kits are available for purchase through various retailers, or, if you’re really feeling up to the task, you can manage the whole project from start to finish on your own.

Costs will vary for a DIY project, but you have the advantage of being able to choose everything yourself. Expect some fumbles and roadblocks along the way if it’s your first time, but definitely also expect some great memories!

Some backyard pool-building tips for the DIYers out there:

  • The better and more accurate the rough dig of the pool, the less work you’ll have to do later on refining the pool’s shape.
  • Materials will play a significant role in the cost of the project as well as the longevity of the pool, so research your materials well.
  • Definitely hire someone to do the electrical if you’re not qualified. Electricity and water just don’t mix!

Other Great Backyard Pool Ideas on a Budget

13. Swim Spa Lap Pools

If you’re looking to break a sweat by getting those laps in, but you don’t have the space for a long pool, a swim spa lap pool may be the best option for both your wallet and your space!

Swim spa lap pools are essentially workout machines, with spa features, that allow you to swim infinite laps in a small space. Just set the current and swim against it to be held in place.

Though this technology may be on the higher end of budget pools ($10,000 to $20,000 for basic models), they are a super efficient way to incorporate swimming workouts into a tight space and are still less than half the price of the average pool!

14. Stock Tank Pools

Yes, you heard me right. Stock tank pools.

The round galvanized steel tanks used to water livestock make incredibly simple and stylish backyard pools!

At only two feet deep, the water warms quickly in the summer and is a party favorite for lounging. For about $500 to $1,500 you can get yourself a lightweight, easy-to-be-installed stock tank pool. Toss a chlorine floaty in it or install a pump and you’re good to go!

15. Hot Tubs

We’re ending off this list of backyard pool ideas on a budget with the coziest option of them all… a hot tub.

Keep yourself warm all winter with this perfect backyard addition!

Hot Tub

Ranging from $3,000 to $16,000, depending on the make and model, hot tubs are more affordable than a pool and can be tucked away on your deck or balcony. Make sure you have a stable base and great cover to keep your hot tub well-insulated in the winter months to reduce heating costs.

Time to Take the Dive Into Your New Backyard Pool

Thank you for taking the time to dive into this list of backyard pool ideas on a budget!

Now it’s your turn to make the big decision—which of these fabulous aquatic options will it be?

Looking to upgrade your outdoor spaces at home? Then find inspiration for your Minnesota backyard with our landscaping ideas, outdoor furniture suggestions, gardening recommendations, and more!

Looking for some warm weather recommendations? Discover spring and summer in Minnesota for best destinations, travel recommendations, small (and big!) town events, and more!