It’s the first day of summer and swimming is officially on my mind, you guys! If skipping the public pool and throwing together your own backyard oasis is more your style (like it is mine), then these simple pool ideas and must haves will help!
Think your yard is too small for a back yard pool or that it will cost way too much? I was totally in that place too!
We actually have a super small backyard and our budget for pool shopping was SLIM.
You don’t have to have a huge yard or even a huge pocket book to put together a great backyard pool! Check out all my favorite backyard pool ideas and must have pool items for getting started. Plus, get my simple tips on how we created our own backyard pool and managed to stay under budget!
10 Backyard Pool Ideas
& Must Haves…
1) High Quality Pool
While this probably sounds like a total no brainer… I kinda had to include it on the list. You can’t exactly have a great backyard pool – without the pool!
Investing in a high quality backyard pool is essential!
Small plastic or inflatable pools can be fun for little ones or feet soaking, but they simply aren’t the best option for family swim time.
With that said, there are a ton of backyard pool options out there! Thankfully, we found a great one on our first try! This Intex Pool has lasted us for over 4 years now and it’s still going strong.
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget Friendly TIP #1
If you’re serious about getting a pool for your back yard, but can’t afford the price of a brand new one – check out this simple tip!
- Wait till summer is almost over and make frequent trips to your local stores to check for sale prices.
- Check back weekly or even multiple times a week, until the price drops to fit your budget.
- Be careful not to wait too long as stock could run out or left over stock could be sent to salvage.
We did this about 5 years ago and ended up getting our pool on clearance for 90% off!! We happened to time ours just right too. If we had waited just one more day, we would have missed out!
Our pool was stickered as a clearance item, but had already been taken out of the store’s system (causing it to not ring up) – it was set to be salvaged the next morning! Customer service ended up giving us an extra $10 off for the trouble. It was an insane deal, you guys!
2) High-Quality Pump
As much as I love our pool of choice, I’m not a huge fan of the pump it comes with.
Our pump lasted the entire first year, then about 2-3 weeks into our second summer the pool turned green. It happened super quick and was totally gross. Needless to say, our pump was dying and we needed a new one quick!
After some quick research, I decided on a simple sand pump, and it’s been worth it 100%!
Now if you know me at all, you know that I hate paying full price for anything. However, this pump was definitely worth the investment! Plus, with only paying a fraction of the original cost for the pool, getting a heavy-duty pump wasn’t that big of a deal!
When we first got our pool set up, we had absolutely no idea what to expect or even what to purchase chemical-wise. There are seriously a ton of different things out there!
Before heading out to the store to buy up all the pool-related things, simply start with a low-cost pool maintenance kit. This type of kit will quickly give you the stats you need to for getting your pool water off to a good clean start. Some water will need PH balancers and other costly extras, while some won’t!
Other starter chemicals we consider must-haves for keeping any pool water clean and clear all summer are pool shock & chlorine tablets.
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #2
- Sign up for the Clorox mobile app or deal emails to get a $10 off coupon every single summer!
- Purchase chlorine or shock on clearance towards the end of the summer and store for the following year.
We typically print our coupon and do one large purchase at the beginning of pool season. Then, we check back at our local stores for end-of-season clearance in July or Aug. Not only does this save us a little cash, but we also aren’t constantly running to the store because we run out.
Don’t worry too much if you find yourself running to the store MULTIPLE times that first year. It took us a little while before we figured out just how much stock we needed for an entire summer.
Once your pool and pump are set up and the water is treated, it’s time to figure out what tools you need!
While some of these tools are 100% essential, others just make the job easier. You can go super simple and stick to things like manual skimming or you can splurge and take your pool game up a notch.
You really only need a handful of items to care for your backyard pool on day to day basis.
The most important starter tool you can get is a higher-quality pole system that includes a brush, hand skimmer, and a vacuum head. This system will help take care of all your pool cleaning needs. Try to skip purchasing tools that come with their own poles and get a system that is easily interchangeable. This is not only a money saver but also a great space saver as well!
While all those supplies are great (and needed), these 2 extras can make the job even simpler if your budget allows!
Purchasing a skimmer that can easily be attached to the side of your pool is the easiest way to keep the surface water free of debris. Plus, it’s a simple way to cut down on manual skimming (which can be very time-consuming).
Simply attach and run the skimmer 15-20 minutes before you hop into the pool and the surface will be completely clean! This beauty definitely cuts down on your hand skimming time, but keep in mind it does work better with a stronger pump (such as the one mentioned above).
Also, remember to ALWAYS turn the skimmer off and dump the basket before jumping into the pool.
Keeping a simple sun shocker in your pool during peak sun hours is a great way to cut down on chlorine usage, while still maintaining an algae-free pool! This was a lifesaver for us when our pump was dying.
If you choose to invest in this simple tool, just make sure to brush the copper rod a few times during the season to keep it at its highest functioning level.
5) Suits & Towels
Great beach towels that are designated for swim time and budget-friendly swimsuits for the family are definitely essential, but also a no-brainer. I purchased a simple set of beach towels for after swim purposes only. This simply helps cut down on my bath towels mysteriously missing throughout the crazy summer months.
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #3
While new suits and fun beach towels are great, the cost can add up!
Luckily, there are always some great offers or deals throughout the summer.
For suits, I typically try and catch Target’s BOGO 50% off deal that runs towards the beginning of summer. I only do this because purchasing swim gear for kids during end-of-season clearance sales can be super hit and miss! Kids grow fast and NEWS FLASH — clothes don’t grow.
Check out the SWIM SHOP HERE.
Towels, however, are always best to stock up on when things go on clearance at the end of the season.
Bonus tip – if you aren’t in need of beach towels specifically, simply stock up on bath towel deals during the off-season.
YES! Googles are a true essential for pool-loving kiddos. Not just any goggles will do though.
I learned rather quickly that it’s super important to get high-quality goggles for kids. After purchasing a few different brands, we settled on Speedo goggles. These goggles are seriously the only ones that have ever lasted an entire season.
With that said, my kids are super hard on goggles – so I almost always end up buying them a new pair every single year!
However, they do their job really well. They keep water out. Other brands we have purchased in the past have been tossed or given away for breaking quickly, leaking water, or physically causing harm to my children.
Year after year we trust Speedo to get it right. My older boys prefer the snorkeling set but everything we’ve purchased from this brand has been a winner.
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #4
Waiting for these to go on clearance can be super tricky. Most years, the end-of-season selection is pretty slim and you may just miss out on the correct sizing for your little swimmer.
I highly suggest just keeping an eye out for those holiday sales towards the beginning of the season. Typically the week leading up to Memorial Day or the week before the Fourth of July tends to be a great time for shopping sales.
My suggestion is to buy early in the season, then check back in late summer for the possible random clearance find! It doesn’t hurt to have extras on hand, especially if your kids are anything like mine!
From floating rafts to doughnuts, inflatables can be a ton of fun in the pool!
My top pick is hands down these awesome arm floaties for the littles. Another Speedo product for the win! They cost a little more than traditional arm floaties, but they last (and work) so much better than the cheaper options. We have tried some other floaties in the past and these simply hold air better. My 5-year-old still doesn’t swim unassisted, but she’s able to be completely independent in the pool with these babies. Love, love, love them!
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #5
While you can typically find small savings on things like these throughout pool season, I’ve actually found that there is usually a good selection left over at the end of the season clearance sales.
If you’re in immediate need, hitting up the early savings and sales will definitely help. However, if you can wait – do it!
I got my daughter’s arm floaties on clearance a few years back for just a couple of bucks and it was the best investment ever! I’ve also been known to find high-quality donut inflatables on clearance for under $1!
Yes! With toys, your kids will want to spend hours and hours in the pool each and every day they can! My kids go absolutely wild when I come home with new pool toys, it’s seriously like Christmas morning to these guys.
Our Toy Must Haves…
- dive rings
- (and strangely) Oballs – I know Oballs aren’t exactly pool toys, but they are seriously a blast in the pool! We’ve played many monkey in the middle games in the pool with the popular Oball. They are also pretty easy to keep in the pool simply because they are easy to catch and hang on to.
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #6
Pool toys can be super hit and miss when it comes to finding deals. I typically get a couple of small things throughout the season when small deals or ad sales pop up. Then, I simply check back for clearance finds towards the end of summer. There are the occasional steal of a deal finds!
9) Sun Protection
Sunscreen is incredibly important when enjoying your backyard oasis! Sunburns are no joke, and the right sunscreen is key for ultimate protection.
Our go-to brands are 100% Babyganics and Young Living. I have never had a child burn while using the Babyganics sunscreen – I even use it for myself!
Young Living is also a huge part of our family’s lifestyle, so I trust their products fully as well. The Young Living sunscreen is a new product to our home collection but we are loving the protection it has given us so far!
Other Sun Protection…
Investing in simple rash guards and sun hats is a great way to cut down on sunscreen usage and protect your little ones from burning during the harsh summer months!
Check out this year’s rash guard options for BOYS and GIRLS
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #7
Stock up during summer essentials sales and look online for additional coupon savings! You can always find a good sunscreen sale during the summer. I never worry about stocking up on this stuff too much after the season as it does expire and clothes may not fit the following year.
Aside from the actual pool, this might possibly be the most important step to creating the backyard pool of your dreams! Storage is key to a functioning backyard pool. Without the proper bins and totes – you will have suits, towels, and toys spread out all over your backyard.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
Having all your pool things in a catch-all place will ensure a smoother finish to long summer days.
Our Top Storage Picks…
- Outdoor storage bin (for toys and floats)
- Deluxe Utility Tote (for towels & suits)
- Summer Fun Caddy (for small things like sunscreen)
Backyard Pool Ideas
Budget-Friendly TIP #8
Stock up on storage things during sale times.
Thirty-One offers great monthly deals on orders of $35 or more. Purchasing your deluxe utility tote during those sales can be a great money saver! Bonus if you get it when the insert is also available at a discount!
For your outdoor storage needs, waiting till your local store runs a patio sale or no finance deal is key! You can generally find excellent prices in the fall for this sort of thing!
Other Ways to Save…
My number one tip for staying under budget when purchasing all the things for your backyard pool is to sign up for store debit, credit, or rewards cards!
Store rewards can really add up, especially when purchasing larger items like a swimming pool!
My favorite In-Store Reward Programs
If you sign up for a Target REDcard – you always save 5% off on most purchases! Plus, if you download the target app, you will have access to additional circle benefits and store coupons!
Another simple way to save — Once you are a cardholder, simply hold off on ordering those pool essentials until your REDcard anniversary rolls around! Target always sends out an awesome 10% off your entire purchase coupon!
I just recently got mine and I totally stock up on everything our family needs when it arrives.
Super Money Saving Tip
While purchasing immediately might be exciting – holding off and creating a budget & plan might be the best money-saving option! If purchasing full price simply isn’t an option, I highly suggest starting with a notebook and creating a backyard pool wish list.
Then, simply pay attention to on-season sales and check back for off-season clearance deals! Purchasing individual items for your pool over the course of a year! This can be a HUGE money saver – it’s actually how we put ours together that first year.
We found our pool on clearance, then started the hunt for everything else.
Being patient and waiting isn’t always fun – but after a year, you will have built the pool oasis of your dreams! It’s totally worth it, you guys!!
Happy Swimming 🙂