Although we’re still battling through the colder months here in the UK, it’s always nice to think ahead to the summer. And what screams ‘summer’ more than a garden swimming pool?
Installing a proper swimming pool can be very expensive, but luckily there are plenty of inflatable swimming pools and metal frame pools on the market. These alternatives can help you entertain your kids and host amazing garden parties in the summer without breaking the bank, and they’re often super easy to set up and put away too.
But which back garden swimming pool should you choose? In this helpful guide, I’ll show you a wide variety of different garden pools to help you choose one that’s perfect for all the family. I’ll also give you some helpful installation and maintenance tips to help you get the most out of your new garden swimming pool.
Your Guide to the Best Garden Swimming Pools
No matter your circumstances, there’s definitely a garden swimming pool on the market that’ll be just right for you and your family. So, whether you need a paddling pool for your toddlers or a massive pool for throwing the best garden parties, I’ve got you covered with my comprehensive list of swimming pools for the garden.
Here’s a quick preview of the swimming pools I’ll be showing you. First, I’ll go through some general back garden swimming pool advice, but if you’re feeling impatient, you can click on the links below to head straight to the product reviews.
What Is the Best Pool for a Sloping Garden?
When installing pools for garden spaces, it’s always best to place them on a level surface. This will ensure even weight distribution once the pool is filled, preventing one side from facing too much pressure and potentially bursting.
Therefore, if you want to prolong the life of your garden swimming pool, please don’t place it on an uneven or sloping surface! Remember that one litre of water weighs one kilogram, so if you have a large garden pool with a capacity of thousands of litres, you’ll need a strong, stable and flat surface underneath to support it.
Luckily, there are ways to mitigate the effects of a slope in your garden. The first option is to dig out a level patch in your garden and install the pool on this surface. If you’re not a fan of this idea, you could install some sturdy decking in your garden instead, creating the perfect pool area.
The key thing to remember is that the pool will be very heavy, so you need to place it on a strong surface. You should also ensure that the surface beneath the pool is smooth, as a rough texture could scratch or even puncture the pool, especially if you’ve opted for an inflatable one.
In a pinch, you could potentially place a small inflatable pool on a slight slope, as long as the ground isn’t too rough or unstable. The Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool could be a good option for this because it’s sturdy, not too large and easy to set up and put away.
What Type of Pool Should You Choose?
In short, you have two types of outdoor pools to choose from: inflatable pools and metal frame pools.
Both types of swimming pools for gardens have their own positives and negatives, so the right one for you and your family will simply depend on your personal circumstances and needs. Here’s a quick summary of both pool types:
Inflatable Swimming Pools
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, inflatable swimming pools or paddling pools are the way to go. These pools are also much easier to set up, put away and store when not in use, making them a great choice for those who just want a small pool in the summer months that won’t cost the earth.
As the name suggests, inflatable pools need to be inflated with air during the installation process. This can easily be achieved with a hand or foot pump for smaller pools, although you could benefit from an electric air pump if you have a large garden pool, or if you just don’t feel like pumping air manually. Once the pool is set up, you’ll probably have to top it up with some more air periodically throughout the season to maintain its structural integrity.
Inflatable pools, and especially paddling pools, are usually shallower than other pool types, which makes them great for kids. However, this doesn’t mean you can leave children of any age unsupervised while they’re in the water, as even a small pool could potentially be dangerous. Armbands and adult supervision are always a must for water safety!
Metal Frame Swimming Pools
If you want a more long-term swimming pool in your garden, you should definitely look into metal frame pools. Although these pools take a bit more time and effort to install and aren’t as easy to store, they’re incredibly sturdy and usually much bigger than inflatable pools. This means they can be kept in your garden for long periods of time and be used by more people, making them ideal for large families or garden parties.
One downside is that metal frame swimming pools can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re opting for a large, high-end model. However, if you’re planning to get a lot of use and enjoyment out of your garden swimming pool, the investment could be totally worth it.
Top Garden Swimming Pools UK: Reviewed
So, now you know a bit more about garden swimming pools and where to install them, it’s time to have a look at some of the top products you can get in the UK. In this section, I’m going to show you some of the best swimming pools you can buy, with different pools to suit different needs and preferences.
Let’s get started!
Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool
First on my list is the fantastic Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool. If you’re looking for a decently priced, decently sized and sturdy inflatable pool, you really can’t go wrong with this product.
I bought this product a few years ago, and I have to say it’s been a fantastic investment. It’s been surprisingly sturdy and long-lasting, so even though I was expecting to have to buy a metal frame pool for the results I was looking for, I discovered that this inflatable pool can tick a lot of my boxes for a much more reasonable price.
For £69.99, you get a 3.05m x 3.05m x 0.76m pool with a capacity of 3854 litres, which is a brilliant size for multiple kids or a few adults. This round pool will fit into your garden without taking up too much space, and once you’re ready to put it away for the colder months, it’s extremely easy to store. I just keep it in the original box and store it in the garage, which works perfectly well for me.
This Intex Easy Set Up 10 Foot x 30 Inch Pool can last for years and years, so you won’t have to worry about buying another pool for a very long time. This outdoor pool boasts three layers of super tough vinyl material, which can be quickly inflated and deflated with the double-secured drain valve.
In fact, you only need to inflate the top ring of the pool as the pressure of the water will hold up the sides, so it couldn’t be easier to set it up. Once the pool is inflated, you can simply fill it up with your garden hose. I’d say this process takes me about 30-40 minutes in total.
Overall, this pool is possibly the best choice for families who want a reliable swimming pool for garden and outdoor use at certain times of the year because it’s so quick and easy to inflate, fill, deflate and store it. However, please bear in mind that no air pump or filter pump is included, so you’ll need to have your own products for inflating and cleaning the pool.
Hillington Jumbo Deluxe Rectangular Inflatable Family Swimming Pool
If rectangular pools are more your style, let me direct your attention to the Hillington Jumbo Deluxe Rectangular Inflatable Family Swimming Pool. This is another decently sized inflatable pool that’s suitable for almost all gardens and can accommodate multiple children or a few adults.
Let’s look at some of the features of this garden swimming pool: it has dimensions of 3.05m x 1.83m x 0.5m, a capacity of 1075 litres, multiple L-beam chambers for extra safety, an adaptor for connecting to a filter pump or garden hose, and an in-built safety valve for fast inflation and deflation. As you can see, the Hillington Jumbo Deluxe Rectangular Inflatable Family Swimming Pool boasts a range of fantastic features to make it easy for you to enjoy sunny days with your family and friends, and once the summer months end, you’ll be able to deflate and store your pool quickly and neatly.
Again, you’ll need to buy extra features such as air pumps and filter pumps yourself. However, at an amazing price of £24.99, this garden pool is a great affordable option, even once you add extra costs on top.
SHOKAN Paddling Pool for Kids
Are you currently looking for cheap swimming pools for the garden? If so, look no further than the SHOKAN Paddling Pool for Kids. At an amazing price of £14.99, this cheap and cheerful pool will help you get the most out of the summer sun on a budget. This is actually the first inflatable pool I bought a few years when I was looking for suitable options for young children, and although it wasn’t the biggest or best option, you really can’t beat the price.
Just because this option is affordable, doesn’t mean that it isn’t high quality! Like the above options, this garden pool is made from sturdy material and includes great safety features, such as its bubble floor that prevents slips and falls. In addition, this outdoor pool also comes with a repair patch, so you can mend any wear and tear to prolong its lifespan.
The safety features are particularly appreciated because this paddling pool is designed for young children. There won’t be too much water needed since the dimensions are only 100cm x 40cm, but please remember that children still need to be supervised in this pool at all times. I mostly kept this pool stored away and only set it up when I knew I would be there to supervise.
Even if your kids become less interested in swimming, you can still get a lot of use out of this versatile product by converting it into a ball pit or sand box. I didn’t try this myself, but I’ve seen helpful reviews from others who gave these ideas a go. You can also easily move this pool around your garden due to its compact size and quick set up. This product only takes 2 minutes to inflate with an electric pump (not included), which means you can set it up and put it away as often as you need.
Outsunny 274cm x 76cm Inflatable Swimming Pool
Next, we have the medium-sized Outsunny 274cm x 76cm Inflatable Swimming Pool. With dimensions of 274cm x 274cm x 76cm, this garden swimming pool can easily fit four people without becoming too large and cumbersome for regular-sized gardens.
The Outsunny 274cm x 76cm Inflatable Swimming Pool boasts a three-layer PVC shell, making it extra sturdy and durable. So, if you want a pool in your garden that will last for many years, you really can’t go wrong with this reliable option.
Another great selling point is that this pool is super easy to set up and drain thanks to the well-designed drain valve. And, with a total price of £62.99, you’ll receive both the inflatable pool and a hand pump for a simple installation process. This means you can start getting your new pool ready as soon as you receive it!
Intex 28272 Metal Frame Rectangular Pool without Filter Pump
Inflatable pools are ideal for those who want a smaller, more affordable pool that can quickly be set up and put away as needed. For those who are interested in bigger pools that they can properly swim in, metal frame pools are usually the better option.
If you want something bigger than a typical inflatable pool but not too expensive or oversized, the Intex 28272 Metal Frame Rectangular Pool without Filter Pump is a great in-between option. This fantastic outdoor pool has a 3834-litre capacity and dimensions of 3m x 2m x 0.75m, making it ideal for moderately sized gardens.
Although this product isn’t one of the larger metal frame pools on the market, it’s still great fun for the whole family. I first set up this pool last summer during the heatwave, and while the kids loved swimming and playing in it, the adults equally enjoyed sitting on the four corner seats to cool down during the afternoon. This pool fitted in the garden very well considering its generous size, and it didn’t take me too long to set it up (around an hour) compared to other metal frame pools thanks to the handy instruction DVD and manual.
At £139.99, this swimming pool is more affordable than other metal frame pools. However, this pool isn’t very large and also doesn’t come with a filter pump, so you’ll have to buy your own products to clean the pool. I typically used chlorine tablets for keeping the water clean and gave the pool a good scrub between uses. You may also benefit from buying a pool cover as this will keep debris out of the water when not in use.
Bestway 56404-19 Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool
Although I haven’t tried this product myself, it looks extremely similar to the previous entry on this list and is from a reputable brand (Bestway), so I don’t think you could go wrong with this one.
The Bestway 56404-19 Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool is a similar price and size to the Intex Metal Frame Pool, so it pretty much fulfils the same needs. For £133.48, you get a 3.00m x 2.01m x 0.66m pool with a 3300-litre capacity, which I think is a great little bargain for a robust metal frame pool!
You certainly won’t have to worry about your kids destroying the pool in just one season. Thanks to its three-ply TriTech material and anti-corrosion steel frame, the Bestway 56404-19 Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool will last for years to come, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
Like the Intex alternative, the Bestway version doesn’t come with a filter pump but does come with a built-in drain valve and instruction DVD. Overall, I think the Intex and Bestway pools are great value for money if you just want a moderately sized and sturdy swimming pool, but if you’re looking for bigger pools, better tech and more high-end features, you’ll probably have to extend your budget.
Bestway Power Steel above ground pool, with filter and ladder
Now, let’s move on to the larger swimming pools for garden and outdoor use.
From now on, you’ll notice a lot of products from Bestway. This is because I’ve found that metal frame pools from Bestway tend to be super reliable and high-quality, so you really can’t find much better for the price.
At £590, the Bestway Power Steel above ground pool, with filter and ladder is a lot pricier than the previous products on this list, but you definitely get what you pay for. This brilliant pool has a capacity of 6478 litres and dimensions of 4.04m x 2.01m x 1.00m, which means there’s plenty of space for multiple adults and children to relax, paddle and swim.
This pool also boasts sturdy construction, including extra thick PVC TriTech material with a rattan print design and a strong metal frame around the edge. This pool is pretty deep, so make sure you’re always supervising kids while they’re in the water.
The extra features definitely justify the price increase. This pool comes with a ladder, a filter pump, an in-and-out system for two hoses, a ChemConnect chlorine dispenser and a repair patch. Bestway also provides an instruction video to help you with the setup process. I haven’t used this specific video myself since I haven’t bought this pool, but I can tell you that these instruction videos and DVDs are a lifesaver!
Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, Grey, 10 ft
In terms of value for money, you really can’t get better than the Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, Grey, 10 ft. Although it’s not as large as the previous product, you still get a very generous 4678-litre capacity and dimensions of 3.05m x 3.05m x 0.76m, which is nothing to turn your nose up at!
This round pool has a very rigid and durable shape, which is enhanced and supported by the anti-corrosion metal frame. In addition, you get a whole host of amazing features and add-ons, such as a flow control and filter pump system (filter pump included), a well-designed drain valve and a repair patch.
Unlike the previous Bestway product, this product doesn’t come with its own ladder or chlorine dispenser, but at an amazing price of £160.18, who can really complain? I’d definitely recommend this pool to anyone looking for a moderately sized round pool with a sturdy metal frame.
Bestway BW56438GB-21 Steel Pro Max Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, Grey, 15ft
The next item on my list is essentially a larger version of the same product. Usually, I wouldn’t go over different versions of the same product within my reviews, but I just had to include this one because I’ve used it myself and absolutely loved it!
The Bestway BW56438GB-21 Steel Pro Max Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, Grey, 15ft is a more recent purchase for me, but it’s quickly replaced my previous favourite, the Intex 28272 Metal Frame Rectangular Pool without Filter Pump. Even though this product is more expensive at £439.99, you get so many amazing features with it and the pool itself is so much larger.
In fact, this pool can hold a whopping 16,015 litres of water and is 4.5m across and 1.2m deep. Thanks to its size, the Bestway BW56438GB-21 Steel Pro Max Round Frame Swimming Pool with Filter Pump, Grey, 15ft is brilliant for garden parties and pool parties – I haven’t been able to host one yet since buying it, but I’m definitely looking forward to doing that this summer!
With this pool, you’ll also receive a repair patch, safety ladder and flow control and filter system (filter pump included). Again, this pool has an anti-corrosion metal frame like other Bestway products, and the strong TriTech material will ensure that you can enjoy your pool for years to come.
One downside is that the setup instructions are a little confusing. I have to admit that it took me longer than expected to get the pool ready, but now that I’ve done it once, I’ll be able to sort it out much more quickly in the future. Also, a pool cover isn’t included with the product, but I’ve found that a cover is essential if you want to keep the same water for any period of time. Constantly emptying and refilling a pool of this size would be a mammoth task, so make sure you invest in cleaning supplies, a net and a decent pool cover.
Overall, I have to say that this is one of the best pools for gardens I’ve come across. It’s a bit pricier at £439.99, but if you’re willing to spend that amount I don’t think you’ll regret it.
Bestway BW56465GB-21 Power Steel Above Ground Pool, with Pump and Ladder
If you’re willing to spend £795, you could buy yourself the brilliant Bestway BW56465GB-21 Power Steel Above Ground Pool, with Pump and Ladder. This 5.49m x 2.74m x 1.22m pool can hold up to 14,812 litres of water, providing the perfect space for swimming, playing and relaxing for hours on end.
This large, rectangular pool comes with a filter pump, repair patch, safety ladder, ChemConnect chlorine dispenser, built-in flow control drain valve, anti-corrosion metal frames and heavy-duty PVC and polyester side walls, giving you everything you need for an easy setup. However, since this pool is so large, it’s a good idea to have another person helping you since some of the pieces are quite big and heavy.
At 18ft long, this is the ideal garden pool for people who want to have a proper swim, but remember that this will take up a lot of outdoor space. However, if you do have the space for it, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed with this excellent metal frame pool for garden use.
Intex Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool
Next, let’s look at the huge Intex Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool. With dimensions of 5.49m x 2.74m x 1.32m and a capacity of 17,203 litres, you can almost get the experience of having a full-sized swimming pool right in your back garden.
However, this pool doesn’t come cheap. In total, this pool will cost you £1730.88, which is a big investment. For this amount, you’ll also benefit from the latest swimming pool technology and high-quality extras, such as a Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump with hydro aeration technology, a safety ladder with removable steps, a ground cloth and a pool cover.
Overall, this is a fantastic garden swimming pool if you’re willing to part with a larger amount of money. It’ll also last for many years and provide countless hours of fun for the whole family, so the investment could be worth it if you think you’ll get a lot of use out of this pool.
Intex 32ft x 16ft x 52inch Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool
Last but certainly not least, we’ve got the Intex 32ft x 16ft x 52inch Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool. If you want to come as close to installing an actual built-in outdoor pool as possible, you should check out this absolutely massive garden swimming pool.
This giant outdoor pool has dimensions of 9.75m x 4.88m x 1.32m and a total capacity of 54,368 litres of water. If you want to do a lot of swimming or invite loads of guests to your future garden parties, then this pool will give you everything you need and more.
In addition to its huge size, this 32ft Intex pool boasts the latest swimming pool technology and high-quality extras, just like the previous pool on this list. You’ll receive a Krystal Clear Sand Filter Pump with hydro aeration technology, a safety ladder with easily removable steps, a ground cloth and a pool cover. This pool is also constructed with sturdy and durable material, which means it’ll last for years and years.
Due to its size, this pool will be more difficult to set up and take down, and you’ll need a lot of storage space to accommodate it when it’s not in use. Your garden will need to be large too, so make sure you consider all of these factors before purchasing.
Naturally, the cost of this mega-sized garden pool will also be pretty huge. Currently, you can purchase the Intex 32ft x 16ft x 52inch Rectangular Ultra XTR Metal Frame Swimming Pool for £2500, so it’s definitely a big investment. However, the quality is definitely there, so it could be the right choice for you if you’re looking for a more high-end purchase or the ability to do a lot of swimming.
How to Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean
While you think about the products you may be interested in, let’s talk about essential maintenance tips you’ll need to follow once you have your own pool. Not keeping on top of maintenance and cleaning can leave you with a pretty gross pool of water, so let’s address that straight away.
First of all, it’s important to mention that your pool cleaning habits will depend on the type of pool you have and how often you use it. For example, if you have a small inflatable pool that you use infrequently, you may find it easier to refill it each time you use it and clean the material between uses.
However, if you have a larger pool that you use more often, it may be too much of a chore to refill it all the time, not to mention a waste of water! In this case, you should definitely use a filtration system to keep the water clean over a longer period of time. You can either buy a filter pump or buy a garden swimming pool that comes with its own filter pump.
Additionally, you should buy a chlorine dispenser and chlorine tablets if you’re going to be keeping the same pool of water for a while. This will disinfect the water to keep you, your family and your guests safe and healthy while enjoying your new back garden swimming pool.
For general debris, you should use a pool net to pull out any twigs and leaves that fall into the water over time. To keep on top of this task, you should devote a few minutes to it every day, otherwise, your pool could quickly become very dirty. Without a net to remove this debris, you would probably have to get rid of the old water and fill the pool again.
Cleaning out the pool can be a pretty boring job, but luckily you can save yourself some time by buying a pool cover. This will prevent debris from falling into the water when the pool isn’t being used, so you won’t have to use the pool net all the time. Plus, if you use a black or dark-coloured pool cover, this will warm up the water naturally throughout the day.
Extras You May Need
If you have a swimming pool in garden/outdoor areas, you’re probably aware that you need quite a few extras to help you enjoy your pool throughout the summer season. Not only will you need filter pumps, chlorine tablets and pool nets to keep the water fresh and clean, but you’ll also need a few more pool accessories to help you get the most out of your pool.
For example, during the setup process, you’ll need different tools depending on whether you have an inflatable or metal frame garden swimming pool. For metal frame pools, you’ll usually just follow the instructions and pull the metal poles through the PVC pool material, but for inflatable pools, you’ll need a way to fill the material with air. Hand pumps or foot pumps should be just fine for a smaller pool, but you may want an electric air pump for a large garden pool to save you a bit of time and effort.
Some inflatable pools (usually larger ones or higher-end products) come with their own air pumps, so you don’t need to worry about getting your own equipment. Similarly, some garden pools will come with their own pool ladders, pool covers and cleaning equipment, which is a huge help if you’re installing a back garden swimming pool for the first time.
If you’re buying a pool that doesn’t come with any extras, I would definitely recommend getting things like a pool ladder and pool cover in addition to necessary add-ons like air pumps and filter pumps. A pool ladder is super helpful for larger pools in particular because it’ll help people enter the pool more easily and safely, and it’ll also protect your pool since people won’t be clambering over the sides and damaging the material.
As explained earlier, a pool cover is essential for keeping the water free of debris when not in use and reducing the amount of pool cleaning and maintenance you have to do. Moreover, I would strongly recommend getting a pool cover as a safety precaution, especially if you have children or pets who could potentially fall into the water. Since my cats are particularly inquisitive, I always use a pool cover when the pool is unoccupied to prevent them from slipping in when I’m not there to watch them.
Dark-coloured pool covers are also great at naturally heating the pool when the sun is shining. If you want a bit of extra heat, you could buy a pool heater to keep the water at a comfortable temperature in the evening or outside of the summer months. Otherwise, you could sit and relax in the cool water during the hottest days of the year – my cool and refreshing outdoor pool was a lifesaver during the heatwave last summer!
Finally, to make your pool child-friendly, you can ensure that you’re stocked up on armbands and pool toys to keep the children safe and entertained. Your kids can have hours and hours of fun in your garden swimming pool, but please remember to supervise them at all times!
Make the Most of the UK Summer – Final Things to Remember
Installing a proper outdoor swimming pool can be a huge expense, and with the UK weather being so unpredictable, it seems like this expense isn’t really worth it for a few weeks of sunshine and swimming.
However, when summer’s in full swing, it can be great to enjoy some time in your garden with family and friends. An inflatable or metal frame pool would be a fantastic addition to this space, even if you only have a small garden.
When looking for a new inflatable or metal frame pool, it’s important to consider your personal circumstances, such as your budget, your space, your time and your pool preferences. For example, if you’re just looking for a small pool for your kids to play in during the summer, an inflatable paddling pool might be all you need, but if you’re hoping to host some amazing garden parties with all your family and friends, a large metal frame pool would probably be best if this can fit within your budget.
My product reviews can help you find the perfect swimming pool for garden use. Before you make any purchasing decisions, make sure you check out my list of the best products. I’ve included a wide range of products to suit different circumstances and preferences, so no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the right pool for you.
Finally, I just need to reiterate that pool safety should always be a top priority, especially if you have kids or pets. When enjoyed safely, a garden swimming pool can help you create so many happy memories, so start searching for your perfect pool now to make the most of summer 2023!
I’m Chloe, the founder of this site. I was literally born with green fingers and have been into all things gardening since I was a little girl. Gardening is my passion as you can see from the TON of content I’ve published on my site. Thanks for checking out this post but please also take a look around the site to see what else might pique your interest. P.S I am *always* looking for helpful feedback, so if you have something you would like to suggest or just wanna say hi – drop me a message – firstname.lastname@example.org, don’t be shy!