Home Improvement : Lap Pool Fits Smaller California Home Sites

This is the time of year when everyone without a backyard pool wants one. If your budget is as limited as your backyard is small, you might consider a lap pool.

Instead of paying $15,000 or more for a full-sized pool that would probably take up all the backyard of a typically tiny California building lot, you might consider constructing your own lap pool and deck with plans from Stevenson Projects in Del Mar.

The eight-foot-wide pool illustrated here is 32 feet long and can be built for $2,250, including the cost of the redwood deck, a retractable pool cover, pump, filter and plumbing, according to Susanne Stevenson.

Lap pools are only four feet deep and are typically five to 10 feet wide (pools eight feet wide and wider can accommodate two swimmers at a time). If you have one built with conventional techniques, it probably won’t cost much less than a typical backyard pool, because pool costs are usually based on perimeter feet rather than volume. That’s one reason why I like this do-it-yourself design so much.


The long, relatively narrow lap pools were once used only by competitive swimmers. Today, they are increasingly popular with fitness-minded homeowners, especially those who already have a spa or hot tub.

Because they hold less water than conventional pools, lap pools are easier to keep comfortably warm. If you can manage to place your pool in a sunny part of the lot, you might be able to get by without additional heat, thanks to the shallow depth.

The design from Susanne and Peter Stevenson, working in cooperation with the California Redwood Assn., uses the same kind of vinyl liner used in store-bought above-ground pools.

Although the length of the pool illustrated above is 32 feet, the plans can be easily adapted to any size with even-number dimensions. The redwood decking is constructed of two-foot-square modules applied at right angles to create a parquet effect. Short lengths (eight feet or less) of construction heart redwood--less expensive and easier to handle than regular lengths--are specified. The California Redwood Assn. recommends the application of a water repellent containing mildewcide to minimize the effects of dirt and moisture.


To order detailed construction plans for the lap pool and deck, send $10 to: Stevenson Projects, Dept. RW, Box 584, Del Mar, Calif. 92014.