Start planning for next Summer | MCM Swimming Pool inspiration

With images raging across the world from Modernism Week at Palm Springs it is hard to not dream of lazing about in your very own MCM swimming pool!

We may not be able to build one quite to this extravagance (or with that view) but there are plenty of options for creating a backyard modernist paradise.


A swimming pool automatically becomes the focal point of any yard and should be easily accessed from the living areas of the home.  If it is tucked up the back corner of the yard and is an effort to get to, then it won’t get used!

Using the pool deck area as an extension of the living spaces and therefore the building itself is displayed perfectly below in Harry Seidler’s Gissing House.

Mid-century modern architecture considers all aspects of a home both inside and out. A swimming pool is often integral to the overall scheme and feel, as can be seen is this Queensland home with its wide verandahs wrapping around the central courtyard with the pool as a focal element.

Depending on the layout of your property, the best location for your swimming pool may even be in your front yard.  Privacy is probably important and a great pool area can be created behind a solid screen wall.

Material & Shape

As seen below in this great image from ‘Better Outdoor Living’, mid-century modern pools were not scared of being a little wiggly.  The kidney shape pool is a modernist icon!

via Richard Aitken, Cultivating Modernism: Reading the Modern Garden 1917 to 1971

The beauty of building a concrete swimming pool is that the size and shape is limited only by your imagination (& budget)!

So you can throw a bit of a kink down one side.

Or put a bit of a swimout to one end.

Or why not just go mad and freeform!

A fibreglass pool does constrain you to the shape of the shells available, however they do come in a variety to styles that mean you don’t have to have a boring old rectangle.




Once again the pool shell dictates your internal finish.

A concrete shell allows you to select a range of materials to suit your design.  Ceramic tiles can be used throughout the entire pool or just as a feature along the waterline.

A pebblecrete finish can be used for a more natural look or otherwise a concrete shell can be painted and the effect that the water has on different colours can be quite startling!


The overall pool deck area can be constructed of any surface to complement your home and the garden design.

Timber decking provides a clean rectangular finish and works well as an extension of decked entertaining areas.

Decking can be used in conjunction with other materials allowing raised seating areas to step up from a paved pool coping and surrounding paths.

Austin Design Associates (via

The pool below displays what can be achieved using natural stone and pebble materials in quite a stunning and unique combination.


A pebblecrete border is quite iconic for a mid-century style pool and can be used in combination with pavers or even lawn.



As shown in these examples, the pavement beyond your pool coping can be constructed of a wide range of materials including concrete, clay pavers, tiles, natural stone or house bricks.

Pool Safety

Finally and most importantly, any swimming pool must have a pool fence.

Our pool safety regulations in Australia are very good and with good reason, and these days pool fencing is all part of having a swimming pool.

By considering the fencing requirements in conjunction with the pool layout, a good design can be achieved that is safe, compliant and fits into the design of your yard.