In fact, some homeowners are actually drowning in regret over the full-sized pools in their backyards. A common refrain was voiced by home owner James Sinclair of Sherman Oaks. “It’s just my wife and me here now, and we only swim in our pool about two or three times a year,” he says. “The neighborhood dogs use it more than we do! It dominates the entire backyard, and maintenance costs an arm and a leg. We use our jacuzzi a lot more.”
Tami Halton Pardee, CEO and founder of Halton Pardee + Partners, specializes in properties on the coastal side of Los Angeles, and says that lap pools are becoming increasingly popular, especially since lots on the West side are generally smaller.
“There’s duality in what they do for people,” she says. “It’s a water feature for some, it’s a physical form of exercise for others.”
“Normal pools are great,” she says. “But sometimes they overtake the yard. Most people want both a yard and a pool.” She’s recently sold homes where the buyer has wound up reducing the size of the backyard pool. “I think that’s beginning to be a trend,” she says, noting that with resistance jets, those who use their pools for exercise can get just as much of a workout in a lap pool.
Splashy features: Designer Jae Omar created this indoor/outdoor lap pool, surrounded by a wood deck that reflects the top-to-bottom paneling running throughout the first level of this four-bedroom home. Although the beach is within walking distance, the private lap pool is a lot more convenient, and keeps prying eyes (and photographers) at bay.
Splashy features: This slender pool runs the length of the home and ends in a waterfall-wall that doubles as an outdoor movie screen, creating a float-in movie theater. Or you can relax with your feet in the water from the lap pool’s Baja shelf. The 3,111-square-foot home is brand-new, and features bedrooms with terraces that overlook the pool and Zen gardens.
Splashy features: When you have waterfalls, a stream, and a lake on your 31-acre property in Connecticut, all you really need is a a lap pool completely enclosed with glass to round out the water features. The pool runs parallel to the river, to offer the feeling of swimming outdoors year-round. There are glorious views of the countryside from the glass poolhouse, the guest cottage, and the main residence, which was built from two vintage barns that were taken apart and reconstructed.
Splashy features: In the desert, pools are extremely hard to maintain because water evaporates in the heat, and residents are left with outrageous water bills. So a lap pool like this, shaded by ficus on one side and a two-story home on the other, is an ideal solution. There’s also an in-ground spa and summer kitchen—all with mountain views—in the backyard of this three-bedroom home.
Splashy features: Perched on the highest point of a ridge above the Old Santa Fe Trail, this is a spectacular lap pool, with a view! Throw in an attached spa and a round, sunken conversation area with a fire pit, and you have a beautiful backyard. Plus it’s all consummately private, because the 7,298-square-foot home sits at the summit of a 53-acre lot.
Splashy features: A design unique to Florida, this 40-foot, two-lane lap pool sits inside a screened-in lanai. You can actually swim laps while watching your friends sittin’ on the dock of the bay! Located on Skakett Island, the three-bedroom home has a brand-new kitchen.
Splashy features: This brand-new house, built on a small lot, features a spa and 84-foot lap pool that wraps around the house. It’s strategically set along one side, so lawn space isn’t sacrificed, and it makes meaningful use of the side yard, a usually forgotten strip of property. There’s plenty of space for an outdoor living room with a fireplace and waterfall, a fully equipped barbecue area, and multiple patios and decks.
Splashy features: Just to show you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy the virtues of a lap pool, this reasonably priced home has a heated, saltwater pool. It leaves plenty of space for a patio, spa, a fire pit, and garden space. Built in 1975, this three-bedroom home was well ahead of the current lap pool trend, and has been recently updated inside, with a new, open kitchen.