San Diego's Best Pools

Step into our swimming pool fantasy


Photo by Priddy Smith

The $16 Million View


12,000 gallons
6.5 feet deep
Salt-water generator

Because the location is right on the bay and the tide rises every night, the shell of the pool had to be built in a day. It took 22 men until midnight at the lowest tide of the month to get the job done.

At certain times of night, when the wind dies down, you can actually hear the crack of the bat when a player gets a hit at Petco Park.

To achieve the edge effect, the final design was raised from its original concept.

The property’s eco-friendly design earned it a LEED Gold Certification. The remaining solar energy from the house helps heat the pool.

Owned by Jeff and Sharon Stevens
Designed and built by architect Dorothy Howard, Lorton Mitchell Custom Homes, and North County Pools


Photo by Priddy Smith

A Kid's Paradise

Del Mar

65,000 - 70,000 gallons
9 feet deep
75-foot waterslide
2,000-gallon koi pond
Four-feature waterfall
Spa at the very top

The owners built the pool before they built their house. Keeping their six children in mind, they wanted a place for them to hang out and have fun while everything else was under construction.

It took about nine truckloads and nearly 180 tons of natural boulders to create the cascading rocky landscape.

The ficus tree, with its mossy yet sturdy branches, was craned in and chosen specifically to hold the rope swing.

The pool has an underwater swim-through grotto.

Owned by Jeffrey and Karen Dunham
Designed by Josh Lawson, formerly of San Diego Pools
Maintained by Brian Costelloe of Pacific Paradise Pools and Spas and Dave Ericson of Secret Gardens Landscape


Photos by Priddy Smith

To find the perfect shade of ocean blue, the design team tested more than 20 different tile colors, creating mockups and submersing the samples in water at various times of day. (Tile by Lightstreams in San Francisco)

Infinite Tranquility

La Jolla

10,000 gallons
6 feet deep
Glass-tile bottom
Rim-flow edge

The house is owned by former San Diego Padre Chris Young, who is 6’10” tall. The designers made the spa 10 inches deeper than usual to accommodate his height. The jets are laid out specifically for therapeutic purposes.

The owners chose patio furniture by the ultra-high-end McKinnon and Harris. The aluminum powder-coated frames are designed to withstand all types of weather.

Added bonus: The spa doubles as a fountain when not in use.

Owned by Chris and Liz Young
Designed by Skip Phillips at Questar Pools
Built by Keith Lowry at Verdant Custom Outdoors


Photos by Priddy Smith

The owners are both swimmers and wanted a true lap-pool design. The pool’s depth varies, but they made sure both ends were deep enough for flip turns.

Lap of Luxury

La Jolla

24,000 gallons
6 feet deep
73.5 feet long
Salt-water generator
Glass-tile bottom
Rim-flow edge

For tile, the owners chose a blend of blues, which reflect the nearby ocean, and golds, which give off flecks of sunshine. The colors complement the deck, made of yellow Halila limestone, which comes from a quarry in Jerusalem.

This automatic pool cover, designed by Aquamatic, retains heat and keeps chemical usage low. Cool factor: It's stored inside the pool, and comes up through the water. Here’s how it works: A hydraulic lid in the floor of the pool opens, allowing the plastic cover to float to the top. At the surface, it unrolls slat by slat, in both directions, until it reaches the ends. Very James Bond.

Designed by Skip Phillips at Questar Pools and Michael Morton at Marengo Morton Architects
Built by Jeff Dunn at Mission Pools


Photos by Photos by Undine Pröhl & John Leonffu

This 10,500-square-foot house wraps around the top of a hill in RSF. The angled roofs and stairs leading into the pool emphasize the stepping quality of the design as it moves down the hillside.

Fluid Architecture

Rancho Santa Fe

19,000 gallons
5.5 feet deep
2,800 gallon reflecting pond

The 1-foot-deep reflecting pond begins at the edge of the house, and was designed as an extension of the main living room. From there, the water appears to flow into the spa, which then spills over into the pool, which extends to the garden. In reality, the pond, spa, and pool waters are all kept separate, but the idea of water flowing from the house to the garden makes for some seriously good chi.

Architects Taal Safdie and Ricardo Rabines
Built by Mission Pools

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