Want to design your own pool? If so, you need to start by choosing a pool planning software. However, there are several different programs to pick from, so how do you find the best pool design software for you?
To help you out, we’ve compiled this guide to review the most popular pool design software for homeowners. We’ll take a look at pool design apps, desktop solutions, and some free options, so you’ll be better equipped to find the right tool for you.
Best Pool Design Software – Full Round-Up
- NPT Backyard: Best Free Pool Design App
- SmartDraw: Easiest Pool Design Software for Beginners
- SketchUp: Best Swimming Pool Design Software for iPad & Best Free Pool Design Software Online
- DreamPlan: Best Pool and Landscape Design Software on Mac
- Pool Studio: Overall Best Pool Design Software for Professionals on Windows
- PoolTemplates: High Quality Solution with Plumbing & Electrical Planning + Cost Estimates
1. NPT Backyard – Best Free Pool Design App
Fantastic mobile apps for iOS and Android
Use this pool design software for free
High quality template designs
Add spa features
Intuitive and simple to use
Easy to share designs
Lacks some advanced modeling features of PC software
Most pool design software isn’t available on mobile, but NPT Backyard is an intuitive app for designing pools on smartphones and tablets. Also, its pool design software for Apple and Android devices is free to download and use.
In fact, this app is one of the best specialist pool design tools out there. You can start off by browsing a variety of stunning pool designs for inspiration, and then begin creating your own custom design – which you can make from scratch or base off one of the examples.
You can then choose the size and shape of your pool and pick from a wide range of different tiling and coping options. One of the best things about NPT Backyard is that it makes it super easy to add additional features to your design, such as a jacuzzi spa.
Once you’re finished, you can use this free pool design software to render high-quality AR models, which you can set against your backyard and share with friends, family, or a builder.
2. SmartDraw – Easiest Pool Design Software for Beginners
Very simple for beginners to use
Use ready-made templates or create own floor plan
Populate plans with furniture and textures
Easily accessible online
Affordable and free trial
Only offers very basic pool design tools
SmartDraw landscape design software is one of the simplest pool planning tools on the market, and it’s super accessible for beginners.
SmartDraw doesn’t offer 3D modeling or the range of pool design features as the other programs on our list – it’s a stripped-back drawing tool for designing initial drafts.
You can get started by using one of the many templates or drawing your own floor plan, which you can then populate with various furniture symbols and flooring textures.
SmartDraw is an online web app so you can create pool designs without needing to download any software. It’s not free, but it does have a free trial and is affordable at just $9.95 per month.
3. SketchUp – Best Swimming Pool Design Software for iPad & Best Free Pool Design Software Online
One of the few pool design software for Mac
Excellent iPad app
Free pool design software online
Powerful 3D modeling tools
High quality rendering
Steeper learning curve than other pool building software
SketchUp is a powerful 3D CAD program that’s mostly used for interior design and landscaping, but is also a popular pool designer software.
In fact, there are a wide range of YouTube tutorials showing how to model a pool using SketchUp, and you can even access pool designs made by other users in the SketchUp Warehouse, either as inspiration or to use as a base for your own design.
You can use the online version as 3D pool design software for free, or download the paid version onto your computer and benefit from much larger storage and more advanced features. SketchUp is one the few pool design software that’s available on Mac as well as Windows.
It also offers a fantastic pool design software for iPad app. The SketchUp app has all the great features of its PC counterpart and has the added benefit of being able to design using an Apple Stylus.
As SketchUp is a 3D CAD program, you can create all your pool design elements from scratch, or use elements from the vast design library. It also offers some of the most high quality, interactive 3D renders on the market.
4. DreamPlan – Best Pool and Landscape Design Software on Mac
- Price: from $16.97 for home use & $19.99 for commercial use
Specialist pool and landscape design software
Produce impressive 3D models
Vast library for models and textures including pool furniture
Available on Mac
Affordable with free trial
Graphics aren’t as good as some other pool design programs
DreamPlan is a specialist home, landscape, and pool design software that offers some of the best range of tools on the market.
Available on Mac and Windows, with DreamPlan you can use a variety of modes to create 2D blueprint plans, render your blueprints in 2D, and then convert them into comprehensive 3D models. The built-in pool design wizard also allows you to easily define the shape and size of your pool.
It boasts a vast textures library with many different tile designs you can use in your pool, as well as a wide range of house, garden, and decking models, so you can design around your pool also. You can even add features like diving boards, sunbeds, and parasols with this intuitive pool deck design software.
Despite having such a great range of features, DreamPlan is super affordable with home and commercial licenses both costing under $20, making it ideal for both homeowners and professional designers and constructionists.
5. Pool Studio – Overall Best Pool Design Software for Professionals on Windows
- Price: from $147 per month
Specialist pool design software for professionals
Three drawing tools and five editing tools
Models are updated automatically according to changes
Generate interactive 3D renderings
Presentations and construction calculations
Not available on Mac
While the likes of SketchUp and DreamPlan are great software, they’re not pure pool design programs – those are few and far between.
However, Pool Studio is one of the most comprehensive specialist solutions on the market, and is certainly a contender for best pool drawing software on Windows.
It boasts three drawing tools and five editing tools, so you have complete control over every aspect of your pool design. The tools detect changes and recalculate automatically, making it easy to edit your designs.
Pool Studio offers several other programs, including a landscape design software and an augmented reality app that transforms your designs into interactive 3D models – providing a complete solution.
However, its more expensive than most other pool design tools, so while if you’re a professional it’s ideal, if you’re a homeowner looking to draft a pool design, this is probably overkill.
Pool Studio has a variety of features to help professional designers pitch and sell to clients, including immersive 3D presentations and one-click construction calculations. You can even import topographic terrain lines from AutoCAD or scan in sitemaps to create accurate pool designs while working around clients’ existing property features.
Throw in a vast model library and the ability to design unique decking and even pergolas around your pool, as well as top quality rendering, and it’s clear that Pool Studio is easily one of the best 3D pool design software out there.
6. PoolTemplates – High Quality Solution with Plumbing & Electrical Planning + Cost Estimates
- Price: $495
Create 1D, 2D, and 3D plans and designs
4K renderings and HD movies
Supports electrical and plumbing planning
Generate accurate cost estimates
Powerful modeling tools and vast library
Expensive with no monthly payment option
Not available on Mac
PoolTemplates is another high-quality and specialist pool planning software that not only allows you to design your pool, but also to get accurate cost estimates for building it.
One of the best things about this program is the stunning 4K renderings and HD movies you can produce, which are perfect for sharing with family, clients, or builders. You can design from the base up, starting with 1D floor plans and moving onto 2D and 3D models.
This software his highly flexible, with customizable forms, formulas, and materials, and it offers a wide range of landscaping and water features you can add to your designs. You can convert any scale, import plot plans and Google Maps data, and even create plumbing and electrical plans.
The comprehensive suite of high quality features mean PoolTemplates rivals Pool Studio as the top professional solution, but it’s also accessible to DIY homeowners. The only downside is that there’s no monthly payment option.
Buying Guide – Things to consider when choosing pool software
First things first, you need a 3D pool design software that’s compatible with your operating system. Some programs like Pool Studio are only available on Windows, while SketchUp and DreamPlan also work on Mac. SketchUp offers the best iPad app for pool design, while NPT Backyard is the number one smartphone app.
Types of Features Available
It’s important to know that the features available DIY pool design software vary. For example, more general purpose programs like SmartDraw and DreamPlan allow you to design basic pools by shape, size, tile color, etc. However, tools like NPT Backyard and Pool Studio offer a great variety of features, such as adding spa components.
If you want to design the decking and garden around your pool, you should also check the model library of a software to see how extensive it, with the likes of Pool Studio excelling in this regard.
Quality of the 3D rendering & graphics
If you’re designing a pool for fun or are a homeowner just brainstorming ideas, then you may want to save some cash by going for a cheap software with more basic graphics and renderings. However, professional pool designers will need the top quality rendering capabilities of software like Pool Studio and PoolTemplates in order to impress clients.
Training & Usability
If you’re new to digital design, it’s important to know that a lot of software take some time to learn, particularly 3D modeling programs like SketchUp, Pool Studio, and PoolTemplates. If you’re a beginner, you may be best off starting out with a more basic software, such as NPT Backyard or SmartDraw.
Price & Free Trial
You can design pools at no expense thanks to pool design software for homeowners for free, such as NPT Backyard and SketchUp Online. However, if you want the features on offer in programs like DreamPlan and Pool Studio, you’ll need to pay.
Luckily, these top tools have free trials, so you can download a free pool design software trial and use it to test out a program before making a final decision.
Is there a pool design app?
Yes, the SketchUp iPad app can be used for pool design, while NPT Backyard is a free 3D pool design software available as an iOS and Android app.