One Design Element that Forever Changed the Traditional Swimming Pool

 Tanning Ledge with Umbrella Sleeve and Lounge Chairs

Tanning Ledge with Umbrella Sleeve and Lounge Chairs


All facets of the design world evolve into and out of various trends each decade. While most of these trends rapidly become popular, they also can fade away just as fast, typically never to be seen again. However, some of them have the power to stay and rewrite the history books. In the world of custom built swimming pools, one of these trends that has redefined swimming pool design is the Tanning Ledge. This fun feature really began with the evolution of several features melding onto one. Traditionally, a swimming pool had three entry steps in the shallow-end to access it. Then, creativity in design led to extending the second step into a bench seat. Meanwhile, sometime in the late 1980's, a sloping "beach-entrance" started showing up in pool designs. This beach entrance was inviting and unique, however, it required a large pool to run it from the deck level to the floor of the shallow-end. Then, innovation set in and the beach was chopped-up with a single step-down to fit into a smaller, or average sized pool.

The beach-entry is still very popular today, but what followed became and still is even more popular. The Tanning Ledge. The tanning ledge is also known as the shallow reef-step, the baja-step, the sun-shelf and the list of names goes on. You may be asking, "What exactly is this feature?" It is simple. Take the first shallow entry step of a swimming pool and stretch it out to be around 50 square feet in size, or about 5 feet by 10 feet in length and width. It's commonly anywhere between 6 and 18 inches in depth. Somewhere between 9 and 12 inches seems to be about the most popular depth for it though. Initially, the tanning ledge was seen as a place for kids to splash and play, therefore wasn't so popular for pool owners that were sans kiddos in the household. Then people began to recognize that this shallow pad was a great place to lounge and read a book. A great place to relax without sitting upright or treading water. A great place to catch some rays and soak in the sun. A great place for Fido the family dog to navigate in and out of the pool. A great place for the little tykes to get their feet wet for the first few years of life.

Nowadays, we rarely see a pool without a tanning ledge. Many are designed with bubbler water fountains, LED lighting, mosaic tiles, umbrella sleeves, even chase lounge chairs specifically designed for a tanning ledge. A tanning ledge in a swimming pool gives a pool a whole other level of usability. They are not just for the little ones treading water for the first time, they are for all generations and they are certainly one of the most popular places to hangout in today's, and in tomorrow's swimming pool. 

To see examples of various tanning ledges in swimming pools, visit