Backyard Pool Trend Alert: Tanning Ledges!

Entertainment Area

Tanning ledges in swimming pools are a very popular design trend both in high-end and entry level pools.  These shallow “second steps” allow bathers to entertain, sit or lounge in several inches of water. Families with small children love them because it is a great area for toddlers to splash and play. Even the family dog loves the tanning ledge as a spot to cool off from the hot Tucson summer sun.

Many Different Shapes

Depending on where you live, tanning ledges are also known as Baja, Sun, Acapulco or Shamu Shelves. Here in Arizona, most people call them a Baja Shelf. Shapes, sizes and depth will vary depending on the design of the rest of the swimming pool.  Popular shapes include rectangular, half circle or free form shapes.  Tanning ledges typically range from 6 to 18” in water depth but most stay around 12” deep.  Twelve inches is perfect for the “belly button” water depth preference that most swimmers desire.  

Resort Feel

Tanning ledge sizes are getting bigger especially if you end up adding sleek loungers to create a resort feel. Pool Loungers are a “must have” for any tanning shelf and typically require a minimum of 6’x6’ of space for two loungers.  Loungers come in variety of colors to match any backyard décor. Also consider adding a table for a place to put your book or drink!

Don’t Forget Shade

Tanning shelves will also typically have a 9″ plastic umbrella sleeve installed during construction so an umbrella can be added for additional shade.  Make sure to ask your pool builder BEFORE you build the pool as they are difficult to add after the fact. Tip: don’t use an umbrella with a wooden pole in the plastic sleeves -the wood pole could swell and get stuck in the umbrella sleeve.

Whether you are building a pool or planning a remodel on an existing pool – make sure to ask your builder about adding a tanning ledge. You won’t regret it!