Shallow End Depth in Pool: Why Do You Need It

Ever had the feeling the pool isn’t as deep for you, or sometimes it’s too deep for the kids? We certainly had this feeling. A pool is a place where everyone wants to plunge in and have fun safely. 

Turns out, the shallow end depth in pools will differ depending on the type of pool you want.

For an average teen, the depth of the shallow end starts from 3 to 3.5 feet. On the other hand, a kid 6 to 10 years of age will need about 2-3 inches with tanning edges of 1.5 feet. 

Thus while designing a pool, one must know the right proportions. You don’t want a pool too shallow or too raised up. Rather, keep a balance of the two to increase the safety, functionality, and aesthetics of your pool.

Shallow End Depth in Pool

What does the shallow end of the pool mean?

If you have a pool with multiple depths, then the side that has the least amount of depth is in the shallow end. It is a must-have for most pools unless you are making a deep pool.

For regular purposes, the shallow end of a pool needs to be of a comfortable depth, usually around waist level for most users. The shallow end differs from the deep end in terms of the available volume of water. 

Shallow ends end depth in pools: Benefits

Every pool’s shallow ends come up with these benefits:

  • Provides a safe area for tired swimmers and kids.
  • Acts as a base ground for many water sports such as playing chicken or water handball.
  • Shallow ends act as a replacement for stairs.
  • Consumes less water to fill in and saves electricity along with washing materials while cleaning.

Things to consider before choosing a pool’s shallow end depth:

Safety first

In any residential setting, pools have to be made, keeping in mind that the whole family will use them, including the children. If children are going to use the pool, then you better make sure there is a shallow end for them to safely be in.

The depth should be 2 to 3 feet if you have children from 6 to 10 years old. If the children are under 6 years old, then add a tanning ledge of 18 inches. 

Kiddie pools should be 6-8 inches deep for the safety of the toddlers.

“Shallow end depth in pool according to users”

Pools forShallow end depth
Toddlers (2-5 y/o)6-8 inches kiddie pool
Kids (6-10 y/o) 2-3 feet with tanning edge of 1.5 feet
Teens 3-3.5 feet 
Adults3.5 -4.5 feet

Slope determination

If you are using a pool of mixed depth, then the size, especially length, determines how steep the pool would be. The degree of the slope depends on how long the slope is.

A 36 feet long pool can have a proportion of 12 feet of shallow water, 14 feet long slope towards the deep end, 6 feet of deep water, and 4 feet long upwards slope towards the wall of the pool on the deep end.

Another portion variation for 30 feet pools is 5 feet long shallow end, 15 feet slope, and 10 feet long deep end. It excludes the upwards slope at the end of the deep end.

The angle of the slope is a safety concern. You don’t want your kid to suddenly find themselves on a highly steep downward slope. The recommended angle for the slope is only 12 degrees.

Depth Distribution

Consider an L-shaped pool where you can have a shallow end for the children on one side of the pool. While the adults can swim and dive on the other side where the depth is more.

The fundamental depth shapes are flat, sloped, spooned, and U-shaped. 

Flat-shaped pools will offer you equal depth all through the pool, while the rest will mix up the depths. If it is made with a shallow depth, then the pool must be non-diving.

Adult’s preference

In an adult-only pool, you can have a 3.5 to 4 feet deep shallow end. These pools almost always come with both deep end and shallow end.

Play pool depths

In these cases, the shallow end is 4 feet, and the deep end is 5.5 feet. It is famous for playing sports such as water polo, atomic whirlpool, airball, etc. are played in this depth.

Note that the depth varies very little from shallow to depth. A standard design has two shallow ends on both sides, with the deep portion being in the middle of the pool.

This allows for players on both ends to have a similar water level to play in.  

A deep end requirement 

It is not mandatory to add a deep end in your pool unless you are planning on diving in. Cannonballs, high dives, and jumps require the pool to have enough volume to absorb the shock.

The optimum height is 8 to 10 feet. If you are planning on a commercial pool, then it should be 15 feet. 

If you dive into a pool that does not have a deep end, you are most likely to encounter an accident. Maintain strict pool rules in case of diving if the pool does not have appropriate depth.

Keep it shallow enough

To properly swim, an adult needs at least 3 to 4 feet depth of water. Beginner learners often choose the shallow side to learn swimming.

This height is enough to allow the swimmers to go slightly underwater and swim right below the surface. This depth also allows for rest when necessary. 

Budget-friendly design

The first budgeting comes while building the pool itself. Deeper pools require more construction costs.

In the long run, the maintenance of deep-end pools is also more expensive as it requires more water volume and cleaning material. 

Choosing a customized shallow end allows you to decide how much budget you will spend overall on your pool. 


Can I make my above-ground pool deeper?

By using an expandable or hopper liner, you can increase the depth of your above-ground pool to 6-7 feet of total depth.

Digging at the center is the most common and safe way. The slope must be gradual to incorporate the liner well. Thus, large pools are better for depth optimization.

To stop the liner from wrinkling while expanding, a gorilla pad can be added at the bottom of the pool. 

Can an above-ground pool have a shallow end and a deep end?

You can have a shallow and deep end in an above-ground pool by using a proper liner and digging on one side of the pool rather than at the center.

The only exception is if the pool is built on a floor where digging is not possible. In that case, you might consider increasing the height of the boundary and putting an additional base at one end to make that end shallow.

Do semi-inground pools have a deep end?

Semi in-ground pools can have a deep end depending on the customization and the owner’s preference. You can have a deep end in a semi in-ground pool just as you would in a typical pool.

Is a 6-foot pool deep enough?

A depth of 6 feet on the deep end of a pool is enough for most pool purposes, including underwater swimming and games. It is also a recommended safe height. 

The only restraint on this depth is high diving, as you can still hit the floor if you come in with too much momentum. However, for simple jumping in and regular dives, it is enough.

Consider having a shallow end of 3.5 feet, then gradually go up to 5–6 feet on the deep end.

Finally, what is a good depth for the shallow end of a pool?

On average, the shallow end should be 3.5 feet. Considering the additional requirement of the slope, shape of the pool, length, and use, one can customize the depth beforehand.

An important note, it is easier to make a pool shallower later on than to make it deeper. Because to create a pool deeper, you almost always have to make changes to the existing construction.

However, to make the pool shallower, you can simply fill the pool to the height you want or drain it as necessary. This does not require you to change the structure of the pool, just the water volume.

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