Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas

Complete Baja Shelf Guide

Did you know that there are more than 10 million homes with pools in the United States alone? Having a pool can be fantastic while creating unforgettable memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime. 

As many pool owners love to entertain poolside, some simply want a place to unwind after a long day and relax. However, if most of the pool has a profound depth, only a raft will enable your relaxation time.

This is when having a Baja shelf can be excellent. So, what is a Baja shelf, you might ask?

A Baja shelf is a pool section that is shallow enough to sit or lay down. It is perfect for that much-needed relaxation after a busy day of work. However, the benefits spread beyond relaxation.

As you seek to learn more about a Baja shelf, there will be many questions you will need to be answered. 

For example, “how deep should my Baja shelf be” or “is a Baja shelf worth it?” And most importantly, how much will it cost? And let’s not forget to ask about the design options. 

This article aims to address these questions and more.

The Benefits and Why You Should Get a Baja Shelf for Your Pool?

As mentioned, one of the great benefits of having a Baja shelf has to do with comfort and relaxation. It is an excellent section of your pool for lounging. One will not need a raft as it is needed for the deep end and even the 4 to 5 foot section. In addition, along with lounge chairs on a Baja shelf, you can also put a small table or other pieces of waterproof furniture. 

Beyond using it for much-needed alone time, they are incredibly versatile, allowing you to gather with friends for a nightcap; just remember to add lighting for safety and stunning ambiance.

Do you have young children? Baja shelves are fabulous for them to splish, splash and play.

Layout and Sizes of a Baja Shelf

Baja shelves can be customized in all sizes. They can be alongside the entire pool, at one end, or both; however, you must know that it’s crucial to hire a professional pool builder who is an expert in designing and constructing Baja shelves.

An expert will discuss your lifestyle and needs. For example, will the Baja shelf be used for you alone, for gatherings and or for small children? These questions must be addressed before deciding on the layout and size.

Now let’s move on to the cost, depth and design ideas.

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas

Depth of a Baja Shelf

Of course, the depth of a Baja shelf is built to be shallow so that you can sit or lay down in comfort with your head above the water. However, different depth options can make such a shelf more versatile. For example, one must consider a Baja shelf 6 inches deep vs. 12 inches and 18 inches.

6″ Baja Shelf

The six-inch Baja shelf is the most shallow. The waterline will come up six inches allowing it to cover your legs barely. This depth is also often sought-after by those who own small pets. Many of our pets love to splash but are afraid to tackle deeper waters.

You can place a lounger on the six-inch depth shelf; however, the water level will not be high enough to reach the chair and feel the cool water.

12″ Baja Shelf

Consider the twelve-inch Baja shelf if you want to feel a bit more water. This shelf has enough water to measure up to your waist while seated. In addition, it will allow your body to float slightly, especially now that you can stretch out. Finally, it is perfect for taking the weight off your knees and hips.

This depth is ideal for putting in a low chair so you can recline while still in the water. However, it will be too shallow for taller chairs.

We mentioned our pets on the six-inch Baja shelf. This shelf can also be suitable, but perhaps for the larger-sized.

Twelve inches is the standard depth of most kiddie pools, making this one great for the kids. A safe place for them to splash around and laugh until their heart is content. But remember, adult supervision is always a must for kids and pets.

18″ Baja Shelf

Opt for an 18-inch Baja shelf if you want a bit more depth. 

The water should come up around your shoulders while seated. This depth is perfect for putting a lounging chair on the shelf, even if the chair is relatively tall. Think of yourself sitting on a pool bench; this is how you will feel.

You can also put a small table on the shelf. The top of the table should still be above the water, so you can put all sorts of snacks and drinks on it while you lounge in the crystal-clear cool water. To get out of the sun add a built in umbrella.

Because the water will measure up higher on your body, your body can float more easily than the shallower options. So perhaps it is time to relax and take the weight off.

Baja Shelf Cost

As there are different layouts, sizes and depths of Baja Shelves, all will require a custom pool design. And when speaking about custom, it means, basically, custom prices. As no Baha shelf designs will be the same, this holds true for the costs.

For example, constructing a narrow Baja shelf at one end of the pool to leave more swimming space will come at a different cost than a large part of the pool dedicated to the Baja shelf.

Generally, the cost of a Baja shelf can begin at roughly $1,000 and go up from there. One must factor in the additional amenities along with the size, shape, and depth. Will there be built-in seating, a table, an umbrella, water features such as bubblers, lighting and other?

Innovative Baja Shelf Design Ideas

As previously mentioned, your design options can be limitless when you hire an expert in building Baja shelves. A professional pool builder will know how to implement a Baja shelf to blend seamlessly with all shape pools, such as geometric and free-form. Are you seeking a modern pool design with straight lines or a tropical resort-style pool with curves?

Once you have determined the layout, size and now the pool’s style, its time to begin designing. We discuss a few ideas here.

One Step vs. Two Step

This is the number of steps to get on the Baja shelf and into the pool.

One typical size step can enter the shelf and the actual pool. You can also extend this one step for a larger area while stepping down into the lower shelf, than the pool.

Umbrella Sleeves

Many of us choose to escape the hot sun when by the pool. Now you can do just that while inside the pool. Umbrella sleeves can be built into the Baja shelf so one can enjoy the cool and stay out of the sun. If your shelf is large enough, you can perch multiple umbrella sleeves. So, invite your friends and party on.

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas, umbrella sleeves

Water Features

As we have mentioned a few times, hiring an expert in building your Baja shelf is vital, especially when adding additional features. For example, bubblers that shoot water above the pool’s waterline are fun to look at. And they can also be fun for the kids and our pets who want to frolic amongst them.

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas, water features


What a great environment one can have with beautiful and colorful plants, so why not add a plant section right smack in the middle or even on the sides? This is a perfect idea for a free-form pool trying to achieve that tropical resort-style feel. But make sure you choose the right plants for the weather and those that will thrive close to the pool’s water.

How about adding a waterfall or fountain right in the center of the plantings. Sounds awesome, right?

Make it Stand Out

If you want this to be the focul point, adding specialty tiles in vibrant colors that blend with your backyard style is an excellent idea. Construct a mosaic design right in the middle. Do you have a hobby? Is it deep sea fishing or other? Perhaps the design can represent that.

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas, mosaic pool tiles

Entertaining Ideas

If you love entertaining and are building an outdoor kitchen and bar area, consider attaching it to the inground swimming pool. Have you been to your favorite resort and enjoyed swimming up to the bar and sitting on the underwater bar stools while sipping your favorite cocktail? Perfect! You can enjoy this in your own backyard. Add your sun shelf and low underwater bar stools, and you are ready to party.

Baja Shelf Guide: Cost, Depth & Design Ideas, entertaining

Now that we have offered you a super small number of ideas, let’s discuss the Baja shelfs worth. Still wondering, “is a Baja shelf worth it?”

Is a Baja Shelf Worth It?

Well, this all depends if this is something you want. Do you want to relax in shallow water with a lounge chair, a cocktail and under an umbrella? Do you have small children and want to have shallow water for them to enjoy? And let us not forget our loved pets.

If you are using your pool primarily for physical fitness, such as swimming laps and aerobics, or you have teens who continuously play water volleyball and water basketball, than a Baja shelf may not be in your best interest.

So the answer remains, it can be well worth it for some and not worth it for others.

There is So Much More To Know

Again, we mention hiring an expert Baja shelf pool builder is critical, and you are at the right place. No Limit Pools & Spas, located in Mesa, Arizona, has the team of experts you need. So give us a shout to learn what we can design and build just for you.

Our happy pool owners come from through Maricopa County, AZ and beyond. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler are just a few communities we have build incredible pools in.




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