How to Put an Above Ground Pool in the Ground

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With summer around the corner, the idea of swimming is appealing to you and yours. You may ask for the details on how to put an above ground pool in the ground in a cost-effective way without compromising the quality.

Or if you have been planning to install an above-ground pool or semi inground pool but do not know how to go about it? This is the time.

In this article, we provide the details on building a durable above-the-ground pool.

Let’s get started.


Before you install an above-ground pool at your home, ensure that all requirements are met. Below is a list of things to consider before the installation of the pool.

i. Permits

You don’t want to spoil your summer fun by getting into trouble with the authorities. Therefore it is advisable to check with state or city regulations.

a. Building Permit

The states require you to have a building permit when constructing a swimming pool. In most cases, these permits apply if:

  1. The pool occupies an area above 150 square feet
  2. The depth of the pool is more than two feet
  3. The pool capacity is more than 5000 gallons

This cuts across all types of above ground pools, including inflatable ones. Nonetheless, you are likely to be free of any pool permit if you are only considering an inflatable baby pool.

b. Gas Permit

If you intend to fix a heating system that uses gas in your pool, you attract a gas permit.

c. Electrical Permit

You may also need to obtain electrical permits for wiring some of the pool accessories.

d. Barrier Permit

A barrier should be vertical and unclimbable for safety purposes. Check out barrier regulations, and apply accordingly.

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When using a contractor to install the above ground swimming pool, they may obtain the permits themselves. Should you opt to do it yourself, ensure you get all the permits before proceeding with the installation.

ii. Choosing the Pool Location

The backyard spot that you choose to set up your pool plays an important role in planning. Below are some factors to consider.

a. Power Lines

Electricity lines near water bodies can cause fatal electrocution.

To avoid such risk at home, never set up your pool directly below power. Instead, build your pool at least 25 feet away from it. In addition, you need to allow at least six yards of clearance between the decks and overhead power cables.

Also, avoid installing the pool above underground electric cables. Instead, protect the cables with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) where necessary.

b. Landscape

A level ground aids in making your swimming pools sturdy. It is best to select the flattest part of your backyard. However, if the ground is uneven, you may have to excavate some parts and have a semi inground pool.

c. Trees

Tree stumps

Avoid installing your pool too close to trees or stumps, as buried roots can puncture the pool liner. Instead, uproot them completely. If need be, reinforce the ground with concrete to prevent further stump growth.

d. Orientation to Sun/ Wind Direction

The weather elements have a direct impact on your pool. Putting the pool in the sun will help keep the water warm and comfortable. However, exposing the pool to the wind easily cools the water through increased evaporation.

e. Eaves and Gutters

A pool close to the house can be a great idea. However, if rainwater runs from the roof to the pool, you will often have a dirty pool. To avoid this, install gutters around the eaves to redirect rainwater.

iii. Selecting Design

The choice of shape and size of your swimming pools vary among individuals. Below are three factors that determine the choice of your above ground pool.

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a. Space

the shape and size of your backyard will influence the amount of space available. It is important to consider all minimum clearance required before buying the pool kit.

b. Budget

Above ground pools are generally friendly in terms of cost. Still, manufacturers price the products differently based on durability, size, and the entire package. Therefore, when making decisions for your swimming pool, it is advisable to select what fits your budget.

c. Style

Each individual has their tastes and preferences regarding pool material, size, the deck, and finishing.

Above Ground Pool Installation

1. Installation Checklist

to have ample installation, you need to assemble everything you need to get the pool installation project done. Ensure to check the following in your checklist.

a. Tools

Working tools

It would help if you had the following tools for the task:

  1. Tape measure
  2. Spray paint or chalk dust
  3. Shovel/ sod cutter
  4. Hand compactor
  5. Spanners 1/4, 5/16
  6. Carpenter’s levels
  7. Sand
  8. Rakes
  9. Binder clips
  10. Duct tape
  11. carpenters squares (for oval and right-angled above ground pools)

If you do not have some of these tools, you can borrow or hire them to cut down the buying cost.

b. Documents

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There are two important documents that you must have.

1. Installation Guide/ Instruction

Ensure to have read and understood the guide before proceeding to the task. Also, keep it near for reference.

2. Pool Parts

This document contains a drawing and description of each part. It will help you identify which part goes where.

c. Appropriate Weather

Choose a calm day for the work. The wind will only make your work hectic.

d. Get Assistants

If you are not hiring a contractor, then invite at least two more adults. In addition, it’s a great idea to contact family members, friends, and neighbors and invite them to help you with your project.

2. Ground Preparation

a. Identify the Centre of the Pool

When dealing with circular pools, or the curved parts of the oval pools, you first need to determine the radius. The radius equals half of the diameter. After determining the pool’s center, ensure an extra half a yard clearance allowance from the existing decks, walls, and fence.

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b. Mark the Pool Location

For round pools, use the tape measure as the radius and spray paint to mark the pool circumference. Alternatively, mark the straight edges if dealing with oval, square, and rectangular pools.

c. Level the Ground

Using a shovel or a sod cutter, dig out the topsoil to eliminates all grass within the marked area and prevent further sprouting.

With a rake, clear the area of sharp objects like twigs and stones. If not removed, they can damage the pool liners and consequently cause leakages.

Flatten the bare ground as much as possible using a hand compactor.

Note: If you prefer a semi inground swimming pool, you will have to excavate deeper into the soil to bury your pool to the desired depth. Then, go through the same process of clearing and leveling. In addition, remember to check out excavation regulations in your city and inform the relevant authorities.

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d. Prepare the Base

When selecting the base material, go for firmness to withstand water pressure, comfort to the feet, and smoothness to protect the entire bottom part of the liner from damage.

Most people prefer sand for economic reasons. However, when mixed with cement or stone dust, the base offers better support.

When you add more sand, compact it to make the entire area flat. You may use your carpenter’s level to check for flatness before proceeding.

3. Laying Down the Framework

Before setting up, ensure that every part inside the package is in good condition. Report any damaged part to your supplier so that they can replace it. It is advisable to be current with the warranty document as well.

The following are steps for laying down the framework.

a. Lay Down the Bottom Rims

Use your pool parts documents, identify the bottom rims and the bottom connectors, and place them around the pool perimeter. Remember to follow the guide at all times.

Slide the rails into the connector up to the cuffs as per the instructions.


b. Check Roundness

The connected parts do not automatically create a perfect circle. You need to get the tape measure, check for roundness, and adjust accordingly before moving to the next step. This step is particularly applicable to round pool edges.

c. Fix the Patio Blocks

Patio blocks beneath the bottom connectors offer greater support to the rims and the pool wall.

To install them, dig out some dirt to fit the blocks. Then bury the block, leaving the upper part. Only one inch of the block should be within the pool area. You need to ensure that the rim level is unaffected by the insertion of the patio blocks.

You may need to add or reduce some sand to maintain the level. However, you should not begin the backfill process at this point. If you need to move your pushcart into the pool area when adding sand, remove one rim to create an opening, and when done adding, place it back. Otherwise, exerting too much pressure may damage the rim and could cause the pool to collapse.

Remember to sweep off the sand and debris from the rims before erecting the pool wall.

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4. Installing Pool Wall (Round Pool)

The pool wall comes as a rolled-up package. You will need assistance uncoiling and setting it up. To make the work faster and easier, perform this part of the project in calm weather and with helping hands.

Since the pool wall is quite heavy, you will also need to uncoil two to three yards of the wall at a time.

Have one person hold the wall upright as the rest unroll it. Never allow your wall to fall as it may damage.

When setting up the wall, position the filter area near a power outlet for your convenience.

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Steps for Installing the Pool Wall

  1. Set up the pool wall inside the laid framework.
  2. Begin working from the center of the verticle cap.
  3. As you unroll the wall, place stabilizer rails to support the top edge.
  4. Using duct tape, secure the stabilizers to the wall.
  5. Keep unrolling till the wall meets.

What if the Pool Wall does not meet?

Errors could cause the pool wall not to meet. Do not panic if this happens. Below are two ways to correct it.

i. Adjust the Rails Inward

Evenly slide each the bottom rails in as this helps in reducing the circumference. Eventually, the gap between the vertical wall will narrow. Adjust accordingly until these edges meet.

Note that if you overdo this process, the pool wall will overlap. To correct overlapping, slightly adjust the rails outward.

ii. Wiggle the Wall

Wiggling the wall helps bring the edges together. This works where there are leveling issues. To avoid this problem, always recheck the levels and remove any objects and tools that may be in the wall’s way.

How to Join the Pool Wall

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There are two major types of pool wall joints. Each operates differently, as described below.

i. Nut and Bolt Closure System

This joint has bolt holes, and the pool wall has to overlap. Bolts are inserted into the holes to align the wall, and then they are fastened by nuts. The nuts are designed for the outer side to allow a smooth finish on the inner wall of the pool. This is very functional because it helps in avoiding the puncturing of the liner.

ii. Slide Bar Joint

The pool wall that uses this joint does not overlap. To join, insert the slide bar from the top of the adjacent pool wall edges to the bottom rim. Ensure that the slide joint piece is even with walls.

Cover Wall Openings

Pool walls provide for extra accessories like skimmers. If You do not need the extras, then you have to cover them with the cover plates that come with the package.

Secure the edges with duct tape to prevent them from damaging the liner.

Discount Pool Supplies Standard Skimmer Ice Guard Plate 5627af8b9d45e

5. Installing the Posts

Posts give your pool a strong frame. Steel is a good material choice for your post because it is strong and does not rust.

The posts are installed on the outer wall. They are placed on the bottom end caps and secured to the top end caps (top plates) using resin or metal connectors.

Note: Different manufacturers may have different instructions and names for the pool parts. It is best to follow your manufacturer’s manual when unsure.

6. Finish up With the Base

Ensure that the sand is well compressed and even.

If you opt to underline your base with stone dust, you will need enough sand to cover it entirely. Again if you want the bottom surface spooned, only do it three inches deep to avoid putting tension on the liner.

Cove the pool wall. The best cove materials include foam and sand, and they help keep pool liners from seeping under the pool wall.


You may consider using a gorilla pad to line your base. The pad offers more comfort and protection to pool liners than the traditional foam pads. Besides, it is tailor-made to fit your above ground pool.

7. Set Up the Pool Liner

Most pool liners are made from plasticized PVC and are commonly referred to as vinyl. Although some are reinforced by polyester weave, they are generally waterproof and stretchy. Before setting up a liner on the pool, check out for open seams and punctures. Only use it if it is in perfect condition.

Preferably, you should choose a hot day and let the pool liner warm in the sun first; this will make it more stretchy and easier to install. Then follow the process below.

a. Lay the Liner

  • Place the pool liner in the middle of the pool and roll it out with the printed part facing up.
  • Position the liner close to the pool wall. It is best if two people do the liner set up from the inside.
  • use plastic copings to clamping it onto the pool wall to edge. (the rest of the people on the outside can help with this.) if the coping is hard, use the help o binding clips.
  • Pull the pool liner up so that the center hangs 6″ to 12″ above the ground.
  • The bottom edge liner seam has to be around 12 inches below the top rail.
  • Straighten pleats and seams.
  • Adjust the liner by releasing it in bits. Use binder clips with a piece of carton board to hold it steady.

b. Fill in the Water

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If using a hose to fill the pool with water, cover it with a hose sock. The fabric helps to prevent scratches on your liner as you move the hose.

Fill the water to the level of around 24 inches above the base.

c. Secure the Liner to the Wall

Follow the steps below to secure the liner.

  • Remove the top stabilizer rail, carefully holding the liner not to fall back.
  • Make a hem at the edge of the liner.
  • Pull the liner toward the outside.
  • Using the plastic copings, secure the hem.
  • Reinstall the top stabilizer rails.

d. Attach the Skimmer

You need a skimmer to keep your pool clean. To attach a skimmer to your above ground pool, follow the steps below, keeping in mind the instruction on your manual

i. Attach the weir to the skimmer

ii. Attach skimmer faceplate to a vacuum port

iii. Install butterfly gaskets

iv. Fasten the skimmer to the wall using appropriate screws

v. Cut the liner to open an entrance into the skimmer.

To understand this process better, watch this video on how to attach a skimmer to the above ground swimming pool.

8. Reinstall the Top rails, Connectors, and End Caps

After connecting pool accessories such as the skimmer, reinstall the top rails. Keep checking that it is level.

Install the top connector over the top rails junction.

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Once you are done with the major task, you can rest and celebrate your achievement. However, remember to treat your pool water to keep it safe for use. Also, take care of the excavated soil with creative landscape ideas and consider constructing a pool deck to enhance the backyard aesthetics.

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