Above-Ground Pool Prep: Your A-Z Guide

They’re not quite as popular as in-ground pools, but above-ground pools have many advantages – they’re a lot cheaper, quicker to install, easier to maintain, and you can remove them when you move house. They don’t add value to your home but give just as much pleasure if you install them correctly. If you’re doing this yourself, you will need to know how to prepare for your above-ground pool.

The preparation for an above-ground pool is not complicated, but it is vital that it’s done correctly to ensure its structural integrity, safety, and longevity. Practical aspects such as optimal positioning, compliance with local regulations, and installation costs must also be considered.

The preparation for your above-ground pool may take longer than the installation itself, but a thorough job will be worth every minute spent. I will give you a step-by-step guide covering what needs to be done so that when your pool is installed, it will provide you with years of trouble-free enjoyment. Let’s get started!

How To Prepare For An Above-Ground Pool

Some of the preparation for your pool requires physical labor, so you may want to bring in some outside assistance, but for many, this is a job that one can do without paying someone to do it.

Budgeting For Your Above-Ground Pool

Be aware of the cost of installing an above-ground pool. Buying the biggest pool you can afford may leave you with costs you haven’t budgeted for. Additional expenses may include labor if you need to call a professional installer, fencing, other security measures, and the water bill from filling that large pool.

Deciding Where To Put Your Above-Ground Pool

Once you’ve installed your above-ground pool, it’s as fixed in place as an in-ground pool unless you drain it, so choosing the best position is crucial. Consider the following:

Sun and wind – ideally, the pool will get sun all day and be protected from the prevailing wind. That will help to maintain the water at a reasonably warm temperature and minimize the amount of leaves and debris falling into the pool.

  • Accessibility – ensure that there is easy access from the house and take into account any extensions to your home you may be planning to build. You will also need to have power outlets, water supply, and drainage nearby.
  • Level ground is essential – even a slight slope will cause the weight of water in the pool to be unevenly distributed, which could result in the walls collapsing. If you have no level area in your backyard, you can either dig out some of the slope to create a level area or build up a level base to carry the weight of the pool. The excavated area must be compacted well before placing the pool to ensure that there will be no movement or settling of the ground as the weight of the pool increases.
  • Providing a base – once you have marked out the position and created a level area, you must provide a suitable base for the pool to rest on. Sand is often used for this purpose, but you can also use a plastic foam pad to handle irregularities in the leveled ground you have overlooked.
While setting up your pool, you might want to compare saltwater and chlorine pools. Which one to choose?

Check That You Comply With Local Government Regulations

A small kiddie’s paddling pool doesn’t require a permit, but in most municipalities, if a pool is deeper than 24 inches or has a surface area of 250 square feet, a permit from your local building department is essential.

You may also require the approval of the local authority for the security barrier around the pool and for the electrical work needed for the pool. Ensure you comply with all the pool-related rules and regulations in your area.

Regulations that apply in many states, with minor variations, also include:

  • Pools cannot be installed in front yards nor, in many areas, in side yards.
  • Pools must be located at least ten feet from other buildings, boundaries, and property lines.
  • Pools may not be installed over sewer lines, water lines, and utilities.

Plan Your Safety Measures

Before you install your above-ground pool, and definitely before filling it, make sure it’s child- and pet-proof.

  • Most communities have regulations designed to prevent children from accessing the pool without supervision. Fencing with a minimum height of 4 or, in some states, 6 feet, with a latched gate, or where no fence is required, a ladder that can be removed or locked to prevent a child from getting into the pool.
  • A pool cover or safety net is another option, particularly if a fence is not required. However, it is vital that the cover is designed as a safety device and is able to bear the weight of a child or pet – some covers are meant only to prevent falling leaves and debris from getting into the pool and will not only let a child fall into the water but may then hide them from sight.
  • Ensure that your family, particularly children, are educated about the dangers of unsupervised swimming and have firm rules about when they are allowed into the pool area.
  • A pool alarm that sounds when there is any disturbance in the pool water is another means of protecting your family and pets. If you’re going to buy one, have it ready before you install the pool.

Create The Right Setting For Your Pool

Make the most of your new pool by maximizing its visual appeal. It can become the centerpiece of your entertainment area by landscaping the area around it.

Planting new shrubs and flowering plants to frame the pool is a great way to soften the bulky structure you’ve installed.

Erect a poolside gazebo, and install some outdoor furniture so that there is a place to relax, watch the kids and enjoy your pool.

Paving or wooden decking around the pool looks good and keeps muddy feet from turning your sparkling pool into a dirt trap.

In preparing for your above-ground pool, consider the material of the pool deck. Learn about materials that stay cool in the sun here.

Most of these enhancements can be implemented before you install the pool.

Prepare Yourself For The Task Of Assembling Your Pool

Before you tackle the job of assembling your above-ground pool, you need to be confident of your ability to handle it. Firstly, make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure you understand every step. Get professional assistance if you think it’s necessary – another helping hand could make all the difference between a perfect job and a disaster!

Once your pool is installed, learn about handling it during winter. 


Thorough and careful preparation is vital when installing an above-ground pool to ensure its stability, longevity, and safety. By following these simple steps, you can be assured of a trouble-free pool, allowing you and your family to relax, cool off, and enjoy summer swims in the comfort of your own backyard. Enjoy your new above-ground pool!