In some cases, in some areas – building an inground pool is just not possible. Poor soil conditions, high water table, terrain issues, building and zoning restrictions – any of these can conspire to prevent building a pool in the ground. In other cases, a homeowner may not want to spend $20,000 or more on a backyard oasis, and may look for a more affordable option.
Aboveground pools can be much less attractive than an inground pool – but they don’t have to be! With some creative planning, grading and decking – aboveground pools with decks can be truly stunning and inviting, and cost half as much to build as one of our inground pool kits.
Here’s a look at some aboveground pool designs that are out of the ordinary, and definitely uniquely awesome.
In this case, an inground pool had been planned, until the homeowner – pool builder hit a solid shelf of granite. Faced with tens of thousands of dollars in blasting and excavation work, pool plans were modified to use an aboveground pool, partially set into the ground.
For a pool to be placed in the earth, a specific type of pool must be used, with walls that can handle the weight and moisture of surrounding soil. In this partial below grade install, rows of border bushes were used to soften and hide the edge of the pool.
For an inground pool to work at this location, 9 trucks of fill dirt would have been required to level the sloping backyard, an engineer’s study and a grading plan. All of these costs added up to nearly $10K. The home owner decided to use a 21′ round aboveground pool, and used some of the savings to install a beautiful composite wood deck around half of the pool.
A unique feature of this aboveground pool are the walk in steps, which add elegance and a real inground pool feel. Another bonus to installing an aboveground pool on this job site was that the home owner was able to save substantially on pool fencing costs and landscaping costs.
This pool is a great example of how an aboveground pool can be wrapped in stone and wood to create a pool that blends into the surroundings, and really adds value to the property. Another example of how to fit above ground pool into a sloping backyard, using the 4 ft height of the pool wall as an advantage.
This 15×30 Grecian pool has a look of an inground pool, and the raised wall on one side adds an element of safety to the pool, by providing an effective barrier to half of the pool perimeter.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Sinking an aboveground pool in a wooden deck, or partially submerging an aboveground pool in the ground, changes the entire look and feel of an aboveground pool. Adding contrasting stampcrete and grass adds other natural elements and really makes this pool pop.
This location had a septic field running across the backyard, making an inground pool installation impossible. This 15×30 pool used the “Lagoon” step as the pool entry, which also functions as a seating area, and with installed jets, provides spa-like hydrotherapy for sore DIY pool builders.
This is one of my favorite above ground pool designs. The wood deck functions as stairs, seating and a great way to wrap the pool. The retaining wall around 2 sides of the pool is wrapped with siding, but could also be done in stone, brick or nearly any surface.
At only 10×28 in size, this pool is also a great space saver, and could be tucked most anywhere. Especially useful for narrow, urban backyards, or for when you want to preserve space in the backyard for other activities.
For those without space concerns, this above ground pool with deck has a lot of benefits. The raised pool deck, with paneled walls, acts as a barrier for young children and animals, and the filtration equipment fits neatly underneath! This pool had no installation issues for an inground pool, the owners just wanted a more affordable option.
Pergola on the opposite end of this 20×40 pool gives shade during the afternoon. Nicely done, and I understand that this pool was built in only a week!
Another 15×30 oval aboveground pool with composite wood deck. This one is built on-ground, with the pool deck covering about half of the pool wall. This type of pool deck gives this above ground pool a unique, integrated look, and again provides a small element of safety for small children and pets. It also helps to keep the pool clean by blocking autumn leaves that blow around the pool.
Evergreen cypress trees block the perimeter fence and also add some privacy to the pool. Additional potted plants could be added if desired, in rectangle planter boxes, to hide the raised pool wall, but I think it looks kind of nice, don’t you?
Another advantage of an above ground pool with a surround deck is that you can use a safety pool cover during winter, vacations, or anytime that you want to secure the pool. This type of wood pool deck has safety built-in all year around, with a self-latching gate on the upper deck, attached to the house.
The lattice on the underside is an economical way to hide the pool structure, and a small door allows access to the pump and filter equipment. All this pool needs now is some landscaping around the edge. I’d do evergreen bushes such as azaleas or forsythia, and perennial hostas would look nice planted in between.
An above ground pool with an automatic cover? Yes – it can be done with a wooden deck built around the pool. A cover reel is housed in the box at the end of the pool, and pull ropes run through the aluminum tracks that run down the side of the pool. Automatic covers offer unparalleled safety for any pool type, keep the pool clean, and save big bucks on pool heating costs.
The raised pool deck surrounding the pool keeps too many leaves from blowing in the pool. Recessed lights illuminate the raised transition during evening hours. 18×36 above ground pool is built fully above ground, but the pool deck gives the illusion of an inground pool.
Now here’s a unique above ground pool design. Pool deck is placed at ground level, and the pool walls and top rails are wrapped in wood, with extra wide planks. This pool sits on the ground, which is one of the great advantages of above ground pools – no excavation. Not having to dig into the ground not only saves money, but can save nearby trees, and avoids the problem of what to do with all the excess fill dirt.
If you’ve thought about building your own inground pool, we’d love to talk to you about it. If you have pool construction challenges, or want to cut the price of a new swimming pool in half – I hope these aboveground pool design ideas gives you something to think about.
SPP above ground pools are available in all shapes and sizes, for aboveground or below ground installation. Anyone can sell you a package pool kit, but when you work with SPP, you get 100% free support on your specific pool project. All of our SPP Pool Experts are at your disposal, to help you design your dream pool – whether in-ground, on-ground, or above-ground!
Want more awesome aboveground pools with decks? Here’s 10 more aboveground pool deck design ideas, in Part II !
SPP Pool Expert