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    Choosing the Best Location for an Aboveground Pool

    June 16, 2014


    Choosing the best spot for your new aboveground pool is a decision that you'll live with for many years. Moving an above the ground pool, once it is installed, is more work than originally installing it, so it's best to make sure that you'll never have to move the pool.

    I'm an old inground pool builder, but I've installed many aboveground pools also. Although there's a lot less digging involved, preparing the ground does involve considerable work, with shovels or a Bobcat - to level the ground and prepare the underlying soil for a very heavy pool.

    agp1Aboveground Pools are Heavy

    Did you know that just the water alone for an 18' round pool weighs over 60,000 lbs!?! A huge amount of weight to put on unstable soil, unlevel ground, or near sloping hillsides.

    Unstable soil: The best support for a pool would be soils that are not too loose. Very sandy or silty soils, along the shore for instance, can slump or shift under the weight. Backfill makes a poor support under the pool, which is why you should always dig down the high side to make the ground level, instead of adding sand or soil to the low side to build it up.

    Unlevel ground: The best spot for your pool may not be the most level spot on your property, but before you begin construction, absolutely level ground is very important. If the pool is off by even 1", that puts more weight on the low side, and this uneven weight distribution can sink the low side even further, or could lead to wall stress and buckling of the uprights.

    Sloping Hillsides: Obviously you should avoid building next to a slope, because the weight of the pool will acccelerate the natural ground creep. The same applies to having a hillside behind the pool. If your backyard slopes up or slopes down, you should have at least 20 feet from the pool to the start of any slope.

    agp2Aboveground Pools are Big

    Well, that's a relative statement - relative to the size of your backyard that is. People are often surprised at how big a 24' round pool is, for instance, once they install it in the backyard. If your lot is small-ish, your aboveground pool location may be affected by setbacks, easements or drainage patterns.

    Setbacks: Every residential property has some type of restriction on how close you can build to the property line. It can be 5', 25' or 50' - you'd have to check with your local department of Building and Zoning to find out the setbacks on the side and the rear of the property. Ignore the setback completely, and a nasty neighbor may report you!

    Easements: Most properties have some sort of easements that run along the sides or rear of the property for utilities that cross over your property. There are also many other types of easements, that a property could have; usually these are shown on the property plat, if they exist. Construction is normally prohibited on an easement, without proper permission from the easement holder.

    Drainage: Again pools are big - and if your backyard is small, this can dramatically change the way that storm water runs off the property. You do not want water to get stuck up against your pool walls, and every installation needs to consider how to direct the water around the pool, by grading the land, installing drains, or raising the pool on compacted fill.

    agp3Safety - Maintenance - Convenience

    As for any pool, location of the pool should consider safety and maintenance concerns for the family and neighbors. You want the pool to be safe, and you do not want to spend more time cleaning it than you have to. You also need good access to power and water, and your pool equipment, for convenience's sake.

    Pool Safety: The pool should be located so that it's visible from the house, from as many windows as possible. The pool ladder should be lockable, or if you have a surrounding pool deck installed, this also needs to be fenced and gated. Locate the pool away from any trees, structures or equipment that could be used to climb over into the pool.

    Pool Maintenance: Trees near the pool? I would advise against it, not only for the tree litter that you'll battle all year long, but for the damage that roots could cause to the floor and bottom rail of the pool. And, if you want a warmer pool with less man-made heat, find a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun per day.

    Pool Convenience: You'll often need to add water to the pool, or use the hose to clean the filter, so having one close by is nice. The pump will need power, and you may also need power for underwater lights or salt generators. Installing a GFCI outlet near the pool equipment is recommended, rather than stringing power cords across the yard. do not install a pool up against a fence, you want to be able to walk around the entire outside of the pool, for easier cleaning. You also may want the equipment and the pool itself at a convenient location from the house, so you do not have to walk 50 feet to get there.


    ~ To sum it all up - choose a sunny location, away from trees but close to power and water. It should be visible from the house, and not encroaching any setbacks or easements that may exist. The soil should be fairly solid and compact-able (or you can lay down a new base). Drainage is very important, especially if you have a hillside near the pool. And do not forget to measure - you should have enough room to easily walk around the entire outside of the pool.

    When you've got the size and location selected, and after you've checked with your local building and zoning for any permits or safety equipment that may be required - you can visit our Aboveground Pool Builder, to select the best aboveground pool package for your location.

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert  

    Blog Author
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