How to Level Ground for Pool: Step by Step Guide

When it’s a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than jumping into a cool swimming pool and feeling like a mermaid.
Well, there is something better: having access to a pool in your own garden!

It’s great for the kids, for summer parties, and above all: you!

But isn’t it really difficult to install a swimming pool? Not if you buy an above-ground pool!

Here’s everything you need to know about leveling your above-ground swimming pool.

What is an Above-ground Pool?

An above-ground pool is an excellent alternative to a residential in-ground pool.

Not only are above-ground pools less expensive, but they are also easy to assemble and disassemble.

They can be as large as your regular residential in-ground pool, with the same types of equipment, such as filter systems or even spa features! And they’re easier to maintain, so it’s a win-win!

They come in different cute designs, sizes, and shapes, although the circular model is the most popular.

So whether you just want a quick inflatable pool for the kids or the luxury of your own in-ground pool, an above-ground pool is a good alternative without spending all your money.

Types of Above-ground Pools

Here are the different types of above-ground pools you can get so that you can be the envy of your neighborhood:

  • inflatable pools (for kids and adults)
  • paddling pools (for kids or toddlers)
  • metal frame round or rectangular pool (for supervised kids and adults)
  • steel frame round or rectangular pool (for supervised kids and adults)
  • wooden frame round or rectangular pool (for supervised kids and adults)

What’s the Difference between an Above-ground Pool and an In-ground Level Pool?

In-ground pools can be found on residential or commercial grounds. As the name suggests, there are built in the ground, so you will need to dig the ground.

An above-ground pool is set on the ground, and the frames around it make it safer to swim in.

It’s a more permanent addition to your garden, and you don’t have to worry about emptying the water from your above-ground pool.

It’s more difficult to install an in-ground pool, and it’s more expensive. An above-ground pool will take one day to install, and an in-ground level pool can take multiple weeks.

Why Do You Need to Level Your Ground for Your Above-ground Pool?

If you install your above-ground pool on uneven ground, it will shift the balance of the pool.

Otherwise, if your ground is not level, the weight of the pool can shift and create a shallow end.

Plus, if the swimming pool is unstable, it could cause injuries to the people inside and outside the pool, as the pool could drop. And it could damage your property or anything surrounding your pool.

Also, the water will be uneven if the ground is not level, and pool walls and liners could get damaged. The structure could cave in because of the water weight not being distributed equally.

Overall, the pool won’t look right and will be a hazard for everyone.

So you should level your pool to ensure maximum safety and for the fun to begin!

How Do You Remove Sod?

You should remove the sod from the area you want to place your swimming pool in. Otherwise, the grass could get into the swimming pool floor and ruin the pool. Plus, it makes the floor uneven and so makes it an unstable base to build your pool.

To remove it, just wet it and remove it with a grub hoe or sod cutter. Or you could cover it with plastic or tarp sheets two weeks before you install the pool. This will kill the sod.

Tools You’ll Need to Level Your Ground for Your Swimming Pool

Here are the tools you’ll need if you’re digging to get an even and flat ground. Bear in mind that this will take a few days, but it’s essential not to be in a hurry, so the job gets done right.

  • Leveling tool
  • Wide shovel
  • Markers (metal stakes, camping markers, or others)
  • Spraying can, tape measurer, or cable ties
  • Sod remover
  • Lawnmower, wheelbarrow, or rake

Level Your Ground for Your Above-ground Pool by Digging

So how do you level your pool, so it’s safe to swim and lounge in it?
Here are eight steps to follow to ensure maximum safety:

Step One: Check Local Building Codes

Before you do anything, check with your local council for building codes. You have to follow these before setting up your swimming pool. You want to make sure it’s not too close to other properties, structures, or utility lines.

Step Two: Choose Where You Want Your Pool

Choose a good area to place your pool in. Check that the ground isn’t uneven and that it’s not close to any hazards (electric lines, water lines, closeness to your home…).

Use a leveling tool to check which areas in your outside area are level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical).

If the ground is a bit uneven, that’s fine, but ideally, find the most even spot to place your above-ground pool. This way, you won’t have to dig as much.

Also, check that you like the area you’ll be placing your pool: avoid trees that will dirty the pool and check if you prefer to be in the sun or in the shade.

Step Three: Clear the Ground

Remove all vegetation, debris, rocks, and sod from the area where you want to place your swimming pool.
Either do it by hand or a rake, if there’s not much. Or use a wheelbarrow or lawnmower.

Step Four: Mark the Perimeter

Before placing your pool, you should mark the perimeter of where you want to put it.

Place a marker, such as a metal stake, for where you want the middle of your pool to be. You can drill it in so it stays right in the center.

Tie a string to the marker, measure the distance to the pool’s edge, and add an extra six inches.

Then, to the other end of the string, tie spraying can, checking the distance is correct.

Spray a line on the ground as you walk to indicate the perimeter of the future swimming pool’s location.

Or, if you prefer, just use a tape measurer or cable ties. They’re just as handy, and you can reuse them.

Step Five: Dig Away

Now, it’s time to dig!

Dig out the slopes that are higher to get the same even ground level. A regular shovel will do.

Either add soil or remove the soil from the ground, to make the uneven spots flat and even.

Make sure you use your leveling tool throughout the digging to check which areas still need digging and when they’re even.

Step Six: Wet the Soil and Smooth the Ground with Sand

Wet the perimeter with your garden hose to make compacting easier.

Then, make sure the soil is firm and place a base material over the wet area, such as sand.

Rake the sand, and let the ground dry and flatten overnight.

Step Seven: Put Down a Base

You will need to lie down a base, such as a specialized pool pad.

This reduces the puncture risk in your pool liner when your swimming pool is filled.

Step Eight: Install Your Above-ground Swimming Pool

And there you go, your ground is level, and you can now install and fill your swimming pool!

Level Your Ground for Your Above-ground Pool without Digging

If you want to avoid the struggle of digging but still want a stable and flat ground for your pool, there are other easy solutions, which are listed below. You can choose to do this yourself or there are special services that can help you

Alternative One: DIY Planks

If you’re really handy, that’s the best alternative for you! Or you could just hire someone to do these steps for you.

Attach two 2-by-4s together by screwing them together. Make sure they’re at least one foot longer than the diameter of your pool.

Then, lay them on where you want your pool to be, and put a level to check how uneven the ground is.

Drill a three/eight-inch hole in the middle of the boards and secure them to the ground with a metal rod.

Afterward, pour sand over the pool perimeter, and rotate the boards until the sand is level.

Wet the ground and flatten out the sand with a tamper. Walk on the soil, and if there are no footprints, it means you did it right.

Clean the soil and get a plank six inches longer than the radius of your pool.

Find the lowest point of the swimming pool. Don’t add soil. Otherwise, the weight of the swimming pool would remove it, and then your ground won’t be level anymore.

Attach a four-foot level to it with duct tape. Then, hammer nails into the center so the planks can rotate and level.

To finish up, spread limestone and soil around the pool area to level your ground, until it’s flush.

Alternative Two: Concrete

Use concrete to ensure a level and smooth ground. The rough texture of concrete makes sure your above-ground pool stays in place, even when multiple people are using it.

Unfortunately, the roughness of the concrete could also be the downfall of your pool. Literally, it can cause leaks.

To avoid this and still get a steady ground, place an extra layer on top of the concrete, such as a commercial pad.

It’s not the cheapest solution, but you’ll definitely have level ground and a steady pool.

Alternative Three: Solid Foam

Foam is an excellent alternative to digging. All you have to do is place it on your grass and then build the pool on it.

Solid foam is made out of polystyrene or polyurethane. The only problem with this alternative is that it can be expensive.

Alternative Four: Sand

It’s easier to level down sand than the ground.

Just pour the sand on your pool perimeter, spread it, and compact it.

Unfortunately, sand isn’t reliable. It isn’t as stable as concrete, so your pool might move, which could destroy the inner structure.

Alternative Five: Crushed Stone

This is better than using sand. Try to use crushed limestones to level the ground.

If you don’t crush them, there could be tears in your swimming pool.

Alternative Six: Rolling Tamper

You still have to dig a bit for this alternative. Just mark your pool perimeter with stands, clear the area and then roll the tamper.

Put one to two inches of sand on the area, and level out the sand with the temper.

Final Thoughts and Summary

Leveling the ground in your garden or yard is essential before installing an above-ground swimming pool.

This prevents the weight of the pool from shifting and creating a shallow end. The pool walls and liners could get damaged. Plus, it won’t look right and can be dangerous to people inside and outside, as well as your landscape or even your house.

The best thing to do is create a pool perimeter, install marks, clear the ground and start digging until the soil is even. Then, just wet the soil and add sand or other to it. This will level the ground and secure your above-ground swimming pool.
If you don’t like digging, that’s not a problem.

The best alternative is to use concrete and sand on top so the pool stays in place. Otherwise, use foam or commercial pads to have a sturdy level of ground without digging. Or, just use a combination of sand and crushed limestones.

Whatever you decide to do, your pool will be safe and secured. It doesn’t matter if you do it on your own or you hire people to do it for you; the few days it’s going to take are going to be worth it.

All you’ll have to worry about after leveling your ground is which swimsuit to wear!

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