Tips on Choosing the Best Location for my Above Ground Pool
Choosing the best location for your new above ground pool is a decision that you will live with for many years. Moving an above ground pool, after it is installed, and can be more work than originally installing it. So it’s best to make sure that you’ll never have to move the pool.
At Pool & Spa Depot we install both inground pools and above ground pools. Although there’s a lot less digging involved when installing an above ground pool, 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.
Tip #1 Aboveground Pools are Heavy
Did you know that just the water alone for a small 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 ground: The best support for a pool would be ground that is not too loose. Very sandy or silty ground, around a pond or lake 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 accelerate 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.
Tip #2 Aboveground Pools are Big
OK, 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 smaller, 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 up to 50′ – you’d have to check with your local department of Building and Codes office to find out the setbacks on the side and the rear of the property. Ignore the setback completely, and a besty neighbor may report you.
Easements: Several 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, that your local codes office has. Construction is normally prohibited on an easement, without proper waviers from the code deportment.
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 don’t 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.
Tip #3 Safety – Maintenance – Convenience
For our last tip, location of the pool should consider safety and pool maintenance concerns for the family and neighbors. You want the pool to be safe, and you don’t 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? We 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. Don’t 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 don’t have to walk 50 feet to get there.
In total 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 ground should be fairly solid and compact-able. Drainage is very important, especially if you have a hillside near the pool. And don’t 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 – then visit our above ground pool section on our website to choose your pool. Then come visit any of our four convenient locations to pick out your pool and place your order.