Above ground pools can last a decade or two, but you should replace the liner every five to eight years. Unlike their in-ground cousins, above ground pools are a long-term investment without a lifetime commitment.
If you care for and install your pool correctly, it can last even longer, but how can you install an above ground pool on a slope? I’ll explain how it works so you can go swimming for years to come.
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How To Install An Above Ground Pool On A Slope
In order to install an above ground pool on a slope, dig down to create a flattened, level area. Using a level, mark all the high spots in the yard with stakes. Start digging on the high side until the hole is roughly level. Using a rake and a tamper, flatten masonry sand until area is level.
7 Steps To Install Above Ground Pool On A Slope
Although you can get a pool that’s custom-built for uneven terrain, it will still put more water pressure on one side. Regrettably, this can and will eventually lead to strain, stress, and damage on that end of your pool.
Instead, opt for the more labor-intensive but ultimately more successful method of doing pretty much the same thing you should do to set an above ground pool anywhere: dig and level.
By following the steps below, you can install an above ground pool on a slope.
1. Make A Choice
Deciding on the precise placement of your above ground pool is the first step. Figure out what part of the slope needs to change to accommodate your pool and mark it off so you can get started.
Leveling is a part of any above ground setup. The difference is that you will need to do more of it when you have a sloped yard.
Determine who will do the digging and how. You can do this with a shovel, but it may be easier to rent a small excavator if your slope and pool are large.
In some cases, you will need to hire professionals because of rocky terrain or other concerns, but if you do hire a crew of landscapers or other installers, then you’re done. All you have left to do is wait for them to finish.
When you’re working with a high slope, you may want to do some initial digging. Doing this will help you get near the point where you want to level.
Remember that this step isn’t meant to be exact, and you don’t want to try to dig out a perfectly level surface right away.
Especially if you’re working with heavy equipment like a skid-steer loader to dig out dirt, it’s better to leave more on the surface rather than gouging holes.
It is always better to dig down than attempt to fill up a gap. The final dig will require a shovel.
3. Mark High Spots
I strongly recommend using a laser level to get the ground even for your pool. Not only are these levels more versatile, easy to read, and accurate, but they’ll help you level the area rather than one specific, minor patch of dirt.
Unfortunately, being off by even a centimeter is going to put a lot of pressure on one end of your pool.
For outdoor work, I prefer the Huepar Self-leveling Laser Level. Not only does this level last up to five hours, but the pulse mode lets you cover up to a hundred and fifty feet even in bright light and outdoor conditions. You can get one on Amazon.
Using your laser level, mark any high spots. You can use sticks or biodegradable spray paint for this step. The idea is only to figure out where you need to move smaller amounts of dirt to proceed.
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Last update on 2024-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Once you’re ready to handle the details of leveling off your dug-out space, you will need a shovel or even a garden trowel to remove smaller amounts of dirt.
This part of the process is more about accuracy than the initial dig. Try not to remove more soil than you need to. Gouging holes means you have to re-fill them, and dirt doesn’t always settle evenly.
If necessary, you can use a long, straight board and a carpenter’s level to help with this part of the process. A laser level is better.
I also strongly recommend wearing work gloves to prevent blisters.
When you’ve done your digging and checked to see that everything is mainly leveled off, it’s time to rake. Although this stirs up the surface soil, it will also turn up any small rocks, twigs, or other foreign materials.
Since you don’t want any of that poking through your pool pad to damage your above ground pool, it’s a good idea to pull these things out by hand. Happily, this part of the process only takes a few minutes.
6. Tamp & Sand
A tamper is a heavy, cylindrical wheel on a pole you push. I have seen people use a piece of board with a rope tied on two sides and their body weight to do the same job, but it’s a lot faster if you buy or rent the right tool.
For larger areas, you can rent mechanized tampers.
It is vital to get the area under your pool as even and flat as possible. Putting down a layer of masonry sand is a great way to smooth over the surface when you’re done.
Also, doing this allows you to place supports like 12×12 pavers under where the feet will sit.
If you don’t have a cylindrical wheel tamper, another version is a hand tamper. This will take a little longer but will still get the job done.
- Steel 8-Inch x 8-Inch head
- 9-Pound steel head
- Hardwood handle with thicker lower section for additional strength
- Used to flatten and smooth dirt, stone, asphalt, and other materials
Last update on 2024-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
7. Prep With Fungicide
Once you have the whole space for your pool dug out and leveled, it’s an excellent idea to do one final step to prepare the area before you put down a pad and set up your above ground pool.
Spraying the entire space with a high-quality fungicide will prevent mold. You can opt for a dual-use herbicide and fungicide if you prefer.
Because splashing is inevitable, water will get under your pool. Unfortunately, moisture is the perfect breeding ground for fungal growth, and once you have mold under your pool, there’s only one way to get rid of it.
Draining your pool and moving it is a pain. Plus, it will cost time and money, so spraying before you ever set the pool up is worth a few minutes of extra effort.
Helpful Tips To Know About Installing Above Ground Pool On A Slope
Although some people see sloped ground as a disadvantage, there are many good reasons to use a slope for your pool.
Choosing the sunny side of the slope will give you natural light, and you can use the protection of the slope to help cut down on cross breezes that push debris into your pool.
Here are some other helpful tips to know about installing an above ground pool on a slope.
- Setting your above ground pool into a steep slope is a fantastic opportunity to build a deck around the top. Not only will you save on materials and labor costs because the supports are shorter, but you get a great place to relax and soak up the sun between dips in your pool.
- When your pool is on a slope, it is easier to drain it. Taking advantage of the land’s natural shape, you can easily cut in a drainage channel for future use.
- If the area where you need to dig is covered in grass or weeds, there’s a simple solution. Place cardboard or a layer of plastic over the space about two to three weeks before you plan to dig. Doing this will kill off all the vegetation, making it easier to remove soil.
Although it’s a lot more work to install an above ground pool on a slope, it is also well worth the effort. By digging down and leveling the ground you can attain the ideal flat surface.
The deeper you have to dig, the more ways you can take advantage of the situation. Having some extra earth mass on one side will help your pool stay at the same temperature longer, and it’s easier to build a nice deck or platform on the side of the pool.
More importantly, that perfectly flat surface cut into the sloping ground is essential. A level pool will last longer since the weight of the water is evenly distributed.
A tilted pool will wear on one wall unevenly by putting more pressure as the water ‘rests’ against it. With an above ground pool on a leveled slope, you don’t need to worry about that, so you can relax and swim.