Raising Ground For Above Ground Pool

We just purchased an 18' x 52" AG pool, metal frame. Our backyard is not level and slopes about 3-4 inches across where the pool would sit.

I'm not sure we can 'dig out' as there are utility wires running underground in that area. I have read that sand can shift causing problems. I'm not against using sand, but do I need to create a 'box' in which to contain the sand bottom?

What else do I need to lay down?? Any help would be appreciated - have never owned a pool of any kind. Thanks.



Hi. Sand should never be used to level with for an above ground pool foundation. Sand should only be used as an even 2-3 inches under the liner only.

If the ground needs to be raised you should use something that will pack like dirt or crushed granite. The ground should be leveled, packed and watered until solid. In many places there is no such thing as clean fill dirt and the next best option is something from the sand a gravel yard like their crusher run or a crushed granite.

Keep in mind also that any raised area needs to extend beyond the pool by at least a couple of feet. If a retaining wall is needed after that point to hold the fill in this should be done also. You do not want this added soil washing out in a heavy rain.

Once the area is level and the pool track laid down and leveled, then the sand can be moved into the center of the pool. That process is shown on this page.

Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

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Above Ground Pool Base Material

I purchased a new Sharkline Navigator extruded aluminum above ground pool (24'). This will be cut into a sloping backyard. We built new last year and "dished out" where the pool would sit.

My issue is that the level was 18" too low to meet up with the upper patio. After going round/round with different opinions, I have added 30 tons of "stone dust" (1/8" and smaller") to raise the level where the pool will sit.

My installer is VERY hesitant, and keeps repeating the old "I won't be responsible" phrase if it settles after installed. The stone dust has compacted very nice, and I plan on renting a plate tamper this weekend to really pound it in good, and I have already pumped 100's of gallons of water onto it to get it to set up a little.

Just looking for other experts in the pool field with opinions before this install ...

thanks a lot



Hi. It sounds to me like you are doing everything right. There are a few things to keep in mind whenever you build up an area like this. Like you stated, you want to make sure it is thoroughly packed. This would include watering and tamping.

Another important factor is to allow a large ledge beyond the pool. Ideally a 24' pool should be centered in a 30' level area. Three foot is the minimum ledge I would want to see. You may, or may not, need a retaining wall to keep this filled area in place. That is not always needed but you need to sure the built up area will not wash away with the first rain.

The last precaution I would take is to make sure all of your supports sit on patio blocks. This will help a lot in case any minor settling does occur.

Setting pools on raised areas is very common and done for many reasons. In Arizona we do it mostly to raise the pool up out of an irrigated yard. Your installer is either just protecting himself or is not familiar enough with this to be able to give you good advise. I think you will be just fine.

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