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.


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


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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Liner Lifting at Wall Joint and Feel Harware

by Steve
(Montreal, Canada)

Hello, I was in the process of opening my SIMA round 21' above ground pool when I noticed my liner raised at a wall joint. Upon further inspection, I could feel that the liner had lifted and felt the hardware(screws?) under it with my hand. This is exactly where there is a support beam on the outside as well. The pool is not even 3 yrs old and was wondering what the issue could be. I did notice the ground wet and soft around that support foot and seam so I was thinking could that have caused this problem? Perhaps that beam moved and that caused the joint and liner to be stress and detach off the wall? I am also wondering if I'll need to replace the whole liner or if it can be repaired at the joint or where the liner has lifted?

Thanks for the help...apreciated.

Hi Steve

I'm not sure I have enough information to answer this question. I would assume the wet ground is from a hole in the liner. The liner should never be in contact with any metal that could tear it. It sounds like you need to drain the pool, rebuild the cove and patch the liner.

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Pool Base Options for Intex

by Phil
(Longview tx)

Great site, thanks for sharing your knowledge on the subject. I Had a 15' X 48" Intex pool last season in backyard. The level was good ,off less than 2 inches on the soil with a heavy duty tarp and base cover that came with pool, no trouble all season with pool,the only thing my ground stayed wet because the pool is located next to neighbor's fence line and they run their sprinklers hours every day during summer, which resulted in wet ground and standing water around pool. When sprinklers are off for several days the ground would be dry.

To fix this problem i would like to raise a new 16X48 Intex pool off the ground. On previous post people have mentioned creating a closed box using PT wood 2x6 or 2x8 or 4x4 or 6x6 and filling it with crushed 3/4 minus gravel or pea gravel or stone dust and topping off with sand with sheet foam insulation and using a pad such as a gorilla pad to top it off. I am a complete newbie at this, could you please give me some suggestions as to what size area I would need and what size wood I should use to create the box and how to secure the wood together and the base I should use inside the box, and should I use pavers under each pool support. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated, I am putting the pool up for my two boys who ask me every day, when dad? I would like to do it right this time. THANKS AGAIN.

Hi Phil

It sounds like you are on the right track, now get it done for those boys.

Use a level of some sort and make sure your frame is level. What you use is not that important, being level is. All the sizes you listed would do the job. You could hold them together with deck type screws or lag bolts. I have also seen when using 4" x 4" or similar lumber the use of re-bar to hold the boards in place. Drilling holes through the boards and then pounding in re-bar every 5' or so does a great job.

Filling in the area should be anything that will pack solid. I would then add the sand. The pool can go directly on the sand or you could add a tarp or pool pad before building the pool. Get it done for the boys.

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