Sink An Intex Soft Sided Pool

Can I sink my 18' intex soft sided pool 2' in ground if I use 1/4" plywood sections as a retaining wall?

I plan on using 3'x 4' sections of 1/4" plywood around the already sunken, filled pool then back fill it with dirt.

The plywood would be flush against the pool liner and the metal upright post and be coated with water sealant prior to back filling.

The plywood will be about 6" above ground level and extend about 6" below bottom of pool would this work?

thank you

Hi. I think your plan sounds very workable. The only thing I would do different is to use a thicker plywood. I'm just not sure the 1/4" is going to hold the dirt back the way it needs to. I would sure love to see photos of how this pool project progresses.

Comments for Sink An Intex Soft Sided Pool

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Aug 20, 2010
Intex pool in ground..
by: Anonymous

I have an Intex Ultra frame 16x32 rectangle.. And i am recessing it in the ground about 2 1/2 feet.
Already have the recess dug and leveled, the pool is set up and filling up with water as we speak. the hole is about 2 feet wider around the pool .. I was going to fill it back in with dirt once the pool is full, But We have opted to build a large deck on one end and a 3 foot deck walk way all the way around the pool, and NOT fill it back in with the dirt.. This will make for easier maintenance on the pool. Plus the Pump is a gravity pump, and it needs to be low to the ground. I would hate to have to dig back around the pool for maintenance... I can send pictures if you like!

Hi. Sounds like the perfect plan and I would love to see photos.

Jan 04, 2011
Intex pool reinforced with Plastic Fence
by: Chris

I am in the process of doing the same however I have decided to go with pre-fab white plastic fence to protect with a moisture proof product. I also drew up a drainage system to releve water build up in case of huge rains. Fortunately I only need to dig down 1/2 and the other side is exposed to alley way and fence. My question is what size of Intex pool are you putting in? And how deep will you go. I would love to share ideas.

Feb 08, 2011
would love photos
by: Anonymous

I have been trying to come up with something to do like this with my Intex pool, however, I live in NY and can't leave it up all year due to the cold, or so I thought. Do you live in a warmer climate? I was going to sink it, and not backfill, just fill the space with large planters so I can get the pool down again. Any other ideas would be so helpful.

Hi. Your idea is as good as anything I could come up with.

Apr 08, 2011
Sink Intex Pool
by: Pool

Intex pools are surprisingly strong and unlike other above ground pools it can be placed on pretty much any ground surface without having to haul in and spread sand. I decided in 2006 to sink my 18ft round Intex pool 2 1/2 feet into the ground. I rented an excavator and proceeded to tackle this task myself.

Living 29 ft above sea level I had no water issues after the hole was dug. I leveled the bottom as good as I possibly can and allowed the dirt to settle for a few weeks. I laid several layers of heavy construction grade visqueen over the dirt and allowed it to overlap the sides onto the ground. I put the pool together inside the dug out area.

After the pool was assembled I filled it with water. I dropped the excess dirt into the open areas around the pool. I went to a local lumber store and purchased fence board. I surrounded the pool with fence board cut 1 1/2 foot long to hide the loud blue color of the pool. I then drilled holes around the top pipe railing in several areas and cut 2x8 boards at an angle to bolt to the top piping creating a ledge that turns out to be very strong.

I had an aluminum screened lunai built all around the pool filled the entire area around it with plants, hedges around the pool in a circle, palm cactus plants, lava rocks and stepping stones. I installed fiberglass pool steps in the pool, a pool light, two torch lamps on each side of the steps outside of the pool, metal chairs, a barbeque grill in the pool area and lastly installed a pool heat pump.

I now have my own little pool paradise for under 15,000 dollars (most of it on the lunai enclosure). To this day I have never had an issue with the pool leaking, no structural problems and the pump does just fine despite the fact that it is level with the intake coming out of the pool. If anyone would like me to e mail pictures of the pool send a request to in the subject line type Pool Pics. Don't let anyone tell you any different. You can indeed sink an Intex pool and you don't need to do anything but level the dirt and drop it in the hole. The pool sides are just as strong as the bottom so unless you have sharp rocks or tree roots then it will not tear. Five years now and still swimming with no problems.

Hi. That was very informative, thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Apr 09, 2011
would love to see NY pool photos
by: Anonymous

I, Too, live in NY and want to do something like this. The pool will have to come down for the winter. I hope that you can post photos of the pool and the trench around it filled with planters. I really need a visual!!

Apr 27, 2011
Any pics?
by: David

I had an idea to sink my 12-24 rectangular intex into the ground as well.

Any pics guys?

Jun 14, 2011
Sinking Intex Pool
by: Anonymous

I have a 24 round Intex pool, would love to make it semi inground. not sure what to do with the filter as it is attached to side of pool and reaches two feet from bottom of pool.. I would love to see pictures of anyone that has done this and any ideas on the filter?

Jun 27, 2011
Need advice for backfilling!
by: Pebbles

We recently had a company come install our 20x48 Intex pool,which they had to dig out an extra ft. around and 20 inches deeper 1/2 way around to get it level..How do I back fill the large gap between pool and not cave in the walls of the pool, that is already full of water?

Could anyone please give me some advice ASAP!

Jun 27, 2011
by: David

Would love to see some pics. Please forward to

I thought instead of putting the pool in a snug hole to leave a three foot swash all the way around so that if needed I can get down there via a hinged area in the deck and do maintenance as required (certainly for cleaning the pump filter etc). As my ground is full of DG (dissolved granite and will not cave in (San Diego so no torrential floods/rains) I believe I do NOT need a wood structure to support the walls but simply several 4x4 posts sunken into concrete at the corners and one in the center plus the thick 12 mil, plastic weave screen used by farmers to keep rodents like rabbits out of their gardens to hold back any loose soil. I dug a test hole 4'x4' and sprinkled it and it didn't budge.

Jun 24, 2012
recessing pool
by: Anonymous

I wouldn't use plywood but if I did it would be marine type.

I have been thinking about doing the same when I purchase an above ground pool and use hardiback since it won't rot. Just a thought.

Jun 14, 2017
Preventive measure
by: Anonymous

I'm placing my 18 ft x 48in in the ground. It took me a week to dig this hole 19 ft radius and 3 ft deep. I'm also digging out the center of the pool area another 3 ft radius additional foot and a half so it will be deeper in the center. Sunk the pool pump half way down so it will pump properly. I am going to use extra thick as a lined protector and backfill with zof dirt.

Jul 02, 2020
retaining wall
by: mickey

Intex 12 x 24 oval pool with u shaped braces that attach to bottom retaining straps, can I eliminate these braces if pool is against retaining wall with plywood between.
Thanks, Mickey

Hi Mickey That is not something I would do.

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