32 Best Above Ground Pool Ideas and Designs

The popularity of above-ground pools has spiked through the years because of specific perks. It has evolved since its introduction in the 1960s. They have become larger and deeper, almost resembling in-ground pools. They have also been infused with cutting-edge features as well as customized designs. 

There is a wide range of above ground pool ideas that has redefined how this type of pool works through the years. If you are thinking of putting up your own above ground pool in your home, this post gives you a roundup of some of the best above ground pool ideas out there. 

In this article:

Pros and cons of above ground pools

As convenient as they may seem, above ground pools have their fair share of pros and cons. To help you weigh on things, here are some of the pros and cons of above ground pools that you should know about. 

Pros

  • Easy to install and disassemble: In-ground pools require professional work. It needs a lot of digging, insulating, and leveling. Above ground pools just need assembling. It would not impact the landscape, you can disassemble it when the rainy season or winter comes, and you can take it with you when you suddenly relocate. 
  • Safety: Above ground pools are just in between 48-52 inches deep which means that they are shallower compared to in-ground pools. They are all reinforced with surrounding handles which prevents slippage. 
  • Affordability: The disparity between the cost of in-ground and above ground pools would be tens of thousands of dollars. Again, you do not need a lot of materials nor labor and because they are not fixed fixtures in the home, they are often non-taxable and do not need building permits. 
  • Low maintenance: Because of their elevation, insects and leaves could not easily drop. Other than this, you can easily install a pool cover for it and when it gets damaged or broken on the bottom or to the sides, patching up is less costly compared to the damage cost of in-ground pools. 

Cons

  • Lifespan: Above ground pools usually last to up to 15 years but it would still be at par with the 20 years and more lifespan of in-ground pools. 
  • Vulnerability to elements: Above ground pools are also more vulnerable to damages. This includes damages caused by storms and snow. You are looking into massive spilling, with all things considered. 
  • Versatility: You can always upgrade your above ground pool but with limited options. It cannot come with a pool deck or a diving board, among others. And with its maximum depth of 52-inches, you cannot really have all the diving fun of in-ground pools. 
  • Overall look: If you want an upscale pool side, do not expect much from above pool grounds. They look more like hot tubs. Some even go down the stretch of labeling it as a larger kiddie pool. As such, overall, above ground pools do not also increase your home’s value. 

Above ground pool deck ideas

1. Composite above ground pool deck

If you want the feel and look of real wood but costs lower when it comes to maintenance, you should go for a composite above ground pool deck.

The ground had to be leveled with dirt before the composite deck was installed at half of the pool. There are also walk-in steps on the side which adds elegance to the entire look. 

2. Wood above ground pool deck

The most common decking material is wood but if you want to have a unique look, you can make a terraced wood deck for your above ground pool. It is a multifunctional design since the wood terraces can be used as stairs, as seating and where you can place your swimming stuff. It is strategic for compact yards and a space-saving design even for vast estates. 

Related: 26+ Outdoor Deck Designs and Ideas (With Photos)

3. Aluminum above ground pool deck

The use of aluminum in decking is very rare but it creates a contemporary allure that you cannot get over with. While it is lightweight, it is durable, does not rust, warp or crack. It is also mold resistant.

Aside from this, you can incorporate any design to it. It can be meshed, slatted, latticed and more. You can also make it wide enough to accommodate seating and even accent plants. 

Small above ground pool ideas

4. Corner pool

One of the best space-saving designs for any type of pool would be having a corner pool. A wooden encasing and a three-step deck are enough to make it look like an upscale pool.

Make the wood frame a bit higher than 52-inches for you to have a comfortable head and back rest while you swim. Lush greens give it a zen vibe like this one. 

5. Narrow pool

Make use of your limited yard by taking advantage of its length. You can set up a long and slender above ground pool that looks like those in water therapy baths. You can enclose it with concrete or stone.

Add some warm lighting and adorn the corner walls with vines and cascading plants to complete its therapeutic look. 

6. Patio to pool transition

If you want a seamless design, incorporating the above ground pool in your patio is a good idea. You no longer must add a separate seating out there because you already have the patio seating.

All you must really install is the above ground pool itself. You can cut through the patio deck to seamlessly incorporate the pool. It can look like this. 

Above ground pool lighting ideas

7. Moonlighting

This pool lighting idea means that you must install an array of warm and white lights on the trees or along the roof gables. Doing this creates an illusion of the moonlight hitting the pool. The shadows that it makes gives it a more romantic and a warmer feel. 

8. Undercap lighting

The main idea behind this lighting type is to see the effect of the light on the water surface and not to give emphasis on the light source. For this, LED lights are lined beneath the pool liners to create a downward cast of light. It is also meant to emphasize the contrast of the pool, the deck and the wall. 

9. Structure lighting 

If you have structures near the above ground pool, you can capitalize on them for a better look. They make the whole area versatile to any vibe. It could be trendy, disco-type or just ambient.

Structure lighting can be mounted on pergolas, the deck, or as string lights surrounding the pool area. If you have a deck, your lighting would benefit from it. 

Related: 45+ Best Deck Lighting Ideas & Designs

Above ground pool fence ideas

Related: 65+ Simple and Inexpensive DIY Fence Ideas For Your Backyard, or Privacy

10. Wood and glass fencing

If you want a sophisticated, minimalist and zen look all at once, the combo of wood and glass give an upscale look for a compact above ground pool. For this, you need an all-bamboo privacy fencing that surrounds three sides of the pool square.

The fourth side is paneled with fiberglass. It acts as both an entrance to the pool for more safety and to prevent splashing on the concrete pavers

11. Horizontal wood fencing

This one does not only feature a horizontal wood fencing but also a lattice base and a small shade seamlessly tied with the fence. The deck is way wider than the above ground pool. The compact shade is for seating and a slide is there to make it more kid friendly. This design is enough to enliven any property. 

12. Wrought iron fencing

If you do not want the enclosure of a deck, you can invest in durable but cost-efficient fencing. This one is placed beside the playground, which is strategic and safe because decked pools without fencing could be a risk factor for slipping.

The wrought iron fencing is also not penetrable by active kids if you make them high enough. To make it totally non-slip, paver walkways and pea gravel is a good idea. 

Above ground pool edging ideas

13. Brick edging

This one is a beautiful idea for edging for small above ground pool. As a matter of fact, it is a strategic way to make your above ground pool like an in-ground one. The use of irregular shaped bricks stacked in a rugged manner make it more a straightforward look. 

14. Wood edging

For a multifunctional edging which you could use as a table for loose seating or a space where you could place accent plants or flowers, you could make a wood edging for your above ground pool.

The concrete enclosure makes it look sturdy and the wood deck floor balances the tone of the entire pool side. No one would even suspect that it is installed above pool ground. 

15. Tile edging

Source

Who says you cannot choose ceramic tiles as edging for your above ground pool? To make it more standout, you can opt for more eccentric designs like glittering ones or metallic ones to reflect the light. This is a good design for compact above ground pools like this one. 

Above ground pool enclosure ideas

16. Dome enclosure

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They are also called sun domes or pool igloos. If you want to continue swimming even when the sun is at its peak, when it is raining or even snowing, this should be the above ground enclosure to be installed. It is everything you need for design and function. 

17. Retractable enclosure

It can be made of glass, wood, or typical pool cover but when it comes to basic pool enclosures, it must be the retractable ones. This one makes use of a vinyl retractable pool cover for an above ground pool with wooden deck. The classic touch of wood and the symmetry of the deck is enough for this to be the freshest pool you have seen. 

18. Wood and glass enclosure

This combo is a match made in heaven. An arching design, complete with concrete pavers and lush greenery make the above ground pool look like an in-ground pool in a sophisticated apothecary style. The transparency of this enclosure makes it look cool and inviting. 

Above ground pool privacy ideas

19. Wood bar privacy design

If you want a semi-private fencing for your above ground pool, you can go with the wood bar design. The clean, nautical style of this pool privacy gives the entire pool side a clean and refreshing look that can easily become one’s favorite place in the home. 

20. Hedging

Modern and minimalist above ground pool designs mean creativity. Using taller shrubs and curating them into leveled hedges for greater privacy gives you more liberty to combine more materials to be used in the pool’s edging as well as in the deck. Hedging for privacy is really a stunning way to upscale an above ground pool. 

Above ground pool pump cover ideas

21. Wood lattice

You can position the pool pump cover in an unnoticeable way. You can set up a wooden lattice shade to encase your pump cover. To make it more cohesive looking, it should be paired with a lattice fencing

22. Privacy screens

If you do not want them to be seen at all, you can set up a vinyl privacy screen for your pool pump cover. The use of vinyl is economical since it is durable and weatherproof. It also comes with a range of designs and is versatile for customization. 

23. Wood cabinet

Making it as a pool pump cover is a good way to repurpose scrap wood. Having it made into a wood cabinet gives everyone a run for their money because they will never know what is in there. Other than that, you can also use its flat surface for placing accent plants or flowers. 

Above ground pool storage ideas

24. Cargo net storage

If you want a practical storage set for your above ground pool, take out your scrap cargo nets from the garage and mount them on your pool wall or behind your pool seating for storage.

You can put in floaters and floating beds. You can also segment the cargo nets to make one bin for swimming accessories and the others for towels, or for the kids’ swimming toys. 

25. Pallet pool storage

Source

This is another way to repurpose scrap wood pallets. Make a box out of it with a hollow middle for floaters and vests. And then, mount hangers in each pallet to work as a towel rack. You can also attach soap boxes beside the pallet box for more function. 

26. Woodshed

Another way to create an above ground pool storage would be creating outbuildings near the pool. If you have wood and metal scraps out there, you can transform them into a woodshed where you can keep stuff including floaters.

You can also make it a space where the fresh towels are and a separate space for the sunscreen and other swimming essentials. 

Above ground pool ladder ideas

27. Classic wood

No matter how tall your above ground pool is, you can never go wrong with a classic wood ladder. For a rustic vibe, this one is what you need. It is versatile and cost-efficient. For a finer touch, you can turn the stairs into an added pool storage. 

28. PVC and steel

To make it look like the standard in-ground pool, you can take the combo of PVC steps and steel railing. This ladder is easy to make and the railings are easy to install. You can mount it DIY in just a few hours. 

29. Brick

This is more of an above ground pool step than a ladder, but it would suffice. Like wood, one cannot simply make a list of design ideas for pools without brick. As a step, it makes sure that the way to the pool is not slippery. It is also low maintenance, and it lasts very long. 

Above ground pool landscaping ideas on a budget

30. Install it next to the deck

To save money from additional edging and encasing, you could just install the whole thing right next to your deck. You can use the patio deck as your seating space while overlooking the pool. Maybe you could just add a PVC ladder by the side to make it more poolside like. 

31. Tropical flair

This one is encased in concrete and is surrounded by a soil bed with low growing ornamentals. A small wood step is also spread for accent and tiki torches are installed in between the plants to serve as lighting. The dwarf palmetto and shrubs by the fence also add to this above ground pool landscaping idea. 

32. Dense vegetation

You do not need much to set up a pool landscape. All you must do is pick a strategic place in the yard where the above pool ground will be installed. This spot should have dense vegetation to surround the pool. Just accentuate it with seating and a simple beach umbrella for a real summer vibe. 

FAQs on Above Ground Pools

There is more to know about above ground pools than just designs. Thus, here are some FAQs that you should be knowledgeable about before you install your own above ground pool. 

What to put around the above ground pool?

Like your regular in-ground pool, there is also a variety of design elements that you could incorporate in your above ground pool. Here is a list of what to put around your above ground pool: 

  • Concrete pavers for edging
  • Wood borders
  • Rocks or gravel
  • Ornamental plants
  • Surrounding shrubs and trees
  • Planters

Are above ground pools worth it?

With all things considered, above ground pools are totally worth it. In terms of practicality, it is less expensive from installation, to maintenance, to removal.

Aside from this, you would not fall short of the many design elements that you can surround it with. Plus, the safety perk of this type of pool is commendable. So, overall, yes, an above ground pool is worth the shot. 

How long do above ground pools last?

At best, the liners of above ground pools last to up to 9 years before they should be replaced. As for the structure, its longevity is between 7-15 years. Beyond that, you should consider replacing your above ground pool when you suspect: 

  • The pool is more than ten years old.
  • The pool wall has gotten rusty.
  • The pool is leaking. 

How much does it cost to install an above ground pool?

At an average, the cost of an above ground pool installation costs in between $3000-11000, depending on the design that you would of course use. This range does not yet include the maintenance of the above ground pool down the stretch. This is calculated separately because again, it depends on the materials and overall design of the above ground pool. 

Can I install an above ground pool on my own?

If the terrain of your home is even-leveled, yes, you can install it DIY. There will be a few diggings to make it more stable, though. If you intend to make it more high-end looking such as encasing it with wood or concrete, or if you want to add decks, you would need a contractor for that. But if time is not of the essence, perhaps, you can still do it DIY. 

What should go beneath an above ground pool to make it leveled? 

The first thing to set up is a leveled terrain where the above ground pool will be placed. To round up what goes down there, here is a list: 

  • Sand
  • Concrete slabs
  • Crushed stone
  • Solid foam/pads
  • Rolling tamper
  • Concrete pavers

What are the effects of installing an above ground pool in an uneven ground? 

Some of the major effects of an uneven ground to an above ground pool would be the following: 

  • Uneven water level on the pool
  • Bending or possible collapsing of pool walls
  • Damage to pool liners

Conclusion

Above ground pools can be considered as a remarkable pool type that has made swimming pools more accessible and cost-efficient for many homes. Its main perk is that it is very manageable and denting your budget is not a cause of concern especially in terms of maintenance.

Given these, we can say that above ground pools are worth it. They can have their drawbacks but they are definitely outweighed by the pros of this type of pool.

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