How to install a base for an above ground pool

How to install a base for an above ground pool

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

68 guides

Above ground pools can be installed in the space of a few hours and can be set up on sand, ground cloth, concrete or directly on your lawn. Preparing the ground is an essential step to help protect the bottom of your pool from tears and punctures. Read on to find the right base for your above ground pool.

Important features

  • Sand
  • Ground cloth
  • Installing on a lawn
  • Installing on concrete
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Preparing the ground for an above ground pool


First of all, you'll have to decide where to install your pool. To make the right choice you'll have to consider local regulations, the distance from your neighbours, the noise caused by pool games, the layout of your space and your ground surface. For example, you can't have an inflatable pool near thorny bushes, gravel or on a slope.

No matter whether your pool is free-standing, has a steel frame or is inflatable, it will be bulky and heavy. As a reminder, one cubic metre of water weighs around one ton. This is a considerable weight which can cause your ground to sink over time or damage your pool if you don't take the proper precautions.

If you plan on setting up your pool on concrete slabs, there isn't a lot to consider. However, if you are going to be installing a pool on bare earth or on a lawn, you will have to prepare the ground very carefully. We'll walk you through the various steps to properly preparing the ground for an above pool installation.

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Inflatable

Installing an above ground pool on sand: the best solution

Sand helps to stabilise the ground and allows you to fill in most ground imperfections. However, you will have to follow a few basic rules. Firstly, you should avoid laying a thick layer of sand on the ground itself if you want to avoid finding sand anywhere and everywhere – including where you least expect it. What's more, cats can come by in the night time and use the sand as their own personal litter tray which can lead to some pretty terrible smells.

Installing an above ground pool on sand in 5 steps


  1. The best solution is to dig down about ten centimetres and cover the surface with a ground cloth, which is used to protect the pool.
  2. After clearing the ground of excess soil, rocks, roots and any other debris that could damage the base of the pool over time, you can fill the hole you have made with sand. Get yourself an aluminium rule, a spirit level, a rake and a tamper or a lawn roller.
  3. If you choose a sand with a large grain size, it will tamp down more easily. A good option is to mix the sand with a bit of cement: this mixture will increase the strength of the base. Take the time to even and level out the base surface.
  4. Add in a touch of water at the tamping or rolling stage.
  5. Then place down a geotextile sheet to prevent weed growth. You can then roll out the ground cloth which should match the dimensions of the pool. Once this is done, you can start assembling or blowing up your pool.
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Ground cloth

Installing a pool on the lawn: a risky option


You can set up a steel frame or above ground pool on the lawn but you will have to take a lot of precautions and accept the fact that you do run the risk of damage.
After deciding where to put your pool and checking that the ground is adequately flat and level, use a lawnmower to cut your grass as short as it can go in the area where the pool will be installed.

  • Remove any rocks or unwanted debris. Using a rake, followed by a broom, clear and clean the surface.
  • Place a hard-wearing ground cloth beneath the pool then install the pool. You will, nonetheless, have to accept the fact that your lawn will die off beneath the weight of the pool. If you plan on dismantling the pool, you will have to revive your lawn by turning over the soil.

Installation tips

It's up to you to find the right method for your space and to create a large clearance space around the pool: children often run around pools and any obstacles in their way can quickly turn a fun day into a trip to the hospital. In short: be careful!

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Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 68 guides

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

I was trained as a pipe worker and a pipe-welder and after having traveled for 35 years working around the UK, I became the head a metal shop and then a designer and in the end the head engineer. I have designed and built a workshop where I make metal sculptures: I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can to let my imagination run wild. Auctions and garage sales are no secret to me. I find unusual objects and old tools there that I collect or transform into works of art. I also like decoration, painting on canvas, and gardening. I am developing new technologies concerning tools. To share my passion and humbly advise you in your choice of materials is a real pleasure.

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