How To: Level Ground For a Pool
Ready to learn how to level ground for a pool and unsure how to handle the terrain? Here’s the complete guide for leveling ground for a pool.
One of the most refreshing warm-weather activities is going for a swim in a pool. While many homeowners may be ready to learn how to install an above-ground pool in their own backyard, there are a few things to consider. The first is how to level ground for the pool of their choice to ensure a safe and reliable swimming experience.
Time required: A few hours to days, depending on the size of the area
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate
Estimated cost: Varies depending on tools purchased
Before You Begin…
Read the pool’s manufacturer instructions and follow their recommendations to learn how to install the above-ground pool in the best manner. Be aware that there will be damage to the grass underneath the above-ground pool and in surrounding areas due to possible spillage of chlorinated water. It may seem more straightforward to place an above-ground pool on a balcony or deck; however, this is dangerous as the surface could collapse under the weight of the water. If there is a lot of ground you need to displace or you don’t have the necessary equipment, consider hiring a professional to take on this physically taxing job.
Tips for Leveling Ground for a Pool
- Level the ground on a firm area in the yard that doesn’t contain mud, sand, or loose soil.
- Choose the flattest area in the yard for an easier time leveling the ground.
- Avoid places in the yard with large trees, as the leaves could clog up the pool.
- Ensure the area is at least 6 feet away from any receptacles or large obstacles.
- Avoid leveling the ground for a pool near any septic lines, power lines, or cables.
STEP 1: Determine your location and remove any large rocks or debris.
Choose the flattest area in the yard that’s away from large trees, receptacles, power lines, sewage lines, or cables. Ensure the ground is firmly packed with soil sturdy enough for the above-ground pool of your choice. Next, use a rake to remove any large debris or rocks from the area that could damage the pool. Then, use a shovel, tarp, or sod cutter to remove grasses and other vegetation in the area. Using a wheelbarrow, remove debris from the worksite.
STEP 2: Place 2x4s on the site and place a level on top.
Place 2×4 planks from the center of the pool site to the outer edge, using as many planks as needed to reach the border. Place a level on top of each 2×4. Use the levels as guides of where each part of the site is not level. Use stakes to mark these spots before starting to dig.
Do not attempt to eyeball the level of the ground. Being off even by an inch or two could have severe consequences for the above-ground pool. There’s also the option of using stakes and twine, placing the level on top of the string to ensure the ground is level. Place one stake at the center of the site and one at the outer edge, then tie twine between the stakes.
STEP 3: Add or take away soil until the ground is level.
After it’s clear where the ground is unlevel, it’s time to use a shovel to level the ground. This part is tedious as the soil needs to be taken out or added one scoop at a time. First, find the deepest spot of the site. This depth is where the rest of the ground will need to be leveled out to meet.
It’s not advised to add a large amount of soil to lowered areas because the above-ground pool will flatten the earth, possibly creating an uneven surface. If the site is being topped off with sand, a good rule of thumb is to dig the pool area at least 2 inches into the ground.
STEP 4: Repeat the process until the entire area is flat.
Continue taking away soil until the entire area is flat. It’s more effective to remove dirt from the raised areas rather than add new dirt to the lower level areas. Continue moving the 2x4s to ensure all areas of the pool site are level. If the area is in the shape of the circle, use a 2×4 to rotate it 360 degrees from the center to the outer edge. The ground is considered even once the level stays consistent throughout the rotation.
STEP 5: Rake any remaining rocks or debris and tamp the ground.
Once the ground is leveled, use the rake or lawn roller to go through the area again to remove any rocks or debris that surfaced during the leveling process. After the area is free of debris, use a hose to moisten the soil. This will take about an hour of low-pressure watering. Once the area is moist, use a hand tamper or a rolling tamper to compress the surface.
After compacting, there’s the option to completely smooth the area out with sand. However, it’s essential to refer to the above-ground pool’s instructions before taking this step.
STEP 6: Contact a landscaping or pool professional.
After the ground is leveled, it’s time to learn how to install the above-ground pool. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the pool correctly or contact a pool professional for assistance. They can examine the ground to ensure it won’t cause issues for the pool liner. Contact a landscaping company to spray the area with herbicides or fungicides to keep growth at a minimum around the pool. If the area for the pool is still uneven, a professional can assess any damage and work to level the ground for a pool.
Leveling the ground for an above-ground pool can be a difficult task, so it’s advised to have a professional verify the area for the pool is truly level before you have your pool installed. This will ensure that the pool water level is even and there’s no possibility of damage to the pool walls or liner.
If you’re concerned about safety or your ability to successfully level the ground for your pool, it’s always best to hire a professional.