Exterior Pools & Water Features

10 Reasons to Reconsider the Above-Ground Pool

Above-ground pools have never been known for high style. Still, they remain a popular and budget-friendly option for those unable—or unwilling—to shell out a fortune for a cool-off spot. These days, however, with pool manufacturers and installers offering new shapes and surround designs, above-ground pools deserve another look. With thoughtful planning and a dose of inspiration, an above-ground pool can be every bit as lovely to the eye and welcoming to swimmers as the in-ground variety. Don't believe it? Click to see proof.

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Sleek Chic

On a sloped property, it’s possible to position an above-ground pool so that it looks like an in-ground one. A modern wood deck and high-end furniture add to the classy illusion.

Deluxe Hangout

An above-ground pool with a stained or painted wood surround looks appealing from all angles. Shown here, a pool house drives home the feeling of luxurious comfort.

Organic Elegance

Natural materials thoughtfully positioned on a sloped site make this above-ground pool appear right at home in the yard. The lesson? To seamlessly blend your pool into the environment, opt for a surround made of local stone or wood.

Lap of Luxury

A lap pool is an excellent tool for staying fit, but as this design demonstrates, it can also be a stunning water feature. This custom job is made from concrete but incorporates a hardwood deck, which adds such warmth richness to the overall installation.

Window Box

Pools with glass inserts are perfect for small courtyards. And though they must be custom-made (and cost a small fortune), there’s no denying their jaw-dropping visual impact.

The Right Finishing Touches

Just as the right accessories can make an outfit, the right outdoor furniture and hardscaping can upgrade the look of an above-ground pool. Here, the pool’s wooden surround is visually of a piece with the ladder and patio chairs. And to ease the transition from the grassy yard, the edges of the simple wood deck are fringed by low plants.

A Step Up

Its freeform shape and custom bluestone steps transform this above-ground pool into something quite extraordinary. The steps do triple duty: While covering the surround, they allow entry from any point along the perimeter and provide generous space for bathers to sit near the water.

Decked Out


Multi-level wooden decks smooth the transition between the yard and pool in this smartly devised layout. An above-ground spa is a welcome extra, and containers of flowering plants deliver a nice decorative touch.

On the Fence


Thoughtfully installed decking around the back half of this pool allows it to function like an in-ground design. The focal point of the landscaping is a dramatic rock retaining wall planted with palms, and a wood-plank surround that matches the deck yields a cohesive look.

Poolside Seating


An above-ground “endless” lap pool, functioning like a treadmill but for swimming, enables the homeowners to get plenty of exercise, even in their relatively small yard. The pool’s edge is lined with stained wooden boards for lounging after a workout, and checkerboard-pattern pavers add to the design’s pleasing geometric style.

For More…


For more on swimming pools, check out:

Natural Swimming Pools: 10 Green and Gorgeous Designs

Swimming with the Stars: 12 Celebrities’ Cool Pools

9 Incredibly Cool Pool Houses