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How to Build or Install a New Pool

One of our favorite summertime activities is swimming, but did you know you can have a pool in your backyard this year a lot easier than you might think?  Below we have got instructions to install your own inground or above ground pool.

How to Build an Inground Pool

Picking a Pool

  • What type of pool will you put in?  This can significantly affect your cost.  The more basic the materials and shape, the less expensive it will be.
  • Are you living in rocky terrain?  You might need to consider blasting costs to remove the rock.
  • Do you live on a hillside?  You may need to form and pour your concrete because of the hill.
  • It can take 3-12 weeks to install a concrete pool, but it is the most durable, some lasting more than fifty years.
  • Vinyl pools may not be as durable, but they come in many attractive designs and are relatively cost effective compared to concrete.
  • Fiberglass pools can be installed as quickly as three days and have a super smooth finish that’s stain resistant and durable.  They also are less porous than concrete or vinyl so that it will hold fewer chemicals and algae.  Still, they come in fewer sizes and shapes than concrete or vinyl.  While all of this is good, you might check to see if your state has regulations on shipping oversized loads.  Many times, shipping expense on these pools is quite high because of state regulations. The cost of delivery might factor into your decision.

Price Shopping for Pools

There are so many variables to an inground pool that it is hard to say how much yours will cost.  A good rule of thumb is to assume you will spend twice as much as the expense of the pool.  The pool itself may have one price tag, but you will need to pay for the filtration system, underwater lighting, initial water fills up, stone coping around the pool edge, landscaping, fencing and other pool-related items.

Zoning for Pools

  • Many areas require you have a licensed contractor to install your pool.  This could also increase the price of your pool installation so be sure to consider that before you begin.
  • Some cities have set regulations about how far pools must be from property lines, wells, septic tanks, wetlands, sewer line and more. So, make sure you are informed on city codes before you start your project.
  • Also, consider fences and gates beforehand also.  Many areas have regulations on how tall the fence must be and more. 

Pool Location

Consider the following things when picking a place for your new pool.

  • Breeze - the wind can increase water evaporation, and there is also just your comfort level to consider.  You may want to create some barrier to break up those breezes that will make you uncomfortable, carry leaves/debris, and cause water evaporation.
  • Sun - Making sure your pool is an open and sunny area will help to ensure that your pool water warms naturally without the need for costly solar heaters.  It also keeps the number of leaves that end up in your pool down.
  • Elevation - Avoid having your pool in a low lighting area that can cause your pool to fill up with dirt or mud in torrential rains.  Flooding in low lying areas can be a nightmare for inground pools.
  • Eye Contact - Can you see the pool from your house?  It is something you might want to do so you can keep an eye on swimmers even if you need to go inside.
  • Utilities - Pools should not be placed under telephone or electrical wires or built over buried septic systems, sewer lines, or electric cables.
  • Accessories - Think about where you are going to store pool supplies and where you might put a spa, diving board, slide, or benches.  You will want to pick a place with these things in mind.

Pool Circulation Systems

The three most commonly used filters are  Sand, Cartridge, and Diatomaceous.

  • Sand filters are the most common method of pool water filtration. This functions great but uses large quantities of water due to the need to backwash them.
  • Cartridge filters are only recently becoming more popular, especially in areas prone to drought.  They do not require backwashing and allow for the user to pull the filter and spray it off with a hose.  This saves a lot on the water each year.
  • Diatomaceous earth filters are a middle ground between sand and cartridge filters.  They do require backwashing to clean them, but they use far less water than sand filters.

Construction of Your Inground Pool

  1. Design your pool.  Know the materials, shape, size and placement of the pool in your yard.
  2. Call your city and get a permit.  Find out if you need to have a professional do the work and if so, get a contractor lined up to help.  Also, be sure to check with any neighborhood associations as not all neighborhoods allow pool installation. 
  3. Rent the necessary equipment to dig out the area where your pool will go.  You should call your dig hotline before any digging to ensure you are not going to hit any utility lines.
  4. Grade the ground to make it as smooth as possible.  If you are not putting in a sloped entry, then make it as level as possible.
  5. Frame the walls and floor using metal rebar.  Make sure to keep your walls in line each other and even.
  • Hire a licensed plumber to help you put in the necessary plumbing for your pool.  You will need a supply for your filtration system, and only a plumber with pool building experience will know how to do that correctly.
  • Hire an electrician to put power out to your pool.  You are going to need it for the filtration system and the lights.
  • Hire a cement truck to pour the concrete floor and smooth it out.
  • Once the floor has set, you can make the walls either will pour concrete or cinder blocks depending on your needs and budget.  Make sure that the walls are made to be level with the ground.
  • Finish the walls with some moisture barrier.  This could be real tile, plaster coating, sprayed plastic coating or maybe even a plastic liner.  Obviously, there will be costs differences between each material so do some comparison shopping before you decide.
  • Fill the Outside, behind your walls there, will be space and you will want to fill that with material which will vary place to place.  A local contractor can advise you on what's best for your needs.

How to Build an Above Ground Pool

  1. Level the ground where your pool will go.
     You can do this by using a long straight board with a carpenter’s level on top to measure the levelness of the area, or you can rent a transit and find the level area.
  2. Find where the middle of your pool and put a stake down at the center.
    Do this by measuring from an existing point in your yard and mark where you want the edge of your pool to be.  Measure the radius (half the width) of the pool from the edge.  This is your center point.  Put a stake down at the center point of the pool.
  3. Find the edge of your pool
    Measure the radius of your pool and add one foot.  Mark this point on the ground all the way around your center point.  This will not be the exact wall of your pool, but it gives you an idea to work within.
  4. Remove Sod
    Rent a sod remover and tear up the grass where your pool will be.  Clean up remaining sod, rocks, roots, or other debris with a yard rake.
  5. Recheck & Level the Area
    Double check to make sure your area is level.  Don't bring up low points, smooth down high ones.  You are looking to be with 1" of being perfectly level.
  6. Use your plates, rails, and stabilizers to create the bottom ring
    Lay your plates, stabilizer, and rail along the outside of the site.  Place the bottom rail into the bottom plate up to the indentation on the plate.  Measure the bottom track across in several locations to ensure that the pool is truly round and the correct size.  If the side is right, stake the ring into position.

Creating Support for Pool Base
Level out each of your plates.  All plates need to be with 1/2" of each other.  Patio blocks can be used under each of your bottom plates just make sure to put it on the ground, so it is flush with the ground.  The block must be level in all directions. You will need to bring in the sand so remove one bottom rail and mark the connecting two bottom plates so you can replace it once done. Dump 1-6 yards of sand (depending on your pool size) Put the bottom rail back and spread your sand out evenly.

Putting Up the Pool Wall
Use stakes around the pool area to hold up the wall while you are installing it.  At the center of a bottom plate, start putting the wall into the track and continue around the ring.  If the wall is not lining up properly at the end, you can adjust the bottom rails in or out of the bottom plate to make sure it fits.  This should be done evenly around the pool.

Line up the sides of the pool wall and secure them with nuts and bolts as instructed in your user’s guide. Beware, if you do not use a nut in all the holes, then your pool may burst.  Wall bars should not touch each other.  Cover all the heads of the bolts with three layers of duct tape to protect your liner from getting any holes.  Construct a 6-8" cove around the inside of your pool walls.  Install the upright bottom plates. Pack down your cove.  Be very careful not to scratch the pool wall when you are doing this. You can use a trowel or tramp for this process.

Installing the Pool Liner
Wet the sand and tamp down the whole pool area and then rake it.  Bring the liner into the pool and lay it out in the sun for a few minutes to make sure it is easier to manipulate.  Do not step on the liner with shoes on, do it in socks or barefoot.  Depending on the type of liner you have, you will have a different method for how it will attach.  V-Bead liners will be held in by the stabilizer rails, Snap Bead liners will snap into a track that goes around the pool separate from the pool wall, and Overlap liners will hang over the pool wall and be secured using plastic coping strips.  Just work the wrinkles to the outside of the pool and install the stabilizer rails along the top of the pool wall.  After, you can remove the landscaping stakes you used to put up the wall.

Finishing Up Your Pool
Into the uprights, put your top plates.  Ensure they are straight using a level and secure them with screws.  Place rails around the pool and secure screws once all rails are in place.  Affix the top covers tightly to your uprights.

Filling Up Your Pool
Walk around the liner in bare feet or socks to get out wrinkles - do not wear shoes.  Fill the pool about half way and then attach your skimmer and filter by following each's instructions.  Lastly, finish up filling your pool and enjoy!

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