How Deep in the Ground Can an Above Ground Pool Be?

One common question people have when considering an above-ground pool is how deep in the ground the pool can be. This is a valid concern as you want to ensure your pool is safe and stable. You also don’t want to have to excavate more than necessary.

An above-ground pool should be buried no more than halfway into the ground. If your pool is 48 in. (1.2 m) tall, you must excavate at least 24 in. (0.6 m) of soil. This provides a firm and level foundation that helps keep the pool stable in case of high winds or other severe weather conditions. 

This comprehensive article will discuss everything you need to know about how deep your pool can be in the ground, including factors to consider before setting your above-ground pool in the ground. I’ll also provide some helpful tips on properly installing your above-ground pool.

you should bury a pool over halfway into the ground

Factors To Consider Before Setting Your Above Ground Pool in the Ground

Proper installation is essential to the pool’s safety, longevity, and stability. Get it right, and you’ll enjoy years of fun in the sun. Get it wrong, and you could be dealing with serious safety hazards, structural damage, and costly repairs. 

Consider the following factors to ensure a safe and efficient installation:

Local Building Codes and Regulations

Every city and town has different building codes and regulations. These codes and regulations vary from state to state, so it’s essential to check with your local building department before installing your pool. Some codes and regulations that could affect your installation include:

  • Setbacks: Setbacks are the minimum distance your pool must be from property lines, buildings, septic tanks, wells, etc. They vary from 10 – 100 feet (3.1 to 30.5 m). Check with your local building department to see what the requirements are in your area.
  • Fences: Many jurisdictions require a fence around an above-ground pool. The height of the fence and the type of material used will vary depending on the code requirements in your area.
  • Pool permits: A permit may be required to install an above-ground pool. The cost of the permit will vary depending on the size and type of pool you are installing.
  • Utility lines: It’s crucial to know where your utility lines are before you start digging for your pool. You don’t want to damage any underground lines accidentally.

Type of Pool

Not every above-ground pool can be installed in-ground. Some, such as soft-sided pools, are not meant to be buried in the ground. Due to the pressure of the soil, these pools can easily collapse, leaving you with a big mess and a hefty repair bill.

Hard-sided pools are the ideal type of pool for installation in-ground. They are made of metal, fiberglass, vinyl, or resin and are designed to withstand the pressure of the soil. If you’re unsure if your pool can be installed in-ground, check with the manufacturer or a qualified pool professional.

Size of Pool

Above-ground pools are available in several shapes and sizes, which ultimately affect the depth of the pool. The most common pool wall sizes are 48, 52, and 54 inches (122, 132, and 137 cm). The higher the wall size, the deeper the pool will be and the more water it will hold.

To ensure a stable installation, you must excavate half the height of the pool to provide a firm foundation and help prevent the pool walls from collapsing under the weight of the soil. 

Smaller pools are less likely to collapse under the weight of the soil, but they are also more likely to blow over in high winds. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the minimum excavation depth based on your pool size.

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions in your area will significantly affect how deep you can bury your pool. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, or high winds, you will need to excavate your pool to a depth that will prevent it from being blown over.

Areas that experience freezing temperatures in the winter will also require a deeper excavation. Water expands when it freezes and can cause above-ground pools to collapse if they are not buried deep enough. Consider reinforcing the pool walls with steel or concrete to help prevent this from happening.

Soil Type

Soils are classified based on their particle size and composition. The three main types of soil are sand, silt, and clay.

  • Sandy soil has large particles and drains well. They are easy to dig in but can cause problems if not compacted properly. Sand shifts easily and can settle over time which can cause your pool to collapse.
  • Silty soil has medium-sized particles and drains well. They are easy to dig in and compact but can settle over time.
  • Clay soil has small, fine particles and doesn’t drain well. They are difficult to dig in and can be very sticky when wet. Clay soil can also settle over time and become hard and compacted.

Sandy soil provides a good foundation for an above-ground pool, while clay soil can be problematic. If you have clay soil, you must take extra measures to ensure a stable installation. This may include excavating to a deeper depth, adding sand to the excavation, or using a ground liner.

Tips on How To Install an Above Ground Pool In-Ground

When not properly installed, above-ground pools can collapse and cause serious injury or death. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes when installing your pool. If you are unsure about anything, hire a qualified professional to help you.

To ensure a stable installation, follow these tips:

  • Excavate to a depth that is half the height of the pool. This will provide a firm foundation and help prevent the pool from collapsing under the weight of the soil.
  • Use a ground liner to reinforce the pool walls and prevent them from collapsing.
  • Compact the soil around the pool to prevent shifting and settling.
  • Monitor the pool closely for any signs of instability.
  • Hire a qualified professional if you have any doubts about the installation or are unsure about anything.
an above ground pool is a great option if you can't swing an in ground pool

Final Thoughts

An above-ground pool can be a great addition to your home, but it’s essential to install it properly. When setting it in-ground, excavate to a depth half the pool’s height to provide a firm foundation. 

Consider local building codes to avoid problems and hire a qualified professional if you have any doubts. 

If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, take extra precautions to prevent the pool from being blown over or collapsing. With proper installation, your pool will provide years of enjoyment for your family and friends.