Get Inspired: Above-Ground Swimming Pool Designs

above-ground swimming pool bexar county texas
It's hard to tell from this view that this is an above-ground swimming pool.
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    Ideas for Above-Ground Swimming Pools

    above-ground pool
    Above-ground swimming pool with wood decking. Flickr member Justin S. Campbell

    In recent years, above-ground swimming pools have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Why? Well, for starters, they've always been less expensive than in-ground pools, a point that is not lost on pool shoppers. Other selling points: above-ground pools are a breeze to install compared to building in-ground pools, many can be disassembled at the end of swim season, and that portability makes them good choices for renters or those who would like to take their pool with them when they...MORE move.

    The concept of maximizing the enjoyment factor out of your outdoor living space has been embraced by a growing number of people. An above-ground pool can make add even more appeal to a yard that has a grill or kitchen, living room, and play area.

    Enjoy this slideshow of above-ground pools, some of which do great impersonations of in-ground models.


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    Decking Connection

    above ground pool with deck
    An above-ground pool with decking. apsp

    Above-ground pools like this one have all the amenities of an in-ground pool, including a spa and two private deck or patio areas. Wood decking connects the house to the separate decks, hot tub, and pool. Of course, this type of pool takes some planning, but the final result is a well-designed backyard.

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    Backyard Haven

    above ground pool private retreat
    Lots of decking for sunbathing and relaxation make this above ground pool area a private retreat.

    This pool is separate from the house, off in a corner of the property, making it more of a private swimming and sunning retreat. A fence and gate make it a safe haven that would be difficult for young children to access. That's no substitute for employing layers of safety for a residential swimming pool.


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    Fenced In

    enclosed above ground pool
    A fully enclosed above-ground pool makes it difficult if not impossible for young children to access the water.

    One of the pros of owning an above-ground swimming pool is that it's literally raised above the ground, and not as easily accessible to children under 5 years old as in-ground styles. This model shows how you can make an above-ground pool even safer, by adding fencing around the top rim of the pool and a fenced-off and gated stairway leading up to the pool.

    The height of the pool's walls allows for shrubs that have the potential of reaching 5-6-feet tall, along with vines and other...MORE attractive plants. Plants help to soften the look of the above-ground pool's outside walls and give it a more cohesive look with the rest of the yard. Vines and hedges can also act as privacy screens, if you aren't especially thrilled to have your neighbors peering over the fence every time you're in the pool.


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    Above-Ground Pool in the Hills of San Antonio

    above-ground pool san antonio
    A beautiful above-ground pool and deck in San Antonio, Texas. AGP Co

    The Above Ground Pool & Spa Company in San Antonio, Texas, has won awards for its innovative above-ground pool designs. Here, in a hilly section of San Antonio, an above-ground pool is connected to the house above it via a custom-built wooden deck.

    The deck is also comfortable on swimmers' feet and provides an anti-slip surface when things get wet as swimmers enter and exit the pool. The surface surrounding a pool is always an important consideration when choosing paving materials or...MORE decking.

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  • 06 of 22

    A Round Above

    round metal-frame above ground swimming pool
    A round metal-frame above-ground swimming pool will keep the kids entertained all summer.

    One of the many advantages of an above-ground pool is that a fence can be attached to the pool's sides, creating an almost seamless vertical safety wall. The safety barrier is also higher than the average 5-foot pool fence recommended for in-ground pools. If the sides of an above ground pool are 4 feet high, and the fence is 3 feet high, that's a 7-foot-tall safety fence. Landscaping—or hardscaping—in the form of pea gravel in this case— surrounds the perimeter of the pool for an...MORE attractive and practical design solution and 

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  • 07 of 22

    Enclosed Above-Ground Pool

    picture of above-ground pool in san antonio
    An above-ground swimming pool with built-in deck.

    Creating an enclosure for an above-ground pool makes it a walled, fenced, and gated backyard destination. Built on a platform with a surrounding deck, the pool area becomes a private paradise, especially if it includes container gardens, outdoor accessories and amenities, lounge chairs and other furniture. Making sure there is space for swimming needs (extra towels, cold beverages) allows swimmers and sunbathers to hang out at this backyard pool area for several hours, rather than having to go...MORE back and forth to the house to get supplies, food, etc.

    High walls and a raised platform also give the pool owners privacy, which is something that most residential pool owners desire. This oval above-ground pool and large deck surround have a look of permanence, which is often not the case with above-grounds.

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    Side Motifs

    above-ground pool with decorative side walls
    A decorative motif on the side walls adorns this above-ground pool.

    This model gets a sophisticated look with exterior panels surrounding the pool that bear a decorative motif and connect with the other panels. It's a simple but effective way to personalize an above-ground swimming pool and give it a more attractive, customized look. Some above-ground pools come with optional wood-grain panels for a wood-looking pool, something that might have been popular in the 1960s or 1970s, kind of like wood-grain station wagons (aka woodies).

    A small deck area provides...MORE room for a parental supervisor or two to stretch out comfortably on chaise lounges while watching young swimmers.


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  • 09 of 22

    San Antonio Deck Surround

    agp go above-ground pool with deck surround
    An above-ground pool with a wood deck surround in San Antonio, Texas. AGP Co

    How do you incorporate a flagstone patio with a new above-ground swimming pool? While beautiful and durable, walking on flagstone pavers in bare feet isn't exactly a softy and cushiony experience.

    The deck builders came up with a smart solution that eases the transition from flagstone patio to pool: a multilevel deck that creates a surround for the pool, giving it the appearance of an in-ground model. Wood decking is much kinder on swimmers' bare feet and is more anti-slip than flagstone....MORE The deck levels also serve as low, wide steps leading up to the pool deck, and can be used as casual seating or a place to dry off after swimming.


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    Kid's Paradise

    family-friendly backyard with above-ground pool
    Large backyards like this one are great for family-oriented activity areas and structures like an above-ground pool, playhouse and swing set.

    We know whose house the children in this neighborhood want to play at. This is an extremely family-friendly backyard, with a custom-built playhouse, deluxe playset and a rectangular above-ground swimming pool. Note that a pool deck has been created at one end of the enclosure for swimmers to dry off and for supervisors to have plenty of room to sit while watching the water activities and to ensure safety.


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  • 11 of 22

    I Can't Believe it's Not In-Ground

    above-ground swimming pool bexar county texas
    It's hard to tell from this view that this is an above-ground swimming pool. AGP Co.

    From this vantage point, it's really hard to tell that the oval-shaped swimming pool is an above-ground pool. At least, it started out as an above-ground pool. Sunken into a raised deck that connects to the main house, the pool has all of the conveniences and accessibility associated with a more permanent design. With the outdoor patio dining set, umbrella, and trees, the entire pool deck has a look of permanency. The main differences between an in-ground and above-ground in this setting:...MORE cost and materials.


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    Neighborhood Pool

    an above-ground pool design
    This above-ground pool is large enough to accommodate several swimmers.

    Somehow, raised above the lawn and everything else, this round pool appears bigger than most backyard pools. Maybe it's all the people hanging on floatables in and around the pool. Add decking large enough to accommodate pool furniture like lounge chairs, tables and beverages, and you've got yourself a cruise ship-style pool, floating on a sea of lawn (or whatever).


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    Retractable Pool Cover

    retractable cover for pool
    A retractable cover safely keeps kids out of the pool and is also an energy saver.

    An above-ground swimming pool is surrounded by a beautiful wood deck. The addition of a retractable—or mechanical—pool cover makes it easier to keep the water warm and clean.

    Why would an above-ground pool owner want a retractable cover? For many reasons, including:

    • It protects the pool from dirt, mildew and algae growth
    • Prevents heat loss by evaporation and radiation
    • Keeps children from accidentally falling into the pool

    Retractable pool covers are available in automatic and semi-automatic styles,...MORE both of which may be operated with a remote control. They are usually made of water-resistant materials like mesh, nylon and various forms of plastic, corrugated fiberglass and foam.


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    Somewhat Above-Ground

    Above-ground swimming pool
    This above-ground pool is not necessarily the focal point of the backyard. Instead, it's nicely lined up with the border fence in a corner of the yard.

    Not all above-ground pools need to be placed way above-ground. This one is tucked in a corner of a large yard, near one of the side fences. Note that it is about 3-4 feet off the ground at most, has a safety fence around its perimeter, but that it is not much higher than the fence that borders the property. Not raising the pool above the height of the fence helps make the pool more private for its owners. And looking at things from the other side of the fence, the neighbors don't have to...MORE view the pool whenever they're in their yard.

    The pool area could be made more private by planting some shrubs, small trees or vines between the pool and the property's fence.


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  • 15 of 22

    In-Ground or Above-Ground?

    above ground pool with wood pool deck
    Is this an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool?.

    An expansive and beautiful pool deck is the first thing you notice about this pool. The deck is large enough to accommodate lounge chairs, built-in benches, plants in containers, and whatever else one normally would place on a deck.

    The white coping is a slight giveaway that this pool is an above-ground model. This is an excellent example how careful planning can make an above-ground pool look like an in-ground pool. It's a case of the ground rising up to meet the level of the pool, instead...MORE of using stairs or a ladder to access the above ground swimming pool. 

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    Decked-Out Doughboy

    Above-Ground Doughboy Swimming Pool
    Above-ground swimming pool by Doughboy. Doughboy

    Doughboy was one of the first manufacturers of above-grounds on the market back in the 20th century. In fact, they dub themselves as "The Original Portable Pool."

    Here's another example of an above-ground that doesn't look like an above-ground, with wood decking flush with the level of the top of the pool. The effect is like a sunken bathtub, or the look of an in-ground, custom-built swimming pool.


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    Long, Cool Pool

    an above-ground pool design
    A childproofed swimming pool is a must for families.

    Another above-ground swimming pool that features childproof fencing and a gate that makes it hard for kids to gain entry (if it's kept latched). Creating layers of protection surrounding a pool will help keep children away from unguarded pools. The best protection, of course, is a designated "water watcher"—an adult or responsible teen trained in drowning prevention and CPR. Courses for certification can be taken at the American Red Cross.


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    Top-Level Doughboy Pool

    Above-Ground Doughboy Swimming Pool
    An oval-within-a-rectangle Doughboy pool. Doughboy

    A luxurious Doughboy, elevated off the ground with what looks like a private beach on the lower level. While the decking and fencing make it a rectangular-looking pool, the actual pool itself is an oval.


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    Doughboy Buried Pool

    doughboy in-ground pool
    A Doughboy in-ground swimming pool with tiki-style decor. Doughboy

    Doughboy recently introduced a line of above-ground pools that can actually be sunken—or buried—in the ground. It's hard to tell this is actually an above-ground pool.

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    Doughboy Round

    Above-Ground Doughboy Swimming Pool
    A classic circular-shaped Doughboy pool. Doughboy

    When above-ground swimming pools became popular in the 1950s-1960s, the most popular and common shape available was the classic round. It still remains popular, but has been updated with decking, fencing, stairs and a safety gate. Doughboy, the manufacturer of this pool, recently started making in-ground swimming pools in addition to above-grounds. Technically, Doughboy in-grounds are actually above-ground pools that can be sunk into the ground up to a depth of 7 feet. It's all part of what...MORE the company calls its "Doughboy Buried Pool Program."


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    Above the Deck

    Above-ground swimming pool with wood deck
    Wood decks built to surround above-ground pools give them a more-permanent look.

    This above-ground swimming pool has a wooden deck surrounding it. What's different than others pictured in this slideshow: The pool does not completely "sink in" and the top of it isn't flush with the top of the deck, instead rising 3-4 feet above the level of the raised deck. The bottom of the pool probably sits on the ground—the deck covers up the bottom portion of the pool.

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    Vintage Kidney-Shaped Pool

    vintage doughboy pool
    A black and white picture of a vintage Doughboy pool. Doughboy

    A vintage black-and-white photo from Doughboy shows the good life that awaited a family of four when they bought a kidney-shaped above-ground pool, complete with pool deck and the suburban dream.