Backfill advice for partially buried / semi-inground AGP

bpolczyn

Member
Jul 24, 2020
11
Cleveland, OH
Hello,

Long story short - I put in an AGP late this summer and buried it ~halfway across the slope in my backyard. I did the install myself and wanted to get it to a swimmable point to enjoy during end of summer. As we move to fall here in Ohio, I am ready to start filling in the backfill around the pool. I have been trying to research but a lot of the info I find is more oriented towards fully inground pools. My pool manual / warranty addendum for the in ground install doesn't provide any useful info. So, I wanted to share my thoughts and some ideas I've heard/read. Want to know anyone's thoughts on what the best way to go about this is!

Idea 1 - I have plenty of dirt from the hole I excavated sitting around the sides. Ideally, because I am cheap, I would like to use as much of this as I can for backfill. It is clay soil so I am concerned about frost heave damaging the pool (although the pool will remain filled above soil level during winter). So idea 1 would be fill with clay soil, maybe slowly water it as I add to help it compress/expand.
Supplements to Idea 1:
1A - Add corrugated drain pipe around pool at bottom of hole and slope to low side. At the low side, leave a bucket buried for water to collect into, and the pump the water out with a submersible pump I already own. This is basically what I did after any heavy rains this summer as the water would build up in the hole around the pool. Not sure how effective the drainage pipe would be if it were just covered with the clay soil.
1B - Going off of 1A, use the clay on the outside but maybe 6-12 inches closest to the wall use sand/stones/something that drains well down into the corrugated pipe. This would probably make the pipe more useful than just buried under clay, and should help move moisture away from pool walls to help with freezing.
1C - I have a ton of pool wall foam I bought years ago in bulk for a different project, similar to this: Pool Wall Foam I have enough that I could do a couple wraps around the pool walls on the outside then backfill the clay soil around this. My thought is this would provide some protection from frost heave / stones / rocks in dirt. Unsure if it would do anything really, but it's an idea in my head due to the fact I have a lot of it and nothing to use it for.

Idea 2 - Backfill with a recommended slurry or cement mix. I have seen a lot of info on this for inground pools, but unsure about for the partial buries. Also unsure about what material(s) to use exactly. This is likely the preferred method, but I am cheap and would rather find a way to backfill with existing dirt / mostly backfill with existing dirt. But also dont want to damage the pool and have to replace it, so don't want to be too cheap and end up ruining the pool.

I have attached some pictures of the hole & pool walls, and also the warranty addendum regarding buried AGP.

Any thoughts or advice is much appreciated!
 

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AJ.A

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
56
NE Ohio
Im also in NE Ohio..
I backfilled mine with 57 gravel. Had it delivered and cost about $200. I ended up using all my soil (clay) to build up a low spot in my back yard. I do wish I would've put drain tile at the bottom of the gravel because when it rained on labor day it was pooling on top of the 3 feet of gravel. But that was rare that we got that much rain.
I also put landscape fabric around the part of the pool that is buried. I was thinking more about not scratching up the wall because mine is metal. Some people said it will trap moisture which I guess could be true. Not like it will be dry under ground anyway if you think about it.
 

bpolczyn

Member
Jul 24, 2020
11
Cleveland, OH
Im also in NE Ohio..
I backfilled mine with 57 gravel. Had it delivered and cost about $200. I ended up using all my soil (clay) to build up a low spot in my back yard. I do wish I would've put drain tile at the bottom of the gravel because when it rained on labor day it was pooling on top of the 3 feet of gravel. But that was rare that we got that much rain.
I also put landscape fabric around the part of the pool that is buried. I was thinking more about not scratching up the wall because mine is metal. Some people said it will trap moisture which I guess could be true. Not like it will be dry under ground anyway if you think about it.
Hi AJ,

Hello to a fellow NE Ohioan! That Labor Day weekend rain storm was A LOT of rain.

It sounds like you recently backfilled. How deep is your pool buried below grade? I think if I filled mine with just gravel and no drain as you described, the over dig would fill with water just like it has during recent rains (although certainly less water due to gravel) and once my hole has standing water in it, it has no where to go. Do you have any concern about water/snow settling in your gravel and freezing/thawing? Maybe your hole is better setup to drain than mine
 

AJ.A

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
56
NE Ohio
I am almost 3ft deep on my highest point and it goes down to level with the ground on the other side of the pool. I have about 18 to 24 inches from the wall of the pool to the dirt. It is not exactly even all the way around. And no im not worried about freezing. Its just gravel.
 

bpolczyn

Member
Jul 24, 2020
11
Cleveland, OH
I am almost 3ft deep on my highest point and it goes down to level with the ground on the other side of the pool. I have about 18 to 24 inches from the wall of the pool to the dirt. It is not exactly even all the way around. And no im not worried about freezing. Its just gravel.
Ah there is the difference, yours gets to level on one side so the water can drain out to that side. Mine never gets to level, the lowest point is still 1-2 ft deep, so the water pools with no where to go.
 

AJ.A

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
56
NE Ohio
Ah there is the difference, yours gets to level on one side so the water can drain out to that side. Mine never gets to level, the lowest point is still 1-2 ft deep, so the water pools with no where to go.
Ok yep that would be something I would try to remedy. I would probably do a drain around the pool leading to a pipe that is dug underground to drain away from the pool. Will be some labor but worth it. Once you have the drain tile in i would think you'd be ok with the soil or gravel. I did gravel in case I ever need to dig it up it would be easier than clay - i hope lol.
 
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