Ground Prep Question for Intex 26'x52"

Sep 7, 2016
Inola, OK
The fellow who will do the ground prep for me to put up a 26' x 52" Intex metal frame pool just left. He does dirt work, builds ponds, driveways, pads, etc. around here for people. He said he would have to take out about 6" of dirt on the side closest to my house to level the ground. He said he recommends bringing in a load of rock-free clay soil to build up the other side to level a 30' circle in my yard. I live in a low area, and my house pad was built up about 12". He said he would then put down sand, a small amount, and only in the area where the liner will go, not under the legs. He will compact it all down with equipment, and will laser-level the area to within 1/16".

Does all that sound reasonable? Building up with clay soil instead of digging out the high part, which is what I mostly read?


TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
Quaker Hill, CT
What your builder said is ok. What Texas Splash said is by far the preferred way of installation. Using mechanical compaction to raise a spot can work if done correctly. It sounds like your builder has good reason to raise that edge slightly as opposed to sinking the pool lower into what you described as low land.

My pool is up on a 6 inch bed of very careful compacted and retained road base material and hasn't even thought of moving since it was put down. If your builder knows what he is doing and has experience doing what he has suggested than it can be done right and last a long time.

Putting sand only under the liner on that kind of site prep is fine. All of uprights should still be put on concrete blocks that are dug down into the base and leveled.


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
Sebring, Florida
I agree with TS and CJadamec. compacting fill dirt will PROBABLY work. Digging out the high side and putting your pool on undisturbed soil will SURELY work.


Well-known member
Jun 13, 2013
The neighbor had a similar pool in their backyard about 10 years or so ago and tried the "Build up the low side" option vs the "dig out the high side" option.

We had a torrential downpour part of the way through the summer with crazy runoff that ended up going in between the houses and then through all of our backyards towards the lower properties behind us. The raised section of their pool was undermined in several locations due to the flooding and the pool was basically unusable afterwards...I believe some of the frame was bent as well.

IMHO, get it done right - dig. ;)


TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
Quaker Hill, CT
A retaining wall on the raised section is a really a must have feature to prevent as much of erosion as possible. Even a simple landscape timber will stop most erosion. I mentioned that I retained the fill under my pool but I should have stressed it's really an important thing if you are placing fill to make a raised bed for a pool. If you mention putting in a retaining edge on the area your builder wants to put fill on and he says it's not needed he might not be the right guy to do that installation.