Here is how to properly install an AG Pool.

Samantha Sabrina

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2012
Bloomsdale, Mo
Hey Everyone,

After spending some time here at TFP I have noticed lots of posts about properly installing an Above Ground Pool, so I thought I would make a simple drawing of how it is done and post it here.

This could have gone in the "Under Construction" section but since it pertains to AG pools only I figured this would be the best place for it.

If anyone has any additional information to add please post or if you see something about the drawing that should be changed please let me know and I will make the changes needed.

Please Note: This is just a simple basic drawing, (Guide), hopefully it will help answer any questions you may have and give you a visual idea of how it should go.

Sand under the Pavers or boards should be kept to a minimum to avoid settling.

If you will have to have something delivered, I recommend using screenings from a local quarry instead of sand, it will pack much better than sand, and once wet and packed it will be very hard, it is usually much cheaper than sand, however it WILL wash out in a heavy rain or lots of heavy running water if you don't put a border all the way around to hold it in place, but it will not wash out as easy as sand does, (putting a border around sand will do allot to keep it from washing out also).

IMO you should use 4" thick 8" x 16" concrete pavers, (they are thick enough and have a big enough footprint to help avoid settling), however some folks have had success using boards, and other sizes of concrete pavers.

Foam is optional but if you use sand it will prevent the sand from shifting when you walk around in the pool causing low spots where it will be hard to clean, if using the screenings, then it makes for a nice soft bottom to walk on, plus it puts something between the bottom of the pool and the small rocks in the screenings, (Note: The rocks in screenings are very small and usually rounded with few if any sharp edges).

If you use foam you should tape the joints between each piece to avoid them moving around while setting up and filling, this will prevent a gap that your pool bottom will sink into, again causing spots hard to clean.

Some folks here highly recommend using both a heavy tarp and the ground cloth that comes with your pool.

In the drawing I have the support legs sitting on top of the foam, personally I suggest cutting the foam so that it sits down level with the top of the pavers, thus the supports will sit directly on the pavers, (whatever thickness of foam you use there is a chance it could compact and cause some settling).

The most important thing you should work on is getting your site and pavers LEVEL LEVEL LEVEL, the more level it is before it is filled the fewer chances you will end up having problems with it down the road, the last thing you want is to drain and relevel, or worse have your pool become unstable and possibly blow out, this can be very expensive, and DANGEROUS.

Hopefully someone will post pics of how to use a long board to level the site!

Drainage is VERY IMPORTANT, AVOID Standing Water around your pool, make sure you allow for any water that might splash out, or flow from overfilling either on accident or from a heavy rain, the longer water sits around the base of your pool the softer the earth will become and even with a properly leveled pool and good pavers it is possible for your pool to settle and become unstable.

Note: This drawing depicts digging down to level your site, it is the preferred method, raising the low side is possible, but it requires some heavy equipment and alot more time and effort to get it compacted so you are not at risk of your pool settling.

I have calculated that a 52" deep pool will have 1.53 PSI on the pool bottom when installed on a level surface, I haven't figured out how to calculate the PSI on the support legs though, if a pool is not level everything changes and you WILL put EXTREME pressure on some parts of the pool frame that is was NOT intended to support.

Once you have your site level, and your pavers all set and level have the pool all setup with the supports centered on the pavers and start filling, constantly walk around the pool and make any adjustments needed to keep the supports centered on the pavers, (they tend to scoot out as the pool fills).

Also, make sure you don't get in a big rush while putting the pool together, if your pool has the center strap with loops for the supports to go thru make sure you don't miss any!


I have started this thread as a basic guide only, by no means is anything here set in stone, everyone has their own ideas of what is acceptable and what isn't.

Hopefully those with experience will contribute what they know and have learned so that this thread becomes a solid useful tool for the beginners.

Please if you find something I have written here that is not correct or seriously needs to be changed, send me a PM and let me know what I need to alter, I don't claim to be an expert so I will not take offense if you think something should be changed or re-worded ect., (let's not argue or debate anything in the thread, this is supposed to help people).


Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 5, 2011
Northern California
Hi Samantha!
You must have read my mind! (Which ain't easy - it's pretty cluttered!)
I've been trying to draw something exactly like this! But having no luck! Plus you gave wonderful detailed directions!
Thanks a ton!

Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2

Samantha Sabrina

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2012
Bloomsdale, Mo
Hey everyone,

Here is something I overlooked last night while writting up this article:

Thanks to Christine for bringing it to my attention,

christine19720 said:
Hey Samantha!

Nice Diagram! I see you put a great deal of time and thought into this info. But one thing you did not mention is backfilling. Never, Ever back fill the ground an above ground pool sits on. It can cause the pool to shift and wash out.

Very nice catch there! :goodjob:

The only time you want to use plain topsoil as a filler, (to raise your site, "backfill"), is when you have the proper equipment to properly compact it, and even then it is iffy, (topsoil just gets too soft when wet), this is why everyone recommends using sand or screenings as the base, (on top of undisturbed soil), for your pool to sit on.

I will see if I can make a drawing depicting what Christine is talking about, just for a visual reference.

Hopefully this will help:

Hope this helps someone!

Samantha Sabrina

Well-known member
Apr 11, 2012
Bloomsdale, Mo
I was going to add this last night but it slipped my mind.

For those of you that don't know what screenings are:

This is the pile of screenings we had delivered yesterday, May 17th, 2011 (16 tons).

The next 2 are closeups of the screenings, the rocks look bigger than they are.

Here you can see how much really fine stuff is in it, basically dust.

This stuff is HEAVY, and this pile has gone a VERY long way, plus once it gets wet and is compacted it is very hard, almost like concrete, but as I stated before it WILL wash out with a heavy stream of water running across it, (just not as fast or as bad as sand), but should have a border around them to prevent washing out.

Unlike sand or topsoil the screenings will not get real soft if it gets wet after compacting, and it acts pretty much like regular gravel in that it does allow water to drain.

I love using this stuff!


Well-known member
May 19, 2009
Thought I might add this as maybe it could be helpful to someone.

Here is a picture of our first pool dig/build after we hand dug and leveled the ground for the first pool Irene and a giant oak tree took out. The blocks are level with the ground we dug out. This picture doesn't show the incline, but it is there. And, I have a few choice words for the roots underground that we had to remove.....
I believe the ground is almost perfectly level and it took a while to get it that way. Hubby is very anal about stuff like that. In fact, no excavation other than the moving of rock and sand that we reused was needed for the 2nd new pool .
I do know one thing, I don't ever want to hand dig out an area like that again. Guess i am not all that young anymore....... :-D



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
Houston, Texas
Brief instructions and materials list:

How to Install a Temporary Seasonal Pool (Intex, Summer Escapes, ect)
Materials needed: Shovel, concrete patio blocks, a straight 2’x4’x8’ board, measuring tape, nut grass killer, ground tarp, TF 100 test kit.
Basic Instructions:
1. First and foremost the ground under the pool must be level and firm. Remove the grass from the area to be leveled 2 feet wider than the stated diameter of the pool. (For an 18’ pool remove a 20’ circle of grass)
2. Find the lowest point of the perimeter of the circle and use that as your reference to level the ground. Dig away the high spots inside the circle. Check for level using a 3’ long level on top of a straight 2’x4’x8’ board.
3. Once the ground is level saturate the soil with nut-grass killer. Lay down the ground tarp.
4. Lay out patio blocks where the upright supports will go. Dig out the area under the blocks so they will lay level with the ground.
5. Lay out the pool liner so the openings for the intake and return are positioned as close to your source of electricity as possible. Assemble the pool according to the manufacturer’s directions.
6. Fill pool with 12” of water and check frame for level. Pool should be within 1” of level for maximum safety. Adjust upright supports if needed at this time.
7. Connect the pump/filter and continue filling the pool.
8. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for operating the filter/pump.
9. Use the pool calculator to determine how much CYA and FC you need for your pool.
10. Use your TF 100 to test the water and balance as needed.


Well-known member
Jan 27, 2010
Central Valley, CA
I asked what nutgrass was as well before installing my pool three years ago. I've found out it is the most insidious weed ever and I've fought some bad ones (mint anyone?). Thankfully it hasn't hit my pool but my neighbor doesn't "control" it and it is coming under the fence 5' from the pool. The first year I would dig it out trying to get all the "nuts." The root connecting each nut is nearly as strong as wire. Miss one piece and it's in a month.

I now resort to poison but you have to use a herbicide specifically for nutgrass that cost $15 for one packet that makes a gallon and the mixture is inert after 24 hours. It does work with two applications.

NOTE: from the photos, I haven't seen my nutgrass go to seed like that. Maybe it's because I try aggressively to control it. The picture of the tuber is the best way to identify if you have nutgrass.
Jun 18, 2012
so, are pavers supposed to go on hard undisturbed ground or on sand evenly spread and tamped on the ground? do you also have to put sand on the outside perimeter of the wall or just on the inside where the liner will be?