I'm new to this. - Initial Steps to think about... I have questions. You have answers.


New member
Jun 26, 2019
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Hi Folks... My name is Stephen and I live in Eastern Oklahoma. I am new to this site. I have been doing some research on purchasing an above ground pool. Specifically, the INTEX 24'x12'x52" Ultra Frame Rectangle with Sand Filter and Saltwater System.

1) I have attached some pictures of the site we have chose. I have several reasons for this but basically we live in the country and only have a few neighbors but we don't want them to see our pool directly from our circle drive road or from their house. The spot would not be seen from anyone at all unless they were at our house. Also, it is just about the most level spot around (where people will not be able to see us). As you can see, it is going to be at the base of that hill. In time, we plan on building a little deck coming of the hill to the pool. And, this would allow us to extend our porch with pavers or something similar and not have grass between our house and pool for a sitting area.

2) I will absolutely have to cut out the high side to make sure I get it level. My intentions would be to either take some of that dirt and build a small berm to redirect the water coming off that hill (it is not a lot) to go around the pool OR to place some sort of landscaping edging to essentially do that same thing. Maybe french drain of some sort. I will have to redirect some water to go around each side of the pool which would me redirecting water to go on each side of the house. Any thoughts on that at all? I will be cutting the ground/grass approximately 2-3 feet (each way) outside the dimensions of the pool "feet". So, most likely it will be 30'x16' spot. I'd rather have too much than not enough.

3) Would I be wise to cut out the high side some and build a "frame" around the pool using some 8'x8' treated wood and basically fill it all up with dirt or sand and get that leveled off? It seems to me that, it could help with any sort of water flow around/under the pool to avoid anything from washing out from under the pool. Not sure if i would be best to do basically build a pad for the pool that is raised above normal ground level. I know that isn't wise to do normally, but if I had the whole thing surrounded by those 8'x8' and filled the inside up to being flush with the top of the boards if that would work.

4) I have a front end loader. It's a 30HP so that can help me do some digging but in Eastern OK we have plenty of rocks as well. Regardless, before I do any digging, should I tarp the spot and kill the grass? I may be able to use the bucket and cut in the ground easier than I think and remove the sod in the first place. Maybe I will try that and see how it goes.

5) Intex specifically says that we should not use sand under the ground cloth. So, what should I use? I have a little bit of land so maybe I just need to dig a hole somewhere and steal that dirt for fill and level and pack that down instead?

So these are just some questions to get me going. I have not broke ground on anything yet. I'd like to have all my ducks in a row and a plan of action before I do that. Are there some things that I am not thinking about with the ground breaking process and what to do from that point? If you have any comments they would be greatly appreciated or links to other threads or websites that could be helpful. My wife and two kids (5 yr and 3 yr old) want this pool setup ASAP, of course! Ha.

Thank you,




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TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
Tucson, AZ
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

2) You will want to do something to redirect any water going down the hill, a berm would likely work or the french drain.
3) Depending on how much you have to cut down, adding some kind of a retention wall is a good idea to avoid erosion or collapse. You may not need to actually build a frame around the pool though. Although I think some people have down exactly what you are saying to keep the sand used under the pool in place.
4) I think you will probably fine cutting through it with your loader.
5) I think a lot of people use a thin layer of sand. Some use styrofoam boards.

Make sure you have one of the recommended test kits before you are filling it up. Test Kits Compared
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5) Intex specifically says that we should not use sand under the ground cloth. So, what should I use? I have a little bit of land so maybe I just need to dig a hole somewhere and steal that dirt for fill and level and pack that down instead?
This will depend on how you want to install the pool. If you intend on keeping this up year round and think of it as a "permanent" install, then you can cut out the sod, level the area and then use sand under the liner. If you want to take it up & down with the seasons, then level where needed and use a thick pad to cover the ground. Gorilla pads or XPS foam boards seem to be the most common method. It is best not to add fill dirt underneath to bring to level, especially under the legs. If you have a way of properly compacting the fill then you could consider this with the wooden frame. Again, this is not the preferred method since you risk having it sink down and go out of level.
Whichever method you choose, you want to use pavers under the legs to support them. This will prevent the legs from sinking down and making the pool go out of level. Paver thickness tends to depend on how solid the ground is and risk of sinking.