Is Semi-In Ground DIY Possible on This PA Hillside?


New member
May 28, 2020
We have always wanted a pool however our property is all hillside located in southwestern PA and we never though it was possible. Recently discovered semi-above ground or hybrid options. Would like a 15x24' oval/grecian or rectangle size and shape. Photos of location below.
1. Would you advise installation on this level of grade? The white stake is 54" from the ground and 20 feet from patio edge. Patio is 24' and would like long edge of pool to run parallel. That side would be buried completely with hillside tapering down two short ends. Long side opposite of patio would be exposed above ground.
2. Is it feasible to do a DIY build with some help with excavating and electrical? I know everyone's skill differs and it is impossible to say, "Sure you can do it". We have done many DIY projects inside our home, however we are not professionals. I've read that french drain is wise to divert water from walls on buried side. Also a slurry mix of fill between patio and pool when draining and liner replacement is necessary.
3. Recommendation for brand and type? We've been researching the following: Would you add or remove any options from this list?
  • Buster Crabbe Aquasport 54 aluminum 4" panels
  • Doughboy Hydrosphere
  • Alligator Group Hercules
  • Radiant Pool foam insulation between aluminum panes
Thank you in advance. Thankful to have found this site.
PA Hillside Pool.jpgPA Hillside Pool.jpg
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Jul 16, 2012
Central MD
I see Radiant discussed most often here for partially buried pools. I would step down maybe 2' after the patio to reduce your drop. Then run your pool deck out however many feet and start the pool. The water can drain off the deck back towards the wall and have a 4" drain line there parallel to the wall. Just a thought. I have no specifics on DIY or other detailed aspects. Many do go OB (owner builder) where you contract it all and can do whatever you choose to yourself.
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Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
Chattanooga, TN
I had a guy come out to give me a quote on a Wilbar Optimum, and he was surprised I wanted that pool because my yard is completely flat. He said most calls come from people wanting a pool put in to a slope. So there's another pool you can add. It's just like the Radiant but a little less expensive, and can be installed completely in the ground. With the Optimum, you'd have to have a concrete collar poured. I"m fairly certain the Radiant advises the same. The only pool on your list that I haven't heard of is the Alligator Group Hercules. The others I've only ever heard good things about.
A lot of people do DIY these pools, so I don't see why you couldn't. And then, like you said, hire out the excavating and electrical. Good luck and hope you post lots of pics when you start your project!
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