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Consider these 6 things before getting an above-ground pool

Tired of relying on the kindness of neighbors and friends for an invite to their backyard swimming pool when the temperatures rise over the summer? Finding a place to keep cool during those dog days of summer can be rough. Should you consider getting a pool for the family? Of course, having a pool of your own will turn your backyard into a summer playground and give your kiddos a place to splash around during the long break from school. It will also be a hot spot to host barbecues and parties.

A backyard pool can be a big investment, but an above-ground pool is definitely more budget-friendly than an in-ground pool. Before deciding to add an above-ground pool to your backyard, what are the most important points to consider?

backyard above ground pool with a deck
Susan Law Cain/Shutterstock


Like any other large purchase, consider the family finances and the cost of installing and maintaining an above-ground pool before you start shopping. Unlike an inflatable splash pool the kiddos play in and then empty the water out of when they’re done, an above-ground pool requires a pump and a filtration system along with a pool vacuum. When making a budget for your future above-ground pool, factor in the cost of the pool, accessories, installation, pool chemicals, and any necessary equipment, as well as the impact on your water and electric bill.

Once you know what the family can afford and if an above-ground pool fits into the family budget, you’re almost ready to start shopping.

Space and planning

Above-ground pools are cheaper, but there are quite a few different size options. Before you start shopping online or at the local pool shops, take a look at the space available in your yard and where you plan on putting up an above-ground pool. Most of them are oval or round in shape. Take into account whether you anticipate adding a deck to go with it as well as the necessary space for steps to get in and out of the pool.

You also need to take a look at the sun situation in your backyard. Above-ground pools require sunlight, so avoid putting the pool in a shady area or where there is an abundance of trees in your yard or your neighbor’s. Wind will most certainly bring debris from nearby trees into the pool and make maintaining the cleanliness of the pool more difficult. If you have young children, the pool should be visible from the house.

In addition, be sure the ground where you’ve decided to install your future pool is completely level. Even the slightest tilt in the ground will become problematic over time with an above-ground pool because the water-weight distribution will be unbalanced and cause a strain on one side of the pool.

Local ordinances

Once you’ve examined the available space in your yard and considered the size and shape you are shopping for, and if you plan on installing a deck and other planning factors, check out your town’s ordinances regarding swimming pools. You don’t want to install your new pool only to find out afterward that it violates a local ordinance. Information can usually be found on municipal websites. If not, telephone or email your borough offices for information on ordinances regarding the addition of an above-ground pool to your property.

It’s also a good idea to see if a backyard fence is a requirement for a backyard pool if your property doesn’t already have one.

Mom and daughter having fun in the backyard above ground pool
Przemek Iciak/Shutterstock


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth-highest cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. The CDC states that one in five people who drown are under the age of 14. When considering an above-ground pool, safety is one of the major components. The town where you live may have specific safety ordinances for above-ground pools, which may include a fenced-in yard as well as a locking gate on the pool’s steps to prevent unauthorized entry.

A locked gate around the pool is especially vital if you have small children. Fences and gates also prevent pets from entering the pool unsupervised.

Pool hygiene

If you’ve never owned a pool before, it’s easier than it looks to maintain clean, hygienic water. Time and effort coupled with a good pump and filtration system contribute to keeping the pH balance healthy. In order to enjoy the backyard pool all summer long, work is involved in cleaning and making sure the pH balance is where it should be. Before the family makes the final decision to dive into above-ground pool ownership, make sure the adults in the family have the time to devote to pool maintenance.

Adding a pool to your backyard is a wonderful investment in your property. It also gives your family a place to play and enjoy the summer months outdoors. Of course, a backyard pool is a big expense. Above-ground pools are more budget-friendly than in-ground pools, but they still require installation and maintenance. Before you start window shopping online, consider our six key points prior to making a purchase.

Planning, checking out your local ordinances, and ensuring the above-ground pool is safe will go a long way toward having the summertime backyard oasis you and your kids crave.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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