How to Prepare the Base of Your Above Ground Pool

How to prepare the base for an above ground pool

February 14, 2023

It is al bout the base…yup…and in our world to prepare the base for an above ground pool.

Hello aspiring pool owners! Are you prepared to combat the summer heat in the most stylish manner? You are, for sure! However, you must first organize the base before you cannonball into your above-ground pool. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises while you’re relaxing in the water, trust us on this. So let’s get started with some hot advice for what to install under your above-ground pool so you can enjoy the season in safety and with plenty of splashing around!

And in this article – heck we know people don’t wanna read anymore – we will discuss everything you possibly would need to prepare the base for an above ground pool.

It might take some effort, but trust us, you do not want to skimp-a-roo this step.

Determine Your Pool’s Base Location

Let’s start this base-building party now! Finding the ideal location for your above-ground pool is the first step to doing it right. Make sure the water is flat as a pancake, devoid of rocks or other objects lying about, and receives plenty of sunlight. When you’re splashing around, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises, we promise.

Now that you’ve nailed down the spot, it’s time to channel your inner rockstar and clear away any stones or other obstacles in the area. You can level out any low spots with some sand, but remember, the thicker and more level the sand layer, the happier your pool will be! It’ll be able to handle all that weight of the water without even breaking a sweat.

And last but not least, don’t forget to lay a tarp over the area, to keep those pesky stones and sticks at bay. Trust us, you don’t want to see your pool in tears because of a puncture wound. So let’s keep the base solid and secure, and dive into the fun without a worry in the world!

Clear and level your area

So you’ve found the perfect spot for your above ground pool and you’re ready to dive in!

Next, you’ll want to level the ground. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro at balancing to get it right – just use a long board and level to find any low spots and fill them in with soil or sand. But don’t get too carried away with the filling – you need a slight slope away from the pool to avoid a swampy mess.

Now it’s time for the cushioning. Unless you’re into feeling like you’re floating on a bed of rocks, you’ll want to add a protective and supportive layer beneath your pool. Foam pads, stone dust, or gravel will do the trick, but make sure to also lay down a barrier like plastic sheeting or landscape fabric to prevent any leaks. Plus, the added cushion will save you from any poolside collisions. Trust us, it’s happened to the best of us.

Add Gravel for Support.

Alright, so now that you’ve got your spot picked out and leveled, it’s time to get your pool party started! But before you start filling it up with water and doing your best Marco Polo impression, let’s get that base ready.

Forget sand, folks. At least not now….see the next step, That stuff’s for castles, not pools. Instead, what you want is a good layer of gravel to give your pool a solid foundation.

You’re going to need about 6 inches of it, spread nice and even, so no one steps on a wobbly spot and spills their drink.

After you’ve laid the gravel, pack it down nice and tight with a shovel or rake. Not only will this keep your pool from shifting or sinking, but it’ll also give you a nice, even surface to put your pool on. So skip the sand and stick with the gravel, and you’ll be swimming in style all summer long!

We are almost there, hang in….almost only a couple steps left….

Lay Down Sand for Smoothness and Comfort.

Alright, let’s give this a shot!

So you’ve got your spot picked out, leveled the ground, and laid down a layer of gravel. Now it’s time to add some sand and give your pool base a little cushioning!

Spread that sand about an inch thick, like a perfect layer of icing on a cake, but without the temptation to lick the spoon. (that would just be gross)

Smooth it out nice and even, just like you do with your bed sheets (or try to, at least). And once you’ve got your sand layer just right, your pool liner can rest easy, knowing that it’s safe from those pesky gravel punctures.

Now, you may be wondering why sand is the preferred material for pool bases. Well, not only does it provide insulation for your liner, but it also helps to even out the ground beneath. Plus, it’s a lot more pleasant to walk on than sharp rocks and jagged gravel. So, get ready to make a splash in comfort and style!

Inspect the Surface for Potential Flaws Before Setting Up the Pool Liner and Filling with Water.

Let’s get real for a minute, folks: nobody wants a wrinkly pool liner.

So, before you start filling that sucker up with water, give your sand base a good once-over.

Get down and dirty and inspect it for any rogue rocks or dirt that could cause trouble down the line. If you spot any bumps or divots, fill them in with more sand to even things out. We don’t want any weird pockets where water can collect and turn into a breeding ground for funky pool bacteria.

Once you’re confident that your sand base is smooth and level, it’s time to dive in and install your pool liner. Use a leveler to make sure everything is flat and even, so you can avoid any unseemly wrinkles. Trust me, you don’t want a lumpy pool any more than you want a lumpy mattress.

And of course, you might be interested next to add some features around your pool. Then check this article…just do it.


Your above ground pool is ready. You have prepared the base. Your water is nice and clear and clean. Your children have been bugging you for the past few hours…or days… “when can we swim”…and of course no one helped you.

So take that dive brother or sister.

Hopefully you are now ready to prepare the base for an Above Ground Pool.

Related question

Best Base for Installing an Above Ground Pool

When it comes to building a base for your above ground pool, you want to make sure it’s as flat and level as possible. The last thing you want is to jump into your pool only to find yourself sloshing around because the base wasn’t sturdy enough! To make sure your pool has the proper support, use materials like gravel, sand, or crushed concrete as a base. Keep in mind that building codes can vary depending on where you live, so don’t forget to check with your local authorities before you get started. You don’t want to get into hot water for not following the rules!

What do you put under an above ground pool?

To make sure your above ground pool stays in good shape for a long time, it’s crucial to prepare the ground before installation. First things first, clear the area of any debris, like pesky rocks and annoying roots. Then, lay down a layer of either sand or gravel that has been leveled out to make a smooth and flat base for your pool to rest on. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can also put down some heavy-duty plastic sheeting or landscape fabric to give your pool even more support and protection. And don’t forget to double-check that all the electrical and plumbing connections are properly installed before you fill up the pool with water!

The Cheapest way to level ground for an above ground pool

Do it yourself. Getting your above ground pool set up is easier than you think. Start by clearing any large rocks and vegetation from the area. Then, grab a long 2×4 or 2×6 board and use it as a guide to find any high spots that need to be leveled out. You might need to rent a few tools like wet-dry vacs, sanders, shovels, soil rakes, or erosion blankets to make the job easier. But trust me, it’s worth it to avoid the hassle and expense of excavation fees.

Related reading you might find interesting. Will an above ground pool collapse without water?

About Us

We're Wynand and Len and we're both passionate about our small above ground pools. This website is as much for us learning new things and sharing our findings and experiments.

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