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In an ideal world, we’d all have the proper space and budget to have one of the sublime swimming pools we featured recently. But the reality is, not all of us can. Some homes have soil issues that make digging and excavation impossible. Or perhaps the yard area is small. Quite often, however, an above ground swimming pool is the only solution to overcoming these limitations.

We’ve created a list of above ground pool ideas that might be the perfect fit for your backyard.

Above ground pools with decks are popular in coastal areas where sand makes an underground pool difficult to build. Image:

Above Ground Swimming Pool Pros Include:

  • Ease of setup – Most pools come pre-built or are easy enough to build (if you like DIY projects) in a few hours.
  • Price – Above ground swimming pools range in price from $1000 – $4500, making them more budget-friendly.
  • Size – A range of pool sizes are available, including sizes for smaller spaces.
  • Less maintenance – They’re easy to keep clean and feature low-maintenance filters and pumps. Winterizing an above ground pool is easier than that of a standard pool.

Above Ground Pool Cons Include:

  • Easier to damage – Side walls and pool materials are easier to damage or puncture, requiring extra care to avoid any issues.
  • Durability – They typically last 7 to 12 years, whereas a traditional swimming pool lasts for more than 20 years.
  • Aesthetics – Above ground swimming pools are not as attractive. But with a few tweaks, you can have an above ground pool that looks just as custom as a regular swimming pool.
  • Depth – Above ground pools are not very deep, averaging at approximately 4 feet.

If you think an above ground pool is right for your needs, add these ideas to your decor plan to beautify your yard and add a custom look. Some of these design ideas are larger than life! Adding elements such as above ground pool decks, lush landscaping and comfortable outdoor patio furniture can enhance your outdoor swimming area in no time.

Above Ground Pool Decks

A contemporary wood deck design that doubles as seating around the raised pool. Image: Eponyme Architecture

Adding a simple deck around an above ground swimming pool hides the unattractive siding and creates a more contemporary look. Image: Mermaid Pools

A rich, dark wood deck is built flush with the above ground pool to mimic a contemporary pool design. Image: Frank and Grossman

A prefab raised pool with a surrounding deck is low maintenance, keeping sand and debris out of the pool, especially by the beach or lake. Image: Sterling Custom Construction

An above ground deck that connects the house to the pool. The deck stops halfway to recreate the look of an infinity swimming pool. Image: Crestwood Pools

This large and decorative pool is connected to the home by a custom pool deck. The round pool is surrounded by coordinating gravel. Image: Ohio Pools

Concrete Above Ground Pools

A small above ground plunge pool is just right on a hot day. Image: Australian Plunge Pools

A contemporary above ground plunge pool with wood detailing that provides seating and hides the pool’s filtration system. Image: Urban Angles 

A raised pool finished in concrete to complement the home’s modern style. Image: Shubin Donaldson

Above Ground Pool Ideas Boxed in Wood

Stained wood siding contrasts nicely with the turquoise pool water and hides the unsightly raised pool structure. Image: Construction Zone Phoenix

A long lap pool and jacuzzi have a sleek design thanks to the prefab pool’s custom and exotic wood frame. An integrated central platform divides the two areas and creates a spot for relaxing. Image: Secret Gardens

Add a wood frame around an above ground pool to offer seating and places to put drinks and towels. Image: Platinum Pool Care

Another wood box frame idea that adds a backyard design element. This pool sits partially underground. Image: Lost West

This spa doubles as a plunge pool. What makes it most unique is the spa’s striking cantilevered levels. Image: Dimension One Spas

Wood siding with masterfully wrapped stairs give the store-bought pool a one-of-a-kind look. Image: Crestwood Pools

Custom wood siding around an above ground pool that looks like a modern oak wine barrel. Image: Crestwood Pools

Semi Underground Pool Ideas

Sometimes it’s necessary to install a pool semi-underground when the space isn’t level. The exposed area features fieldstone to hide the pool’s frame. Image: Nill Silver Photography

Partially underground, this deep pool has stone steps that make it easier to enter and exit. Image: Mermaid Pools

Another partially underground pool design due to the property’s slope. Image: Ohio Pools

Above Ground Pools Finished With Custom Materials

Build a Wonderboard frame and tile it to get this raised pool’s look. Image: ZEN Associates

A custom above ground pool in glass and large tile with an integrated deck. Image: ZEN Associates


A prefab raised pool with steps and a stone finish instead of the traditional wood deck. Image: Legacy Builders

Accessories For Your Above Ground Pool

Because you’re not likely to make an above ground pool purchase online, we thought we’d pull together some of our favorite pool accessories to take you water retreat to the next level.