What Is the Easiest Way to Level Ground for a Pool?

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One of the best summertime activities is going for a swim. This is especially exciting when you've invested in an above-ground pool. But before you begin setting up your pool, it's important that you level the ground that's going to be underneath your setup. Failing to do so could make the pool unstable and can unfortunately lead to injury or property damage.

Before you begin, you'll want to read your pool manufacturer's instructions and recommendations. For example, the 10-by-24 Round Metal Frame Pool Manual from Intex, a company known for its above-ground pools, states that you'll want to consider the following factors when picking out your pool's location:

  • The ground under your pool should be flat and level.
  • The ground must be compact and firm, so the pool should not be set up on mud, sand, or loose soil.
  • Do not place your pool on a deck, balcony, or platform. They could collapse under the weight once you fill up your pool.
  • There should be four feet of space around the entire pool, with no objects nearby that a child could climb on to get inside the pool.
  • Note that grass under the pool will be damaged. Chlorinated water that splashes out of the pool can also negatively affect any nearby plants.
  • Above-ground pools must be located a minimum of six feet away from any receptacle. All 125-volt, 15-ampere, and 20-ampere receptacles within 20 feet of the pool must be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a GCFI is "a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second." An example of one can be found here.
  • Ensure that no aggressive grasses — like St. Augustine and Bermuda — are in the area. They can grow through the liner.
  • Make sure the pool is in an area where you can drain and store it.

With these recommendations in mind, you'll want to go ahead and find the perfect location for your pool. Once you have a spot picked out, it's important to ensure that the ground is level. Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn, a lawn and garden resource, tells Hunker, "Leveling the ground for a pool is one of the trickiest things to do, in my experience." He offers the following steps to help make it easier:

Step 1

Remove any rocks or debris from the area — you can do this by hand or with a rake.

Step 2

Take two-by-fours and place them on the site. To keep them from moving, you can drill a hole into them and then use a stake to nail them into the ground.

Step 3

Place a level (preferably, one that's several feet long so that will cover more of the two-by-four) on top of the two-by-fours, in the center, to see where the ground is not level. You can secure the level onto the two-by-four with cable ties, which can be reusable.

Step 4

Use a shovel to level out the uneven spots on the ground, by either adding soil or taking it away.

Step 5

Continue using the two-by-fours and level until the ground is perfectly flat.

Step 6

Use a rake to remove any remaining rocks and debris. A lawn roller can also be used to compact the soil.

If you're looking for a visual demonstration of how this would be done, Projects for the Commoner has a great instructional YouTube video (in which he uses only one two-by-four):

Once your ground is flat, compact, and free of debris that could damage the pool liner, you should be good to go. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions so that you can have the safest pool possible.

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When Anna Gragert isn’t trying to create a groundbreaking third-person bio for herself, she's writing for places like Teen Vogue, Glamour, Bust, Nylon, and now, Hunker! Follow Anna on Twitter or Instagram for more.

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