Can You Bury an Above Ground Pool in the Ground?

Fiberglass pool shell being buried

All else being equal, above ground pools are a heck of a lot cheaper than inground pools. So for someone looking to save money, the obvious question is: Why not simply bury an above ground pool in the ground? That way, you enjoy the low profile and general good looks of an inground swimming pool at a much friendlier price.

In fact, there are above ground pools specifically designed to be buried. But what’s stopping you from backfilling any above ground pool you please? Well, nothing, except the knowledge that you could fall victim to any of the following pitfalls:

1. The walls could collapse

The main technical issue with burying an inground pool is that the walls are not designed to withstand external ground pressure. If the pool doesn’t have enough water to balance the outside pressure – or if the ground around the pool becomes heavy with water – the walls could collapse. This scenario could easily unfold as you’re trying to replace the pool liner, or doing anything else that requires you to drain the pool for an extended period of time.

2. You could void the warranty

Burying an above ground pool will often void the manufacturer’s warranty. That means that not only is your pool not covered for wall collapses, but for anything else that goes wrong – including problems that have nothing to do with the fact that the pool is backfilled. Before you bury an above ground pool, make sure you read the warranty and consider the implications. Something else to consider: If the warranty specifically states that it’s void when the pool is buried, that’s a pretty good indication that the manufacturer believes it won’t hold up under those conditions.

3. It could hurt your home’s resale value

Many people in the market for a new home shy away from backyard swimming pools, not wanting the extra maintenance costs and upkeep. It’s still generally thought that homes with inground pools are worth more. However, this may not be true at all if the inground pool is really an above ground pool in disguise. At the very least, you can expect prospective buyers to have a lot of questions.

Of course, a lot of people bury their above ground pools and never encounter any of those problems. The question is whether the risk is worth it, and more importantly, whether there isn’t a better way to squeeze a nice backyard pool into your budget.

One alternative that springs immediately to mind is to use an inground pool kit. These packages include all the components for a bonafide inground pool, but at a much lower cost. You can either install the pool yourself (saving even more money), or contract it out.

Another option is to keep your pool on the ground, but dress it up for an “inground” look. In this case, your best weapon is a wraparound deck to frame your pool and provide easy access. Landscaping and some well-placed greenery can also obscure the pool walls. Finding the right ideas for your pool might take some hunting, but the results can be stunning. Check out our Pinterest board on above ground pool decks for inspiration.