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Like many home DIY jobs preparation is everything and setting up an Bestway, Intex or any above ground pool is no different.

The actually assembly of the pool is pretty intuitive and straight forward, preparing the site takes just a little more thought, and maybe some manual work too depending where the pool is going to live.

Our experts are going to take a walk through the complete build process from pre-delivery tasks through to adding water and jumping in.

How Set Up An Above Ground Pool

Choosing An Ideal Pool Location

The location of the above ground pool is going to determine how much pre-delivery preparation you need to do. Many owners won’t have the luxury of choosing a location, but if you do choosing a level piece of land to site your above ground pool on will save time, money and effort.

The ideal site for your pool should have well compacted soil and fall of less than 1 inch over the length of the base if possible. You’ll be lucky to find an area like that on your property so simply look for somewhere as close to level as possible. You’re going to take care of the final levelling in a later step.

How close to trees, and the species of tree is another consideration. The pool might look great tucked under a leafy bower, but trust us you’ll soon tire of skimming leafs, blossom and pollen. and fishing out berries, nuts and pine needles.

Intex pool set up

Assess The Ground

Once you’ve chosen your spot, you’ll need to check how flat it is. We are looking for a quite tight tolerance here of just 1 inch drop over the entire length or diameter of the pool.

If it’s much more than that it will start to become noticeable between the waterline and the top of the pool.

Round pools are a little more forgiving than rectangular ones, so with them you can get away with a little more than 1 inch drop if you must.

Remove The Grass

If the pool is being laid on grass many above ground pool owners opt for removing it below the pool. If there is a lot of levelling to do you’ve definitely got to remove the grass anyway.

This is what we recommend doing, especially if you are installing a large pool like the Ultra 32 x 16 ft.

You can remove the grass manually from a small space but for larger areas definitely hire out a sod cutter from your local tool supplier. What might take a day manually can be achieved in one hour with the cutter. Make sure you cut at least 1 foot larger all round than your above ground pool dimensions. ( i.e. a 32 x 16 pool needs 34 x 18 cut out. )

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Level The Ground

After cleaning up the soil and roughly raking it out it’s time to start levelling the ground.The first thing we need to find is the high point of the area.

Unlike other levelling jobs with a pool it’s always recommended to dig out the high point of the site down to the lowest level. If you simply build the low point up to the high then the chances are it’s going to settle, especially when water is added to the pool or after the first heavy rain storm..

To find the high point set out a series of stakes not more 10 ft apart and run a taut string between them, use a builders level to make sure the string is level all round the site. Now you can simply measure from the string to the ground to find out the highest point of your above ground pool base.

Now you’re in a position to level down the site. If it’s a large area and the ground is compacted consider hiring a rototiller to loosen up the soil to assist removal.

Tamping Down The Ground

This is a simple but important phase of the job. During the levelling the soil has become loosened and needs to be compacted down again.

On small jobs this can often be done with feet and a hand tamping tool. Bigger ones need a visit to the tool shop again to hire a roller. Before rolling always damp down the soil and let sit for an hour or so before starting the final levelling chore, it helps to compact the soil.

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Prepare for the Pool

Next we recommend raking over at least a 1.5 inch layer of gravel over the entire site, then blind the top with sand and compact and level it down to receive the pool.

This isn’t mandatory but highly recommended. Without it the pool will sit in the waterlogged hollow created from removing the sod. Don’t rush this process, get it right, check and recheck the surface with your trusty builders level tie wrapped to the edge of a builders plank.

Pool Base Protector

Most above ground pool manufacturers bundle a ground cover with the purchase. It’s generally just a suitably sized tarp and easily sourced if your pool didn’t come with one.

Some owners go a little better than a simple tarp and purchase a special above ground pool pad, we like them but you can get by without them.

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