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How to Make an Above Ground Pool Look Inground

How to Make an Above Ground Pool Look Inground

Above ground pools often get a bad rep for being an eye sore, but if you are strategic about your pool deck design, not only can you make your above ground pool look nice, you can give it an “inground” effect. Let me show you how we made our above ground pool look “built in” so to speak.


above ground pool deck ideas

For those of you unfamiliar with my home renovation journey, we recently completed a nightmare of a project.

When we moved in our fixer upper home, one of the major appeals was the private lot and inground pool. We enjoyed two incredible summers with it and our kids loved it. Unfortunately two years later, we discovered some major issues with the deck around the pool.

After tearing down the original deck to completely re-build it, we also discovered that the inground pool was installed improperly, back-filled with dirt and rusting through to the liner. Long story short, we had to excavate and demolish the pool. Pretty much, every homeowner’s nightmare.

Thanks to plenty of prayer and tequila (yes..I am a contradiction), we somehow made it through. Here is is a glimpse of our fiasco.This is a photo of  us demolishing the old pool…

how to make an above ground pool look nice

Given we live on a rocky bluff , properly installing an inground pool would have cost a small fortune (not to mention the cost of the actual pool).

To save on costs, this time we opted for an above ground pool. Luckily, the contractor we hired to build our deck had just finished another job building a deck around an above ground pool and he had some great ideas for making our above ground pool look pretty. It definitely softened the blow of our fixer upper nightmare.

Above Ground Pool Deck Ideas

First of all, the pool deck framing needs to be built level with the top of the pool coping.

 To provide a custom look, our contractor built a pool deck border around the pool using 2×12 boards angled over the top cap of the pool. The boards are miter cut to create angles that allow them to frame/border the above ground pool.

Essentially, instead of seeing the plastic pool coping that comes with an above ground pool, you are covering it and creating your own wood coping. This instantly upgrades the design of your pool deck. It is also a cleaner look.

above ground pool deck border ideas

To conceal the white plastic pool coping from inside the pool, our contractor screwed 2×6 boards to the 2×12 pool deck border boards. Not only does it cover the coping from inside the pool, it provides more of an inground/built-in illusion.

how to make above ground pool look nice with deck
I was able to take a photo of the process above. On the right side, you can see where the 2×6 board is attached and covering the pool coping. On the incomplete side (left side), you can see the exposed pool coping. This small attention to detail makes a world of difference and doesn’t cost much more to do.

Another factor to the success of us deceptively making our pool look inground is the natural grade of our yard.

You see…we placed our pool where the yard naturally slopes down to a lower level. This way, there are no stairs to have to climb up when trying to access the above ground pool or deck. The deck is level with the upper grade of my backyard (hopefully that makes sense).  As a result, everything appears level and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about the pool itself , the cost and frequently asked questions click here.

This fall we plan on staining the deck and fence. Not only will this extend the life of our pool deck, I believe it will also elevate the design.

** Update 6-4-19: Click here to read how everything is holding up two years later, and to view what the deck looks like with stain.  **

Be sure to also check out the video of my pool I have embedded in this post which was taken after two summers of use….

** You can click here for the frequently asked questions post I mention in the video. **

While above ground pools can look tacky without the proper deck, they can look just as nice as an inground pool when attention to certain details are applied.

And although it was quite sickening to have to demolish our old pool and purchase a new one (along with a new deck), it was totally worth it. We pretty much live by the pool in the dog days of summer.

Here is a photo of the pool and deck two years later…

above ground pool deck ideas


Now get out there and design some good vibes. Please be sure to spread the love and pin…

pin on pinterest

above ground pool deck ideas



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Monday 14th of August 2017

Hi Erica! I love this look and we are considering something similar for ours. Question for me will you cover the pool in the winter? Or will you just leave it open?

Designing Vibes

Monday 14th of August 2017

Hi Kristin! In all honesty, we havent decided yet how/if we are going to cover the pool. They do sell covers that come with anchors which attach to the deck (but they are pretty pricey). One year we used a tarp and cinder-blocks to secure the tarp, and I highly recommend against that method....rain collected in the center of it. Sorry I could not be of more help.


Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Hi Erica, thanks for the details on how to make an above ground pool look inground. We are still trying to decide if a pool will work in our yard. Do you mind sharing what size and depth your pool is and the brand? Do you notice a difference in your water temperature from your old inground to your new above ground pool? We are in VA where it is hot and humid in the summer but we will be putting the pool in an area much like yours with trees around it. We were told the water temperature might be chilly with only a couple of hours of sunlight everyday. Do you experience any issues? Thanks so much, Alli

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Hi Alli, Our pool is a 15x30 and according to my husband, it is a Vogue pool. I really havent noticed that it is chilly but i should note: while we are surrounded by trees, we actually had a few large limbs cut off of the largest tree and our pool now gets several hours of sunlight per day (not to mention, it has been easier to keep clean since cutting the large limbs). I hope this helps!

Angie Lombardi

Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Is the wood surround weather treated? I absolutely LOVE the look, but was wondering if the wood around the coping would be prone to rot?

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 2nd of August 2017

Hi Angie. Yes, the wood is weather treated. In the fall, we also plan on staining it. Hope this helps!