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How to Make an Above Ground Pool Look Inground

How to Make an Above Ground Pool Look Inground

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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…

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above ground pool deck ideas

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