Above-Ground Swimming Pool Design Ideas 

Since they were invented, above-ground pools have been a popular and cost effective alternative when it comes to building residential pools. Why? Well to start, they’ve remain a much less expensive alternative than traditional in-ground swimming pools, a fact that is very apparent to homeowners.

Above Ground Pool Materials

Types of Above Ground Pools

  • Above Ground
  • Recessed
  • Lap Pools
  • Semi-On Ground

Why Buy An Above Ground Pool?

Some key selling points are: ease of installation compared to constructing an inground pool, most above ground pools can also be dismantled when the swim season is over. It’s this kind of portability that makes above ground pools a good choice for renters or anyone who prefers to take their swimming pool with them if they decide to move.

What Were The First Above Ground Pools Ever Made?

The first above-ground pools ever made were produced by Doughboy Recreational and Haugh’s Products. Their initial concept were inflatable “splasher” kiddie pools which were a success. The next product line they produced branched out into larger variations in different shapes that were manufactured using steel, aluminum, and synthetic fabric liners.

In The 1960’s – Above Ground Pools Got Bigger

All through the 1960s, the swimming pools they produced became bigger, deeper, and began to use similar equipment as their in-ground counterparts. It was these initial models that included filtration and circulation systems and make the product line become synonomous with high quality and value.

Above Ground Pools Have Certainly Come a Long Way

above ground pool

In the last ten years, above-ground pools have begun a radical transformation in appearance and types of features they offer. Many above ground pools now come equipped with LED and fiberoptic lighting, upgraded filtration & circulation systems, and spa type extras.

For An Inground Look, Try Recessing Your Above Ground Pool

An above-ground pool can even be sunken into the ground and enclosed with a deck much as inground pools. Much like cars, above ground pools can start at a base model which are akin to a basic stock tanks or range up to large perimeter pools big enough to accomodate friends and family.

View the following above ground pool designs to get yourself inspired. We explore how above ground pools first began all the way into modern day above grounds which frequently rival their inground counterparts in terms of features & cost to maintain.

What Above Ground Pools Were Like Back In The Day

vintage doughboy pool

Viewed here is one of the first Doughboy pools. This is a vintage black-and-white photo showcasing a Doughboy. This pool showed Americans a life of leisure that most assuredly awaited them once they bought their family a round above-ground pool, complete with a deck. The prototypical American dream come true.

The Original – Big Round Doughboy

vintage doughboy pool

Seventy years ago larger sized lots were all the rage. A huge backyard was the ideal spot to install the largest round Doughboy pool if you were alive in the 1950’s. These pools were state of the art for their time with sides made of aluminum or steel and sturdy enough to accomodate larger sized family swim sessions and friends coming over for a dip!

No Frills Above Grounder – Stock Tank Pool 

stock tank pool in front of greenery

A stock tank pool is basically a no-frills alternative to your typical above-ground and in-ground swimming pool models. While stock pools are often above ground, some folks opt to enclose a deck to make it easier to get in and out of the pool.

Decked Out Above Ground Pool

above ground pool

Showcased here is an above-ground pool that has been connected to the house above with a beautiful custom-built wooden deck. The deck provides a non-slip surface which is great for swimmers and will prevent falls when entering and exiting the pool. There are other options other than wood for deck surfaces, such as vinyl and concrete.

Round Doughboy With Landscaping & Deck

round doughboy pool

When above-ground swimming pools first hit the market in the 1950s and then became mainstream in the 1960s, the only models first available were typically round shapes. It remains the most popular shape today but has been updated with decking, fencing, stairs and a safety gate as seen in this photo. Doughboy, 0recently started manufacturing in-ground swimming pools which are technically above-ground pools that can be sunk up to 7 feet deep in the ground.

Rectangular Above Ground Frame With Wood

above-ground pool

This one is for the true DIY’er or handy man. This above ground pool is enclosed with a wood frame. Manolo Andre did that with this Bestway model. Of course, it would be an even bigger challenge to make a frame for a pool with a curvilinear shape.

Midwest Backyard Makeover

above ground pool

Design blogger Carol Beckman is always looking for her next DIY project. Her family built a raised deck surround for their above-ground swimming pool. They then enclosed it all with fencing and an arbor-covered gate. In the summer during the swim season, they decorate the area with string lights, fun floats, and container plants.

Flagstone Patio & Raised Wood Deck With Sunken Above Ground Pool

above ground pool with decking

This stunning example showcases a flagstone patio with a sunken above-ground swimming pool which is a departure from the typical gravel base. Walking on flagstone pavers in bare feet can create a slippery transition from the pool

These builders came up with a smart deck solution that eases the transition from the patio area into the pool. This created a multilevel deck which gives it the appearance of an in-ground model.

Wood decking is typically easier on swimmers’ bare feet and is more anti-slip than flagstone. The builder opeted for extra wide steps leading up to the pool deck that can be used for casual seating or as drying off place after swimming.

Backyard Detached Doughboy

doughboy pool with deck

This pool is separated from the rest of the house, positioned in a secluded corner of the property that offers privacy for sunning. A fence and sonic alarmed gate create a security barrier for young children.

Our Dream Deck Come True

above-ground pool with decking

Here’s a prime example of an above-ground pool that doesn’t appear to be an above-ground. The builders opted for wood decking flush with the level of the top of the pool. This gives the effect of a sunken bathtub or the look of an in-ground swimming pool.

I Can’t Believe That’s Not An In-Ground Pool

above-ground pool with deck

From our vantage, it’s really difficult to tell that this oval-shaped above ground swimming pool isn’t an inground pool. This beautiful raised deck surrounds the entire pool and offers all the conveniences and accessibility associated with a permanent inground pool. This outdoor patio set, and seating areas offer a large entertaining area around the pool. The main differences between this pool and an inground pool of equal size and features, around $25,000 dollars!

Enclosed Above-Ground Pool

above-ground pool

Creating a finished enclosure for your above-ground pool makes it a walled, fenced, and gated backyard resort. This particular above ground pool was constructed and enclosed with a surrounding deck. The entire pool area includes lounge chairs and patio tables.

This oval sunken above-ground pool and large deck surround are a prime example of a fully decked out pool. The gated stairs and wide walkways provide have a look of permanence. This is a perfect entertaining space for friends and family.

Protect Your Investment With a Retractable Pool Cover

above-ground pool pictures

This above-ground swimming pool is enclosed by a beautiful wood deck. The homeowner took this pool over the finish line with the addition of a retractable pool cover. It’s a solar cover which makes it easier to keep the water warm and clean. Why would a homeowner want a retractable pool cover?

  • To protect the pool from dirt, debris and algae growth
  • Avoid losing heat by evaporation and radiation

Keeps children from accidentally falling into the pool*. Retractable pool covers are available in automatic, semi-automatic, and manual styles. The automatic variations can be operated by remote control. Above ground pool covers are typically made of water-resistant materials such as mesh, nylon and various forms of plastic, corrugated fiberglass, and foam.

*Pool covers cannot prevent drowning.