8 Ideas for Designing an Above Ground Pool

An above ground pool with a ladder.
  • 8-24 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-3,500

When deciding whether to get an inground pool or an above ground pool, there seem to be two things to consider above all else: price and appearance. A lot of people prefer the look of a permanently installed inground pool in their yard because they think having an above-ground pool will be an eyesore. But what if getting one put into your yard doesn't make sense financially or otherwise?

For a fraction of the price, you can purchase an above ground pool that fits your yard, and have it built by a team of installers. Or, if you want to do it for even less money, you could probably put it up yourself with a few friends over the course of a few days. If you're installing a permanent above ground pool but don't want the appearance of a random structure in your yard, there are many different options for designing it to make it more appealing.

Raised Deck

An above ground pool with a deck built around it.

One of the more popular ways to design an above ground pool is to build a raised deck around it. This gives the appearance of an inground pool while adding a decorative and relaxing space to enjoy. The possibilities are endless when designing a raised deck to go around your above ground pool whether it's round, oval, or rectangular.

Multilevel Deck

Another choice is to create a multilevel deck around your pool with different spots to hang out and relax by the water. Make sure at least one level reaches the lip of the pool so you and your guests can easily dip your toes in the water, or sit on the edge with your feet entirely in. The other levels should be easy to access, and each has their own feel and purpose, like one spot for sunbathing, and another for eating. This can be achieved with furniture and accessories.

Small Partial Deck

An above ground pool with a deck next to it in a backyard.

If you don't have the time, money, or even the desire to build a deck entirely around your pool, consider building a small partial deck on just one side with a staircase leading up to it. This simple design is still useful and nice to look at but will cost only a fraction of the price.

Ground Level Deck

Another great option is to create a deck around your pool, but instead of having it built all the way up to the rim, keep it on the ground level. Make sure to add a nice staircase or ladder up to the pool, and this design will do just fine. To make it even more attractive, consider the landscaping around it and add some potted flowers or decorative shrubs nearby.


An above ground pool surrounded by flowers with a repair man working on a sprinkler.

If building a deck isn't something you want to do, you can make your above ground pool still look nice. One way to spruce up the appearance of your pool is to plant a garden around it. Adding a few decorative plants around the pool is a perfect way or anyone with a green thumb to add a bit of flair.

Rock Garden

If plants aren't your thing, try creating a rock garden around the base of your above ground pool. A layer of decorative stones will make the placement of your pool look more intentional, and not like you just dropped a pool into the middle of your yard. You can also add a few decorative garden pieces like statues, birdbaths, or solar lights.

Wood Panels

An above ground pool surrounded by a lush lawn.

Finally, this classic idea is a great way to cover the sides of your above ground pool. All you have to do is install wood panels around it, and it will look fantastic all on its own. Wood paneling might remind you of your parents' basement growing up, but if you match the color to your yard's deck or fence, it won't have that familiar vintage feel (unless you want it to).


A great way to disguise the boring look of above ground pool walls is to cover them with faux stone or bricks. Using faux stone or brickwork built around your pool helps to seamlessly blend it into the natural space of your yard with a modern, luxurious look.