Above-Ground or In-Ground Pools: Everything You Need to Know

You’ve wanted to install a pool in your backyard for quite some time now. And with summer temperatures in the high 90s this season, you feel more determined than ever to bring your dream into reality.

You’ve triple-checked your budget to make sure that you have the appropriate funds, and you even asked the local HOA if you can install a pool on your property. Once you take care of all the logistics, the next step is to choose between an in-ground and above-ground pool.

You need to decide which one will best fit your home’s style. But you should consider other factors as well. Below, we’ll give you the pros and cons of each pool type so that you can get the pool of your dreams.


First and foremost, you’ll want to look into the cost of both pool types. After all, you do have a budget to stick to. Remember to factor in prices for both the materials and the installation.

In-ground pools typically cost more money than the inflatable pool you can buy from your local store or yard sale. Depending on the products you use to build your in-ground pool, you could spend as much as $60,000 for materials and labor.

For a more cost-effective option, you might consider an above-ground pool. These pools run up to $5,000 for the materials. And unless you know how to properly install a pool, you’ll need to hire a contractor to do the job for you. This work costs $1,000 or more depending on the company you employ.

You can purchase an above-ground pool from retail stores such as Wal-Mart for around $800. However, this pool will only last a few years before you need to replace it. If you choose this option, you might spend more money over time than if you installed a slightly more expensive pool.

You’ll also have to factor in maintenance and repair costs into your decision. No matter which pool type you select, you’ll still pay for the same upkeep services. On average, pool owners spend up to $100 a month on cleaning chemicals and supplies. Maintenance kits cost an additional $50 per set. And if your pool filter breaks or malfunctions, you’ll need to pay for additional parts and labor to fix the issue.

Size and Shape Options

Now that you’ve established a cost, you need to think about the size of your new pool. Do you want a large lagoon that fits ten or more? Or perhaps you desire something a little more personal and quaint-maybe a small pool big enough for you and a few close friends?

Above-ground pools come in an oval or round shape, which means you have somewhat limited options available. However, you can choose a variety of sizes within either pool shape. Circular pools size anywhere from 12′ to 28′ in diameter and can hold between 3,000 and 12,000 gallons of water. Oval pools come in many different sizes; common oval pool sizes include:

12′ x 24′

15′ x 24′ or 30′

16′ x 26′

18′ x 33′ or 36′ 20′ x 40′

Oval-shaped above-grounds pools contain as little water as 6,000 gallons or as much as 20,000 gallons at a time.

In-ground pools, on the other hand, range widely in both shape and size. In fact, you can customize an in-ground pool to just about any shape or size you want. You can also craft your in-ground pool from several materials, including vinyl, concrete, fiberglass, and gunite. Many homeowners opt for a trendy rectangular pool, while others choose more unique shapes such as octagons, lagoons, kidneys, and even the letter “L.”

And since you can completely personalize your pool, you can tell your contractors how large or small you want your pool.

Aesthetic Appeal

You want every aspect of your property to look well kept, and that includes your pool. Use your desires and personal style to decide on a pool style.

In-ground pools generally provide a higher aesthetic appeal than above-ground pools. In fact, you can build your in-ground pool to match your backyard’s current design aesthetic. You can choose from a wide range of materials that glamorize your pool, including decorative materials like wood, tile, bamboo, plants, and other items.

Though you might find above-ground pools a more convenient pool choice, you might find it harder to make your pool aesthetically pleasing. Many above-ground pools appear teal or turquoise in color and have metal supports that surround them. Though these features cause the pool to stand out against your landscape, you can add a few improvements.

One option is to build a fence area and deck from any solid wood of your choice. You can also create an arbor that covers a portion of the pool. Planting vines or other hanging plants on or around the archway adds some extra flair to your yard.


As you prepare to purchase a pool, keep these benefits in mind. Whether you want to install an in-ground or above-ground pool, you’ll see fantastic results and enjoy your summer at the same time.

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