30 Above Ground Pool Design Ideas

Written by Michael Dean
May 1, 2024

installing an above ground pool

If a traditional inground pool is not for you due to budget or space constraints, don’t worry; you can still design an above ground pool that looks just as gorgeous and seamless with your backyard. But if you’re not entirely sure how to design your above ground pool, I’ve got you covered.

Here are 30 above ground pool design ideas to help you build the pool of your dreams!

1. Sitting Area Surrounding the Pool

Credit: tipsytankpools.com

If you have a smaller above ground pool, one way to elevate the look of your pool is to create a lounging area around the pool by designing a sitting area. By placing a sitting area surrounding the pool, you end up with an above ground pool with an inground feel, as you can simply sit and put your feet inside the water – perfect for relaxing and chatting with your friends and family.

2. Pool Skirt

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You can transform the most basic of above ground pools with a simple pool skirt that wraps around the pool. There are so many designs you can choose from, so pick one that best fits you, your personality, and the vibe you want for your pool. Then, simply wrap the skirt around the pool, and voila! You’ve got an entirely new pool for a super cheap price!

3. Umbrella and Lounging Chairs

Credit: the-designory.com.au

If you have an above ground pool, the lounging area surrounding it is just as important to design as the pool itself. Make the pool look super inviting by decorating the area surrounding the pool with furniture such as an umbrella and a couple of lounging chairs.

4. Frame with Potted Plants

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One way to enhance the look of your above ground pool is to use landscaping. But if you want to go further, use potted plants and flowers and frame them around your pool. This will really make your pool a statement in your backyard!

5. Flush with the Deck

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If you have a house that sits above the yard (as in, you need to climb down some stairs to get to your yard), take advantage of this situation and place your above ground pool flush with the deck. When doing this, you may need to get a semi above ground pool rather than a fully above ground pool, but the flow of the pool will look modern and fashionable as it becomes a part of the house rather than a part of the backyard.

6. Create a Hidden Oasis

Credit: villaplungepools.com.au

This is a great above ground pool design if you have a smaller backyard space. Tuck away the pool in the corner of the yard. Then, work around the pool to create a gorgeous hidden space so that you are instantly transformed into a wild oasis when you enter. To create this type of space, block off the pool access with a glass gate, and make sure to take advantage of landscaping.

7. Ivy-Lined Pool

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Don’t like the look of a plain concrete pool? Blend the landscaping with the pool by lining your pool with some beautiful ivy. This will cover the gray concrete look you’re not a big fan of, and instead, your above ground pool becomes a seamless part of your backyard! 

8. A Little Window

Credit: compasspools.com.au

When building your above ground pool, one feature you should definitely consider if you’re looking for something a bit different and more modern is a window. This window allows you to see inside the pool as your family enjoys their time cooling off under the summer sun. This is one way to incorporate an entire glass wall without breaking the bank.

9. Water Wall Feature

Credit: compasspools.com.au

Installing a water feature is one of the best ways to enhance the look of any pool, whether inground or above ground. This water wall feature not only helps to make the pool more inviting but also helps cool down the water thanks to aeration. Plus, it is pretty fun for swimmers to play around with!

10. Wooden Pergola

Credit: tipsytankpools.com

A great way to enhance your backyard space when you have an above ground pool is to install a cute wooden pergola above the pool. The best part is that you can decorate the pergola however you want, complete with lights and greenery to really bring the space to life.

11. Pebble Landscaping

Credit: cookespoolsandspas.com.au

Be creative when it comes to the landscaping around your pool. While you can design the area around your pool with a standard wooden deck or even simple grass, an option you may not have considered is using pebbles! By placing pebbles around your pool, you can turn a simple outdoor pool into a desert oasis or a zen garden.

12. Pavers Around the Pool

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One of the most stunning design ideas for your above ground pool is to install pavers around the pool. This design helps the pool blend in more seamlessly with the deck, especially if you use similar pavers. This can also help your above ground pool look much more expensive.

13. Circular Deck

Credit: janmasterpool.com

If you have a circular above ground pool, why not play into the shape and design the rest of the pool area with that in mind? Specifically, why not go for a circular deck surrounding the pool rather than a simple rectangular deck?

14. Fenced Pool Deck

Credit: swimmingpool.com

Another interesting feature to consider is creating a pool area in your backyard by fencing off the above ground pool. But since your pool is above ground, raise the deck to the pool’s level and build a fence around it so you can lounge by the pool just as if it were an inground pool! This way, you get the best of both worlds. This not only creates a more intimate pool space but also improves safety.

15. A Mural

Credit: tipsytankpools.com

Are you looking for a bit of privacy and some fun colors around your pool? Put up a metal frame or fence of your choosing, and instead of leaving it bare, employ your artistic friends and family to come help you paint it with some gorgeous colors. You can paint something abstract, or you could go with some classic flowers and other easy shapes! This can be a super fun family activity that everyone will enjoy for years to come.

16. Cover the Pool with Wooden Decking

Credit: leisurepools.com.au

Another way to blend your pool into your backyard is to cover the entire pool with wooden decking material. You can easily DIY this project yourself or ask a contractor to do it for you. This design works best if your above ground pool is located on a wooden deck for that blended and harmonious look.

Head over to my post on pool deck designs for some inspiration!

17. Plants Around the Pool

Credit: knickerbockerpools.com

This design involves surrounding half the area around your pool with some plants. To do this, create a raised bed area around the pool and fill it with your favorite flowers, shrubs, and other small plants to cover the bottom half of your pool with gorgeous greenery and landscaping.

18. Umbrella Over the Pool

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If your region experiences particularly hot summers and you’ve noticed that the water in your above ground pool gets way too warm to enjoy, one way to help cool down the water is to create some shade. Installing an umbrella over the pool is an excellent way to do this! This creates some well-needed shade, allowing you to properly enjoy the cool water. Even better if the umbrella is big enough to create shade for the loungers, too!

19. Install the Above Ground Pool on a Hill

Credit: royalswimmingpools.com

If your backyard is hilly, take advantage of it! While installing the above ground pool becomes a bit more difficult in this case, the result is more than worth it. When installing an above ground pool on a hill, you create an instant semi inground pool look. You can build a deck on the section of the pool that sits closer to the ground and plant some plants on the other side for a gorgeous pool area.

You may need to use a retaining wall to hold back your hill, so check out my guide to using a retaining wall for pools.

20. Above Ground Infinity Pool

Credit: customhomesonline.com.au

Do you want to go for a more luxurious look for your above ground pool, why not opt for an infinity pool look? To create this look, you’ll need to build a “moat” that separates the house from the pool, which is where the water from the pool will overflow.

21. Colorful Stock Tank Pool

Credit: dazeyden.com

One way to really elevate your standard stock tank pool is to paint it in a fun color! Pink, orange, blue…whatever color you pick is up to you! Pick a color that works well with the house and your outdoor decor, and you’ll be able to really tie in the stock tank pool with the design of the rest of your house.

22. Light Strips Around the Pool

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Want to play around with some lights for your pool? You can illuminate the inside of your above ground pool by installing light strips around the inside edge of the pool. This will give your pool some nice moody lighting, perfect for a night swim.

23. Above Ground Pool and Inground Pool

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If you simply can’t decide between having an above ground pool and an inground pool or have a sloped backyard area, you can have the best of both worlds by building an above ground pool that pours into an inground pool – like a waterfall feature!

24. Uniquely Shaped Pool

Credit: 21stpool.com

Who said your above ground pool can only be a circle, a square, or a rectangle? If you want a unique look for your pool, you can go for a uniquely-shaped pool, such as a kidney pool or another natural-looking shape of your choice.

25. Two Entry Points

Credit: oklahomapoolandpatio.com

Do you have a larger above ground pool or semi inground pool? In that case, a design feature you might want to consider is having two entry points. This way, you can cover some of the pool with gorgeous stairs that give the pool a luxurious feel.

26. Loungers on the Side

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To maximize space for your pool area, you can attach loungers to the side of the pool itself. This is ideal if you have a smaller available space for your above ground pool. Depending on your wants and needs, you can place some cushions on the edge of the above ground pool and/or directly below it.

27. A Rounded Bench

Credit: cowboypools.com

If you don’t have the budget to install an entire deck around the pool, you can instead get a rounded bench that fits flush against your above ground pool. You can use the bench as a sitting area to simply dip your feet in. Alternatively, you can use it to safely place your phone and towel as you go for a little dip.

28. Corner Stairs

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Instead of installing stairs that lead up to your above ground pool on the side as usual, install them on the corner for a more modern and unique look. This works great on both square and rectangular pools and provides a perfect ledge to splash into the pool.

29. Mini Jungle Under the Pool

Credit: westrockpools.com

Put your landscaping skills to use (or hire someone to do it for you), and create a mini bush directly underneath your pool. Cover the concrete look of the pool by planting little bushes, shrubs, and plants so that the entire side of the pool is covered by greenery, giving your pool a more natural look.

30. Cover the Pool with Faux Greenery

Credit: cocodesignsinteriors.com

If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep of looking after actual plants living around your above ground pool, a great alternative is an artificial hedge, which you can easily find on Amazon. Just cover the entire outside of your pool with this faux greenery for this look! It’s a simple way to make your above ground pool look nicer.

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Enjoy Your Gorgeous Above Ground Pool

Just because you have an above ground pool doesn’t mean you are restricted in terms of design. In fact, as you can see, there are so many options to improve the look of your pool and its surroundings. Visitors to your home will be ooh-ing and aah-ing at your pool and backyard in no time with these above ground pool design ideas!

Read my pool remodeling guide next if you are looking for some more advice on remodeling your pool. For new above ground pool installations, check out my above ground pool model recommendations.

Do you have any more questions regarding pool construction or design? Hit me up; I’m happy to help out.

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