How to Select the Right Above Ground Pool Size and Location

Written by Michael Dean
April 25, 2024

rectangular above ground pool with question mark

An above ground pool is an excellent option for pool owners looking for less of a commitment. Two of the most important decisions you will need to make for an above ground pool are the size of your pool and the location. The last thing you want as a pool owner is to purchase a swimming pool that is too large for your yard or set up your pool in an unstable area.

In this article, I will discuss how to handle these decisions and answer some frequently asked questions.

Main Takeaways

  • Above ground pools are generally much smaller than inground pools, with sizes ranging from 10 to 33 feet in diameter.
  • You need an additional 2-3 feet of space in your yard on each side of the pool.
  • To find the perfect spot in your yard for your above ground pool, find an area free of trees and greenery, make sure the ground is level, make sure the space provides privacy, and ensure it is near enough to gas, plumbing, and electrical outlets.

What Size Above Ground Pool Should You Get?

Don’t expect to swim in an Olympic-sized pool if you choose to install an above ground swimming pool. They will generally be much smaller than inground pools but come in many different sizes and shapes.

To determine the size of an above ground pool to purchase, you will need to measure your yard and get an idea of the space you have. Most above ground pools are circular, so you only need to know the diameter. But for oval pools, you will need to measure the length and width.

Here is a breakdown of the standard size options for above ground pools:

  • Small above ground pools: 10 to 15 feet in diameter
  • Medium above ground pool: 15 to 21 feet in diameter
  • Large above ground pool: 21 to 27 feet in diameter
  • Extra-large above ground pool: 27 to 33 feet in diameter

You don’t want your above ground pool to take up your entire yard. I recommend leaving at least half of your yard free for other activities.

It is also worth noting that you not only need to choose the diameter of your pool but the depth of it too. There are generally fewer restrictions for the pool’s depth, but you should take measurements if your pool is going to be under any man-made covering or trees.

How Much Space Do You Need For An Above Ground Pool?

There are a few different sizes to choose from for your above ground pools. Use spray paint or a rope to show the area the pool in mind will take up. This is good practice for pool owners to decide whether the pool size works for them or not.

You will need to calculate how much space you have for your pool and how much space is required around your pool.

Measure your yard and keep in mind that you’ll need space around the pool to clean and place equipment. I recommend shooting for at least 2-3 feet on each side of the pool.

So, for example, a circular pool that is 21 feet in diameter needs a 24-26 feet in diameter circular spot in your yard, and a pool that is 15 feet in diameter needs 19-21 feet.

How To Determine The Perfect Spot For Your Above Ground Pool

An above ground pool needs a level area in your yard that is not prone to shifting. I generally recommend digging out the area and placing sand or concrete for extra stabilization. Check out this article for more information on what to put under an above-ground pool.

Here are a few things to look for when choosing an area of your yard to place an above ground pool.

Is the area free of trees or lots of greenery? Overhanging trees will generally cause your pool to get filled with leaves and small branches. And during a storm, a large branch can fall and damage the pool.

Is the ground level? Level ground is extremely important for stabilizing above ground pools. If the ground is bumpy or has any unevenness, you will need to level it out and compact the ground before placing your pool to prevent disaster in the future.

Does it provide some privacy? This is not an essential deciding factor, but most pool owners prefer to have some privacy when swimming in their backyard. Try and place the pool in areas of your yard with the least viewpoints.

Is it near gas pipes, water lines, and electrical outlets? Placing your above ground pool near plumbing and electrical outlets will save you a lot of hassle. If you plan to install a heater, it is helpful to have it near gas or electricity. And having your pool close to your water line helps fill the pool.

Need Some Maintenance Help?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most popular shape for an above ground pool?

You can customize the shape of your above ground pool, but most manufacturers produce them in circular, oval, or square styles. Most above ground pool owners have circular pools because they are the cheapest and most simple to install. Square or rectangular above ground pools are a rarer shape for an above ground pool.

What is the average size for an above ground pool?

Above ground pools range from 10 to 33 feet in diameter and 36 to 54 inches deep. Pool owners can choose their preferred pool size depending on how many people will use the pool and available space.

The average above ground pool size in the USA is around 21 inches in diameter and about 52 inches deep.

How far from a house should an above ground pool be?

Above ground pools should be near your electrical ports and gas lines. But it is worth mentioning that there is a national requirement on how close the pool can be from your house.

Your above ground pool needs to be at least 10 feet away from the walls of your house. This requirement is made to protect your house from water damage and to make the area safer due to the risk of water splashing on electrical wires or outlets.

How far does an above ground pool need to be from a fence?

Some neighborhoods may not set a requirement on this, so it is a good idea to check your local laws before installing the pool.

Many homeowners associations require that the swimming pool not only be 10 feet away from your house, but also 10 feet away from fencing. This can limit the size of your pool. Again, check with your local requirement first as they could require more or less space depending on your region.

Bottom Line

Above ground pools are a great choice for those on a stricter budget with a smaller-sized backyard. However, just like with inground pools, there are some things to consider before purchasing your above ground pool. The size, shape, and location of the pool are important considerations. You should also check your local regulations for restrictions on how far the pool needs to be from your house and fence. Once you determine these factors, you will have a perfect above ground pool in your yard to enjoy in no time!

For more tips on installation, check out my article on how to install an above ground pool, and if you haven’t made a decision yet, I also have some recommendations on the best rated above ground pools and design inspiration.

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