Above-Ground Pool As Inground? – Best Semi-Inground Pools

Aquasport 52 with stones wall and deck

Why install an Above ground pool in the ground? Because doing so offers homeowners the best of both worlds. Above ground pools are less expensive, easier to maintain, and don’t increase your property tax. And by recessing one into the ground, you get the look and feel of an inground pool for a lot less money.

Above-ground Pool in the Ground
Aquasport 52 Semi-Inground Swimming Pool Size 17×32 – With Upper and Lower Patio Decks

The Best Semi-Inground Pools To Install In The Ground

You’re going to see a lot of images of people who buried a regular above-ground pool in the ground. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you’re going to all the trouble and expense to excavate and install an above-ground pool in the ground, do it with a swimming pool that will last awhile.

When putting an “inground above-ground pool” in your backyard, go with a swimming pool that uses slats or panels for a pool wall. Traditional above ground walls are mostly one thin sheet of steel that comes all rolled up (rolled wall). Obviously iron is prone to rust and rot! Plus there is just no strength to hold back the dirt if you lose the water in your pool. A pool liner leak, or if you need to replace the pool liner may lead to your pool wall caving-in.

Above Ground Pools That Look Like Inground Swimming Pools Hardscaping, Patios & Wooden Decks

Making an above ground pool look like an inground is all about perspective.

  • Step 1. Sink your above-ground pool into the ground two-three feet.
  • Step 2. Backfill to the top of the pool and lay pavers or build a deck to the hight of the top of the swimming pool.
Aquasport 52 with stones wall and deck
Great installation of an Aquasport 52 by Gus Pools out of Long Island NY – Photo Credit Gus Pools

To wrap this pool, most of what they used was cinder block and sand. Then they covered the block with a beautiful patio block and bullnose coping.  Finally, they used a stone veneer to dress the wall. Inexpensive and simple design that looks amazing and provides an excellent sitting area.

That’s all it takes! You don’t need to wrap the whole pool or put in a waterfall as they did here. Most people place a small patio or deck on the side of the swimming pool where the ground is highest. The area commonly found between the house and the pool.

Above Ground Pool Buried In The Ground

In-ground pool deal button

There are a few brands of above ground pools that can be complete recessed like an inground pool. One of my most inexpensive inground pool packages utilizes the Aquasort 52.

You can put any pool inground if the pool wall is strong enough. If you are going entirely inground, you will need an inground skimmer and an inground pool pump. Above ground pumps are not self-priming.

Semi-Inground Pool Brands

There are only four pools that can installed semi-inground, and three above ground models you can use like an in-ground pool kit. All for of these pools were in my top-10 best above ground pools article here.

  1. Intrepid or Oasis above ground pools made by Wilbar. Only suitable to be buried 36 inches in the ground.
  2. Optimum made by Wilbar International as well. A better version of number three (The Radiant)
  3. Radiant Pools by Radiant. The only thing this pool has going for it, in my opinion, are some nice pictures.
  4. Aquasport 52 Pool from Aquasport Pools LLC / Buster Crabbe Pools
  5. Bonus Pick… Aquasport Pools LLC has another above ground swimming pool called the Admirals Walk. It has to be built with its aluminum deck and fence as they are part of the construction of the swimming pool, but it can also be installed as deep in the ground as it makes sense too.

Cost To Buy An Above Ground Pool In The Ground

All the pools mentioned above cost about the same. It might interest you to know that the best semi-inground pool is usually the cheapest. That is the Aquasport 52; this is why I don’t sell the other pools.

  • A 24 Round Package Cost $5000.00 – $6000.00
  • 15×30 to 17×32 Oval Package Cost $6500.00 – $7500.00

Cost To Install An Above Ground Pool In The Ground

Installation costs are going to vary by size, how deep you are going into the ground, local electrician rates, and a lot more. I will estimate installation including excavation installation, electrical, along with backfill and setup with plumbing to cost $7000.00.

Of course, if you can do any or all of this installation work for yourself, you will save on the job.

Installing an Optimum or Radiant Pool inground require a 1-foot of cement around the base of the wall. That will add to the cost and aggravation of any installation.


Most Aquasports 52 Pool Dealers are on the East Coast so if you’re looking for a pool and installation in this area we might be able to help. For those backyard enthusiasts that want to do it themselves, I help people all over the country every year do an excellent job building their pool. I give my personal cell phone number to all who buy an Aquasport 52 and need help!

Semi Inground Pool Installation FAQ’S

Average cost of a semi-inground pool?

$3000.00-$5000.00 depending on; pool size, pool shape, and depth. This price is for excavation, building pool and set-up, installing pool liner and filter system, and back-filling. Landscaping, Electrical Service, and Water would all cost extra.

How long do semi-inground pools last?

If you install a quality swimming pool like an Aquasport 52 you can expect 40-60 years. If you install a quality regular above ground pool with a rolled wall, maybe 15-20 years, but you risk the wall caving in when you replace the pool liner in 7-9 years.

How deep can a semi inground pool be?

You cannot put a deep-end in an above ground pool. Sure you can dish the center a bit on a round pool, but above ground pools are constant depth pools. With a 52 inch pool wall you get roughly 48-50 inches of water.

How much does it cost to dig a hole for a pool?

$1500.00 to $3000.00. It depends on the depth your installing it and the size of your pool. This price does not include back-filling the pool once it is built.

By MGK Pool Service

30 year veteran in the pool industry. Having had many career path changes over the years. I began in the pool industry, and looks like I will finish my working life in the pool industry.

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