Semi Inground Pools

Aquasport 52 inground swimming pool

There are many pools “sold” as a semi inground pool, but only two or three I would recommend. First and foremost, let’s just agree that you should never put a rolled wall above ground pool in the ground. You might as well just burn your money.

A good semi inground pool will last as long as an inground-pool which is 40-60 years. Also a good kit will run you $6000k-$12000k plus installation and excavation fees. Not to mention water and electrical service or permits.

This is a video I did back in 2018 that compares the three semi-inground pools I talk about in this post.

Actual Semi Inground Pool Packages with Cost Based on Size and Shape – Click Here

There are a few swimming pools that are perfect for installing partially in-ground. In fact, two out of the three I recommend are used as “inground pools”.

Mike MGK Pools installing 17x32 aquasport 52
Me installing 17×32 back in 2016

The image above: Is a sweaty amateur selfie of me getting ready to back-fill a 17x32x52 Aquasport 52 installed semi-inground pool

I could have easily dug a little deeper and installed this Aquasport 52 pool completely as an inground.

As an installer of inground pools, I would say this wall is stronger than a wall from a traditional inground pool kit. To install this pool completely inground you only need a couple different wall panels, an inground skimmer, and an inground pump which are now all available in a package.

Semi Inground Pool Models

These are the three most popular semi-inground models. I use to sell them all, but now I only sell and install the Aquasport 52. And only install near me in Massachusetts. If you watch the video up above I think you will get why I just sell the one model.

  • Aquasport Pools
  • Radiant Pools
  • Wilbar Pools

Aquasport Pools

The Aquasport 52 (Brochure) model is not only the best semi inground pool; it is the best pool period in my opinion. Install it inground, semi-inground or in sloping backyards too. Constructed of the thickest interlocking extruded aluminum panels. The Aquasport 52 has won awards for its innovative design.

Manufactured by an American company with real character Aquasport Pools LLC / Buster Crabbe.

Radiant Pools

I would not install this pool in areas of the country where lakes and ponds freeze over during the winter.

Radiant pools are attractive and are one of only three Above ground swimming pool models that can be installed entirely inground, or semi inground. So they must be included in an article like this one. However, their design has been knocked off by a more significant manufacturer (Wilbar). Wilbar calls it the Optimum and a few other names.

The new Optimum is the product of over five years of development, and while you would be hard pressed to see the difference. The new Optimum is a more environmentally friendly design, making it a better pool than the Radiant in my opinion.

The Radiant Pool is the only pool with a built in wall step like an inground pool. Nice feature, but cost an extra 3k for the step, added installation, and delivery. Also, it makes changing the pool liner tougher and more expensive.

SIDE NOTE: Aquasport Pools used to sell the same step (neither company manufactures the step). But they got away from it due to leaks and failures from poor installation.

Wilbar Pools Maker Of the Optimum & Oasis/Intrepid Semi-Inground Pool Models

Mentioned earlier, Wibar manufactures the Optimum, but they also make a pool called the Oasis/Intrepid. The Oasis/Intrepid models are a semi inground pool with a maximum installation depth of 36 inches. The other pools can go fully inground.

Oasis/Intrepid Pool – Semi-Inground Pool

The Oasis is an excellent pool, and it has a solid pool wall. Certainly better than any rolled wall (1 piece coil) pool. The Oasis is made of good aluminum panels that lock into each other like the Aquasport 52, just slightly wider panels. The Oasis ranks as my number two pick for semi inground pools in states with cold winters.

The wall is thinner than the Aquasport 52, and the hardware is tiny sheet metal screws compared to hardware as fat as your index finger for the Aquasport 52. The cost is about as much, but if the Aquasport 52 didn’t exist I would buy an Intrepid next for partial inground installations.

The only way I would consider buying an Intrepid semi inground pool is if I wanted a pool larger than a 24 round, and I didn’t mind only going down 36 inches. Perhaps another way I would consider it is if the price became significantly lower. But for a pool I am going to own for the next 30-50 years $500 or even a $1000 probably wouldn’t sway me from buying the better Aquasport 52 swimming pool.

Optimum Pools – Wilbar Pool

Optimum Pools have an insulated pool wall like the Radiant. The Optimum uses nontoxic environmentally friendly adhesives to adhere their aluminum alloy acrylic coated skins. The Expanded Polystyrene foam core has an R-value as high as 10. The R-value supposedly helps to maintain water temps 5-10 degrees warmer than standard above ground pools.

These are sturdy swimming pools like the Radiant, but recommend installing in frost-free geographic locations. Also not a good idea to install in areas with acidic soil. The aluminum skins are thin and prone to oxidizing quickly.

Semi Inground Pools Ideas

There are a lot of reasons to go with a semi above ground pool. Pools that are usually marketed as above ground pools, but are capable of being partially, or wholly installed inground. These are some reasons below.

Semi Inground Pool Deck Options

Decks cost less, as they do not require as much material for framing. Meaning it’s cheaper to build a pool-deck for a wall height of 27 inches, than a wall height of 52 inches.

If you install your pool entirely in the ground, you can pour a cement deck like an inground pool, or make one out of patio pavers.

We have an Aquasport Pools dealer on Long Island NY that installs 60 of these a year completely inground with patio pavers.

Patio Paver on the one side that gets the most sunshine.

You get more privacy with a shorter deck, as you are not up on a stage for display to your neighbors as with a 52-inch high swimming pool.

Fencing

Most local and state code requires a 4-foot barrier to entry. Fenced in yards may need to install alarms on doors that lead to the backyard to meet building code. Yards without fences in or only partially fenced, will either have to fence in the yard or install a perimeter fence on the top of the pool wall itself.

The budget-friendly option is of course to just fence in the pool. Some people who have their entire yard fenced in will also install a fence around the swimming pool, for extra safety.

We had just our pool fenced in, and made a rule after a close call… Anyone who can’t swim has to wear a flotation device when inside the pool-fence (even with adult supervision).

Landscaping and Design

Hardscape Options

Your design options are endless when you completely bury your pool. You can go with a deck all the way around, you can install decking just on one side and landscape the back of the pool with flowers, or rocks, you can build a waterfall or even plant grass.

A real popular option lately are deck jets. Just a couple jets that shoot water up like a water fountain, and land in the pool. When the pool is not in use, you have a backyard water feature. For the more adventurous, and those with slightly deeper pockets, you can make the shooting water light up with different colors. There is nothing like a lit up pool in the backyard at night, with a couple lit up streams of water arching into the pool.

Semi Inground Pool Cost

It may surprise you to find out the Aquasport 52 is the least expensive of all these models, even the Oasis. This is because the manufacturer of the Aquasport 52 is a great company focused on providing value.

When you compare the pricing to even the smallest inground pool, you find savings of over 70%. But you can install the Aquasport 52 just like an inground. Add pool light, heaters, whatever you can imagine.

The Aquasport 52 17×32 inground pool package costs just $11006.45. Add installation, excavation, set-up, and plumbing and you’re looking at just $18506.45 all in. This includes liner, skimmer, filter, energy efficient pool pump, the whole kit. Water and electrician are extra, well and landscaping and patio/decking.

Final Thoughts

I am fortunate to have access to all these models, and you will find them for sale in my online pool store. I Initially only started selling pools to facilitate getting installation work (almost 5k on a 17x32x52 semi / full inground installation).

More Pictures Of Aquasport 52’s

semi-inground pool package
Pool with patio stones
semi inground with wood deck
swimming pool
pool with deck
18' above ground pool - Aquasport 52
DIY customer installed it themselves
Round Aquasport 52 above ground pool

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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