removing an above-ground pool

How to Repair Yard After you Remove an Above-Ground Pool

In Lawn & Garden by Jamie

Above-ground pools are common among people’s yards. But when its time for removal things can get tricky. I had to remove my above ground pool a few years ago because it was falling apart. In this article, I want to teach you how to repair the yard after removing your above ground pool!

It’s either it was already in the property when you bought it, or you purchased and installed the pool to have something to cool you down over the summer. However, the charm of that pool would eventually fade, and it’s just a complete eyesore in the backyard. You want to remove it the proper away. People remove above-ground pools for so many reasons, aside from not wanting or needing the pool anymore.

You might have other plans for your yard rather than having a vast pool there. It might be occupying too much space that you can build something else there. Whatever the reason, removing the pool would entail a lot of work and money. So, before you decide, here are a few things to consider before getting rid of an above-ground pool.

Should I get rid of my above-ground pool?

Now the question lies: should you get rid of that above-ground pool in your yard? There’s no exact answer to that, but you can re-evaluate some reasons.

For one, if you find no use of the pool and see it as a big nuisance in your entire home, you might as well get rid of it. When you do, there are fewer hazards or dangers around your home. Some parts of the pool, especially the posts and rails, can cause some injuries. This becomes more of a concern as the pool becomes older and begins falling apart. Since above ground pools hold such heavyweights they can see some major damages. When I helped my parents remove their above ground pool the physical damages to the pool were beyond belief. The frame was bent and had a lot of rust. We were just thankful we didn’t keep the pool up for one more season, it wouldn’t have been safe.

Anyways, removing your pool also means no more maintenance costs. There’s no need to spend extra cash for minor fixes and water maintenance for damages caused by weather changes or simple wear-and-tear. Furthermore, to keep the pool heated depending on where you live is very expensive. I live in Canada and heating up the pool costs so much…

Next, the most significant advantage is that you now have a bigger space in your yard for anything you want to do with it.

However, removing your above-ground pool also has some disadvantages. It entails a lot of work. More than just dismantling the pool and removing it from your yard, you also have to repair the area where it once stood. Repairing your yard can cost a lot of money, depending on the damage it has done to your yard and how you are planning to rehabilitate it, prepare to cash out around $5,000 up to $15,000.

Keep in mind that you can do a lot of this work yourself to keep expenses low. I do not recommend this to be a solo job, please have a friend or hire someone for help. Pool parts can be heavy and sharp, the more help the quicker and easier this job will be. It can also take 3-5 days to get things done and expect a little delay from city inspectors depending on how many residents they’re catering to. If you want to repair it on your own, this might mean you must take some time off work and other responsibilities to get it fixed right away.

Lastly – and let’s simply put it this way – you have no more pool. No more fun and cooling down during the summer. It’s not much of a loss, but you might miss it for some time. Removing and installing a new pool is always an option, before doing so still check to see if the location of the pool area remains sturdy and ready for another pool.

How To Repair Yard After Above-Ground Pool in 7 Steps

You can remove your above-ground pool and repair your yard by yourself. It might take days plus a lot of time and work, so brace yourself. Prepare with proper tools and make sure you do it correctly, seeking local pool experts and asking questions never hurts!

1. Drain Water and Remove Pool

Make sure to drain out water from your pool correctly. You shouldn’t just dump it anywhere, this amount of water sitting in your yard could sit there for days, plus it could cause serious or minor issues to your land. You might have seen people cutting/slitting their pool liners and this is a major no from me. The amount of water coming out can really hurt you and your property.

How we always drained our pool is by siphoning the water with a garden hose and aiming it towards a storm drain. These drains are found on the road, if you don’t have one near your house, let the water run down the road until it reaches a storm drain. All public roads are supposed to be built so water will properly drain.

The downfall with this draining method is the time it takes. If a round pool is 20 feet or larger it can take up to 4 days. Increasing the number of garden hoses used will speed this up.

This isn’t the only way you can drain your pool, there are faster methods. For example, a sump pump is a popular choice, this will pump water out at a much faster rate. The Utility Pump by Superior Pump is the most popular choice because it pumps 1800 gallons per hour and is extremely affordable.

See the time it would take if you used the Utility Pump by Superior Pump in the graph below:

Pool Size Time Using Superior Utility Pump (1800 gallons per hour)
12ft round (3000 gallons) 1.66 hours
21ft round (9100 gallons) 5.05 hours
30ft round (19000 gallons) 10.55 hours
12x24ft oval (6000 gallons) 3.33 hours
18x33ft oval (12500 gallons) 6.94 hours

If you are unsure where to dump all of your pool water you can always ask your local government offices/counselors on how to dispose of water properly.

Once the water is drained, remove your pool. You can consult with an expert or follow instructions from the pool’s manual. Sometimes taking apart your pool can be straight forward, remove the liner and begin taking apart your pool frame. Any foam underneath can also be simply removed.

2. Determine the Damages

After you remove the pool, you can now see how much damage it has done to your yard.

Above-ground pools are usually built on a ground filled with sand and dirt. It’s typical to see just that without any grass whatsoever. Seeing what lies underneath the pool will help you determine how much work you have to do.

If planting grass over the top of the dirt/sand you can now determine how much topsoil you will need. I recommend checking out our article called How to Grow Grass on Hard Packed Dirt, this will help understand the grass growing process.

Some damages you might see are land deformation from the pool, cracks in the surface, drainage lines, shifting decks, rotting decks, and much more. Be aware of the issues that need repairing or if they are ready to go with the pool.

One tip you can do is to use landscaping paint to mark the areas you need to repair. Also mark around the pool that will need soil. Give it an allowance of 3 feet from the edges of the pool area. Through this tip, you can calculate the amount of soil needed and what exactly needs repair.

Look into the drainage or plumbing lines that have been used for the pool and check if you can use the same line to install sprinklers or a watering system for your yard. This will also help determine if you need to remove any part of the drainage or just let it stay put.

Also, check the area for mildewed plants or weeds that might have grown over time while the pool was in place. Make sure to remove them to keep a healthy garden.

If under your pool smells from various plants you need to find the issue and remove it from your yard. Sand and soil underneath may have fungus’ and it might be best to completely remove all of it instead of risking planting over. You can always hire expert excavation workers for this job, this is not a cheap option though.

3. Check Electrical and Gas Lines

Always check the electrical and gas lines that might be nearby the pool area. You do not want to accidentally hit them and cause a bigger problem than just clearing a pool yard.

Consult an expert regarding this to know where these lines lie. This information is easily found on a survey of your property, if these lines were installed you should have access to this information.

4. Remove Pool Base

When you’re sure that you’re not going to hit any electrical or gas lines, it’s time to remove the pool base.

Most likely, you would find a ground of dead grass filled with sand, gravel, and other fillers. With my pool, we used large concrete stones for stronger ground support. Make sure to clear them out completely.

If it is just filled with sand or dirt, check if it is something you can use to amend the damaged area. Some sands can be used for gardening while there are those (like the beach sand) that’s completely useless.

Also, if the sand or dirt is qualified as a perfect garden fill, make sure to cultivate or rake them to make sure there are no trash, clay, or other organic matter that might damage your garden.

If not, you can use an excavating machine to remove them out of the area quickly. Or you can opt for shoveling it up if it’s not possible. It will entail more work, though.

5. Fill the Area with Soil

Now, it’s time to fill the area with soil. Make sure you have the right kind of dirt and topsoil – and the proper ratio, too.

The rule is 80% fill material (which could be dirt or tailings) and 20% topsoil. This ensures that the ground is less hard or soft enough to allow seeds or sods to grow. Planting grass will require about 6 inches of topsoil over the top.

Furthermore, till the ground to make sure that the soil is not too compacted. Else, the seeds won’t grow because it would feel suffocated and won’t have room for the grassroots to dig deeper into the soil for nutrients.

6. Add Grass Seeds

Add grass seeds or sods and make sure they are distributed evenly to make sure that grass won’t grow in clumps.

If this seems a bit challenging for you to do, you can use a seed broadcaster.

Once the seeds are distributed, use a turf roller or any gardening equipment that you have to press the grass and flatten the surface. This does not only make sure that the ground is leveled; this helps seeds to bury properly underneath the soil.

7. Water and Fertilize

Finally, make sure to add some fertilizer on the ground. Check on the fertilizer sack to know how much fertilizer you should place per area. Never over-fertilize your seeds.

If you have a working plumbing and drainage system, you can build sprinklers around. You can also use your garden hose or traveling sprinklers. Just ensure that the water stream is only light so as not to drown the seeds.

Do you think this is too much work? You can always call an expert landscaper or contractor to do the job for you. But after applying soil, adding Scotts Thick Turf Builder is super easy. Follow instructions and grass will grow quickly.


DIY and other Creative Ideas After Pool Removal

It would be nice to see your backyard cleaned up and back in great use after removing your above ground pool. Just because your pool is gone does not mean you shouldn’t fill in that space with something new!

But if you want to add more beauty and functionality to your yard, here are some creative ideas on what to do with the yard space you now have after the removal of your above-ground pool.

  • Garden
  • Fire Pit
  • Build Patio
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • Playground Area
  • Outdoor Hot Tub
  • Trampoline Area
  • Outdoor Fitness Park

The best thing about finally removing that above-ground pool and clearing your yard is that you are free to do what you want to do with your yard space.

Use your creativity. Maximize your space. Build something that will both add value and enjoyment to you and your family.