Can You Have a Pool on a Slope? 5 Things to Consider

Installing a pool can be an exciting experience for many homeowners. Just the thought of owning a pool can make the entire installation process feel like a breeze. As you plan the installation of your pool, however, you may run into certain difficulties and challenges. One such issue you may face is a slope on your property. This may lead you to ask the question, Can you have a pool on a slope?

In short, the answer is yes, you can have a pool on a slope, although it may present certain challenges for you. In order to keep the pool level when building on a slope, you may need to seek professional pool installation and landscapers to properly install the swimming pool.

Whether you’re installing an above-ground pool or an inground pool, building on a slope is indeed possible. With the proper installation, a pool built on a hill will have the same aesthetics and function as one built on a flat surface. If you’re interested in learning more about how this is possible, read on to learn the steps to constructing a pool on a slope, as well as five things to consider before installing.

Can I Install a Swimming Pool on a Slope?

Because not all backyards are perfectly even, many homeowners face the dilemma of building a swimming pool on a slope. Though the thought of building on uneven ground may be concerning to some people, there are many creative ways to make it possible.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not you can build a swimming pool on a slope, the short answer is yes, you can. Both inground pools and above-ground pools can be installed on hills as long as you properly level the surface and install them correctly.

There are many options for installing a pool on a hillside or slope. Grading the location as well as investing in a specific type of pool are just a couple of ways to still make your pool dream a reality, even when the land is uncooperative. Here, let’s take a closer look at how this is made possible.

Can You Install an Inground Pool on a Slope?

It can be frustrating, as well as disappointing when you find out the location of your future inground pool is uneven or worse, a steep slope. Fortunately, installing an inground pool is achievable with the proper equipment and skill.

Before building an inground pool on a slope, you will likely want to level out the surface. This can be done by grading the location using construction equipment. In some cases, you may consider building up the lower side of the pool rather than digging out the upper side. This especially works well with above-ground pools, which we’ll cover next.

Infinity pools, retaining walls, and terracing are other options to consider when installing an inground pool on a slope. By properly landscaping your property, you can enjoy a functional and attractive inground pool in your backyard, even when built on a slope.

Can You Install an Above Ground Pool on a Slope?

Similar to inground pools, above-ground pools can be installed on a slope, as long as careful planning and landscaping take place. As previously mentioned, one easy way to level an above-ground pool is to raise the lower side of the pool. This allows you to have an even surface without digging out your whole slope.

Another option is to use a semi-inground pool. As the name suggests, this type of pool is specifically designed to be part way in the ground. By using this type of pool, you can dig out an even surface for the pool without worrying about the pool collapsing from the pressure of being buried.

Semi-inground swimming pools are a more convenient option than inground pools, as they are cheaper and much easier to work with. All that is required during installation is digging out a level surface, setting up the pool, and protecting it with a pool pad or landscaper’s fabric.

5 Things to Consider When Building a Pool on a Slope

Before installing a swimming pool on a hillside, there are many considerations to contemplate. Because there are many options for building pools on slopes, it’s important to consider how you’d like your pool installed. Additionally, you may ponder what type of pool will work best for you, as well as which pool will fit your budget.

Below, we’ve put together a list of the top considerations to consider when building a pool on an uneven surface. By answering these simple questions, you can ensure your pool will adapt well to your backyard’s terrain.

1. Options for Installing a Pool on a Slope

Before you grab a shovel and start flattening your pool’s site, consider how you’d like your pool installed. There are countless options for installing a pool on a slope, ranging from retaining walls to infinity pools. Each type of pool installation has its own unique appearance that will enhance your yard’s aesthetics while creating a functional pool for swimming.

The most common ways to install inground pools, as well as above-ground pools on slopes are retaining walls, infinity pools, and terracing. If you’re unsure which type of pool works best for you, take the time to consider each of these option’s benefits.

Retaining Walls

To ensure proper drainage for pools on slopes, many homeowners choose to build a retaining wall surrounding the pool. Retaining walls, built on either the high end or low end of the slope, are designed to help hold back any potential erosion. Moreover, retaining walls provide a flat space for decorating and seating.

Made of masonry, poured concrete, or stacked stones, retaining walls create a level surface extending the one end of your swimming pool. Though retaining walls are built mainly for function, they are also favored for their striking beauty and useful ledges.

Many homeowners choose to plant bushes or shrubs on the flattened surface of retaining walls to enhance their pool’s visual appearance. Additionally, some pool-owners use the ledges as a seating area, or simply a spot to set food and pool items.

Depending on where the retaining wall is positioned, it may also act as a privacy fence as you swim in the pool. Because retaining walls range from one foot high to over seven feet high, you can select a wall height that gives you the privacy you desire.

In short, though retaining walls are meant to prevent erosion, they can also add beauty to both your pool and your yard. If you want to maximize your pool’s function and aesthetics, a retaining wall may be the perfect option.

Infinity Pools

Infinity pools, also known as infinity edges, give your pool the appearance that there are no boundaries. Not only are infinity pools incredibly attractive, but they are an excellent way to incorporate the slope of the landscape into your pool’s environment.

As you may already be aware, infinity pools create the illusion that the pool’s water “drops” over the edge of your pool. In other words, it may appear that the water continues flowing forever. While this type of pool may seem expensive and difficult to build, it is fairly easy to construct when the site has a slope. In fact, it is near impossible to have an infinity pool unless you have a slope or some kind of hill.

If you’d rather not create an infinity edge for the entire pool, you may choose to have an infinity edge on only one corner. This allows you to still have the beauty of an infinity pool while keeping the budget low and the effort minimum.


Similar to a retaining wall, terracing creates a series of walls surrounding the pool to keep the hillside stable. This option is ideal for pools built on steep slopes. Designed to create a “step-down” effect, terracing can turn your pool into a luxury backyard getaway.

If you desire to decorate your pool, terracing may be the perfect option for you. Terracing allows room for not only plants and shrubs, but also waterfalls, gardens, and pool slides. Depending on the size of the terrace, you may even have space for designing a hot tub or second pool.

In addition to sprucing up your pool’s aesthetics, terracing prevents erosion and eliminates runoff. Because slopes can create a mudslide into your pool, a terrace will capture the water and properly drain it.

2. Terrain

Another important consideration to ponder is the terrain of your pool’s location. While it is possible to install a pool on a slope, not all slopes are easy to work with. If your property contains heavy rocks or gravel, you may want to consider whether you can dig out a level surface.

Additionally, pool-owners should consider how steep the slope is. Gradual slopes are much easier to work with than slopes with a grade change of several feet.

If you plan on constructing a pool on a steep slope, consider installing a pool that works best with the terrain. Infinity pools, for example, work great on steep hills, while most above-ground pools work best on gradual slopes.

3. Budget

As you plan on the type of pool to install, you’ll want to consider your budget. Just as every type of pool is different, so is every pool’s pricing.

For those wanting to splurge on a deluxe pool, an infinity pool may be the perfect option. Known for being the most luxurious pool option, infinity pools are one of the most expensive types of pools. Though they are a costly swimming pool, most pool-owners agree they are worth the high price.

For those with a lower budget, retaining walls or terraces may suit your needs. Similarly, above-ground pools can be inexpensive yet still luxurious and appealing.

4. Drainage

Proper drainage is an important aspect to consider when installing a pool on a slope. Because digging out a slope can cause erosion, it’s important to install a wall or terrace to protect the pool.

To ensure proper drainage surrounding the pool, retaining walls or terraces may be installed either above or below the pool. Additionally, you may direct the water towards an area that causes little harm, such as a garden.

Finding a drainage solution is essential when building pools on slopes. After rainstorms, water runoff can create mudslides that damage both the landscape and your pool. Moreover, debris and mud can easily enter your pool, forcing you to deal with major clean-up after a thunderstorm. By installing retaining walls or terracing, you can rest assured your pool will remain clean after rainy weather.

5. Additional Features

Though many people think of slopes as a nuisance to their pool plans, hills can actually provide many creative opportunities you may not have otherwise. Privacy fences, swim-up bars, and multi-level patios are just a few ideas for using slopes for your advantage.

Seating Ledge

Slopes, both gradual and steep, provide excellent opportunities for creating ledges for seating. Whether you design an infinity pool or a semi-inground pool, pools on slopes allow space for seating. Additionally, a ledge will offer room to set drinks, food, and pool supplies.

Swim-Up Bar

Speaking of ledges, slopes offer the ability to create a swim-up bar in your pool. Though a swim-up bar may sound complex, it can be as simple or creative as you want it to be. Swim-up bars make excellent additions if you often host parties or family get-togethers at your home.

Multi-Level Patio

Depending on your budget and the amount of space you have to work with, you may consider using your slope to create a multi-level patio. Designed to surround your pool, a multi-level patio embraces the slope in your yard to create a stunning appearance.


If you’re seeking privacy as you swim, you may consider installing extra-tall retaining walls. While some retaining walls are only one foot tall, many are built seven feet tall or higher. Thus, retaining walls can act as a privacy fence for pools.

Water Slide

Pools with terracing often have the ability to support a water slide. Similarly, pools built on the bottom of a hill may feature waterfalls along the edge.

In summary, there are numerous ways to install a pool on a slope. Whether you choose a simple semi-inground pool or a luxurious infinity pool, the options for pools on slopes are practically endless.

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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