Vinyl Liner Pool | Gemini in Creek Stone by J&M Pool Company (GA)

Vinyl Liner Pool | Gemini in Creek Stone by J&M Pool Company (GA)

Building an Inground Pool on a Slope or Hill

March 16th, 2022 by

Inground Pools Built on a Sloped Yard or Hill

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a swimming pool but hesitated because your yard sloped, shed your apprehension. Constructing a pool on a hill or incline is not the least bit uncommon. With the help of an experienced pool builder, the pool of your dreams will become a reality—and it’s likely not even as expensive as you think. The key is to ensure that the water is perfectly level. This can generally be achieved by filling in land on either end of your pool, along with taking some other steps that we’ll discuss throughout this guide.

Lawns are seldom completely flat, which means that some amount of leveling is usually needed. However, with a little bit of thoughtful design and careful planning, a pool builder can actually use your lawn’s natural slopes or hills to your advantage, leveraging the landscape to help create a custom design.

Together with a professional, you can determine if simple grading is feasible for the construction process to begin. Depending on the regulations of your city or county, you may need to present blueprints and other documentation for approval, as many zoning laws are very specific. From there, you can determine how much of the natural landscape you’re able to modify and draw plans for the remaining land. Read on to learn more about the process of building an inground pool on a sloped yard.

Building a Pool on a Sloped Backyard

There are several ways an experienced builder can work with a slope or incline to level the ground and install the pool of your dreams. For example, if your yard is on a very slight slope, the standard practice is to use grading — in other words, evening out your lawn to create a flat surface.

What are some other sloped backyard pool ideas your pool builder may suggest? If your yard is on a steep incline, there are several alternative strategies that can be used to solve the issue. For example, it may be necessary to construct retaining walls or use terracing, which creates a step-like appearance using a series of walls. The bottom line is that, regardless of whether its angle is shallow or steep, there are multiple solutions to help build inground pools on a slope.

Latham Latham inground pool

Want an easy way to determine whether your yard is flat or sloped? Here are two simple methods: 

  1. Try to roll a ball across your lawn. If it rolls, your lawn isn’t flat enough (yet)! 
  2. Place a bucket or container of water on your lawn and look to see if the surface is tilted. Water never lies, which means the water in your pool — like the water in the bucket — will move to the lowest point and look uneven if the base isn’t properly leveled. 

Retaining Walls for Pools on a Slope

As we mentioned earlier, retaining walls can help you build a swimming pool on a sloped yard. They make it possible to separate higher points in your yard from lower areas, ensuring that runoff won’t end up in the pool (or anywhere else undesirable). But these walls aren’t just utilitarian! On the contrary, they can double as dazzling design elements with water features or ledges for sitting and entertaining. 

Constructing a retaining wall for a pool on a slope, which requires heavy machinery and extra materials, will add to the overall cost of your project. However, it will provide crucial support while adding attractive yet functional flair to your pool’s design. 

Latham Latham inground pool


Infinity Pools for a Sloped Yard

Infinity edge pools on a sloped yard create the illusion of a never-ending stream of water—making them the perfect choice for hillsides. The water collects in a reservoir (hidden from the naked eye), allowing for a practical solution to steeper gradients. Many homeowners opt to build lowered patios so the pool sits behind them while they lounge. Others work with the existing topography to build a high wall against the pool with an infinity waterfall. If your goal is to create that breathtaking “million-dollar view,” both of these approaches provide luxurious — yet practical — design solutions for pools built on a slope.

Latham Latham inground pool

Terraces for Pools on a Slope

In addition to infinity pools and retaining walls, multi-level terraces provide another reliable and attractive solution for building a pool on sloped yards. Terracing is ideal for extreme slopes, where standard retaining walls might not be as visually appealing. With their regal, staircase-like appearance, terraces lend an elegant touch to any vinyl or fiberglass swimming pool. Plus, terracing comes with two additional benefits: 

  • It’s perfect for installing a waterfall, pool slide or hot tub, delivering value and a “wow factor” 
  • It can help provide better access to the sun, perfect for tanning and soaking up rays 

There are a number of landscaping options for terraces, empowering you to create a bespoke design that truly speaks to your tastes. For example, you may wish to incorporate a path with paving stones, a vined fence or trellis, ornamental grasses, or other unique features. Explore even more ideas for landscaping a fiberglass pool on a sloped yard, or browse some popular fiberglass pool options

Latham Latham inground pool

Pool and Deck Features for Sloped Backyards

Quite commonly, sloped-yard pools are enhanced by gorgeous features such as an elevated deck—perfect for a grilling station and chic patio furniture. For an attractive and dynamic look, try utilizing multiple deck materials, such as the timeless combination of natural wood and stone. One strategy is to use stone near your pool and wood closer to your home, providing a stylish setting for enjoying the great outdoors. These are just a few of the many great pool decking options that are available.

Waterfalls are aesthetically appealing while also solving the problem of steep terrain that is otherwise in the way of your finished project. Luckily, there are numerous options for waterfalls based on what the topography necessitates. You may opt for a simple waterfall spilling from vertical stone tiles, or you may have to “build up” around the pool with a massive rock feature or multi-level water cascades.

Building a pool in a sloping yard also requires meticulous planning for the elements. Tropical trees, large boulders, and groundcover plants are crucial to absorbing and redirecting running water and debris. Consider pool features that serve the overall space both functionally and artistically.

Tall stone or glass walls make for a modern look and are ideal for small spaces and urban themes. You might choose to add a hidden staircase that leads down to the pool. Don’t think of walls as a hindrance to your vision; rather, use them to your advantage to create a clean, crisp design that showcases your appreciation for architecture.

Building a Pool on a Sloped Yard: Common Questions

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s answer some of your most frequently asked questions about building a pool on a hill. Below, we’ll discuss how to level a pool, whether it’s more expensive than constructing a pool on a flat property, how steep of a lawn a pool can be built on, and more. 

Can You Put An Inground Pool On A Hill?

Put simply: yes! Techniques like grading, terracing, or constructing retaining walls can all be used to help install the inground pool of your dreams — even if you live on a steep hill. Your pool builder will help you determine which technique is most appropriate for your property with regard to safety, functionality and aesthetics. 

 How Do You Level A Pool On A Sloped Yard?

If you want to enjoy a safe and sturdy pool built into a hill, you’ll need to ensure that the water is level. To level a pool on a sloped yard, your builder will work to “even out” the high and low points of your property, creating a flat surface that provides a stable base for installation. If your lawn is on an extreme slope, different strategies may be required, such as using retaining walls or even creating an infinity pool as discussed above. The techniques and equipment necessary to build an inground pool on a hill depend on the shape, size and incline of the construction area, along with the composition of your soil. 

Can A Fiberglass Pool Be Installed On A Slope?

Thanks to terracing, leveling, infinity-style designs and retaining walls, it is usually possible to build a fiberglass pool on a sloped yard. Some homeowners may also be interested in alternative construction materials, such as vinyl 

Is It More Expensive To Build A Pool On A Slope?

Pools on sloped yards can be more expensive because you need to level the ground for the pool to go into. This often requires a retaining wall and necessary drainage to protect it. As a result, the extra materials and equipment that are needed to construct a retaining wall or terrace will add to the cost of building a pool on a slope. In general, the steeper a yard is sloped, the more expensive a pool install will be due to compensating for this incline. Keep in mind, however, this isn’t the only thing that influences the price of a pool, it also depends on factors like pool size/volume;; the type of pool decking or border you build; and whether you decide to add extra features like tanning ledges, safety covers or waterfalls.

Latham Latham inground pool

What Kind Of Pool Do I Need For A Sloped Yard?

The pool options for a sloped yard are more flexible than you think. You can choose between concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass, with a wide variety of pool shapes and liner styles providing further opportunities for customization. 

 How Steep Can A Pool Slope Be?

The American National Standard for Residential Inground Swimming Pools sets strict rules for building pools on slopes — for example, “The slope of the floor from the shallow end wall towards the deep area shall not exceed 1 foot in 7 feet (30 cm: 213 cm) to the point of the first slope change.” Another standard is that the “slope of the floor from the point of the first slope change toward the deep end shall not exceed 1 foot in 3 feet (30 cm: 91 cm).” A pool builder can assess your lawn to determine whether construction is possible and what the best building strategy is for your property. 


Looking To Build Your Dream Pool on a Slope or Hill? 

Discover the world of custom pool options available for sloped yards and hills. Use one of Latham’s pool planning apps to virtually build the pool of your dreams — all from the comfort of your couch! Test different shapes, sizes, add-on features and more — then work with our expert builders to make your new pool or pool upgrade a reality. Contact us to learn more.

Meet Our Expert

Written by

A unique group of talented individuals with years of industry experience, the Latham Editorial Team brings together the best and the brightest in order to deliver diverse perspectives on how to make your backyard the center of your Latham lifestyle.

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Browse by Category