How To Level Out Your Ground With Sand
For Your Above Ground Pool
After you have selected your swimming pool site, and have your sand, start moving your sand to your site, with more of it being dumped on the lower end. Again, if you have to level out more than 2" from low to high side, you should remove soil from the higher end first! Find or construct a straight 2x4 that is 1 or 2 feet longer than your pool diameter. In our case our pool was 15 ft wide so we made a 16-foot 2x4 by attaching two 8-foot 2x4's together with brace pieces fastened on each side as shown on the photo on the right. I used deck screws to fasten the brace pieces. Make sure your long 2x4 is straight!
Use the long 2x4 with a level on top of it to approximately level out your sand. Bring in new sand or distribute the sand as needed with a rake or shovel.
Drill a 3/8" hole exactly in the center of the 2x4 assembly as shown below. Drive a 3/8" rod (available at any hardware store) through the hole into the exact center of where your pool will be. The 2x4 will then "spin" on this rod, allowing you to perfectly level out the swimming pool area.
Start skimming off the sand, all the time with the level on top of the 2x4. This can be done alone (as shown in the video) or with two people. Pull the 2x4 toward you so as to fill in the area disturbed where you are kneeling. If there is a void, shovel on some more sand. If there is a great excess, rake the sand off to the side. In a fairly short time, you will have a perfectly leveled out swimming pool area! Watch The Video!
This sand is soft, and must be compacted! To do this either let it rain on the sand (at least a half inch of rain) or use a garden hose to thoroughly wet down the swimming pool area as shown below. Then, tamp down the sand with either a tamper from a home store (shown here), or a home-made tamper consisting of an 8" by 8" wood block fastened to a 2x4, weighted down with a heavy chain. You can watch a video clip of me tamping down the sand here. Your sand should be packed down enough so you can walk on it with hardly leaving a foot imprint - that's the idea - you don't want to be making impressions in your swimming pool floor into some soft sand. Also, you don't want one end sinking in more than the other! And don't neglect the edges - you should compact at least a foot or two beyond where the perimeter of the pool will be. What I did was get the sand level, wet it down, compacted it, wet it down some more (and let it get rained on), and tamped it down again. Recheck your levelness after tamping down - if needed add sand, re-level, wet down and tamp again. This sounds like a lot of work, but it is much quicker than having to drain the swimming pool and start all over!
One last note: pull up any large weeds or grass sticking up where your swimming pool will be. I also treated any remaining grass with a little RoundUp weed killer. Certain types of grass are known to grow through above ground Intex Easy Set and metal frame swimming pool liners.
What about putting sand on an unlevel paved surface? I would not recommend this since the hot paved surface can very quickly dry out the sand. Dry sand can easily shift, move, and dish out. Your better bet is to find a fairly level location on soil - then the sand will stay damp and will not move.
New! - Refer to this Quick Reference of Pool Leveling Do's and Don'ts
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