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On-ground vs Inground

The beauty of the On-Ground pool.

Smart Pools On-ground swimming pools look and feel like in-ground pools for significantly less expense.    Why pay more?

On-Ground Pools

“Talking to Rob the owner of Smart Pools made us feel completely at ease with no pressure and no gimmicks.  In our first meeting, we spoke with Rob for an hour and had all of our questions answered thoroughly and honestly. We learned about the small differences between the on-ground and the inground swimming pool and became really excited to learn about how affordable it was for us to have an on-ground pool put in to our yard.”

 Facts & Features…

On-ground vs. In-ground

  • On-ground price range $28,000-33,000 vs. in-ground price range $60,000+ (prices before finished landscaping)
  • Versatile & completely adaptable to be installed entirely in the ground or partially in-ground to accommodate sloped yards
  • Enhanced with the same finishing options as in-ground pools such as walk-in stairs with jets, underwater halogen or LED lighting, and a variety of beautiful patterned vinyl liners with or without borders
  • Uses same heavy gauge, UV protected, designer liners as in-ground pools
  • Easily adapted for a variety of surrounds and patios such as: wooden or composite decking, paving stone or flag stone, or even plain or patterned concrete
  • Built with in-ground heavy gauge steel walls with same protective coatings as in-ground pools
  • Finished with a compacted sand floor
  • Standard recreational water depths (5’) with optional progressional floors sloping from 3’ to 5’6″
  • Easily installed in various elevations – sloped yards do not require expensive retaining walls



  • On-ground pools can be installed completely in the ground, exactly like in-ground pools
  • On-ground pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes and depths
  • On-ground pools can be finished with various surrounds and patios such as interlock brick pavers, flag stone, patterned concrete, and wood or composite decking
  • On-ground pools offer the same enhancements as in-ground pools such as built-in steps, gas and propane heaters, salt water, underwater lighting and water features


  • On-ground pools can be installed at or above ground level to accommodate sloped yards and match existing decks, patios or walkouts
  • In-ground pools can only be installed completely in the ground
  • With on-ground pools there is complete freedom to choose how much walkway to place around the pool whereas in-ground pools require concrete walkways around their entire perimeter
  • In-ground pools require expensive retaining walls in sloped yards
  • In-ground pools require the use of more concrete in and around pool area and are therefore not as cost efficient as on-ground pools
  • On-ground pools require less water and energy consumption requiring less expense to operate than in-ground pools

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Onground Pools

The On-Ground Swimming Pool

The unique design of the on-ground pool is that it can be installed partially above the ground or fully in the ground like an in-ground pool.

These versatile pools make use of the same building principles employed by in-ground pool construction.  However, the use of larger, sturdier components requires fewer pieces, leading to more efficient construction and much lower building costs.

The on-ground pool is built as solidly as an inground but is constructed using rigid steel wall panels instead of flexible, free-form walls.  Therefore the on-ground pool can be completed at a much lower cost than its inground counterpart.


These versatile pools have been installed since the 1980’s.  Originally designed as above ground pools, they required a great deal of re-enforcing because of the tremendous water loads and freezing conditions that they were subject to.  They were very useful in yards that had substantial slopes, since the backfill against the wall only served to further strengthen the wall support and provide a layer of frost protection that standard above ground pools didn’t have.  It became apparent that most consumers preferred the pool to appear as in-ground as possible and we began to dig the walls in lower to ground level with great success.

The strength of on-ground structural components already exceeded those of the in-ground since they were originally designed for above ground installations.

The plumbing and filtration system have also been designed stronger by making use of in-ground pool piping and concreting the plumbing components around the pool to the footings much like an in-ground pool.

As homes are now being built on increasingly smaller properties, the challenges of access and getting equipment in and out of backyards has become increasingly more difficult.  Smart Pools offers On-ground pool sizes and building equipment that can be easily adapted to suit tighter spaces and these versatile pools can be designed to accommodate homes when backdoor entry is substantially higher than ground level.

 As safety is always a concern and with the inherent risks of diving boards, Smart Pools offers intelligently designed pools with safer and more recreational water depths that make the whole pool functional for games and children of all ages.

Offering constant water depth pools not only promotes family fun and games, it can greatly reduce the risk of injury because of the “Feet First policy” that would need to be followed.  As well, the on-ground pool with a constant water depth or maximum 5’6″ graduated deep-end uses much less water to fill and maintain, and less gas and electricity to heat.

Smart Pools on-ground pool can be adapted for a variety of finishes that make use of higher house elevations, sloping yards, and drainage patterns in your yard that must be preserved.

Our Smart Pools on-ground pool can almost always be specially tailored to suit a variety of backyard elevations and slopes without requiring the use of expensive retaining walls.

Small spaces are not a problem… With our specialized excavation equipment at Smart Pools, we can accommodate yards with smaller spaces and limited access ways so that a pool can be installed in almost anyone’s backyard.

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