Building An Inground Pool On A Slope

If you’ve got the space to build an inground pool in your yard, it might be time to make it happen. A pool makes a great additions to a home, increasing its value and giving you a place to relax after work or on the weekends. However, you need to make sure your yard is right for a pool and that it’s placed well — so what happens if your yard is sloped?

It’s possible to build an inground pool on a slope. However, there are some special considerations to keep in mind, such as keeping the pool level and potential challenges with the drainage and terrain. Make sure you hire top-quality professionals to assess the situation and do the job.

Now that you know the slope in your yard isn’t an impossible barrier to building an in-ground pool there, let’s take a closer look at what you need to consider before you go ahead with this project. How much slope is too much? Let’s find out.

How Do You Know if Your Yard Is Sloped? 

Real Estate

The first thing you need to do if you’re considering building a pool is check if your yard is sloped. Some yards may appear flat but have an ever-so-slight dip to them.

Drive a three-foot stake into the ground on one side of the yard (one foot deep is ideal) and then another at the other side. Tie a piece of string between the bottom of the two, and you will be able to see if there’s a slope and measure how deep it is.

Most yards do have a little bit of a slope to them, even if they seem completely flat to your eye. Fortunately, it’s easy to do some light leveling if you don’t want any slope there at all. Leveling usually involves mixing sand and dry topsoil to fill in any low parts.

If there’s any serious sloping that you can see with your eye and you don’t want the pool on a slope, chances are you’ll have to contact professionals to level it first.

The other way to check for sloping is just to look. It sounds a bit too easy, but oftentimes you can see if a yard is sloped, especially the more extreme cases. 

What Are Some Solutions and Considerations for Building a Pool on a Slope?

It’s not absolutely necessary to level the yard. In fact, it’s totally possible to build an inground pool on a slope. However, there are some things you need to consider before you go ahead to make sure you’re equipped for all of the challenges it might present.

Retaining Walls

A retaining wall is one of the best options for building a pool on a slope and will help keep it stable. It’s simply a wall at the low end of the slope to ensure the water doesn’t overflow and is usually made of poured concrete.

It can also be used as a flat space for seating or to hold decorations. That way, you can make it look more deliberate if you’re worried about it being a bit unsightly!

A retaining wall is usually necessary to prevent the plants and grass from eroding around your pool if water spills out. Although chlorine isn’t harmful in small doses, a lot of chlorine-filled water spilling out of the pool could be an issue over time. 


You’re also going to have to find a drainage solution for your pool. Because of the slope above your pool, heavy rain may cause muddy water to wash into it.

Pool water needs constant maintenance to stay clean. Bacteria can be harmful to the water and the people who swim in it, and it can even damage the equipment, so drainage is essential.

The contractors helping you with the pool should be able to come up with a drainage solution that works. If the slope is too high or uneven, this might indicate that it’s a bad place for the pool.


Terraces are a great alternative to retaining walls that allow for a little more decoration. Many people put plants and other things on the terraces to really have fun with it, but, functionally, they provide the same support as a retaining wall to prevent erosion if the pool water happens to spill over into your yard.

This is also important because the pool water may spill into neighbors’ yards or the street. Not only could this damage local wildlife, but it’s also illegal to drain pool water into the street in many states and you might face some very high fines for allowing it to happen. 


The terrain of your yard is also important to bear in mind. If there’s just grass and soil, it might be easy to dig into so you can make the perfect space for an inground pool.

If there’s a lot of gravel and rocks, however, it might be harder to create the space, and it could even be a dangerous place to insert a pool. Contractors will be able to advise you if the space is easy to work with.

They’ll also be able to tell you what works best on the level of the slope itself. For example, an above-ground pool may work best on a slope that isn’t too steep at all — but an inground infinity pool would work better with a steeper slope.

It’s important to be open-minded and compromise on your vision as needed. Otherwise, you may end up pay the price later on.


It’s hard to say whether installing an inground pool in a sloped yard is more expensive than installing one in a flat yard, but it’s certainly a possibility.

Because of the potential challenges such as terrain and a retaining wall, the expenses may quickly pile up — especially if you want something like an infinity pool. 

However, pools, in general, are expensive, so it may not work out to that much more than one in flat ground would. Make sure you talk to your contractors and get a solid quote in writing after they’ve inspected the yard.

Pool and Deck Features for Sloped Backyards 

Luxury house with infinity pool over the ocean

Although there are challenges and considerations that come with installing a pool in a sloped backyard, there are also benefits. Some things work better when there’s a slope.

Some people may even prefer to have a sloped yard, as there may be a particular style of pool they’re looking for, such as one of the following.

Infinity Pools

Infinity pools have become very stylish in recent years. This is great news for you and your sloped backyard since a slope is what they need to look great and thrive! An infinity pool gives the appearance that the water is flowing forever as it slopes over the edge (though this isn’t true at all, of course).

They look expensive and difficult to build, but on a slope, they work great and aren’t too complicated at all. In fact, those with flat yards would have serious trouble installing an infinity pool, so you have the advantage now.

Take a look at some different styles and decide if an infinity pool is right for you, with its lack of walls and almost magical appearance. 

Multi-Level Patio Access

Multi-level patios around the pool aren’t cheap, but if you’re not working with a strict budget, why not make really awesome use of your slope?

You can use landscaping to create different entrances to the pool, with one on the lower end and one on the higher end. You can use a lot of different materials and decorations to really make this pop.

It will likely require your pool to have a deep end that is much deeper than the shallow end, but some really awesome designs have been achieved this way. You can also have seats on the patios and cool decorations like a waterfall effect on the lower end, but make sure it’s practical before you plan it out.

Swim-Up Bar 

If you want to go all out with one of those patio areas, how about a swim-up bar? You can get food and drinks without having to leave the pool which, let’s be honest, is ideal.

If the weather is especially hot and you’re enjoying the cool water, you probably don’t want to leave the pool anyway.

You can customize the bar to suit your needs. If you like a good cocktail, you can make them ahead of time or have simple ingredients ready.

The bar doesn’t have to be for food and drink only. Consider reading your book or even propping up a tablet with a TV show playing — just be careful it doesn’t fall into the water.

Seating Ledge

Some people want a pool just to dip their toes in. Some people can’t swim or don’t feel safe doing so.

If you truly want to please everyone or just want a place to relax near the water, a seating ledge would be much appreciated. Fortunately for those with sloped yards, it’s much easier to build in those conditions, so take advantage of your yard rather than focusing on the challenges. 


Privacy is also much easier to achieve with a sloped yard. Building a fence at the top creates a much more obstructed way than what might otherwise be there, and a retaining wall or terrace at the bottom can help keep your pool enclosed.

After all, the last thing most people want after a long day is to feel like their neighbors are spying on them. Some people may even want a moment away from their own family, and this can help them achieve it.

Water Slide 

If you have kids — or just love to feel like a kid yourself — consider installing a water slide. This is yet another great feature that’s easier in sloped yards because you can install it at the top coming down into the pool.

Go all out and find a twist and slide structure, or have something simple for those fun pool parties, whether it’s for kids or really just for the adults. You’re never too old for it. 

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