Getting Creative with Semi-Inground Pools

Semi-inground pools work where soil and topography won't allow for inground options.
28 July, 2017
A refreshing dip on a hot summer day isn't always an option for homeowners, and it's not just because of income or affordability when it comes to a big-ticket leisure item.
Plenty of people have the means, but they can't use an inground pool because of the bigger barrier: the land just won't let them. That's true when the pool site is on an unworkable grade, or sits above an uncooperative water table.

On the other hand, many people just flat-out refuse the look of an above-ground model set up in the landscape. There's a good chance that a customer investing in a pool wants more than the mess and the maintenance. A third option between them – usually priced in-between the two – is the semi-inground pool.
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It's essentially an above-ground model that's specially designed to be sunk into a site, without the full excavation of an inground pool or its concrete floor and walls. They're usually made of aluminium or galvanized steel that is corrosion proof but withstands the same pressure, weather and wear-and-tear. The cost savings are significant, and if necessary, the pool can move with you to a new home location.

One example from the manufacturer Sharkline is the Oasis, an all-aluminium model that can be oval or round and comes in different sizes. It looks like any other above-ground swimming pool, but it's built to be buried. When the panels are put together below grade, the pool has a lower profile in the yard. It's easily accessed from a deck or the lawn without a ladder – and without eager children pushing on the rims.
It's a feature that makes many semi-inground models perfect for elders or others with limited mobility, since they can step much more easily into the water or sit on the lower wall much as they might with an inground model. The height is easier for doing the pool covers and chemicals too. With the Intrepid aluminium pool, a full 0.9 meters of its 1.37 meter wall height can be installed underground. That's a little more than the 50 percent height guaranteed by Hampton, Quest and other pool models.

The semi-inground pool also solves problems for people with slopes and grades. A large oval pool, for example, can be built into a hillside or berm at ground level, with wall heights that continue to rise away from that up to the pool's full height. With the right deck, fencing and stairs, it blends into an existing backyard with attractive landscaping that enhances it. For a pool meant to work with a deck, installing a curved and open-ended platform is picture-perfect. Although the rest of the deck has rails when you step out the door, the open end that's fitted to the round pool doesn't. Users can just splash right in!
Even if the semi-inground pool is freestanding, the lines are cleaner and more elegant with half or more of the pool walls buried. The effect is more like a reflecting pool or pond, until you get in for a swim. It's not quite an infinity-edge pool, but installers say those can be used to dramatic effect too. They do cost more, though, and the semi-inground options are a good alternative with the right views and landscape.

Manufacturers are quick to note that consumers can't just sink any above-ground pool into the soil, because structural strength and coatings to protect against soil acidity, among other things, are a must. It's one of the reasons aluminium is a top materials option that can and will last for many summers to come.
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