Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Step By Step DIY Pool Removal

Before you begin, use this article to figure out your swimming pool volume, and read this article to get an idea of what is going on and how big of an area around your pool that will need to be dug.

I will be showing how to remove a concrete and a liner pool in these instructions. The only difference between the two is a few of the steps will be different for each, but the overall idea is exactly the same for any type of swimming pool.

The photos posted here are from the removal of a liner pool. Keep in mind that I did my pool a little differently as I had no instructions or experience in doing this. These instructions are put together in such a way as to make it easier for the reader to understand the process. This is not an exact procedure, as every pool and every backyard will have slightly different needs. Although not exact, generally, the overall set of instructions should work for any pool removal.


1. Drain your pool and remove your filter equipment and/or piping if necessary. You can drain your pool using your current pool pump by attaching a hose to the input of the pump and one at the output. Put the input into your pool and the output wherever you want the water to go. I used the water to irrigate my yard.

In most cases you can remove the old piping as you dig around the pool. So don't worry too much about that yet. You can just remove the pipes that are in the way when digging. Leave the remainder buried unless they will be in the way of future landscaping.

2. For concrete pools, cut out or knock out a couple large holes in the bottom of the pool. This will be for drainage and should be at least 3 feet wide. Fill the holes with rough fill sand, gravel, or drain rock. For liner pools, simply remove your liner.

(Optional) Add some stability to the area by setting rebar in a crossing and in a three dimensional pattern. Push the rebar in about 2 to 3 feet and tie the cross sections together with wire. Just use a simple pattern, or one that will suit the area. For concrete pools you will need to drill holes then put the rebar through the holes.

3. Build your pond frame where you want your pond to be. Refer to this link for instructions on building a pond frame. Remember to keep the top of the pond about two feet below the current ground level(top of your pool). Make sure you support the new frame by setting posts in concrete like you would set fence posts, or by attaching posts to the concrete base of a concrete pool. This will give your pond walls strength when mounted to the posts. If you have a liner pool, you might want to wait until you remove the pool frame so you can reuse the wood for your pond frame.

Here you can kind of see the frame under the padding.
I only needed a partial frame, as I used the old pool bottom for the rest.
This photo was taken well into the process.
Unfortunately I have no photos of the actual frame construction.

4. If you have a concrete deck around your pool, break it up and toss it into the the pool. Put the concrete in the deepest areas of the pool. You want the concrete at least 2 feet from the top of your pond.

5. How you do the next step will be determined by your situation. In any of the situations, just throw the concrete or dirt into the pool.

For concrete pools:
  • If you can easily break out the top two feet of concrete around your entire pool, then do so.
  • If you can not easily break out the top two feet of concrete then dig a two foot deep by two feet wide trench around the pool. Then you should be able to break the top two feet of concrete out.
For liner pools:
  • If you are not going to be using a current side of your pool as a side for your pond(or you are not going to have a pond) then remove the entire wooden frame around your pool.
  • If you want to use part of the current frame as part of the pond frame, then only cut off the top two feet of that particular side. You may need to dig a 2 foot by 2 foot trench behind the frame to make that easier. Remove the rest of the frame without removing any structural support to the part you are leaving in. If that cannot be done you will have to add some new support with a 4x4 post and concrete(just like a fence post).

    6. Dig out the surrounding area around your pool by removing the top two feet of soil surrounding your pool. Use the dirt to fill the pool. Make sure you pack the dirt down well as you fill the pool. This can be done easier by filling it part way then soaking the dirt with water. Keep repeating until you have completely filled your pool to the level you wanted(two feet below the old soil level)

    The string line shows the old soil level.

    7. Pack the area with a soil compactor or something equally effective. Make sure all the gaps are filled and there are no places where a collapse can occur. If there is such an area, you will find out during the first heavy rain storm you get. Unless the area was huge, it won't be a problem to just fill in with more soil or gravel at that time. I had two areas that created small holes in the top soil. One took about a half wheelbarrow to fill, the other just needed a few shovels full of dirt. The larger of the two was created because of the area between the temporary retaining wall(which I did not remove, I just buried it) and the new pond frame didn't get completely filled in.

    What you see here was a temporary wall(left side) I used to keep the concrete
    and dirt from filling the area until I knew I had enough dirt.
    After I saw I had enough I began to bury the wall.
    I built my frame late into the process.

    Your pool is gone. Enjoy your new yard.

    Landscaping my new backyard without a pool.


    1. Removing an above ground pools is more easy than doing this pool removal.... LOL

    2. Hi, are you still working at this project? Or can you show the finished project? I am bookmarking this page to come back and see. I am thinking of undertaking this project next year and starting the planning process now. Nice to see all the phootos you did add. thanks

    3. Hey anon. This part of the project has been complete for almost two years. The blog was pretty much abandoned slightly after because there just didn't seem too be many people interested. I didn't feel it was a good use of my time if nobody was going to use the information.

      I did do a post for the one year anniversary on my other blog that has some photos of the completed area. You can check it out here: http://naturalpond.blogspot.com/2010/04/one-year.html

      There are several other articles on this blog and the other that show the area in full detail. Just browse around and you will find a lot of pictures.

      If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I will do what I can to help.

    4. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again
      Swimming Pool Removal

    5. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work! Fill in Pool

    6. I want to remove a fibre glass swimming-pool and make the area into a veg garden with a natural pool. Do you think I could have the fibre glass sides slit and the bottom only broken up and then the pool surrounds - a kind of artificial crazy paving I suppose you'd call it - thrown in the bottom as fill? Love your comments on this idea.

    7. to stare at me as I put my CI back on my head. I told them it is a cochlear implant and it help me to hear! They were like oh...okay.. and walk away from me. lol. At least, I had fun! I will wear my Aqua Plus every time I swim! cedar fences company