How to build your own swimming pool DIY

Ned Kampmann


The construction of a concrete DIY swimming pool is not the simplest of tasks, but you can do it yourself without too much difficulty. In order to build a pool, you need to identify the purpose of the swimming bowl and where it will be installed, and choose the right equipment so that the price and quality are compatible with your financial capabilities.

It’s a good idea to get some preliminary advice from experts on what equipment to select for your swimming pool, and to download a swimming bowl construction project from the Internet, where you can find among other things schemes of reinforcement, formwork, and the incision complex assemblies.

Don’t be frightened by a lack of certain knowledge and construction skills. The one vital rule in building a pool yourself is to comply with the technology of hydraulic structures! The cost
of the project depends on you: what work will need to be carried out by you and what equipment you will choose for your pool.

In this article we will answer the question of how to build a pool, firstly preparing the construction site and then making the necessary steps to directly building the pool.

Find out how to build a natural pool DIY

Steps for constructing your homemade swimming pool

Here are the necessary steps you should take before building your own pool:

1. Determine the function of your pool

Before building a homemade swimming pool yourself, you should define its purpose and function, whether it will be indoors or in the backyard, for children or adults. It’s better to choose a bowl based on what might happen in future, so that it will be universal and suitable for all the family, including the young and elderly.

Indoor pools require lots of space, and are usually more expensive, however, the upside is that they can be used regardless of the season or weather, any time of day or night.

Outdoor pools are more common; they are much easier to site and construct. You could even build a feature, specifically for your pool.

While not as common, some people prefer a pool that resembles a natural pond. However, it’s still fitted with all the necessary equipment like filters and pumps.

Firstly, you need to decide on what type of pool you want. Usually, the solution is to dig an in-ground pool in the backyard, making it an ideal place for rest and relaxation. However, maintenance and construction costs are high – it can be one of the most expensive options.


The above ground pool is a further option, less cost to construct, but usually as expensive to run. This is the simpler (and quicker) option for those that don’t want to dig a hole in their backyard, but still want the full ‘swimming pool’ experience.

A better solution may be to purchase an inflatable pool, even if it’s just to understand how much you would use a swimming pool. There are plenty of different designs, sizes and shapes to choose from, and they don’t cost that much money to buy, and of course, there are no construction costs. At the end of the season, you can always store it away for the next year.

An inflatable pool doesn’t necessarily mean small; plenty of models are available, they can range in size from very small – about 30”, right through to full-on pool party sizes – 12ft or bigger. Although purchase cost and construction costs are much cheaper, the larger sized pools will still run a filtration and pump system, so there is still some ongoing cost.

Choosing the shape of the inflatable pool really does depend on your need; if you want to actually swim, then a rectangular pool is probably best, however, if you’re just looking for fun, then a round shaped pool would probably be better.

There are also pools fitted with kids activity zones, suitable for children aged 3+.

2. Choose the bowl size and shape


The cost of the pool largely depends on its size. The greater the size, the higher the cost of construction. Don’t forget that it’s much easier and cheaper to build a rectangular swimming pool than any other shape. When constructing rectangular tubs, material consumption is lower, and the accuracy of the geometric dimensions is higher. However, a more rounded shape can look stunning and easily harmonize with any design or the nearby landscape.

3. Construction documentation

Build your own pool

You can look through model projects online. It is possible to order sets of drawings with explanatory notes on construction and hydraulic and electrical circuits, if necessary. The drawings will simplify to a large extent construction and assembly of the pool. You can also draw up the schematic outline, starting with examples of model projects of how to build your own pool.

A proper construction plan is vital to the success of the project, not only will it aid the construction, but it will help you to keep an eye on construction and maintenance costs as you move forward. Every aspect of the pool design and construction needs to be carefully considered, you should also think about hidden construction costs also – things like retaining walls for example.
a)Retaining walls required

Swimming pools need a proper drainage system to adequately maintain the pool, but we also need to guarantee the stability of the construction; this means that retaining walls could be required at further expense.

b) It’s likely that you’ll need more concrete than you think

Some people will always try and plan the exact amount of construction materials that will be required, but unless you’ve working in that industry for many years, it’s likely that you’ll get it wrong, usually by a considerable margin. That isn’t even including such things as a change of plans like extending the pool patio.

c) You need to get rid of the dirt after digging

The amount of dirt produced could be excessive, you may not be able to just simply spread it around the yard – you need to include expenses for the removal of the dirt.

d) Construction (of any sort) may damage your yard, lawn or garden

Don’t forget that any type of heavy plant equipment could wreak havoc with your garden or lawn, you may need to replace or at minimum re-seed your lawn.

e) Electricity needed to power the additional hardware

A big swimming pool will require a lot of additional power outlets; pumps, filters and lighting all need powering. You should factor in these costs.

f) Fencing

If you want to have a fence installed, even at a later date, include it in the project costs. Adding it at the time of construction could work out cheaper and help to avoid additional installation difficulties.

4. Select the equipment you need for your swimming pool

Homemade swimming pool equipment

A complete list of equipment for a swimming pool is quite long. You need to determine the type of pool filtration system you will have, skimmer or overflow. The first option is cheaper and easier to install than the second. When using a skimmer, the water level falls to 5’’ below the border. The skimmer filter then collects water from the surface for cleaning.

The overflow system has a compensation capacitance and the water level is flush with the border. The fixings in the bowl are made of plastic or stainless steel. For pools that need to be built outside it is desirable to use embedded parts made of stainless steel, and the same applies for bowls for public use in baths and saunas.

All other versions can be built with embedded plastic parts, for example in a concrete tub in a private house, although the material is less durable and may not look as attractive. You should also consider additional systems which can help you take even more pleasure from your pool: the counter current system, hydro massage, air massage, fountains or waterfalls. If you are experiencing difficulties choosing equipment, experts can help you solve this problem.

Don’t forget that a swimming pool will need plenty of extra equipment in addition to what’s already been mentioned; solar pool blankets, gas pool heaters and control panels for example.

Gas heaters are needed (if you have a suitable gas supply) to heat the pool when the sun is just not strong enough. Plenty of different gas heaters are available, and prices reflect the specifications.

In order to keep the pool clean while not in use, you’ll need a pool blanket. Depending on price, it’s entirely possible to get a blanket combined with a solar heater – a great bonus for people in warmer climes.
To make the installation or storage of the cover easier, you could use a special pool cover reel.

Pool filters and pumps are necessary equipment for the proper upkeep of a pool, they help to prevent algae and keep the water clean.

Don’t forget about the electric part – control panels and boards are also needed to maintain all functions of pumps, heaters, lighting, water temperature, etc.

Building a swimming pool DIY: step by step instructions

1.  Preparing the construction site for swimming pool

Build your own pool

Building a swimming pool yourself is not difficult. The main thing you need to understand concerns the rules of construction. An outside bowl requires excavation, a drainage system, ASG (sand and gravel), monolithic concrete slabs and external waterproofing (protection of groundwater).

If you want to build a pool in a private home, then it is sufficient to make a concrete base for the monolithic bowl. During construction, you need to use the metal rebar A3, which has a diameter of 1/3’’ to 9/16’’ (8 mm to 14 mm). To build a swimming pool in baths in the form of a font use 1/3’’ (8 mm) rebar and a pitch of 7 7/8’’ (200 mm) reinforcement in two layers. If you are building a larger swimming pool yourself, it is recommended to apply a section of 1/2’’ – 9/16’’ (12-14 mm) reinforcement and two-step 7 7/8’’ (200 mm).

How to build a pool

How should you go about preparing the concrete compound? When preparing mixtures, you need to be aware of certain parameters. The solution is prepared in the proportions: 720 lb (327 kg) cement, 46.8 gal (177 L) water, 1376 lb (625 kg) sand and 2797 lb (1270 kg) crushed stone. The total output is 5286 lb (2400 kg), i.e. we have 264 gal (1 m3) of concrete mix to fill the pool.

2. Construction of formwork and technical niches

Building a pool

The cheapest option is to build the formwork out of wood. This can consist of 5 7/8’’ x 2’’ (150×50 mm) boards, reinforced with ribs and 5 7/8 x 5 7/8 (150×150 mm) strut beams, or to use 3/5’’ (15 mm) plywood, also with reinforced beams. Plywood formwork works out more expensive, but here we get a practical plastered bath, which significantly saves money on leveling concrete surfaces. The technical niches for embedded equipment are also made of wood.

3. Building a pool with the monolithic pouring of concrete

How to build your own pool

The bowl construction needs a monolithic casting of concrete. Alternatively, it is possible to build the bottom, and then the walls. If the simultaneous process of die-casting is not conceivable, then “cold joints” appear, which require additional waterproofing. Concrete is aged for 7 days, after which you can disassemble the formwork and begin the installation of embedded parts. They should be poured in with the use of a polymer additive solution. This entire process will take 30-40 days.

4. The alignment of the bowl surfaces

How to build a swimming pool

The cheapest option is to just use a mixture of sand and cement. It is advisable to add compounds which increase strength and prevent the rapid destruction of this layer. If this leveling layer is constructed with quality in mind, it will have a large impact on the overall look and finish of the pool.

5. Waterproofing of surfaces

DIY swimming pool instructions

We advise using elastic polymeric waterproofing in the pool. This has good waterproofing properties and will hold water in case of damage to the concrete pool. Apply it in two layers, and between the layers a fiberglass mesh is positioned.

6. Finishing pool surfaces

Building of your own pool

If you have a limited budget, then it is recommended to construct the lining from PVC film. Of course, it is unlikely that you will be able to weld the film yourself, but the overall cost will still be lower.

A more expensive material is glass mosaic. It differs depending on the manufacturer and the price range varies significantly. Basin tile is good for public swimming baths and water parks, although is not always in harmony with the design of the exterior. Mosaic and tiles are glued using latex compounds, and then the cladding is added which possesses a durable twocomponent composition. We recommend that you buy special pool grout.

That’s how to build a swimming pool.

Also look at the best design ideas for swimming pool decks

7. Installation of main equipment

Pool equipment installation

Now you can start assembling the rest of the pool equipment. It is advisable for the technical room to be close to the pool. Installation can be performed when the room for the equipment is ready and does not require any further construction work. To mount the units for the pool and system yourself, follow the steps in the project.

Also look at the best pool fence ideas you can build for your DIY swimming pool

8. How to start the pool the first time?

Homemade swimming pool first start

Finally, the equipment is assembled. Trust all the screws and glue joints along the pipes. Tighten the lug couplings and ball valves, and check all the valves. According to the instructions, open the damper and switch the position of the valve on the filter to “Rinse”. Use the manual to perform the first clean of the filter complex, and then switch to the mode “Filtering” (water purification). Examine all the equipment and piping again for leaks. If they are none, then the installation has been performed correctly and your own pool is ready for use.

How to build a swimming pool step by step video review

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