Things to Consider When Building an In-Ground Pool

a pool with a waterfall and a fire hydrant.

There are quite a few decisions that you’ll need to make before you begin the construction of an in-ground pool. The whole process can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be “in the clear” and ready to put your pool in the ground before you know it. Installing an in-ground pool is a significant investment so you don’t want to skip any steps that will cost you more time and money.


At Prestige Pools, we build, install, and service world-class vinyl liner swimming pools. Our pools create just the relaxing, fun, and beautiful space you are dreaming of. Through our expertise, we can make building an in-ground vinyl liner pool a smooth process for you. 

To help, we have put together a checklist of the important things to consider before even breaking ground, including supply chain issues and deciding between a saltwater vs. a freshwater pool. You don’t want any surprises down the road. So let’s take a moment to think about the process and look at some important considerations before you begin building that gorgeous pool.

Considerations for Your Custom Pool Project

Considerations span from the overall picture like zoning laws to specifics like removing trees. A good tip is to start with the front yard, even though the pool is going in the back yard. Looking at how much space is available for the large excavating equipment is one of our important considerations that is discussed further in this article.

Know your zoning laws

It’s imperative that you make sure your property is complying with zoning ordinances for pools. Check with your local government about zoning laws before you even have a consultation with the pool builder. Some cities and townships have strict maintenance and liability laws, for example, rules regarding “impervious cover.” 

Impervious cover is any surface in the landscape that cannot effectively absorb or infiltrate rainfall, i.e., sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, roads, and rooftops. Impervious cover deals with the absorption of water into the soil and runoff that can occur. Your pool will affect the absorption and flow of water so you will need to check on what to do for compliance.

You can learn more about how impervious surface limits can affect your in-ground pool installation here.

Check for any easements on your property and required setbacks

You can’t build a pool on an easement, so you need to find out where any easements are on your property. In addition to easements, you need to find out what the setbacks are. A setback is the amount of space that needs to be between the pool and the edges of your property. The setback requirements could make a slight difference in the pool size you can have. Be sure to have this information before planning the design of the pool. Your site map, also called “plat map,” is the primary source of much of this information as well as the city or county government.

Know your HOA’s rules

If your home is located in a neighborhood that has an HOA, you need to look at their rules regarding having an in-ground pool. First, are in-ground pools allowed? Second, are vinyl liner pools allowed? If they are allowed, are there special requirements for in-ground pools? These rules are in an extensive document you should’ve received shortly after purchasing the house. If you are building a house and haven’t gotten a copy of the HOA rules yet, contact the property management company.

Check to see whether there is enough room for the building equipment to enter your yard

Pool Building Process in Raleigh - Digging

You will need at least 10 – 15 feet of clearance from the driveway around the house for the building and excavation equipment that is required to construct the pool. There will be a need for dump trucks, concrete mixers, backhoes, and other heavy equipment. If your yard doesn’t allow for this, you might need to tear down part of a fence or wall and rebuild it when the job is done. Also, consider whether your driveway can bear the weight of the excavation truck. If you aren’t able to get the big equipment through to the area for the pool, your contractor may need to use smaller machinery, which will take longer to finish.

Check for wires above your yard

For safety reasons, your pool cannot be installed or built under any overhead wires such as electrical and utilities. If there are wires, they may need to be rerouted, if possible. You bear the expense of any repositioning for overhead wires.

Check underground for utility wires and irrigation systems

It’s difficult to know what may be under the ground. However, the plans for your home should indicate if and where water, sewer, gas, electrical, or any other utility lines are located under your backyard. These may also need to be rerouted before beginning construction on an in-ground pool. Don’t forget any sprinkler and irrigation systems that are in that area will need to be cut off and capped.

Furthermore, you will need to verify whether you are over a drain field or leach field. You can check on all of this, including the utility and electricity lines, by calling 811 before beginning to dig.

Consider the slope of the lot

If the terrain is flat, you’re probably OK. However, if the space for the pool is sloping, you will need to either level the ground or build a retaining wall to prevent the pool from sliding and shifting in the ground. If adjustments must be made due to the terrain, these will increase the cost of the project.

Find out the pool enclosure requirements for your area

You may be required to construct a fence around the pool or install a pool cover for the safety of your neighborhood and family. Your local government more than likely has regulations for a fence pool enclosure that define such aspects as minimum height and gate self-latching. Typically, the fence needs a clearance of 2 inches at the bottom and a minimum height of 4 feet.

Be sure you have a space for the pile of dirt after excavating

After the hole is excavated, you’ll be left with a large pile of dirt. Make plans with the construction company to either remove it or grade it into the existing lot. This may require a second contractor that specifically deals with the dirt.

Consider clearing trees from the space

If you have trees where the pool is going, you’ll need to consider tree and stump removal. The contractor building your pool will be able to advise you on this step. It usually is more cost-effective to have the stumps removed along with the trees.

You can learn more about in-ground pool construction and trees here.

Think about the patio and hardscape area around the pool

When you are meeting with the pool construction project manager, you should have an idea of the size you want the patio and hardscape area to be. You may want to consult with a concrete pool decking contractor ahead of time. This may be difficult until you have determined the size and location of the pool, but it is important because it is an integral part of designing the landscaping and pool.

Factor in where you will store your pool equipment and supplies

When you are ascertaining how much space you need for the pool, also factor in the need for storage. Along with the pool space, you’ll need storage that is fairly close to the pool for a variety of equipment, cleaning supplies, and chemicals. 

You may want to construct a storage area that isn’t far from the pool for these things. We recommend no farther than 45 feet from the pool. Pool equipment includes the panel, pump, sand filter, and salt chlorine generator for a saltwater pool. 

You can learn more about the saltwater versus chlorine water pools debate here.

You will need additional storage that is dry (for example, a crawl space, basement, or garage) for salt, chlorine, cleaning equipment, and other supplies.

Considerations if you are on a septic water system

If you are on a septic water system, the location of the in-ground pool is a big concern. The Public Health Code specifies that there must be 25 feet between an in-ground pool and the septic tank. It can be a health hazard if there is leaching from the pool. Chlorine bleach in moderate amounts won’t be dangerous for a septic system but drain cleaner can be seriously hazardous. Do your research and due diligence if you are building a pool near a septic tank. Additionally, if you have a pond near where the pool will be located, it’s important to factor in the slope between the two. Your pool construction contact will be able to determine whether a pool near a pond is even feasible.

Contact Prestige Pools of NC When Thinking About Building an In-ground Pool

Hopefully, this information has informed you about things you will need to consider before beginning in-ground pool construction. At Prestige Pools, we will look at your yard and provide you with the guidance that is necessary for you to make the best decisions. Contact us at 919-586-8556 or complete our easy-to-use form below for a free pool building quote.