Looking into cooling off this summer in your own backyard? Here’s how to set up inflatable pool and be cooling off in short order! Includes upkeep tips and best pool equipment to get.
I wanted a grown-up yard this summer.
With all the yard improvements we’re doing, I just wanted the opportunity to sit in my backyard and enjoy my flowers and junk. Which really means, I didn’t want to stare at the ‘big blue smurf kiddie pool’ for two months again.
We had actually planned to go CAMPING. LOTS. So we would not need the pool. Spend the chlorine funds on campground fun instead. We had it all planned out.
But then it got hot. REEEELLY hot. Like in one day.
That did it! Big Blue, (our inflatable above ground swimming pool) was making a return appearance once again.
The perks of having a pool
Have you been curious about inflatable pools? Whether they are durable, worth the effort and will you use it enough?
Personally, when I have the pool up, I am never sorry. Having a pool in the yard is a game changer. You just don’t mind staying home on long weekends fighting beaches, parking, etc. Because you will be comfortable right at home!
But it’s best to pick one up before the hot weather hits, because they tend to sell out quickly.
Truth be told, inflatable pools are pretty easy keepers and well worth it. You can either treat the water with chlorine and other suggested pool chemicals (which we do) or you can get a salt water system.
And the nice thing about not having a permanent pool is the option to put it up or leave it down. Take it down and there’s no more maintenance until next time.
So… here’s how to set up an inflatable pool, so you too can enjoy your own summer staycation right in your own backyard!
This post contains some Amazon affiliate links in which I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank-you for helping to support my blog!
How to set up an inflatable pool – the installation
What pool size to pick?
So what’s the best inflatable pools to get? I vote topick the inflatable pool size that caters to your family’s needs the best! Because the larger you go, the more maintenance will be involved.
Our brand of inflatable pool is Easy Set, measuring 4 feet high x 15 feet round.
I love this size because the water level caters well to an older child and adult. The water is deep enough to actually float on top with a lounger chair, and allows you to dog paddle around and even swim underwater.
We started with the 3 foot high model first, but found it too shallow for our desires. It’s more of a sit down pool for adults, but of course, great for younger children.
I would get the 4′ x 15′ again because it’s just big enough to really enjoy without it becoming a larger project to oversee chemical and cleanliness wise. This pool size requires some work, but is manageable.
The below pools are great for smaller children and don’t require chemicals due to frequent dumping instead. But you could always add a little chlorine to keep things extra safe. Please check with a pool place before adding chemicals so you add the right amount.
Preparing the ground
1. Level the ground first.
- Ensure the ground / lawn / dirt is smooth.
- Use a shovel to dig out bumps, and a rake to smooth things out.
- Remove every single protruding rock you can find.
I didn’t smooth the surface last year. Just plunked the works down. And stubbed my toe all summer long on this big rock underneath. It pays to take some time and make sure the ground is level and as smooth as possible.
And be prepared to find that the grass under the pool will die. It’s worth it, but something to consider.
Because of the dead lawn patch, we positioned our trampoline over top of this spot when pool season was over, so it all worked out.
I’ve even read that some place sand under a pool! Neat idea to create a permanent spot so the surrounding grass is protected.
Protect the pool with a tarp
2. Spread out a tarp.
- Position the tarp where you desire the pool to sit.
- Place something on all 4 corners to weigh it down.
Our pool came with a tarp acting as a ground cloth. But if yours doesn’t, I suggest to put one down. You can always cut it down to desired size after the pool is set up.
The purpose of the tarp is to protect the pool underneath from rock punctures or digging moles.
Before positioning the tarp, I ensured a lawn mower can easily cut around the tarp perimeter.
Locating the pool near an electrical source should also be considered if you plan to use a pool pump or pool heater.
Check for any rips or holes, and patch with duct tape where needed.
Positioning the pool
3. Position the pool in the centre of the tarp, adjusting to ensure the pump apparatus is facing an electrical outlet if you are using a pool pump.
After laying the pool on top of the tarp, the edges of the tarp were pulled out to ensure the bottom was completely flat. If you don’t do this step, you’ll feel ripples underfoot once the pool is set up.
If your pool needs lots of cleaning, now would be the time so you can easily drain the pool before filling it with air.
Inflating the pool
4. Inflate the top pool ring.
An inflatable pool requires the top ring to be inflated. This is the key element to making an inflatable pool work, so care must be taken to do it right.
The pool instructions will likely suggest to fill the ring with air using a pool pump or hand pump, which is safest.
I personally didn’t have one on hand, so I used our air compressor turned on at the lowest setting, paying great attention to not over inflate the ring, otherwise it could pop.
How to clean your inflatable pool before setup
5. Do a thorough cleaning of the inside of the pool before filling with water.
If this is a brand new pool setup, chances are your pool will be squeaky clean and ready to fill! A quick wipe down will ensure a good fresh start.
But if used, this is where it pays to clean the pool well.
Kick off your shoes because you’re goin’ in!
If your pool needs a super deep clean, you may want to clean it before inflating the ring so you can drain it easier.
Mine just needed a wipe down.
- Wipe the pool bottom and sides with a non abrasive cloth or sponge.
- If removing mildew, try a little mild dish soap.
- Rinse well by either wiping, or using a water hose.
- Drain and dry the pool completely to ensure no soap remains.
Hook up the filter pump
6. Hook up the pump hoses to the pool and pump.
Just follow your pool directions and you’ll be good to go. However in a nutshell, here’s how my inflatable pool hookups went:
The pool hoses have clamps, so all you need is a screwdriver.
In my pool model, two hoses hook up directly to the pool and two hoses hook up to the pump.
The hoses are labeled as to which go to the pump and which to the pool. Refer to your pool manual, and look for the + and – symbols.
Just don’t plug the pump in until the pool is full! The pool pump requires water to run.
Filling up the inflatable pool with water
7. Use a water hose to fill up the pool.
I removed the spray nozzle off the garden hose and allowed the water to free-flow into the pool.
Happy kid tip: Allow desperately hot child to lay down and watch the water flow in because it makes him happy. Which makes you happy. And yes, I waded in there too.
8. Fill pool with water until full.
Filling up the pool with gallons upon gallons of water took 1.5 days to fill the pool up with the water running all day and turned off at night.
It’s like watching paint dry. Best to go do something else because you won’t be swimming the first day unless you just want to sit in some very cold water! Like my son did.
Which is of course an option.
The position the pool ladder into place and you’re in business.
How long to warm up the water?
Our own pool took several days of sunshine to warm up as this pool doesn’t come with a pool heater. But of course my son jumped in right away!
We later upgraded to a solar pool cover to speed up and help keep the pool warmer as we live in a cooler region.
If you prefer not to feel the effects of cold water at all, you may want to consider a pool with a heater, although costs to run it will be a little higher, but worth it for the comfort!
Ask a local pool specialty place if you can even perhaps purchase a pool heater that could work with your model of pool. You never know!
Tip: If you purchase an inflatable hot tub, use it all summer by turning down the heat. We tried one in 2021 and it was wonderful… although small. If we get another, I’ll be sure to write about it as well.
Favorite pool toys
And it never hurts to throw in the pool noodles and the inflatable pool lounger to build on that excitement… and any other accessories you may enjoy. If you visit a hot tub store, you can find floating lights, and all kinds of cool things.
I got THIS Intex floating lounger which I adored!
And pick up the jumbo pool noodles like THESE if you can find them! I like to wrap one around my back and under my arms with another under my knees to create an easy make-shift lounge chair!
You may need two pool bunched together if using the smaller pool noodles as shown in this post.
Adding pool chemicals
9. Once pool is full, add chemicals, and place pool cover over top.
Now it’s time to head over to a place that sells pool chemicals.
Chemicals are a must and keep the pool safe to use.
I personally started by bringing my water in for testing at a pool and spa place. From there, they gave me a recipe to work from and the right chemicals to use. They could also answer a ton of questions I had which proved very helpful.
Once you know what you’re doing, at that point you can basically go to any pool supply place to keep stocking up on pool chemicals, chlorine tablets, etc.
If you don’t have a place to test your water, you can also just start with test strips which will tell you what your pool requires. But you’ll need to buy a little of everything avail because you won’t know what your water is lacking.
Pool cover tips
- Uncover the pool during a nice summer day so the water can warm up from the sunshine!
- Consider a solar heated cover to help warm the pool naturally.
- Place some inner tube rings on top of the water but under the cover so when it rains, the rainfall will elevate off the cover and hopefully run off the sides if it accumulates.
- Try and pick up a pool cover with a lock.
Other helpful pool accessories to consider
- Foot bath container – helps keep your pool so much cleaner!
- Overhead tent or umbrella for very hot or rainy days.
- String lights so your pool area is illuminated at night.
- Repair patch kit in case your pool springs a leak.
- Additional sprinklers to add some waterfall fun!
- A tall bench or table sitting beside the pool for drinks, towels, clothes, etc.
- Backrests, however I loop a pool noodle behind my back and tuck under arms for the same effect.
- Water slide if your pool has enough space.
- Pool floats, although my fav are the large pool noodles.
General pool routine
The general routine for pool upkeep isn’t difficult, but it’s more so you can’t really miss this otherwise your pool could run unsafe and you’ll end up dumping it.
Every morning I remove the cover, and scoop out any floating debris.
The chemicals are checked, then added as required.
Each evening, the pool is covered up once again.
If you go on vacation, you’ll need someone to check the pool daily or at least every couple of days to keep it up.
10. Welcome home Big Blue inflatable pool! We’re back in business!
And then it rained.
Whatever. At least we aren’t hot anymore.
In summary, having your own pool is a ton of fun for the whole family! But I will admit, having the pool all to myself with a beverage and pool lounger doesn’t get any more relaxing either…
Who else has one of these inflatables? Any tips on how you set up an inflatable pool?
Other pool posts you may enjoy: