How to set up an inflatable pool.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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!

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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.

Leveling the ground is the first step to setting up an above ground, inflatable pool.


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.

A tarp is needed underneath an inflatable pool to protect the bottom from tears.

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.

Repair any tarp tears or holes before placing an inflatable above ground pool on top.

Check for any rips or holes, and patch with duct tape where needed.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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 set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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.

How to set up an inflatable pool. Includes how to smooth the ground, what to place the pool on, inflate the top, fill with water and more tips!

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


Most pools come with their own pool covers to keep out the debris. However you can also choose to upgrade a given cover for a solar pool cover or something heavier duty if desired.

  • 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:

Pallet pool noodle organizer

A pallet organizer for pool toys

A pretty pool sitting area with towel hooks

Visit all my other pool posts HERE

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Categories: Junk Drawer

40 thoughts on “How to set up an inflatable pool.

  1. Nice that you have a big spot for this. I am thinking of getting a little wading pool for the dogs. How hot is it there? It’s been over 100 here for at least three weeks and probably will remain that way for another two months. Like 109 degrees hot. It was only 103 today, though. The sun is just burning up my landscape. Really, bushes that have been fine every summer are scorched this summer.

  2. Daughter is a monitor at a kids summer camp, son is a lifeguard at a community pool…so they get plenty of swimming opportunities. I, on the other hand, get to sit in front of the electric fan or the AC, and take showers…
    Somehow your kid’s yard with smurf pool seems a blessing to me. Enjoy!!!

  3. We don’t have any kids at home any more and we are talking about getting a pool. With the temps consistently in the upper 90’s with heat index of 115ยฐ we think more and more about one. At least then I could still enjoy being outside ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. OK…it is freezing here, cant even imagine swimming at the moment as I wipe ice off the cars windscreen!!! But I bought (or Santa did) a smaller version of this pool last summer for my 8 year old and she was so excited but I hadn’t thought it through….my backyard was on a slight slope so in the baking heat on Christmas day I tried to figure out how much I needed to cut and fill… way too much. I gave up!!

  5. My sis in law has a salt system on her pool, gotta say it is awesome! When you get out of that pool you feel like a million bucks! Your skin is so soft, and smooth feeling. I love it! Plus, your hair doesn’t get dried out from the chlorine, no more green tips on the kids either! Don’t worry, your yard matches everyone else’s now!

  6. I would love a big blue pool. But that means $200 in permits and $500+ in fencing supplies then the cost of the pool. ๐Ÿ™ maybe you could build a funky junk fence out of pallets to go around the pool to hide some of the blue? I’m sure you could think of something. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love how you can make something as lame as setting up a big pool fun to read. You really are gifted!

    We never had a pool like this, but we had several smaller ones. Then, three years ago, just as our kids were getting to the point where they never hung out at home anymore, my husband decided to go all out and get an adult-sized Big Blue. We now have a permanent, above ground, 18×33 pool in our back yard. I was never much of a swimmer, but I have to say that I totally love it. There’s nothing like floating your cares away on a hot summer day.

    One perk of a Big Blue of any size: A whole lot less yard to mow!

    Enjoy the pool!

  8. I agree with Val. I was laughing through this post, especially part of ‘desperately hot child”! We grew up with really big blue pools, and one even had an excavated underground area so half the pool was over our heads. It kept us 5 kids very happy! Now I just went to KMart and bought a tiny blue pool, 7 ft square and 2.5 ft high. Perfect for the occasional heat waves, and then you can dump it out and get your yard back. But since my small yard is not level, it doesn’t work as good as it could. enjoyed this post!

  9. OHHHH I’m jealous. Our yard is small and on a continual slope! My teenager goes to his brother’s apartments’ pool when he wants to swim. I have only been to the beach twice. No freshwater swiming YET! I think its criminal!

  10. We have that pool, too. It was awesome to cool down on the hot days. But we are in Okklahoma in the middle of a streak of record breaking heat and with so many days hovering between 105 and 110 it is now as if we have a giant bathtub in our backyard because the water is so warm – it was 91 degrees yesterday. And with water restrictions in place we cannot dump water and add more. Augh!!

    But at least a wet and splashy 91 is better than a dry and sunny 111!!

  11. LOL at the ‘Smurf Pool’. Be thankful… A: it’s warm enough to need it. Chilly here…. had to get out the jeans yesterday; and B: that Cody is still young enough to WANT to be at home with mom in his smurf pool. One day you’ll be lookin’ for ways to junk up your walker and be longing for the smurf pool days! xo

  12. Hi Donna, We have a pool too. Only ours is stained with dirt on the outside and doesn’t look as nice as yours. Its also smaller – 3ft deep and 12 ft across. It sits in front of our sunroom which is in one half of our garage. The kids LOVE it. I hardly go in. We live in Calgary, so the weather is terrible. One day it’s hot, the next day it’s chilly and raining. Hate the weather here!! I’m hoping we get a decent summer. I’m on holidays for two weeks starting Friday and would love it to be nice!! Have a great day. : )
    ~ Catie

  13. Ahhhh, yes! I did forget to mention, level ground is a must. I take that part for granted.

    #18 TracyMB, I have the opposite problem. The boy won’t leave the yard. ๐Ÿ™‚

    #19 Catie, yes the outside does get stained up abit. I was scrubbing that with special cleaners like crazy once it was up and wasn’t all that successful. But I won’t give up! If it’s gonna be big and blue, I want it shiny and pretty too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The 4′ x 15′ is big enough to enjoy your floating lounger AND have your 12 yr old kiddo be able to have a decent swim at the same time. The 3′ x 12′ was a good starter but it’s the depth that made all the diff as they grow. It went from a ‘baby pool’ to a small adult pool. I don’t have to get down on my knees in this one.

    If you live in a hotter region, these guys will help you enjoy your yard again in the summer. It’s very hard to be without once you’ve had it. It now feels like a total waste of sunshine to have to go inside to stay cool when you can actually be cooler outdoors when in the water. ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. #21 banclothing, yes, it does, but not the first year. Each year the grass diminishes more and more. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t bother reseeding because the trampoline sits over top that spot, then is moved for the pool once again. It actually works out for easy trimming underneath the tramp! Talk about an optimistic approach, huh?

    #22 Rhonda, NO idea when summer will arrive if ever. I have to work anyway so it can get hot may be in a week or two. ๐Ÿ™‚


  15. Donna we put up a 15′ Doughboy back in 1979 and my kids loved it. We built a deck around it with a wood fence and put a pool slide on the deck. My kids had a blast every Summer. Back then not too
    many people had above ground pools and people
    would stop by to see ours. People I didn’t know would come up the steps and scare the pooh out of me. We kept that pool for 25 yrs.,yep 25yrs. I had no idea my grandchildren would swim in it. My youngest was 3yrs. old when we put it up. That was the best investment ever. I hope you and your son have as much fun in that pool as we did in ours.
    Kids don’t stay little long so enjoy him while you can. If you don’t kill the grass underneath before you put the pool up it will stink when it starts dying. We then put sand, then back poly plastic sheeting before we put the pool up.
    It is very hot here in Louisiana so the whole family went to my son’s house and swam in his
    inground pool.

  16. Oh darlin’ – the things we sacrifice for our kids. I REALLY broke down this year though….I’ll see your blowup deal and raise you a full out installed by contractor behemoth. I’ve been sweating it out on the pool top drinking beer to forget how ugly my yard is now ๐Ÿ™

    see here:

    I remember BC days when the sun would come out and all those who wear black and shades in November running to their Starbucks patios because they didn’t recognize the big burning orb ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’re a good Momma.

  17. It rained so much in May and the beginning part of June that we never even had to put a hose in our pool this year. We have an inground, so it only has to fill up that last foot or so. We’ve definitely been giving the pool it’s paces though because it’s been steamy hot lately. Love the pics of your son in the pool while it was filling. SB & his best friend, the Princess do that in her smurf pool each year when her parents set it up. Thanks for sharing.

  18. lol very cute post! thank you for the laugh, i really needed it today. as i was leaving work i noticed that someone must have backed into my car – the car that i bought less than 2 months ago with the money i earned from my first big job after graduating – and there’s a big dent and scratch on the back corner! not sure how long it’s been or where it happened.

    so as i said, the laugh really did me good. thank you and enjoy your pool =)

  19. oh I want one of those smurf pools!!! however, our yard is very sloped, and also, we have a lot of shaded spots. It wouldn’t really warm up the water enough. (kinda “dold” where we live, in New England.) Pool season is SHORT here, but I still want one!

  20. I have been following for just a short time, but it is THE BLOG, I have to read everyday. Even if there is not a daily post, I visit. I read your story, on when you moved into the house from h__.
    I am so impressed with your fortitude, determination, and thankful that your prayer was answered. Love you!

  21. Yes, I have a blue thing in my backyard. I agree, the 4’x15′ is an excellent size. No longer the kiddie variety. I actually have a post in draft that I’m posting later this week on it (no tutorials though, just thoughts on the darn thing).

    We used to have the blow up ring type, but this year bought one of the metal frame ones. Now they do have the metal frame ones in a more decor friendly putty color, but it was more expensive (hence, we have the blue variety). Not sure why a nicer color makes it more expensive?

  22. Use to have one of those… but then… the kids grew up, moved away and have backyards of their own… Enjoy the time… it moves away so quickly, and you can never get it back… you can, however, get the garden back… years from now… when the big huge blue thing is no longer needed for endless hours of summer fun…

    summer blessings. Dixie

  23. My sister has had an inground for over 30 years….when my 3 kids were small we were there everyday…I do mean everyday… we live 15 miles apart and my married daughter still takes her twins 5yrs olds there a few times a week… many memories in that cement pond……that is worth so much…enjoy this time….we do not get another chance

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