Swimming pools are a great addition to a big back yard, creating a great way to spend time together as a family and get in some super fun exercise! It isn’t the easiest building project, however. The average cost of a swimming pool, even if you’re building it yourself, is about $25,000. Keep in mind that in most cities, you will not be allowed to build the pool yourself as you need to be a certified and licensed builder in order for the pool to be considered up to code. With these things in mind, get started with Step 1 to see what you can expect from the building process.

1. Design the pool.

You’ll want to start by designing the pool that you want to build. Will it be round? Square? How deep will it be? What color do you want the pool to be? The more complex the design, the higher the cost.

2. Get a permit.

Get a contractor lined up and apply for a permit with your local city. You might also have to apply with your local home owner’s association, as not all neighborhoods allow pools. Your contractor may be able to do both of these things for you, if they are an experienced and qualified service.

  • Keep in mind that in some areas, pools are taxed extra and you could get in a lot of trouble for failing to register your pool with the city. It can be viewed as tax evasion.

3. Excavate the area.

Rent the necessary construction equipment (usually at least a backhoe) and dig out the area where the pool will go. It is important to have your permit from the city at this point, as you don’t want to risk running in to utility lines you didn’t know about.

4. Grade the ground.

You’ll want to even out the ground as much as possible along what will become the bottom of the pool. This will make building the walls and putting in the floor much easier. There are many ways to grade the ground but if you are using a sloping floor, you’ll definitely want someone with experience to do this.

5. Frame the walls.

With the hole excavated and the land graded, you’re ready to start putting in the walls. Start by framing the walls with wood and metal rebar. Make sure to keep the walls even and in line with each other.

6. Put in the plumbing.

Get a licensed plumber to come in and add in the necessary plumbing for the pool. You will need to create a supply and filtration system which meets the codes for your area. Only a plumber with pool experience should be hired as an inexperienced one can ruin your pool.

7. Run the electricity.

Get an electrician to run power to your pool if it is needed for lights or the filtration system. This is another time where it is important to hire a professional, as you can imagine what bad wiring plus water leads to.

8. Pour the floor.

With the plumbing and electricity roughed in, you can start building the actual walls and floor. Get a cement truck and pour the floor, grading and smoothing once it is poured. Make sure to pay attention to angle of the floor if making a pool with depth variation.

9. Build the walls.

With the floor in place you can start building the walls. These are often made from cinder block or poured concrete. You will want to discuss the benefits of each with your contractor. Make sure that the walls are constructed with the tops even and at a reasonable level to the surrounding ground.

10. Finish the walls.

Pools need some type of moisture barrier, to keep all of the water from simply leeching out. There are lots of different options so talk to your contractor about what’s right for you. The most common options include:

  • A basic plastic liner
  • A real tile covering
  • A plaster coating
  • A sprayed plastic coating

11. Fill in the outside.

Fill in the outside area behind the walls of the pool. This filling material will vary depending on where you live. Your contractor should be able to advise on the cheapest vs. safest options.

12. Fill the pool.

With the pool complete, you’ll just need to fill it up! Depending on how you had the pool plumbed, you can fill it from your own water supplies or you can have a water supply company come in and fill the pool. Enjoy!