Lyon Financial

Is An Above-Ground or Inground Pool Right for You?

Above-Ground vs Inground Pool

There’s no denying that a backyard pool is an extraordinary addition to your home. Pools provide staycation venues, offer a multi-purpose workout facility, set the stage for family time, and of course function as the centerpiece for special occasions and the best parties of the summer. Even in the colder months when you’re sitting around the firepit, your eye will catch the corner of that tightly bound pool cover, and you’ll find yourself counting the days until you can open the best gift you ever gave your family.

If you don’t yet have a pool and are kind of swaying back and forth between above-ground and inground pools, you’re right to consider all angles. Despite the future decisions that must be made, this is, of course, the most fundamental.

Above-Ground Pools

While the inground alternative can give your yard that resort-style living look, there are plenty of advantages to the alternative.

First off, above-grounds offer instant gratification. You won’t have the same construction interruption you would otherwise have. The pool kit will be delivered right to your yard and will only take a few days for an installation crew to get this amenity up on its feet and filled with refreshing water.

Plus, you can trick it out with decking and railing options that can be part of the initial install or added later; these pools can also be heated. These choices give your aquatic oasis more customization and certainly a wonderful area for poolside lounging.

As far as pool shape, you don’t have the options for the more exotic ones like Grecian or L-Shaped, or even the versatile kidney-shaped pools. Typically oval or round, the only variation would be the size of the oval or round pool.

Above-ground pools are definitely the answer if:

  • You want all the exercise and relaxation advantages pools offer
  • You don’t plan on staying in your home for too long
  • Would like a chance to see if a pool is right for your family
  • You’re not ready to make a more major investment
  • You do sell your home in the future, and if the pool is a deal breaker, it can easily be removed

On the negative side, these structures are considered a temporary addition regardless of the money you invested in everything from the pool to its surrounding embellishments. Also, unfortunately, they generally add no monetary value.

And finally, with depths of either 48 or 52 inches, they prohibit diving, which is a must-have for some homeowners.

In-Ground Pools

The appeal of these beauties is clear. These do add value to your home and offer many months of activities in and around it, especially if your cooler months are limited. The aesthetics of backyard pools are well-known; they create a showpiece around which you can add an outdoor kitchen, a pizza oven, a firepit, a pool house or changing cabana, just to name a few upgrades.

The other advantage of this pool type is customization. There is a dizzying array of choices to be made from the shape to the liner materials to the add-ons like diving boards, slides, baja (sun) shelves, swim-up bars, waterfalls of all kinds, and fire bowls – just to name a few. The decking and paving options are just as robust a selection. Stamped concrete is a versatile choice for a low maintenance material that you can have tailor made.

Whether from your deck or from poolside, an inground pool will enhance your yard’s landscape.


Besides the shape (more on that later) the foundation of your pool may be vinyl or fiberglass while concrete is the most popular. There are two methods for that, shotcrete or gunite. “Shotcrete always refers to wet concrete that’s already fully mixed before it’s shot out of a hose. Gunite is a dry concrete mix that only mixes with water at the end of the nozzle as it’s being sprayed onto its final surface.”

The gunite technique takes a little longer to construct, but you get a lot of shape options. Plus, a layer of textured plaster made from the same material as the gunite gives great effect as it can be colored with a variety of pigments for that splash of color. Vibrant ceramic tiles can be added above the waterline for a touch of drama.

Additional options include fiberglass and vinyl pools. Fiberglass pools get delivered and dropped into your backyard via a huge crane. Although fully built and more quickly installed, you will have limitations on shapes and sizes, but there is still a wide selection from which to choose.

A more affordable option than any of these would be a vinyl pool. Ready to be enjoyed after a week’s time, these pools arrive in a kit like the above-ground pools. Wall panels constructed from a variety of different materials (like galvanized steel, aluminum, or plywood) form the foundation as vinyl liners are installed over them. Here too, you are a bit restricted with pool shape, but like concrete there are choices you can make for colors and patterns.


As far as the all-important shape of the pool, you will find the most flexibility with concrete or gunite ones. Here your imagination can run wild. Your vinyl pools are traditionally rectangular, but there are design nuances (like rounded ends) that can give them some pop. Again, the fiberglass choice falls in to the “pre-fab” category, but the odds are excellent you will find one to suit your style.

The “cons” of inground pools are pretty obvious:

  • The initial installation is a more major investment
  • Cleaning and treatment with the chemicals takes time and money
  • Your electric bill will see a spike
  • Your water bill will see a spike as well as you need to refill to offset evaporation
  • Opening and closing it for the season can be a bit of an undertaking

At the end of the day, you’ll relish the beautiful focal point that is a backyard pool. It’s the place to be! But before taking the proverbial plunge, stop and consider how you wish to use your pool and what type best benefits your long- and short-term goals.

Either way, you’ll wonder how you ever did without your own private Zen zone!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves all kinds of pools. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.