One of the main qualms people have with aboveground swimming pools is that they can stick it in a backyard like a sore thumb. One way to make your above ground pool look like a natural part of your landscape is to build a deck that provides convenience and easy access while enhancing the aesthetic of your backyard (a.k.a. make it look good).
Decks can really improve the area around an aboveground swimming pool and disguise the walls of the pool itself, making it blend seamlessly into the landscape. Decks can be very practical, too, allowing room for swimmers to lounge in deck chairs. You can even make them large enough for grilling and entertaining.
Some aboveground pool dealers offer prefabricated decking systems, usually made out of aluminum. Generally, these prefabricated decks, because they are mass-produced, all look similar and probably won't blend your pool into your landscape. And aluminum decks certainly won't give you that upscale look. Because of this, many homeowners choose to have their decks custom-built (or to do it themselves).
It is easiest to design and build the deck before the swimming pool is installed. Some things to consider are: privacy (if you have a low fence and a tall deck, your neighbors may end up staring at your backside as you wander around your deck), views (you'll probably want the focal point to be your landscape or a territorial view rather than a fence), deck function (do you just need to get in and out of the swimming pool or do you want to entertain?), and accessibility (both pool and deck should be situated close enough to the house for convenience--you don't want to have to run far if a thunderstorm breaks out). While it is cheaper to build a deck yourself, a good builder or designer can help you come up with ideas that will really accentuate both your deck and your pool, giving you the most bang for your buck. Some of the things they may come up with could include: a tiered deck system for drama, exotic woods for beauty, built-in benches and planters for interest, and arbors or pergolas to provide shade from the sun. Once you start thinking about features like these, you can see how your aboveground pool and accompanying deck could be mistaken for the real deal (a custom-designed inground swimming pool).
Keeping the Cost Down with Above Ground Pool Decks
One way to save money with your pool deck is to incorporate it into your existing pool or patio. If that is not possible, or you still need to save money, the best way to economize is to grab a couple of handy friends and do the job yourself. There are some deck systems out there that cater to do-it-yourselfers. Look up DekBrands or Dek-Block piers; using this floating deck foundation system means you don't need to dig post holes.
Aboveground Pool Decks: Best Materials
Wood is the most popular choice among homeowners when it comes to decks, but there are a couple reasons it may not be the best choice for around the swimming pool. The constant splashes from water treated with pool chemicals can take its toll on wood, even old standbys like cedar or redwood. If you really prefer wood and are determined to use it, you want to make sure it is pressure-treated, then painted or stained. Keep in mind, stained wood needs to be reapplied regularly.
Alternative choices for pool decks are composite lumber or plastic. Both materials stand up well to the poolside environment, and both can be made to look quite handsome.
One Last Thing to Keep in Mind
The nice thing about aboveground pools is that most municipalities don't see them as permanent installations, so the building codes are not as stringent. (You may not need an inspection or building permits.) The decks, however, are generally seen as permanent structures. Before you get started, make sure to check the local regulations.
Source: "Gussied up! Aboveground Pools All Decked Out" from the May 2005 issue of Pool & Spa Living