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How to Fill an Inground Pool With Dirt

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Backyard swimming pools are fun and relaxing, but the time and expense of maintaining them can be taxing. If you’ve had enough of your pool and want to get rid of it, total demolition is not necessary. Consider covering the pool with dirt and laying down a lawn. Unless you have a jackhammer and experience using one, you’ll need to hire a contractor to break up your pool and level the rim. Expect to pay thousands for the dirt fill unless you have a cheap or free source already lined up.

Inspect the pool area and review the property blueprints to determine where utility lines are located. Buried electric and telephone cables, gas pipes and plumbing need to be located before any digging begins. Shut and close off any water pipes going to the pool. Remove pipes that are near the surface.

Remove pool hardware such as slides or metal stairs. Remove any decking, rails and wooden stairs. Use hammers and crowbars to pry wood apart or use screwdrivers if decks were constructed using screws. Consider doing a neat job so you can reuse or sell the wood.

Make several holes in the bottom and sides of the empty pool using the jackhammer. Knock out chunks of the base and sides to provide adequate drainage and help settle the pool structure after it is filled with dirt.

Use the jackhammer to break up the rim of the pool to below the level of the surrounding yard. Discard pool remnants into the bottom of the pool, but try not to cover the holes.

Bring in dirt and load it into the pool. Use rocky dirt and spread each load out over the base. Compact the dirt with a tamper or step on it and press it down as you spread each layer. Continue in this manner until the dirt is almost level with the rest of the yard. Complete the last layer with topsoil and install grass sod on top.


Find out about permits and restrictions for filling in swimming pools in your area. Laws in your area may require you to disclose the previous existence of an inground pool. Choose contractors who own their equipment and offer detailed bids.


Use extreme caution when digging around buried electrical cables and plumbing.

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