5 Things To Consider When Building A Pool On A Hillside Or A Slope

If you have a hillside or a slope in your backyard, installing a pool can be challenging. However, it is possible with careful planning and a little bit of creativity. Here are 5 common things to consider when building a pool on a hillside or a slope. 

Geotechnical Issues 

There are a number of geotechnical issues to consider when building a pool on a hillside or a slope. These include soil gradation, bearing capacity, shrink and swell potential, lateral earth pressure and groundwater conditions. 

Soil gradation can alter the stability of a foundation structure, potentially resulting in cracking of the pool shell or uneven heaving or settlement of the bottom if the soil swells and shrinks with moisture content change. This can result in significant damage to a pool shell or below grade piping systems. A qualified geotechnical engineer can conduct a study of the site to provide data on these soil properties and recommendations for the structural design of the pool shell. The study involves analyzing soil samples taken from borings drilled on the site.


Terraces are ridges and channels constructed across-the-slope, usually at regular intervals to regulate water flow and storage. This is a soil conservation practice that helps prevent rainfall runoff from accumulating on a steep sloping land surface and causing severe erosion. 

Even though terracing is typically used for crop irrigation, when you’re building a pool on a hillside or a slope, you will need to consider terracing issues as well. If you have a significant slope, terracing can be a very effective solution to help keep your pool level while making it look intentional and beautiful. The best pool builders will be able to design and build a series of retaining walls that divide the slope into multiple levels, creating a gradual step-down effect. 

Retaining Walls 

Retaining walls are a great way to ensure proper drainage and protect your pool from erosion. They are also a very attractive design feature that can be used to create a more distinctive and pleasant space around your swimming pool. Retaining walls can be made from masonry, poured concrete, or stacked stones.  

Infinity Edges 

One of the most dramatic and striking features to consider when building a pool on a hillside or slope is the infinity edge. Infinity-edge pools feature a wall that slopes downward to allow water to fall into a lower catch pool, which is hidden from view. This water is then pumped back into the main pool, creating the waterfall effect. However, do note that they are not for every backyard. If your property has a very steep slope for example, you’ll need serious engineering and support to accommodate the pool, which can add to the cost. 


Drainage is an important element in the construction of any swimming pool and outdoor area. It can prevent water from causing damage to landscaping, decks, patios, and home exteriors. When you’re building a pool on a hillside or slope, it’s a good idea to work with a professional contractor who knows what drainage solutions can best keep your property safe from the hazards of uncontrolled water. There are a number of drainage solutions to consider, including permeable paving, French drains, and catch basin drainage systems. Each system works differently, but all three can keep unwanted runoff water away from your yard, deck, and pool. 

Which Pool Fence Is Best for Me?

Pool fences are critical safety elements for pools to which small children will have access. In many cases, fences are required by building codes to ensure the safety of people around the pool area, especially those young children.

So, how do you know what pool fence is best for your needs? You’ll want to invest in a pool fence of high quality, and you may have a hard time deciding whether you want something permanent or temporary.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common fencing options for pools and what you should consider as you make your decision:

Ultimately, removable mesh pool fencing is probably your best bet for cost, visibility and safety. For more information, contact us at Avanti Pools, Inc.

Pool Fencing Laws in California

If you have a pool, keeping your family and guests safe should be your top priority. Pools are a great way to relax, exercise, entertain and more, but you can’t keep an eye on everyone all the time. Each year, hundreds of children drown or have to visit the emergency room due to pool accidents. That’s why the California Health and Safety Code has specific provisions for pool fencing in Los Angeles, CA. When you plan to build a pool, or buy a home with one, it’s important to make sure it has the appropriate safety features.

California pool safety laws

California Health and Safety Code 115920-115929, also known as the Swimming Pool Safety Act, provides that if you have a pool (defined as a structure for swimming or recreational bathing with water more than 18 inches deep), it needs certain safety features. The laws apply to pools, hot tubs, spas and non-portable wading pools.

Section 11592 dictates that when you get a building permit to build or renovate a pool for a single-family home, you need to protect the pool. That includes the following:

  1. “An enclosure that meets the requirements of Section 115923 and isolates the swimming pool or spa from the private single-family home.”
  2. Removable mesh fencing, which meets American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specifications F2286. It also needs a self-closing, self-latching gate with a key lockable device.
  3. An approved safety pool cover.
  4. Exit alarms on the home doors if they provide direct access to the pool or spa. They can either use an alarm noise or a verbal warning.
  5. “A self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor” on any doors that lead directly to the pool or spa.
  6. An alarm inside the pool that will sound if someone accidentally falls in (or goes in without your authorization). It needs to conform to “ASTM Standard F2208 “Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser and infrared type alarms.”
  7. Another way to protect the pool, if the protection is equal to or greater than those above and meets the appropriate safety testing standards.

If your plans include safety features that meet the standards above, your permit will be approved.

The Act also guides homeowners about the type of enclosures that are permitted. For example, they need to be at least 60 inches (five feet) tall, and can’t have any sort of gaps or footholds that make it easy for children to slip through or climb over. If there are any gaps in the fence (such as between slats), they can’t be more than four inches in diameter, and the fence can only be two inches above the ground.

It might seem like a lot of rules, but when you break it down, it’s just codified common sense.

When you’re ready to build a pool (complete with pool fencing and safety features) in Los Angeles, CA, call Avanti Pools, Inc.