Types of Pools: Above-Ground vs On-ground vs Semi-Onground

Most people think that there are 2 types of pools: above-ground and inground. But as it turns out, the world of swimming pools is much more diverse. 

While shopping for a swimming pool, you may hear a pool dealer mention above-ground, on-ground, and semi-onground swimming pools. This can make choosing a pool challenging – especially for first-time pool buyers. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between above-ground, on-ground, and semi-onground swimming pools so you can make an informed decision on your backyard’s centerpiece.

Types of Pools

The main point to keep in mind when browsing the various types of pools is that the best choice will depend largely on your usage goals and your resources. 

Above-Ground Pools

Above-ground swimming pools are generally the most affordable and easiest to install. Typically made with steel or resin frames, they’re great for those with limited space in their yard or budget that prevents an inground pool installation

They also, generally, require less maintenance and upkeep than their inground counterparts, making them a convenient option for those who want to limit the time and money they spend on pool care.

Many people think that above-ground pools aren’t as durable or as visually appealing as inground pools. Consequently, they’re often mistaken as a temporary solution rather than a permanent fixture in the yard. But this is where a little brand investigation can prove that generalization wrong. 

Doughboy Above-Ground Pools are made with heavier-than-industry-standard steel walls, super strong frames, and heavy-duty vinyl liners that give them the capacity to last for decades either: 

  • standing above the ground as you’re used to seeing them
  • recessed into the ground or within a wooden deck for an inground pool look


On-Ground Pools and Semi-Onground Pools

Now, we enter interesting territory in the realm of pool nomenclature. When you hear a pool dealer use the words “on-ground pool,” does that mean a pool that is resting on the ground or pool that is partially nestled in the ground? It depends on where you are.

In certain parts of the country, you’ll hear pool dealers use the terms “on-ground pools” and “semi-onground” (also referred to as semi-inground pools) interchangeably. At Doughboy, we define “semi-onground” as an installation scheme through which the pool is partially recessed into the ground, with the remaining portion above ground level.

One of the key benefits of a semi-onground pool is that, with its stronger frame and a more solid structure, they can live comfortably in uneven terrain that’s been properly excavated. They can be a great option for those who want a long-lasting pool partially recessed in the ground or nestled in a hillside.

We characterize on-ground pools as those simply resting on top of the ground with no part of the pool recessed. This is the picture you usually conjure up in your mind’s eye when you hear the term “above-ground pool.” However, let’s remember that the terminology can vary from pool builder to pool builder (especially across different regions). Therefore, your best bet is to consult your local Doughboy dealer when clarifying what type of pool you want to install in your backyard.

The Difference of a Doughboy Pool

So where can you install a Doughboy Pool? Above-ground? Semi-onground? The answer is “Both!” The durable materials and leading ingenuity with which we build our pools makes them a good fit for whatever installation scenario you choose, from above ground to partially recessed.

In the end, the choice you make depends on your yard and on what you want to achieve in terms of look and function. Depending on your resources, you may decide a recessed oval pool is the way to go. Or, you may prefer to go with the more traditional, round, above-ground look. In either case, Doughboy maintains a high standard of quality for the look and durability of every pool so you and your loved ones can enjoy generations of family fun.


Which of the types of pools mentioned here are best for you? Contact your local Doughboy dealer today. They’ll help you determine the best size, shape, and installation method based on your goals, budget, and backyard configuration.

  • Steel
  • Resin
  • Hydrosphere

Palm Shore

Round 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′, 32′
Oval 18′ X 12′, 20′ X 12′, 24’ ′ X 12′, 28′ X 12′, 32′ X 12′, 24′ x 16′, 28′ X 16′, 32′ X 16′, 34′ X 18′, 41′ X 21’

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Round 8′, 12’, 16’, 18’, 21’, 24’, 28’
Oval 20’X12’, 24’X12’, 28’x12’ (only 48” sidewall), 32’X12’,
24’X16’, 28’X16’, 32’X16’, 34’X18’ (only 48” sidewall)

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Silver Lake

Round 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′
Oval 20’X12′, 24’X12′, 24’X16′, 28’X12′, 28’X16′, 32’X16′, 34’X18′, 38’X18′ and 41′ x 21′

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Copper Canyon

Round 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′
Oval 18′ X 12′, 20′ X 12′, 24′ X 12′, 28′ X 12′, 24′ X 16′, 28′ X 16′, 32′ X 16′, 34′ X 18′, 38′ X 18′ and 41′ X 21′

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Autumn Breeze

Round: 8′, 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′
Oval:20′ x 12′, 24′ x 12′, 28′ x 12′, 32′ x 12′, 24′ x 16′, 28′ x 16′, 32′ x 16′, 34′ x 18′, 38′ x 18′, 41′ x 21′, 44′ x 12′, 40′ x 16′

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Round:  8′, 12′ , 16′ , 18′, 21′,  24′, 28′
Oval: 24′ x 12′, 24′ x 16′, 28′ x 16′,  32′ x 16′, 34′ x 18′, 38″ x 18′, 41′ x 21′

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Desert Spring

Round 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′, 32′
Oval 18′ X12′, 20′ X12′, 24′ X12′, 28′ X12′, 32′ X12′, 24′ X16′, 28′ X16′, 32′ X16′, 34′ X18′, 38′ X18′, 41′ X21′

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Pearl River

Round: 8′, 12′, 16′, 18′, 21′, 24′, 28′, 32′
Oval: 18′ x 12′, 20′ x 12′, 24′ x 12′, 28′ x 12’ , 32′ x 12′, 24′ x 16′, 28′ x 16′, 32′ x 16′, 34′ x 18′, 38′ x 18′, 41′ x 21′

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Doughboy’s Hydrosphere Series Pools are the perfect solution when recessing your pool 2 feet or more into the ground. Simple Shapes + Simple Installation + Simple Designs = Inground quality at affordable prices.

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