Creating a Deck Around an Above-ground Pool or Spa

Reference Number: KB-00852
Last Modified: October 25, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


My clients need a deck built around their existing above-ground pool. How can I design it for them in Chief Architect?

Outside above ground pool in deck


You can easily drop a pool or spa into a deck by specifying part of the deck room as "Open Below".

To drop a pool into a deck platform

  1. Open the plan in which you would like to position a pool or spa in a deck platform.   

  2. If you have not done so already, select View> Library Browser  from the menu, then select an above ground pool to place in your plan. Move your cursor into the drawing area and click to place the pool at that location.

    Symbol of above ground pool being placed in a plan

    • A selection of pools and related objects can be found by navigating to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Exteriors> Recreation> Pools, Spas, & Waterfront> Pools.  

    • In this example, we are using the Oval Above Ground Pool - Large.  

  3. Using the Select Objects  tool, click on the pool to select it, then click the Open Object  edit button.

  4. On the General panel of the Fixture Specification dialog that opens:  

    Fixture Specification dialog showing Height value of pool 

    • Specify the size of the actual pool used in your project.  

    • Make a note of the pool's Height value

    • Make any other desired changes, then click OK.  

  5. Select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Deck Railing  from the menu, then click and drag to draw deck railings around the pool, creating a Deck room.  

    Straight Deck Railing drawn around the pool to make a Deck room 

  6. Using the Select Objects  tool, click on the deck railings and move them as needed to create a deck of the desired size and position.  

  7. Select Build> Wall> Room Divider  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a second enclosed room following the pools perimeter as demonstrated below.

    Room Divider wall used to trace around the pool

    • If your pool is round or has rounded edges, you can instead use the Curved Deck Edge  tool and then make your railing walls invisible.

    • To learn how to create a perfectly round room, see the Related Articles section at the bottom of this article.

  8. Using the edit handles, position the room divider walls or deck edges to align with the outside edge of the pool.  

    Align walls of room with outside edges of pool

    A room divider wall may automatically be created when drawing a room inside of another room. This is to avoid an issue with creating open below rooms inside other rooms.

  9. Using the Select Objects  tool, click in an empty space in the larger rectangular deck room to select it, then click the Open Object  edit button.

  10. On the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog that opens, specify the Floor as the same or slightly less than the pool's Height value, then click OK.

    Room Specification of Deck with a Floor value of 50 inches

    In this example, the pool's Height is 55 7/8", and the Floor height for the deck is specified as 50".  

  11. With the Select Objects  tool still selected, click in the smaller room that encompasses the pool to select it, then click the Open Object  edit button.

    It is likely that you will select the pool instead of the room first. Click the
    Select Next Object  edit button or press the Tabkey until the room is selected. 

  12. In the Room Specification dialog that opens:

    • On the General panel, select Open Below from the Room Type drop-down list.

    • On the Structure panel, uncheck Roof Over This Room.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes.

  • Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Overview  from the menu to see the results.

    Perspective Full Overview of pool inside of the deck