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I purchased a 15' x 48" above ground Bestway steel frame (Bestway Steel Pro Max). I'm looking at the instructions, which say "Do not assemble with pool legs on soft lawn. If you must assemble the pool on a soft surface, timber boards (not included) must be placed under the feet of the vertical support rods for even weight distribution."

What in the world is a "soft lawn"? I was planning on putting it on a sparse lawn (it's very shaded, so grass doesn't grow very well there). I have a thick tarp to help with evening the ground. My current issue is with gumballs from a gumball tree that I'm clearing as best I can. But it is earth: some small sticks, stones, dirt, grass, etc. And since it's not concrete or timber, is it "soft"?

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The concern the manufacturer is apparently trying to address is stability. Given the weight of that quantity of water the posts (or worse yet, some of them) may sink into a soft lawn possibly causing one side of the pool to collapse. This is even more likely if the pool base isn't completely level.
Given the surface conditions you describe I can't see that as a high risk but you have to determine that since you are the one on site. It's another case of the manufacturer playing CYA.
Having said that, it's not a big deal to put a piece of 2x6 under each post just to be certain. I think more important is getting the area as level as possible before you fill it.

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  • This is the correct answer, the support poles are thin and will sink into a soft surface causing instability. The manufacturer should have referenced any soft surface rather than "soft lawn", but that is probably a really common place to set it up and lawns are usually well watered, making them soft. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 10 '20 at 4:37
  • Can I add the 2x6 later if I see the support poles sinking? – bshor Jun 10 '20 at 19:26
  • Sure you can but you may have to empty the pool to do it. Remember one cubic foot of water weighs 62 lbs. – HoneyDo Jun 10 '20 at 23:55
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While never having professionally installed pools I have been involved with a 1/2 dozen installations. All involved starting with a bed of level compacted masons sand. Most suppliers will know what you need if you tell them it is for a pool base. Since most back yards are not level/even enough, the sand is used to level the ground. Spread 3 inches or so on the high end and spread enough to the low side to build it up to level. The sand should cover an area 6-8 inches wider and longer than the pool. The layer of sand will prevent stones from puncturing the liner. Sprinkle water to dampen and compact the sand. Erect the pool frame per the instructions. Cover any exposed sand with pea stone gravel to prevent erosion of the sand.

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  • Our neighbor just removed their above ground pool. There's still a large circle of sand in the yard that they've yet to scrape up. I'd recommend the sand base. – FreeMan Jun 10 '20 at 12:51
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My experience with above ground pools would be it is good on a lawn, who can say soft or otherwise. This prevents some solid and damaging surfaces like asphalt from being used. Asphalt is really rough on the liners and with no give the standards or uprights can slip when someone jumps in and that side collapses, soft soul holds agents movement and I think that is the real issue.

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