DIY pvc Pool Shelf

To say it’s been hot here in the Carolinas would be an understatement- I can’t remember the last day below 90. The only thing we miss from our apartment in Matthews, NC is the pool and the ability to spend hot weekend afternoons floating for hours. Although our master plan of an above ground pool and deck were not in the budget this year, we found a great deal on an Intex Easy Set pool. We got the 15’x48″ and despite a few false starts due to uneven ground and the need for a closer electrical outlet, we are up and running. Best. Decision. Ever.

One drawback to not having decking around your pool is that there is no place to put things you want access to but that can’t get wet. We have an inflatable cooler (purchased for long canoe trips) to hold our drinks, but it wasn’t safe for phones and speakers. After seeing a few other designs online I made a DIY pvc pool shelf with shade! Here’s how I made it, if you too want to add some storage to your above ground pool without decking.

The project used 6 5’x3/4″ pieces of pvc, 4 4′ rebar, and a few pieces of decking from Ikea. I snagged a set of 8 pieces of plastic decking from Ikea for $5 in the as-is section, but you could use any plastic or wood square.

How to assemble:

Measure the height of the pool and cut 4 pieces of PVC that height. You’ll also need 10 pieces of 10″ pvc (adjust based on the dimensions of your shelf), 2 pieces of 2′ and 2 pieces of 12″ length. I used a reciprocating saw to cut the pvc since the cuts didn’t need to be perfect.

On top of two of the long pieces slide on a 90* cross tee (looks like a cross). Use a 10″ piece to connect the two Long pieces, and secure one to each of the sides facing the same way. On the other side the the tee, put the 2′ sections of pvc (these will be your towel bars.) Using 90* elbows, make the front of the bottom shelf with another 10″ piece.

Use the 12″ sections in the top of the tee then secure a 90* side outlet fitting on top of each one. Using the remaining 3 10″ pieces, complete the top shelf. Note that the top shelf not only adds another spot to put things, but also shades the bottoms shelf, protecting things like phones from overheating. After using it a bit, we’re thinking of adding some outdoor fabric to connect the shelves on one side due to the direction of the sun in the afternoon.

From the two 2′ pieces, secure 90* elbows facing down, then attach the remaining two long pieces to them creating the last two legs.

I used zip ties to secure the plastic decking to the pvc, but you may need to use screws depending on what you use for the shelving.

Using a hammer, drive the 1″ rebar about 5″ into the ground wherever you want the legs of your shelf. Slide the completed shelf over the rebar and check for stability. You may prefer to widen the base if it’s wobbly. Perfecto, you have yourself a convenient pool shelf!

We used the IKEA decking at the base of the ladder to keep feet clean. We have a solar camp shower that’ll hang from the new shelf for washing feet off before entering as well.

If you try this project I’d love to see how it came out and any improvements you make on the design! Happy summer y’all!


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