Deeper than you should want it.  The traditional above ground pool has a 52” to 54” wall, which is already a foot deeper than the shallow end of the traditional inground pool.

As long as you promise that you will never ever allow anyone to ever dive into your pool, there is a way to make it deeper; by making the middle of the pool deeper with a dish-out, or an expandable liner.

With a dish-out, you use the liner that comes with the pool and add 6” to 18” depth to the middle of a pool, with a shallow slope.  The bigger the pool, the deeper you can go.  Be careful, though, most pool stores use 52” overlap liners in their 54” pools because they are cheaper, and they still fit.  However, that leaves very little room for error, and you won’t be able to “cheat” so much extra out of it.  If you are doing a dish-out, start with the right liner.  With an expandable liner, you can go down 12” to 36”, but there will be wrinkles.  With both of these options, you at least have the opportunity to keep more shallow water at the edge, for children.

If you use a snap-in or beaded liner, don’t try to dish-out.  That type of liner has no room for adjustment.