Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pool Start To Finish

Some members at forums requested a start to finish of our pool project. Considering it was a 4 year process I'll try and recreate it. We didn't start out planning to make a "psuedo-below ground pool" so that's why it took a somewhat circuitous route and I will point out areas I think we should have done differently in hind sight.

2012: A friend said she had a pool she didn't want anymore and would Rylie and I like it. Ok sure. Before this my husband wasn't keen on the idea of a pool. Well by the time it was dragged into the backyard it had like 10 leaks that I patched but could never get to stay. It was a sad, sad pool.

My dream was to have an in-ground pool like the collage I made below:

My husband felt that pool above was awful and so he consented to a new Intex Ultraframe 12'x24'x54" above ground pool to "try-out" pool ownership. Sounded great to me. And much cheaper with less commitment. So I ordered the below pool end of June 2012 from Wal-mart because they had the best deal and it was supposedly in stock for home delivery. But it didn't arrive and then it was said to be on back order but would be here 2nd week of July. It didn't arrive until July 25th! And then, not before it arrived but after, my husband says so how do you plan to level the backyard. Huh? Level? Is that something I can do with a shovel? No he say's it really needs to be done with a back ho or bobcat. 
I think he was being passive aggressive at that point. But he underestimated me. I called up a friend I knew could bring one over and he brought it over 2 days later. HAHA!!!! But I never dreamed they would resculpt the WHOLE back yard so soon not a bit of grass left. 

Fuel line sprouted leak in first loader. 
Luckily, friend had another one and this one had an electronic level thing so really leveled yard perfectly.

Pool up finally!

Rylie getting in for first time!

Rainy days ruin our fun!
I don't think it ever rained that much until we got a pool. I know for sure we are setting a record this year. So 2012 summer ended with our pool like this. My husband though said he didn't like how it just sat there and was this huge thing in back yard so let's take it down and next year put in 2 feet or so in the ground so it's not so there.  Ok so we stored it in garage for winter. Our garage is not heated by the way. 

2013! Well there's been little movement I felt to start digging this hole for the pool so I started doing it myself with a shovel. 

, Hand digging....

I told my husband one Saturday morning this is never going to happen with just me digging. I have moved 65 wheelbarrows of dirt and look how far I have gotten. He dug with me for half and hour and declared this is crazy, I'm going to rent another ditch witch. There your have it. Sometime in this process he also decides and we're not just putting it down 2 feet, let's try 4 feet. Gulp!

I researched and researched to see if it had been done and couldn't find anyone brave enough but he was determined. Our neighbor behind us even thought we were crazy and just asking for a cave in. I didn't know he planned on having retaining walls to hold back the dirt. 

Well we didn't get the hole completely dug in a weekend because it started raining. 
In fact, I'd say from the above picture we didn't get too far. The next dry weekend (took 2-3 weeks for that to dry out because it kept raining), we rented it again and we were determined to get the hole dug. Or I should say my husband was determined. That was July 11, 2013 I believe when we finally got the hole deep enough with the heavy equipment. 

I had came up with the extended ramp idea for getting the witch out and still getting the hole completed without having to hand dig out the ramp. 
This gives you an idea how deep it was and we still  had to hand dig a lot to get the walls vertical. 

The second night it started raining when my husband was using an attachment on the ditch witch to auger out the holes where the posts would go for the retaining walls. In retrospect, he should have drove it out of the hole as soon as the rain started but he was so close to done he didn't want to quit. Getting that machinery out of the hole when the ramp was wet? It was ugly. We had to throw down peices of old carpet, wood scraps, 2 peices of trellis meant for garden fence, and somehow he got it out without serious bodily harm. Several times it almost fell back on him. So I'm not a big fan of the walk behind ditch witch. But our friend with the Bobcats had switched jobs and they were no longer readily available. 

Here's another member of that was doing a similar thing and started after us. They're retaining wall is pretty sweet but also much more expensive to build. 

Cool Retaining Walls for Pool Unfortunately they haven't posted their final pool to see how it all turned out.

When it came time to put the pool in we realized it was going to take a lot of sand to fill the bottom of our hole and protect the liner. This is what 20 tons of sand looks like. Another great work out... wheelbarrowing it into the hole. Mostly done by my stepson Joe. 

20 tons of sand

Then comes putting the pool up in the hole. I think I actually had that on video at one point. 

Rylie was totally psyched to finally be in the pool!

Good thing we leveled the yard in 2012 huh? LOL!
So 2013 ended with the pool in the hole and we backfilled in the dirt around it. 

See the braces, there were deeper ones as well.

2014 summer begins the deck construction. 

We do not agree on pool ladders by the way. So we still have both. 
After deck was done so much sawdust and clay dirt had fell in that the pool water was brown and I couldn't get it to filter out to save my life. So I emptied it in the fall and scrubbed it clean. 


 I honestly wanted the pool ladder with steps for getting our dogs in and out of pool. But this May we found a different kind of visitor was loving our pool.


Unfortunately we thought they were gone when we hadn't seen them for two weeks then discovered the poor female trapped between the liner and retaining wall. So we laid down these tarps and made her a ramp and she climbed out. She may have had a nest down there but we couldn't see it if she did. At first we thought she was injured because she wouldn't leave pool and the male would fly away but she never flew higher than a few feet and not out of pool So we called animal control and actually got her out of pool again using tarps but when they saw her they felt she was fine. She left the yard while they were here and never returned. I cleaned out the pool immediately and filled it and covered it so she couldn't get back in if she returned. 
Rylie in the water a couple weeks later. It was only May and it was coooooooooold! 65 degrees I believe. 
Covered to thwart the duck return. 
Old patio broken up and weeds returning where we once had grass.

Uh oh lots of rain led to algae bloom.
Clean again.
Pat bought more floats then could possibly ever be used in the pool at one time. 

So all that work and we definitely enjoy it. I haven't got keeping it clean totally down yet. I think the problem would be solved by getting an aquabot. And you really need to test it at least every other day until you're sure it's all working. The salt water chlorine generator worked great the first year we had it. But these last two years it keeps saying low salt. The current salt level is 4000 ppm and it still shuts off saying low salt. I think I have to clean the copper element and it'll work. But I haven't wanted to go to all that trouble when I can keep the pool clean just adding a couple jugs of liquid chlorine ($7 cost) a week and put it off longer! But I need to do it once and for all and be done with it. 
So I think an automatic pool cleaner was needed next so just bought this Intex one on the cheap off Ebay. Many a pool owner told me it was worth it even a cheap one. In fact most started with a cheap one and a few years later upgraded. 

Also, today tried to get dogs in but they weren't too comfortable. Doggy Daycare Pool Time was what I was originally thinking but that takes construction and maybe all they need is a stable rest area. So I'll bring home some shelving for the dogs to have a rest area like this owner did.

But possibly a ramp as well and some type of retractable cover so I don't spend all my time getting the leaves out either and to keep the heat in. The warmest it's ever been is 80 degrees. Or we'll have to get a heater. Not that Rylie and I mind, it's the boys that are wusses.

Also need a new volleyball ours has several holes. Then Pat needs a new rigging for the volleyball net poles. He has a plan of course.

Oh and this would be fun and be better for playing HORSE than how Rylie and I played today.
Ok that's all folks!

I wish I'd snapped a picture when we were all in it today. But it's hard because whenever Pat and Joe are in a war always erupts. Poor Rylie, Des and I had to hide behind floats and each other. I finally had the great idea to grab the hose and cool them off. Just like training cats!

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