Zachary's Pool

MEandALApril 2, 2005

Hello everyone!!!

I finally got pictures loaded and am posting them here. I've been following this forum for several months now and figured it was time I started sharing our progress. I've loved watching everyone's pools take shape and reading all of the input given has been very helpful to us.

The not-so-basic pool we are doing is 18' X 36', 3.5' to 8.5' deep. It will be a free-form pool with a hidden/recessed track auto-cover, panel and hand carved rock work around the back side acting as a retaining wall, waterslide (recently added to the plans), and cantelevered decking hanging over the auto-cover track shaped to match the free-form interior. We started in January and probably won't finish until the end of May (due mostly to the rock-work). I will keep adding pics as we progress. Thanks to everyone so far for all the great ideas I've gotten from this forum.

-AL (Alison)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics

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What-no child labor laws in California--bobcat operator looks way too young!!! Cute kid!! Pool looks good, can't wait to see more pics.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 9:13AM
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GREAT photos! Interesting how you can do a freeform shape but still work an auto-cover into the design. I learned something new (and I've been hanging around this forum for awhile)! :D

Can't wait to see the handcarved rock, etc. the 'cat operator Zachary? He's adorable!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 9:38AM
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Zachary is the operator. He's two and a half and our only one so far. We asked him if he wanted to go to college or get a pool....he said "POOL!!!".

We should be getting the concrete poured sometime next week, I will post updated pics as things move along. Thanks for looking :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 12:23AM
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Al - I'm glad you came started sharing your progress, but I dearly wish you had done so sooner, since - like Melissa - I learned something that I would have loved to have known sooner. We went with a straight rectangular pool because we wanted an automatic saftey cover. I had never seen a freeform design within a rectangular pool quite like yours. I would have loved something like that because - in addition to adding visual interest - it would have provided a place for tiny hands to hold on to when they swim up to the raised bond beam. We're having the builders put in some exercise/safety bars, but yours would have been a much more elegant solution. Oh well - next pool.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 12:47AM
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We've just been given all the negatives about an automatic cover including the fact that it has to be pumped out every time there is a rain! For us children will be a sometime occurrence, but that doesn't mean that their safety isn't a high priority. Is our contractor giving it straight about an automatic cover. Also, how did you manage a cover with a free form pool? We are doing vinyl so that might be different as well.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 9:02AM
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What we were told was that when there is heavy rain to leave the cover open. There is maintenance with a cover but there are also many benefits, which for us outweighed the negative factors (maintenance and cost). With any type of pool cover there is maintenance involved and if you compare the auto-cover to a manual solar cover or blanket the auto cover is more convenient IMO. We have a large oak tree which dumps year round (leaves, twigs and medium/large acorns). Our neighbors are constantly having to maunally clean their pool. At some point I convinced myself that I would rather sweep the top of a cover off than try to scoop acorns off the bottom of an 8.5' deep pool. The cover will also help with water and chemical evaporation and should help keep some of the heat in overnight.

As far as safety nothing is 100%. When it rains either the pool will be open or there might be water puddled on the cover which a small child could drown in. My husband and I both didn't want a fence around the pool or the hassle of a mesh cover so the auto-cover is what we decided on. Nothing can replace supervision and swim lessons.

The other thing for us was that we had already decided on the hand carved rock to serve as a retaining wall (getting a retaining wall alone was going to cost us over 25/k). All but one of the builders we had met with after deciding on an auto-cover told us a rectangle was all we could get. The builder we went with knew what to do to get us a somewhat free form pool. It will still be generally rectangular but have the edges softened up with small curves. I'm hoping with all the rocks behind the pool that you won't notice just how rectangular the pool still is. The rocks are going to be suspended over the pool as is the concrete decking. Once we have the decking poured sometime next week the shape should be much clearer.

Arielitas mom - Sorry I didn't post sooner, I also didn't know you could do a free form shape with an auto-cover and like I mentioned above neither did most of the builders we talked to. Honestly, I still have a little reservation about it "I'll believe it when I see it". We are paying a premium for what we are doing and it is a pretty complicated process. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. - AL

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 1:12PM
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Your yard looks great! That oak is incredible, and beautiful!

Where are you located, it looks really beautiful.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 1:47AM
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Thank you Soggy6.....We are in Brentwood, CA (not O.J.'s but the No.Cal suburb about 1 hr east of San Francisco). The oak is what sold the house for me, that and the lot size (which is what sold it for my husband, room for a pool and a second garage). We are on the corner of a newer development and surrounded mostly by acre parcels. For me it is the best of both worlds, we have the view of living in the country and the modern conveniences and cost of a suburb home. The people around us might eventually sell out to developers but hopefully not any time soon. For now I will enjoy the view and pray that even if the people behind us sell out that nobody cuts down the oak tree. - AL

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 12:22PM
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Hey MEandAL, I can't wait to see your pool. I hired Jess Pools last week and we were talking about your pool. It is going to be so cool. Jeff seems to be very excted as well since this is something new for him. We are waiting for our plans to be finished, but won't get started till the end of the year (house still being built). I love your oak, it is awesome. We are moving to Livermore for the bigger lots. We currently live in Dublin and our lot is way to small for a pool. I am very impatient having to wait till the end of the year for a pool, but at least I can do all my homework and this forum has been such a great help. Any adive you can give me would be great. Are you guys going with a SWS or chlorine? Yoda

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 12:51AM
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Hi Yoda...congratulations on the new house and pool! You are welcome to see our pool in person although there isn't much to see right now. We should have concrete decking in a week or two then they will start on the rocks and waterslide which should be an interesting process. Just email me if you are going to be in Brentwood and want to stop by.

We are not going with the salt system due to the autocover. The salt won't go well with the aluminum recessed tracks, so we've been told. My first choice was a salt system but I guess we'll have to settle for regular chlorine.

What style pool are you going for? Any idea yet on what you want for size, depth, color, etc.? It must be hard planning a house and a pool at the same time. Are you going with a tract home or custom? With a tract home it is hard to do anything because you technically don't own the house until it's finished (we bought new out here). I sympathize with your impatience but you are right in that it will give you plenty of time to do your homework and get a clear picture of what you want. Good luck with everything and keep us updated to your progress. - AL (Alison)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 12:40AM
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Hey, the decking looks great. I'm so interested in your design. Please make sure you keep posting pictures. I can't wait to see the finished pool.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 12:45AM
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We've got concrete!!!

Took over a month but here it is:

All I can say about the edge is crazy wavy...not quite what I intended but once the rocks are up I don't think I will notice as much. The concrete shape matches the pool which got a little curvy during gunite. In about a week or two they will start the slide then the rock panels, I'll post more pics as we progress. Thanks for looking. :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 1:09AM
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I love the concrete curvy thing makes it look very original.. can't wait to see it done

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 2:12PM
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They finally started on the rock work and waterslide. I posted some new pictures in our Photobucket album. They will gunite the slide and waterfall area on Monday 5/23. Afer that they will be working on the rocks for a while. I'll keep adding pictures as we progress. There are also some pictures of our ongoing deck and patio cover project which should be somewhat finished in the next week (less the benches and facia).

Here is a link that might be useful: photo album

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 11:05AM
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Great photos! The slide looks like it will be a lot of fun!
Our neighbors are almost done w/their rocks (I didn't realize it is a 5-step process!) and then their slide will need to be coated.

Thanks for the updated photos!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 1:49AM
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Here is our slide and waterfall after gunite.

Here is a link that might be useful: slide

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 1:37AM
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We're almost done!!! They just need to do some touch up, clean up and stain the rocks on Friday. Our pebble is scheduled for Aug 1st but we may be able to get it bumped up if we can pass inspection on Monday. After it's full they'll finish installing the cover, resin the slide and I'll spend the next ten years landscaping. Below is the most recent picture and the link to our photobucket album with more updated photos. I will take more after they stain the rocks on Friday.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rocks & Waterslide photo album

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 1:48PM
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Hi all...I just dropped in and saw that we were about to fall off the edge. I will get back shortly with some updated pics, it's been too cold (water is down to 68) and I've been too busy to think much about swimming. I wish we had done solar this year, it's depressing to look at the pool and not jump in it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 3:25AM
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Glad you're still around. Have you done any landscaping?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 10:05AM
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No landscaping yet, the only changes since the last pics in our photobucket album have been the finish added to the slide (no more blue slide) and the autocover installed. We went with the salt water chlorinator and within a week it was eating away at the leading edge bar of the autocover. Something about the bar being negatively charged and the salt water being positively charged (or the other way around). We took the bar off to get powder coated so we can't use the cover right now and I didn't get any good pics of it while it was working. When we get it back on next week I will get some new pics uploaded. I've been swamped with work (by choice, the new payments because of the pool have become reality) and I haven't had much time to read all the posts. Maybe this winter when work slows down and this forum isn't moving so fast I'll get somewhat caught up on reading threads.
P.S. Carol, I'm glad you're still around too. :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 12:55PM
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