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Our Pool Process - Pics

Posted by home4sale (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 4, 13 at 12:58

Hello,

I have used this forum a lot for different things through the years. My user name reflects a time that we were selling a house -- that was 5+ years ago. We built a custom home in 2010. Now, we have contracted for a swimming pool. I'm nervous and excited both! Nervous -- because our yard is nicely landscaped and I really love my plants!! And of course, a bit nervous for the excavation process and mess soon to be in our yard! Excited, because it's really hot in Texas summers and of course, a pool will be fun!!

We interviewed / got bids from 2 different pool companies. We felt both were very reputable, but one had many more referrals in our area. The other company has more of a presence in other parts of Texas and has just recently opened an office 30 miles away.

We are complete pool newbies - neither of us grew up with pools. I'm not sure what other details are pertinent now. Feel free to let us know what else we need to consider prior to dig -- it has been moved up!! Now scheduled for 6/6/2013!

Here are a few of the specs of our project, we had some minor changes after signing our contract so some things are approx:
Rectangle Pool with automatic pool cover (brand still to be determined - we are looking at 2 companies)
17'x32.5'
Area of Pool 553 sq Ft
Perimeter of Waterline - 100 ft
Depth at Steps - 3.5 feet
Depth at Center - 5 feet
Depth at End - 4 feet
one set of steps (off Tanning Ledge)
Approx Gallons 17,531
2.0 HP Jandy E-Pump
1 Jandy Pool LED
Pneumatically Applied Concrete Gunite
Quartz - Aruba Sky color w 2 bags Abaloni
Colored Bull Nose Pre-Cast Coping, ,6" waterline tile
Polaris 3900 w Pump Pool Cleaner
Fusion-Chlorine
Aqualink w PDA P4
Pool Miser Autofill
2 skimmers
685 SqFt Colored Salt Texture Decking (plans to do concrete overlay to existing patio this fall)
2 bubblers 2 deck jets

1 free standing Arbor

I will also post some pics of the design and our current yard.

This post was edited by home4sale on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 12:14


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Our Pool Process - Pics

More pics
This one shows the tanning ledge better. Top step curves out to 5'. There is a seat the length of the pool at the other end.
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Yellow line shows approx water's edge. Plantings on right side of photo will all be removed and this is where the free standing arbor will be. The Redbud tree has been transplanted to another area of the yard.
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This pic was taken in March before the trees budded out.The area of the pool receives a good amount of shade throughout the day. Only receiving full sun for about 2 hours mid-day. It is completely shaded by 5pm from neighbor's trees.
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This post was edited by home4sale on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 12:17


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Looks awesome, please keep updating with pics, I love seeing them. Did you decide to keep the crape myrtle? The freestanding arbor is cool - that is exactly what I've been talking to DH about adding to our existing pool area, but will likely snowball into a complete pool reno with decking, plaster, tile, etc. to get there.


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We did decide to keep the crepe myrtle. It really wasn't ever a question of tearing down the crepe myrtle for the pool, it was more can we have a pool with that crepe myrtle! We are committed to at least trying it with the Crepe Myrtle there ...if worse comes to worse we can tear it down later. We are having the automatic pool cover, so we are hoping that will cut down on some of the crepe myrtle mess!

Dig was pushed back due to rain here! :(


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We survived dig day! That was quite stressful. It went pretty well, but accessing through my neighbor's yard just took the stress to an entire different level. Plus, husband was on an airplane most of the day and away.

Little problem to work through:
- pool designer didn't consider the length and turning radius of the bobcat. We were told the neighbor's double wide gate would be sufficient to get through. Turns out there was a large tree and the corner of her house and our fence right in the area the bobcat needed to make a turn. That meant taking down our fence and digging out her gate posts and ours too. Not a big deal, and PB seems to be willing to take care of that. But that delayed things about 1.5 hours as they dealt with that issue.

- My neighbor seemed to be quite distraught and stressed about the noise of the day and the damage done. Even though, we tried to prepare her. I just felt so completely bad and it's awkward!!

Positives - No solid rock was hit, meaning no $225/hr rock charges! Our rear neighbor's hit rock and some other neighbors along our block too, so I was kinda expecting something.
- Our job super. was good about managing expectations and actually preparing me for some worst case scenarios. He was very conservative on his promises, and willing to take responsibility when needed for some of their mistakes.

We are trying to think of ways to make it up to our neighbor and let her know that we are going to get her yard taken care of. PB is not responsible for sod, per our contract. Her yard is not irrigated and the majority of area damaged on her property doesn't receive a drop of sunlight. We aren't sure if St. Augustine will even take there! There was previously just mowed weeds!! But she seemed to like it that way. We just need to get something back there that is alive and I think she will be fine. In addition, they had to cut another branch of her tree, and they gouged her tree in another area. I'm sure the tree will survive just fine, but she seem a bit preoccupied about it. All we could do was apologize! She has lived in the house for 50 years and has watched all the trees grow up around her. We are considering offering to plant her another small tree, seed and repair the ruts, and make a donation to a charity of her choice. She is a very simple lady so I don't think a spa gift card would be appropriate in this situation.

Here are a few pics:
Tight squeeze, fence posts on the left were later removed.
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Front yard at the end of the day. Considering we had an inch of rain the day before, I was actually expecting deeper ruts. It's very compacted, so we may have to till it up some.
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The hole.
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Steel and plumbing may happen today. Then, it will probably be at least 5 days before gunite.


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Steel and Plumbing did happen on Saturday. We are waiting for an inspection then gunite scheduling. The yard is more of a mess than after excavation. I wasn't really prepared for that. The plumbing guys dug trenches for all the pipes and clumps of dirt / rocks were just thrown back on top. We have no way to get into our back yard now without traipsing through clumpy dirt. We live on a narrow city lot, and one side of our house (where pool equip is) is also a complete mess. It's making it difficult to store things like recycle/garbage bins, water hoses (necessary since irrigation is off), and other yard stuff. Especially since part of our fence was taken down for the dig and still has not been put back.

PB said that the yard will get even more messy before it gets better. He said to expect clumps of concrete from gunite, and all the form boards ripped off and scattered in the yard.

So, when is the messiest part of this process complete??

Thinking this would have been a lot easier in the winter....

To make it a little more stressful, the city is FINALLY get around to replacing sewer mains at the back of our property in the easement. They need to dig at least one hole about 3' x 8-10' deep!! They have been talking about this project for 10 years. They will probably start in our yard in the next few days!! My poor yard! :( I was having visions that it would all be put back to pretty by end of summer...now I'm having my doubts.


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Not sure anyone is very interested in this thread, but I will continue to post updates a bit more, until I tire of updating. It sure does help to get some feedback or know that someone out there finds it helpful or interesting!

1 week post dig - they completed gunite.
2 days later, they completed the water line tile.

Since then, we have had 2 mornings of rain, and they called off all work for those 2 days.

Pre- tile pic
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You can see the gunite and water line tile a bit in this pic. Looks like the Redbud that we had transplanted is not going to make it. The dirt at the back fence is from the city's separate sewer project. We have lots of mud on this city lot!
 photo IMG_3592_zps31aa4486.jpg

Here is a summary of our key milestones so far:
5/3/2013 - Contract signed
6/7/2013 - Dig Date
6/8/2013 - Steel / Plumbing
6/14/2013 - Gunite
6/16/2013 - Waterline tile

This is our tile and quartz choices. We are also supposed to have some Abaloni shell thrown into the mix.
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Keep the pics coming! Love seeing build threads. We should start ours next month hopefully...

Love the clean design and also liking your tile color - think that's going to really look great together.

It's going to be a great pool!


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I'm following - and living my dream through you and all these wonderful posts :)

We are planning a pool and I check here often for inspiration.

Thanks for posting

Pia


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Please keep posting, I love the pics! We need to renovate our pool and I would love to reshape it for a plain rectangle to accommodate an auto-cover. I'll post a pic of ours in a second - we've been living by the pool all week long, even though it's a little decrepit it's great in these hot days!


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Our pool guy jokingly calls this the shag carpet of pools. Vintage 1975 style!


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MiaOKC - I don't think your pool looks that bad! I bet a little updating would go a long way!

Yesterday, they built the arbor. I think it turned out pretty good. I'm not sure it does much for functionality except make a statement. We will have lights installed on it, the pool cover box, and an electrical plug. I was a bit surprised when they showed up with 8" square cedar posts. Our current porch pergola posts are only 6" square. These are noticeably larger! The top cross pieces should be 4' across, but they sure look smaller to me. I think it is because of the decorative points. I am glad that I was here when they started. They were going to put up 2x4s for the cross pieces, when I said they would look way to small with those 8" square posts. So, I had them use 4x6s instead. We are limited on the fence side because there is a 5' build line we had to stay clear of. I opted for no decorative points on the 2 ends because it would have meant for a narrower arbor by about 3 feet. It stands 15' wide right now. I would like to preserve space underneath there, because I feel like that area is already cramped!

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Today marks the last day we have to water our gunite!

Not sure if anyone can provide any words of comfort, but I'm concerned our steps are too steep. I think I read somewhere on this forum that once there is water, you have buoyancy and it doesn't feel the same! I sure hope so!! They all are approx 12" step down, and a 12" platform. The tanning ledge should have 6" water. If I'm measuring right, this is the water depth at each step:
Tanning Ledge - 6"
2nd step - 17.5"
3rd step - 29.5"
Floor / entry - 42.5"

It also seems like the entire slope of the pool is quick. The entire length of the pool is 32.5'. If you subtract 5' at the greatest point for the tanning ledge, then 1' x 2 for steps, and subtract 1.5' for the long bench at the other end, we are left with 24' of pool. It starts at 3.5' slopes to 5' and slopes back to 4'.

Just second guessing all the curved steps we have. Not that there could be any change now! An initial design had steps on the side and the tanning ledge just dropped off to the 3.5' section. At the time, I thought that was too abrupt.

Pool newbies here....

I don't think there will be anything exciting for a few days here. Cover tracks may be installed next week and electric run. They are talking about decking next week, which would be great!! Sounds like at least 3 weeks away from swimming!! :(


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Yay for progress. I went over to measure our steps and think you will be ok, still have to think there will be a little build up with the application of plaster. I took a pic of just the shallow end of our pool. Including steps it is 29 x 15. The three steps take about 41" out of that. Each one of ours is about 10" tall and 13" tread. Depth at floor of pool just off the step is about 42" from coping/deck/ground level. I think it is a very comfortable stair to traverse. I think it's most important each step is close to the same to keep from tripping up or down. Our IG hot tub has about a 9" deep step #1, which might be 4" of water, then down to the next step is 12" of step and water to get to. Always makes me stumble.


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If our shallow side was just a bit bigger (as it sounds like yours is just a few feet larger all around) I would think it's perfect and want to fill in the deep end entirely. I love the shallower part but I'm only 5'4" and more into floating around with a glass of wine. DH is 6' and not interested in making the whole pool shallow.


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Thanks for the feedback MIAokc. I'm sure we will make good use with however our pool functions. I'm just thinking that we really don't have much of a true shallow end. It is 3.5' at the end of the steps but then quickly sloping to 5'. I am also 5'4" so that 5' section will be hard for me to stand in.

I guess I am just second guessing the huge tanning ledge and how we don't really have any part of the pool that is flat at one depth as it is constantly sloping since the 5' deepest part is in the middle.


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It's been awhile since we had some measurable progress for new pics.
Here is a summary of our key milestones so far:
5/3 - Contract signed
6/7 - Dig Date
6/8 - Steel / Plumbing
6/14 - Gunite
6/16 - Waterline tile
6/20 - Arbor completed
6/25 - Cover tracks installed
6/26 - Electric run
6/29 - Coping installed
7/3/2013 - Rebar, decking form boards complete. Access fence re-hung
7/5/2013 - Decking poured
Deck is colored, Buckskin, with salt texture. Coping is bull nose cast stone. Our original patio is just plain concrete salt texture. We are planning on changing that this fall to a concrete overlay (probably different color completely and scored to look like tile)
 photo IMG_3797_zps1e478cc5.jpg

Vault area for the auto cover.
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Fence side. We have a 3'x3' flower bed there, and 18" flower beds against the fence. I'm a bit concerned about the large step up at the corner of our house and fence. I hope the grading will help that a bit. Wondering why they didn't approach us about doing a ramp on this side?? Anyone have ideas for this.
 photo IMG_3799_zpsf5f1613e.jpg

Fence guy is coming back next week to restain our existing pergola and add another gate on the equipment side for us. He says that he can stain "our" side of our back fence (which is technically our neighbor's fence). He demonstrated to me how they would use a spray gun at an angle, and he claims that it would not go through the cracks on the boards to our neighbor's side. Anyone have experience with that? We are considering asking our neighbors if they would be agreeable to that. It seems like it would help our yard look a lot better to have all 3 fences be stained.

Crossing my fingers for clean-up, grading, sprinkler re-route, and plaster to all happen next week!! Think that's realistic??? They said it's 2 weeks after plaster until we can swim!! Just ready to be done with this project...or at least have irrigation and be able to re-landscape my yard!!

This post was edited by home4sale on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 9:34


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It is looking great! Has the city come to finish your sewer project? I agree that power washing and restaining that back fence would look better. I don't have experience with staining just one side of a fence, in fact our scheduled install of an 8 foot cedar privacy fence was set to start this coming Monday and just got pushed back two weeks because the materials are back-ordered, but we plan to stain our side when the material has aged enough to merit it and to take the stain well.

I really love the cast stone coping. I'm off to see if I can find something similar online, it looks closer to what we have currently (which I like except for the crumbling it's doing after 40 years!)


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Thanks, MiaOKC. The city did cover up the hole in our backyard. They aren't finished with the entire block yet, so they aren't going to replant plants and sod until they are done. That was an area of the yard I thought was going to stay mostly untouched for the construction part at least!

I'm going to meet with a landscaper next week to start putting a plan into place. We want to remove the crushed granite walking path on the side, and move my vegetable / herb garden to a small spot behind the large crepe myrtles. I think that will help open up our yard.

I have been visiting local nurseries and the plant selection at this time of year is a lot less. I may have to wait on some things until next spring!! :(


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Looking good to me. Where are you located and who is building your pool?


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We are in Fort Worth. Pury**r Pools is our builder. I hope that is ok to mention.

I'm a bit concerned about the narrow beds along the fence that I wanted. I didn't realize how much higher the decking is from the old ground level. To have plants more at deck height, we would be using the fence as a retaining wall basically. That would mean damage to our fence. Some people on the Landscape Design board have been giving me some good ideas on how to deal with this. The pool designer never mentioned this as a problem, but not sure he really thought it through either.

Anyone with thoughts on how to address the narrow beds bedside the fence, please feel free to give some insight. Currently, I'm considering planting some sort of vine at ground level, filling in with river pebbles and looking for some large pots to place over the river pebbles.

This post was edited by home4sale on Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 14:43


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Could you tell me more about your automatic pool cover?? What cover did you get? Do you mind answering how much it cost? I'm a little concerned the pool will look weird with the track for the cover running down the sides. Is it unsightly? Can people trip over or into it??? I really would like to get an automatic cover for the safety but concerned I'd have to sacrifice looks.


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We went with Coverstar for the auto pool cover. Mostly because that's what the PB wanted to use. They were in the process of switching to Coverstar. They previously installed Coverpools. Our PB installs 250+ pools per year, and I get the feeling that they have only installed 1-3 pool covers per year. I can't say for certain, but it's just not something that's that common in this area.

I spoke to the owner of the pool company and he thought the Coverstar seemed like a better product because of the stainless steel components and the fabrication of the cover itself. Since they have not previously installed this brand of cover, we asked to visit with the rep in person. Since we have never seen a cover installed in real life, we asked for references and asked a lot of questions about the company. In the end, I'm not sure either company would have made much of a difference. It just boiled down for us, that our PB wanted to go this direction and we wanted to respect the PB's decision.

The cover is costing us about $11k. The track is already installed on our build. It was installed just before the coping. You can kinda see it on the pics I have already posted. I don't think it's unsightly. It's not all that noticeable, since the coping hangs off a little. Once we are in the water, we may notice it a bit more though. We simply did not want to look at a catch-a-kid fence for the next 7 years and we wanted it for protection from our trees. So, we were willing to live with the tracks.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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Thank you for your response. In my case its not a luxury but a necessity. My youngest DS is Autistic and loves to swim so the peace of mind is definitely worth it. I was worried about him tripping into the track. Can I get a salt water system or would it rust the mechanism? Are you limited in pool shape? Thx


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I believe the Coverstar brand says you can use the salt water system. We aren't installing that, so I wasn't paying too much attention. But the rep who met with us, did mention it. As for pool shape -- yes, you are a bit more limited, but look on some of the pool company sites for pics. If you have the tracks on top of the decking, I think you can do a bit more...but then you have that tripping hazard. Twingle - you may want to consider calling some of the big pool cover companies and asking for them to send you a brochure. They seemed more than happy. They may also be able to tell you pool builders in your area that use their product, so you can go that direction.


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Tension is surfacing. Tomorrow they are supposed to plaster, so we are getting close to the end. But now, I'm frustrated.
1) why on earth did we agree to complete all payments with their "typical" schedule? This means we will be 100% paid before plaster -- before the pool is swim-ready and punch list items are complete.

2) Last night the clean/grade crew showed up really late. We just finished re-installing all fence panels, having them re-stained, etc. We look outside, and they removed part of an 8' panel and were driving a end loader (term??) through our neighbors' yard!! I was about to explode. We only accessed our neighbor's yard on dig date and all other access was supposed to be through our other side with wheelbarrows. We had NOT warned the neighbor, and I just thought it was generally rude.

3) Contract and Architectural renderings showed recessed lights in our arbor. Upon install, electrician advised that is not doable -- will show, and not an outdoor fixture. We were advised that we couldn't have that. So, we opted for post lights on the beams. We decided we would rather purchase them from a lighting company where we bought all other lights for our home vs HD cheap ones that PB was going to provide. We discussed w/ sup. that we would receive a credit. Now, upon final payment, they are waffling on giving us the credit saying they "forgot" to charge us for them anyway!!! Yet, it was itemized in our contract!! Escalating these complaints now.

4) Over the course of the project, it seems that we were always compromising on things. Sun shelf is 6" deep instead of being 8-10" like we thought originally. They delivered bull nose cast stone coping vs flat edge which was specified and we agreed to go with that since flat edge was special order.

I know every construction project is stressful...but why does it always end this way??

Please tell me that everything will end ok and I will get to enjoy this pool this summer.

Just met with a guy to install rock edging around flower beds and help install plants & sod. Hoping to get to that next week.


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Hubby called powers that be and explained a bit further our thought process. Credit for lights granted. And at least a gratis pallet of sod. Helps to keep asking and on top of things!


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Definitely the river rock in the narrow beds. Even if you line the trenches with landscape fabric, you can have some plants, like grasses or vines, grow out of the rocks. I would be careful not to use pea gravel but a small cobble stone.

We had an area between our storage shed and the fence that was 3' wide but got absolutely no sun, therefore, no grass would grow. We ended up putting small cobble there, digging down a few inches first, and it was been great. No constant mud and we can store things back there. We also dug a trench, 10 inches wide along the fence where a flowerbed is between the fence and pool, and filled it with the same cobble. Now the cobble is up against the kickboard of the fence instead of dirt.
We also have a dry riverbed that run in the drainage swales of our yard. It's a small section at present, where our sump pump is, but we will be extending it this fall and planting things directly into the rocks.

FYI on St. Augustine grass. It needs a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight to grow so that might not work for your neighbor. There are several ground covers that will work if that is suitable to her and maybe some precast stepping stones or left over flag stone.

Coming along beautifully.


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I'm enjoying watching your pool go up as well. We're meeting to finalize a contract for a fiberglass pool here this week. Thanks for sharing!


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I really like your setting for your pool. Like the arbor also. Not sure how close your beds will be to the pool but my children wish mine were far away from the pool. I use pinestraw in the flower beds and always the balls/toys go into the beds and 'trash' is tracked back into the pool.
ENJOY YOUR POOL! It is beautiful and the bad experiences may be remembered but the anguish feeling subsides!


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Home4sale, do you have pics of the finished pool? Sorry if I missed it in another posting.


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never did post pool pics. I guess I thought no one cared! I pulled out my pics that I took at the end of the summer. Sure does make me antsy for summer to see these pics!!
None of the pics have the deck jets on, and the bubblers weren't going very high at the time. (BTW - I think the deck jets are annoyingly loud. I'm not sure I would do them over again. We keep them off most of the time.)

Panorama pic:
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Another Panorama:
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We had a landscaper install the rock flower bed borders, and remove decomposed granite from this garden path. We installed Arizona flagstone. We didn't want the granite making it's way in the pool. I would still like to plant more mondo grass this spring.
Removed Decomposed Granite on path, replaced with Arizona flagstone photo IMG_2678_zpsd8075681.jpg

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We like the slow fade color changing LED light show, but I have a few colors that are my favorite. Sorry pics are blurry, because I didn't want to use a flash and I'm not a pro!
Different night time lights - LED photo IMG_2614_zps659ed082.jpg

Different night time light - LED photo IMG_2617_zps995bd2be.jpg

Pic with our pool cover closed:
Automatic Pool Cover photo IMG_2713_zps9bb24e2a.jpg

View with the pool covered photo IMG_2716_zps5106a240.jpg

Just in case, someone doesn't believe it's a bad idea to intentionally plant a crepe myrtle near a pool! Fortunately, we have the cover, but still a lot of blooms get inside. We learned that the trees sheds heavily in phases. It seemed like 3 heavy phases of shedding from mid-July when pool opened until close. The tree is 60+ years old, and beautiful. We do not have the heart to take it out. It makes our yard. So, we will deal with the headache -- for now, at least. But just note that this is not ideal!!
Crepe Myrtles next to pools -- bad idea, but the crepe myrtle was there first, so we don't have the heart to take it out. photo IMG_4242_zps4242e6a1.jpg

Lean-to Storage shed that we had built. It's only 3' deep 8' long and 6' high. But perfect to store cushions, pool noodles, and pool chems.
Lean-to Storage Shed photo IMG_2698_zps42add35e.jpg

Someone give me a shout out if there's a different angle. I have lots of pics but I will stop here for now!


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Your backyard is gorgeous. The pool is beautiful. I too love your crepe myrtle so so pretty. I loved seeing your pics the more the merrier :)


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Wow! Your whole project turned out beautifully. Looks like you've got some room at the end of that meandering flagstone path for a free standing hot tub ;-)

Years ago there was a picture here of someone's new build that incorporated an existing mature crepe myrtle in the design. I can't remember what the finish of the pool was, but it was gray and the color of the water with the in-full-bloom mytle reflecting in that water was one of the most spectacular pics I'd ever seen on this site.


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beautiful project
your house and pool seem to harmonize very well


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Your yard and pool are beautiful! Is there anything now that you wish you had done differently with the design of your pool? Would you have still put a tanning ledge? Would you change the depth? Any advise is appreciated!


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Thank you for posting your pool process. The information was very helpful. Can you tell me how you feel about the depth of your steps now? I'm dealing with the same thing. I'm thinking they are too steep without the water. Thanks


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Things I would change in the design/or at least give further thought:
The tanning ledge and surrounding steps are really large. I don't think we should have allowed that much space. In an early design, we had the steps on the side closest to the house and being kinda cut into the rounded tanning ledge. That could have given us a bit more usuable length. Although the long steps can double as seating. I was also concerned at the time of the tanning ledge just jumping off from tanning ledge to 3 feet of water. For safety purposes. I'm not so sure I should have worried about that so much.

Also with the Max depth in the middle, the pool is constantly sloping. I'm not sure there is much of other options, but I sure wish there was a way you could walk in a true shallow end without sloping. The end by the bench would probably be too deep for me to comfortably play volleyball. Because it starts at 4 foot depth.

As for the steepness of the steps. They are ok now. For functionality they might be a tad better if they were bit wider than 12", but it my specific pool design it would take up from the pool length even more.

I may have mentioned this before, but the deck jets don't so much for me. I prefer quieter background noise and the sound is just too loud it makes me anxious. They are neat for demo purposes and if we have people over though.

The led lights are a necessity. Love them.

I also wish we would have sprung for a pool heater. It was probably way too much money and that is why we didn't. We had also heard stories on the cost of heating it. But it would be so nice to add on some more swim time. I prefer 88 degree water and that will be awhile!


 o
RE: Our Pool Process - Pics

Thank you for your input and advice!
Colleen


 o
RE: Our Pool Process - Pics

Just popped on here today and saw your beautiful project! Congratulations, and enjoy!


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