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Thread: Pre-planning before contacting builders?

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Kansas City, MO

    Pre-planning before contacting builders?

    We purchased an agp last month (after thinking about it for a year) and it was an excellent decision. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd use a pool, since I was never taught how to swim, but there's only been a handful of days that I've not used the pool since it was put up and about half of those were due to thunderstorms. While I'm loving the pool, I've quickly found that it's a bit too small for what I want to do. I mentioned to my husband that we should build a pool and his response was that it would be too expensive and that we don't swim enough to justify it. It took a couple of weeks of talking to him about it, but he's agreed that I could contact some local pool builders, just so I can get a rough idea of what this might cost. I have a general number in my head, so if I'm completely off the mark, this won't happen, but I can't seem to find some rough numbers online.

    I'm the type of person that likes to go information gathering before starting any project, so I've been searching regulations in my city (as well as reading a million threads here) and I've got questions. I'm sure some of these will be location specific, but I'm more wondering if any of these issues have been serious problems for anyone. At the moment, I'm just trying to get a general idea if I even have enough available backyard space to do this.

    - I apparently have a 5' utility easement along the back side of my property, based on the original plans of my 60s built neighborhood (I will investigate further to see if that's changed). According to current code, residential swimming pools must be set back 10 ft from the property line.

    1. Based on those two things, how far from the property line does my pool need to be? Ten feet or fifteen feet (10 ft from the easement)?
    2. What is considered a swimming pool, for this purpose? The coping or any attached deck space?

    - Fencing. From everything I've found, there are no regulations that require fencing around the pool itself. It only states that, "Swimming pools with a depth of more than 2 feet must be enclosed by a protective fence at least 4 feet in height. The fence must include self-closing, lockable gates or entrances when the pool is not tended by a responsible person." Our current backyard fence doesn't meet those regulations. On 3 sides, it's 44-50" chainlink and the sides next to the house are 51" wood, but without self-closing. They can be locked with padlock, but I don't think that's what they mean. I'm open to replacing the fence with a 6 ft privacy fence, as long as I don't have to put an additional fence around the pool itself. Has that been something that others have found to meet code in the areas? For what it's worth, I did a google maps search of my neighborhood and it seems that every house with a pool has a privacy fence and those without don't have one.

    -Relocating electrical. This could be the dealbreaker. The location where I'd like the pool to go has the electrical line from the house running overhead, which is a huge issue. How far from the pool should this line be? We have a pole transformer at the corner of our property and the line runs from the pole to the middle of my house, but even if I could have it moved to the side of my house, it would still be too close to the pool, for my comfort. I haven't checked to see if the line could be buried. Anyone had this issue?

    I'm going to be positive and assume all that can be resolved, so I have actual pool questions. I went out with a tape measure and marked 10 feet from the fence line, just to see what kind of space I've got to work with. I was thinking about a 15x30 rectangular ft pool and, with that size, I would have 12 ft from the coping to the house and 5 ft from the coping to the existing deck.

    1. How did you determine what size of pool would work best for your household? We are a mid 30s, childfree couple. We don't tend to host a lot of parties, but we do enjoy having small groups of friends over, when our work schedules allow. I enjoy lounging/floating in the water and doing my slow swimming/walking thing for exercise. He seems to enjoy about the same and I think it's be fun to bat a volleyball around. What I enjoy is decompressing after work by floating, swimming, and just generally being in the water.

    I'm 5'4" and he's 6' and I think I'd like a pool with a gradual depth and not a drop off. Our current pool has a water depth of about 3.5 ft, but I'm not sure about a deep end depth. He might want to do cannonballs (no idea about a depth or that), but I'm probably good with 6 ft. I don't care about a diving board or slide.

    With that information, does 15x30 sound like a good size?

    2. Hot tub/spa. We want one (my husband said he's rather have a hot tub than the AGP we got). I'd like it integrated, but he has questions. What are the advantages/disadvantages of having an integrated hot tub? I've read lots of build threads here and few seem to have it separate from the pool. Is it because of cost? He also mentioned how the hot water of a spa affects the pool (like if you have a waterfall feature).

    3. Retaining walls. This is less of a question and more of a request. The place where we'd have the pool has a slope that would run down of the long sides. I can't envision how that would look, so if anyone has pics of a pool build on a slope like that, please share or link to your build thread.

    4. Patio area. I've read all over here that more patio space is better, but what if you already have a decent sized deck/patio? We already have a 16x26 railless deck that would be within 5 feet of the pool coping (assuming we kept the outside edge of the pool at the 10 ft limit and didn't move it closer to the house). My tentative plan would be to put pavers 4-5 feet around the pool, except for the area from the pool to the house (that would all be paved, unless I wanted to add planters next to the house). Considering I already have this large deck, wouldn't that be enough space? Obviously, that's subjective, but I'm wondering if that suggestion is for people who maybe currently have a small patio or deck.

    5. I would like a fire pit incorporated into the design, whether that's something that happens during the build or is just plumbed for later. Would that even be something that could be added on later? (I was thinking about a fire pit with sheers, if that's even something that could happen).

    6. The look of pavers appeals to me, rather than stamped concrete. (I have connections that might be able to get me a deal.) Anyone have pros and cons on those two types of finishes?

    So, before I contact PBs, what else should I be thinking about?

    Finally, since I know everyone likes pictures, here are some of the possible area. (Please forgive the mess; we've been doing some cleaning and rearranging outside this summer.)

    Standing the deck, looking at potential pool area. Pool would start past the existing garden bed, but the short edge of that bed would be about the edge of the pool.

    About where the edge of the pool would be, looking toward the fence.

    About the pool edge, looking toward the house.

    Pool edge, about halfway, looking at deck.

    Edge of pool, looking at deck.

    Corner of house, looking at pool area. (White cable is power line; other cables are defunct cable line that they've refused to remove)

    Standing at the house, where the pool would end. Pool boundaries would be south of the fire pit and left of the whiskey barrel.

    Intex Ultra 15'x48" AG - TF-100 test kit

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    needsajet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Sydney, NSW, Australia

    Re: Pre-planning before contacting builders?

    You could make sure your city and state are showing. Maybe someone nearby where you live would understand better.

    It's a very long post with a lot of questions, and those can be hard to respond to.

    A possibility might be to start with a landscape plan that includes everything you want to do in your yard. Our pool is around 12 x 26, 4' shallow end and 6' deep end. It's big enough for us and our daughters visiting with two families totaling six kids. It seems plenty deep for cannonballs, though there's people here who debate depths a lot. An integrated spa adds complexity and cost, so you may want to decide that early. If you like soaking during colder weather, you would want one.

    A lot of people here have used software called Pool Studio, that allows you to draw the pool, your yard and your house, and look at it with 3D views. Maybe that's a good way to start out.

    Another option is to ask 2 or 3 pool builders to come have a look and give you some ideas, options and prices. They would probably know the overhead wire options and local setback/easement issues.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766 Salt, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Pentair Rebel pool cleaner; FlowViz flow meter; prior pool AG 10k - Be Safe - FC / CYA Chart - Become a TFP Supporter - Read Before Posting

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    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Kansas City, MO

    Re: Pre-planning before contacting builders?

    Sorry about the lack of clarity on my location (it's a habit to use the shorthand), but I'm in Kansas City, MO. And you are absolutely right about the length as well. Too much information is just as bad as not enough. Thanks for the suggestion of Pool Studio. Frankly, I think reading here and other places got me overwhelmed and something like that might be useful to help visualize things first.
    Intex Ultra 15'x48" AG - TF-100 test kit

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Tucson, Arizona

    Re: Pre-planning before contacting builders?

    I'm like you in that I like to do research first. But in this case I would call one or two reputable pool builders in your area "for an estimate" but really as part of your research. I did this exact thing in order to determine feasibility of what was in our heads and cost, and then spent another 12 months of further research and savings before I met with even more pool builders when we moved forward with our pool. Pool builders will be happy to review your yard and can answer questions about costs and local requirements. Just remember that they'll be in sales mode, so they may downplay some potential issues.

    My pool (16x32) is only slightly larger than what you are thinking, and it has been plenty big for my family with four young kids who are constantly swimming all over and jumping in. We probably have had as many as 15 kids at a time using the pool with room to spare. For adult-style lounging and the occasional cannonball, I would think 15x30 is plenty big and probably even bigger than the "minimum required". If you want to swim laps, it my feel a little short. Whatever size you go with, if it is aimed at adults, I would be generous with benches to sit on in the pool.

    We went with an integrated spa. I'm far from an expert, but the advantages of integrated spa in my opinion are (1) aesthetics, (2) circulation systems are connected, so its really one body of water instead of two separate bodies that have to be separately cared for, and (3) it might last longer because there are fewer parts? On the other hand, a stand alone spa is less expensive and can be more functional with more jets and comfort items, and you can upgrade by selling the old one. While most integrated spas do have a spill-over into the pool, it is something you can more or less turn on/off at will through your plumbing, so that should not be a concern. For us, aesthetics and space considerations led us to an integrated spa.

    We installed gas plumbing for a future fireplace as part of our build. Unless you want the fire feature at the side of the pool/spa or integrated directly into whatever your pool builder is building, I think it is very easy to leave the fire pit for a future phase 2.

    In my area, the soil is very expansive. With concrete, we get cracks. With pavers, they move but you can re-set any that moved or replace any that have chipped. I think you are way ahead with your wood deck. How many people to do you plan to have at a pool party? Does that number of people already fit comfortably on your deck, and is the deck close enough to the pool that the people on the deck would feel apart of the pool festivities? You might want some added space for lounge chairs, etc., but otherwise you can probably leverage the deck and minimize the actual pool decking.
    Owner Build. 32x16, with 6x8 raised spa. Broke ground April 1, 2016, swimming July 18. Pentair Intelliflo VS + Whisperflo for Water features; Clean & Clear Filter 420; Master Temp Heater 400k BTU; Intellibrite 120V pool and spa lights; Regular ol' plaster.

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