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Thread: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

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    Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    The rear of our house sits ~52" above yard level. The yard also slopes away from the house with about another 24" drop to the rear of the property line. I've had several pool studio renderings done by PBs where they have built the pool and patio up to deal with the elevation issue and to avoid 5 steps down to the pool. It is really getting frustrating because if you raise the pool/patio then you end up with a drop off somewhere to get back to ground level. The angles in pool studio are deceiving (a 4-5' drop looks like nothing from the aerial view). None of the PB's have discussed the ramifications of raising a patio and I'm really trying to understand what's involved (cost wise and structural wise) if the patio needs to be 2', 3' or even 4' above yard level...do they pour forms, just more back-fill, etc. Any feedback is appreciated as I'm trying to decide how many steps to come down off the existing covered patio. The attached picture is an example of 3 steps which results is a 32" drop, so you would need a 20" thick patio at the house and another 12-18" at the rear of the pool.

    pool.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    It looks like your pool wants an infinity edge
    forward negative edge
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    The drop off is what it is. It is there so you will have to deal with it the best you can.

    My thinking is it will cost more due to the extra engineering needed to support the water on the back side. The best person you can ask is the person the PB will be using to do the decking and walls to find out WHAT they would do. Then ask the PB what he will charge for them to do it.

    Good luck!

    I do like the idea of the negative edge though.......hubba, hubba!

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I can't help wonder if a multi-level terraced pool might help hide some of the slope. I am thinking something like a freeform pool with spill over spa at or near (1 or 2 steps down) from house / patio level, bracketed by curving steps down to pool level on either side. Perhaps incorporating a spill over waterfall or similar feature.
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    You will need to install a retaining wall set back from your fence line, or at your fence line with the fence on the fill. You will then place engineered fill to grade and THEN dig the hole for your pool. Also as far as steps go, your steps will not exceed 8" so you won't get 32" out of three steps. Terracing the yard and deck sounds like a good idea. You coud put your spa at an elevation 2 feet higher than the rest of the pool/patio and that alone would account for some of the grade chance. Regardless, you are either going to have to raise the grade (retaining wall) or have a lot of steps, or a combination of both.

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I agree with the others. Don't fight the elevation drop. I don't know how much space you have, but having a terraced look with decks, spa, pool at different heights could look really nice. You could add a swim-up bar/kitchen area on the downhill side of the pool.
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Our pool is in the process of being built and we have the exact same issue. We decided to drop the pool lower than our existing patio to eliminate the amount of retaining on the far side away from the house. We still need some retaining but a lot less than if we had kept the pool at the elevation of our existing patio. The terrace/two level look is really nice in my opinion. Yes you will have to have a few steps but it really gives it a nice look.
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I agree, don't fight the slope. If your budget allows, multi-level is the way to go.


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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Ditto, a series of small elevation changes is usually better and cheaper. I built a series of retaining walls to deal with the slope and the pool is raised out of the ground and is its own retains wall for the last 18" or so. Pics in sig.
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Quote Originally Posted by BigEinAZ View Post
    You will need to install a retaining wall set back from your fence line, or at your fence line with the fence on the fill. You will then place engineered fill to grade and THEN dig the hole for your pool. Also as far as steps go, your steps will not exceed 8" so you won't get 32" out of three steps. Terracing the yard and deck sounds like a good idea. You coud put your spa at an elevation 2 feet higher than the rest of the pool/patio and that alone would account for some of the grade chance. Regardless, you are either going to have to raise the grade (retaining wall) or have a lot of steps, or a combination of both.
    Sorry about the terminology difference...when I wrote 3 steps, some would call this 4 steps...I meant 3 (concrete/stone) steps + final step onto the patio = 4 drops of 8" = 32". I will play around with 2 tiers as you mentioned and others, with the spa higher up. The issue we are fighting is we only have about 40' from the house to the rear property line and the HOA requires a 5' set back (even though we back up to a green belt), so we have about 35' to play with...which seems to go fast.

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    35' is plenty of room for width. How much are you allowing for length? Looks like you'll have plenty of room.

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Quote Originally Posted by BigEinAZ View Post
    35' is plenty of room for width. How much are you allowing for length? Looks like you'll have plenty of room.
    We would want the pool to run parallel to the house, so the length is not an issue as we have 70' across in the back yard. The width of the pool would need to fit in 35' which seems fine until you consider we would need a total of 6+ steps down and ideally some type of transition point (ex: 3 steps down to a lower tier then another 3 steps down to the pool area).

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I think you just need to integrate the pool design into your patio area better given your space limitations. What are the rules on your setback, is it no construction of any type, or might you be allowed to build a terraced retaining wall, paver decking, etc. in that space? There are a wide range of limitations when it comes to setbacks as what is and is not allowed. You may not be allowed to have concrete decking there, but may be allowed pavers set in sand, etc. Knowing exactly what is and is not allowed in this set back may help you squeeze in another foot or two of useful space around the pool
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Some really good advice. Here is an example of how I dealt with my sloop - no frills approach. Back door is around 32" above pool deck and the pool is about 24" out of ground at its lowest point.




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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    Appreciate all the great advice. Right now I'm thinking of splitting the 52" drop with a few steps down from the covered patio and leaving the new patio raised. I'm meeting with the PB next week to dig into the additional cost of having a raised patio to determine how much to drop down. See the snapshot below...moving the spa to the front middle of the pool fixed elevation issues I kept running into by having it on the side...now I can step down the patio on the sides without having to contend with a spa. Let me know if you have any thoughts. The wife things this pool design is "too square".


    pool3.jpg

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I like it!

    If she does not you can always soften the edges of the steps doing down to the grass with a gentle curve instead of the sharp edge. With your pool you could also a slight curve on the ends (roman edge). It should not cost much more really (says the person not paying for it)

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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    I think you could hide the elevation change better with a free form pool following the basic concept you have now, in addition a rounded spa in that position would give the feeling of a wider bottle neck at the closest point of approach to the house since it would funnel down to a closest point instead of giving a hallway effect.
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    Re: Advice on dealing with house sitting 52" above yard level

    We built this Spring and had a huge slope to contend with as well. We ended up with two steps to the main pool patio and then another two steps into the tanning ledge and still had a significant rise at the back of the pool that we mounded dirt around and lovingly call the "grassy knoll"


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