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Thread: Thoughts on layout...

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    cbink's Avatar
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    Thoughts on layout...

    Hey all, been lurking for a while taking in all the great advice on the forum.

    We're in Cypress (Houston), Tx and looking to put an IGP in!! We don't use our yard at the moment as it's just too hot to not be in water out there during the summer.

    We've done a lot of thinking and have gone a bit round in circles with what we want (so many aspects of different designs we like that its hard to pull all the things we want in).

    Anyway, the first design we've received back is below. We really like the design, we just wonder about a couple of aspects and whether we'd regret them. Firstly we want a contemporary styled salt water free form pool with spa and waterfall with slide. Our query is whether we'll regret having the spa off to the side away from the covered patio (where we plan to put a TV up on the wall). I thought about switching the location of the fire pit and spa but then I like have the fire pit in a central social location. I'd appreciate any thoughts from anyone that has gone through these conundrums of placement!

    Thanks!


    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Welcome to TFP

    Your questions really fall under the guise of personal preference and what works best for you and your lifestyle. But, I will offer my $0.02 for your consideration...

    Living in Houston, you have a long pool and outdoor entertaining season. If it were me, I would move the spa to where the fire pit is currently located and then move the fire pit off towards the left in your birds-eye view diagram. It may involve extending the patio slightly, but you would have both the spa and fire pit in a relatively central location. I think you would find that by having a TV outside, people will tend to congregate in the spa (with their favorite adult beverage, of course ) while watching TV. Not sure how these suggestions might impact your cost, so you would need to factor that in if the difference turns out to be significant.

    Switching gears from those architectural details to more general purpose operating items, I would avoid a single-speed pump and opt for either a 2-speed or variable-speed depending on how much flexibility you need in managing your planned water features. You will save significant $ on electricity and cut down on the noise compared to a single-speed pump. Also, when choosing landscape plantings, I would avoid plants that drop a lot of leaves/pollen/seeds/bracts, etc. into the pool.
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Thanks for the response BoDarville. I appreciate any comments although I realize it's personal preference. The other thing thing that I'm thinking is that I don't think the spa will get used during the day so I think it may be worth putting some stools in the pool by where the fire pit is now (whether I move it or not) to allow people to watch the TV in the pool and socialize with those on the patio. I also intend to put an outdoor theatre up (inflatable) which will probably get more use at night than the TV would anyway.

    As for cost, it's a massive purchase in any case and the last thing I want to do is regret the design at the sake of a few thousand dollars so at this point I'm more concerned with making sure I make the right choices.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    I know it is a personal preference thing, but personally I prefer pools that at spaced a little ways from the back door of the house, yours is not as bad as most, but it is all too common to find a pool where the steps are right there in front of you as you walk into the back yard, even when there is plenty of room to move the pool back another 10 or 20 feet.
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    I can't really put it any further back to be honest as I have a 14ft easement off the brick wall as I back up to the neighborhood boundary. I also want it to be close enough to have a conversation with someone who may be in the covered patio area.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Modified the design to switch the spa and the fire pit - much prefer it this way around. I was going to put the fire pit on the main patio area but I like it in a separate area - need to drop it down to grade though and probably make the patio around it a bit bigger but the basic layout is right for us I think.

    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    I like it, but to be honest when a small rock formation is used it looks phony like an after thought,

    IMO if you want it make it as wide as the pool so it blends in, or just build a wall with a few wide spout waterfalls.

    It would cost less that way too.

    Pavers R the way to go.

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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nova13
    I like it, but to be honest when a small rock formation is used it looks phony like an after thought,
    In general I agree with this thought. I will say though that the pool that got me thinking about a backyard pool for myself some 10 years ago had a roughly 8' wide rock waterfall about 6' high. The thing that made that one work well in my opinion was that it was all landscaped up and around it. So the rocks were just a part of the feature and surface area wise, dirt/landscaping covered 3/4 of the mound. We opted for no rock features, not because of any such reasoning, but because we spent all of our money on retention walls, decking and an autocover.

    That said, even though they may not look authentic, many of them I kind of like.
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nova13
    I like it, but to be honest when a small rock formation is used it looks phony like an after thought,

    IMO if you want it make it as wide as the pool so it blends in, or just build a wall with a few wide spout waterfalls.

    It would cost less that way too.

    Pavers R the way to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim
    Quote Originally Posted by Nova13
    I like it, but to be honest when a small rock formation is used it looks phony like an after thought,
    In general I agree with this thought. I will say though that the pool that got me thinking about a backyard pool for myself some 10 years ago had a roughly 8' wide rock waterfall about 6' high. The thing that made that one work well in my opinion was that it was all landscaped up and around it. So the rocks were just a part of the feature and surface area wise, dirt/landscaping covered 3/4 of the mound. We opted for no rock features, not because of any such reasoning, but because we spent all of our money on retention walls, decking and an autocover.

    That said, even though they may not look authentic, many of them I kind of like.
    Thanks for the comments. I hear you both, but...

    It's hard to tell from the pictures but the rock waterfall is also a slide. We weren't going to have any rock as rocks all along the back of the pool wasn't the look that we wanted to go for. Initially we were going to have a raised beam with sheer descents and the pool very much in a contemporary style. However, we decided we really want a slide and this is where the design got a bit complicated. We prefer the look of the gunite slides to the after market slides and we wanted the slide incorporated into the pool design rather than bolted on afterwards so the rock waterfall was added to allow us to do that. I was a bit skeptical but I have seen a few pools that have pulled it off and I think the key is to really enhance the landscaping around the waterfall and slide so it doesn't jump out as much and blends into the background a little bit.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    On the one hand, the fire-pit in the second set of pics creates a more of a destination feel. Like we are going out to the fire-pit, on the other side of the pool. On the other hand, you have to walk all the way over to it. And in that location, seating will be limited.

    I think i'd like the fire-pit and the hot tub to be close to the house. This would allow you to have extra seating are built in, because you already have that much patio right out the back doors.

    Kinda like this....



    Also, since you have a few palms in position to drop **** in the pool when they are full grown, have you considered have a planter in the middle of the waterfall, and putting a palm there?
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    I like the layout in the first elevation the best.

    A spa is something you will use primarily at night, and for relaxation. So, you want the most dramatic and peaceful views. This generally means not abutting the house.

    A firepit is where you will entertain, so being close to the house for running food and drink is always preferable.
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    It's a cool winter night where you live, and you climb out of the spa.
    Nearby, wrapped in towels or robes, you snuggle at the fire-pit, both of which are close to the covered patio.
    That way you don't have to run the Winter-Night Dash back to the house from the fire pit.
    I offer this suggestion based on our personal experience living in Los Angeles, CA.

    It'll be great, whatever you choose; very, very nice. Enjoy!
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Quote Originally Posted by alanpaul
    It's a cool winter night in North Georgia, and you climb out of the spa.
    Nearby, wrapped in towels or robes, you snuggle at the fire-pit, both of which are close to the covered patio.
    That way you don't have to run the Winter-Night Dash back to the house from the fire pit.
    I offer this suggestion based on our personal experience living in Los Angeles, CA.

    It'll be great, whatever you choose; very, very nice. Enjoy!
    Good post! How soon we forget the winter dash!
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Quote Originally Posted by jaimejaime
    I like the layout in the first elevation the best.

    A spa is something you will use primarily at night, and for relaxation. So, you want the most dramatic and peaceful views. This generally means not abutting the house.

    A firepit is where you will entertain, so being close to the house for running food and drink is always preferable.
    Thanks for the comments. That's why it was that way around in the first place, however, we will mount a TV on the patio and are likely to spend the evenings in the spa watching the TV (lame but true!) which is why we decided we wanted the spa closer to the house. We like both options for different reasons but we have a few friends who regret having their spa away from their house (away from a TV under the patio) and I think we would be the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by alanpaul
    It's a cool winter night where you live, and you climb out of the spa.
    Nearby, wrapped in towels or robes, you snuggle at the fire-pit, both of which are close to the covered patio.
    That way you don't have to run the Winter-Night Dash back to the house from the fire pit.
    I offer this suggestion based on our personal experience living in Los Angeles, CA.

    It'll be great, whatever you choose; very, very nice. Enjoy!
    Thanks! I had considered this as alternative location of the fire pit. It's not exactly what you're suggesting but in the same vein:



    My dilemma with this is I also quite like the idea of the fire pit creating a separate social area away from the main patio. I like the idea of multiple entertaining areas within the garden and spreading it out a bit although your point is a very good one. My solution may be to keep the fire pit where it is and have a patio heater for use in winter. Decisions, decisions, decisions...! It's amazing how many options there are and it's quite difficult trying to think about everything. We've never owned a house with a pool before (though spend a lot of time at my inlaws who have one) and since it's such a big cost we don't want to regret it and get the design wrong so I really appreciate all the comments and differing opinions of layout.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Back to our L.A. experience:

    We had a sizeable rectangular patio on a slight diagonal, with a wall fountain, fire and spa right by the house.
    Further out was the pool, and the octagonal garden dining patio with a huge market umbrella.
    Off to the side in a far corner, was a bench on a raised triangular patio in shade, beside a multi-level fountain/pond with fish, and lastly a raised garden bed for vegetables and an orange tree.
    People loved to spend time in our backyard.
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    My solution may be to keep the fire pit where it is and have a patio heater for use in winter. Decisions, decisions, decisions...!

    Is the fire-pit going to be gas? If so you may look at getting a gas line run at the same time to the patio area, and sized to run both at the same time (firepit and heaters). I'd at least start looking at the gas powered ceiling/wall mounted heaters....They have electric too. The standalone ones work but you've got to have a place to store them and anything not built in generally detracts from the awesomeness of the whole project....
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Okay, now have a quote listing all the equipment. I'll list the equipment and then ask the questions they raise for me:

    Custom freeform pool
    112' Perimeter ft
    Approx 38'x24'

    4" deck drain system run to street
    Overflow drain tied into drainage system and taken out to street
    Automatic fill line with valve

    8 return lines
    1 cleaner lines
    2 main drains
    2 skimmers

    Hayward 2.7hp total hp Tristar max efficient pool pump
    Hayward 2.7hp total hp Tristar max efficient water feature pump
    Hayward pool cleaner booster pump
    425 sqft Hayward swim clear cartridge filter
    Hayward prologic PS-8 with digital wireless remote and in-home docking station
    Hayward H series 400,000 BTU heater
    Hayward T-cell 9 Salt chlorination system turbo cell
    Hayward colorlogic LED lights with preset light show function (2 lights in pool, 1 in spa)
    Hayward neverlube valves

    Polaris Black Max 280 pool cleaner


    Wet edge pearl matrix or satin matrix

    8 ton moss rock boulder waterfall with cave with 3 water locations on independent pump
    Gunite pool slide with 5 gunite stairs, additional 2.7hp pump, epoxy slide coating. Sealed rock.

    1,100 sqft new decking, 1350 sqft stamped overlay over new and existing decking.


    So my questions:

    1) The pumps - I couldn't tell if these were single speed or 2 speed. There are 3 pumps (pool, waterfall, slide), would I be better off with variable speed pumps like the ecostar series?

    2) Is one cartridge filter enough or would I be better with 2? I'm going to go back and ask the surface area but suspect it's more than 425 sqft.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Have you thought about taking your second drawing and moving the tanning ledge tothe middle where you have the the spa and the spa to where the tanning ledge is.

    As you walk out from the patio you have the tanning ledge welcoming you to the pool. you have the spa separating the main patio from the fire pit patio. Those in the spa can socialize with people sitting on the tanning ledge as well as those by the fire.
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Here are a couple of my thoughts on your layout:

    1. I would move the spa to either side, and not in the middle if you plan to watch TV on the patio from the spa. I think the side closer to the fire pit and away from the waterslide would be best. Think about how you would sit in the spa while watching. Right now, you would have to have your back to the pool or looking behind you to see the TV, not very comfortable. Also the waterslide if on, can create nice background noise, but also make it harder to hear the TV, so plan for that with placement of speakers.

    2. In the cove under the waterfall, do you plan on having seating in there? If so, you might want a small spa light also. Also I have seen where several on this board had them design shelves inside the grotto for drink holders.
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts on layout...

    Quote Originally Posted by txsteel
    Have you thought about taking your second drawing and moving the tanning ledge tothe middle where you have the the spa and the spa to where the tanning ledge is.

    As you walk out from the patio you have the tanning ledge welcoming you to the pool. you have the spa separating the main patio from the fire pit patio. Those in the spa can socialize with people sitting on the tanning ledge as well as those by the fire.
    Thanks for the comments. Yes, I have given this layout thought. I really like it laid out this way but it presents two issues for me; firstly it puts us a little further from the TV at an angle that would make it harder to see the TV clearly (and still keep it fully covered and out the elements), secondly it puts the tanning ledge into the deeper water section which I'd prefer not to do. So whilst I like the aesthetic it creates, I'm not sure it meets my practical needs. (All difficult decisions as once it's all built I'm sure I'll easily be able to pick fault with my layout!)

    Quote Originally Posted by shuye
    Here are a couple of my thoughts on your layout:

    1. I would move the spa to either side, and not in the middle if you plan to watch TV on the patio from the spa. I think the side closer to the fire pit and away from the waterslide would be best. Think about how you would sit in the spa while watching. Right now, you would have to have your back to the pool or looking behind you to see the TV, not very comfortable. Also the waterslide if on, can create nice background noise, but also make it harder to hear the TV, so plan for that with placement of speakers.

    2. In the cove under the waterfall, do you plan on having seating in there? If so, you might want a small spa light also. Also I have seen where several on this board had them design shelves inside the grotto for drink holders.
    I do plan on having a bench there and thanks for the light suggestion - I think that will look great.
    I do need to be mindful of cost though at this point as I'm already beyond where I was hoping to be by quite a considerable margin and I'm right at my cutoff point now so I can't keep adding stuff unfortunately (I'd love to add fire bowls and bar stools into the pool but they are things I can live without and they cost money!)
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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