I am a new owner of an Intex Ultra Frame 26 x 52 round pool, the biggest round Ultra Frame Intex sells. It arrived by freight a little over a week ago, and I'm still working to get the site ready for the pool to be installed / put together. I also ordered a 27ft round Gorilla Pad (the closest size to my pool that they make) to go with the pool.
I'm attaching photos in the hopes that this helps give everyone a better idea of my situation.
My entire backyard has a gradual slope. The only spot that is extremely flat, is the far-back yard, which is very shady due to neighbors' trees, and also sits above an inground pool that the previous owners of my home had filled in and demolished. (Sad!)
So, due to settling concerns and since the weight of my above ground pool when filled with water will be quite a bit (and the fact that the only flat spot I have is very shady) I was told it would be best to choose another spot. The other available area is also quite sunnier, so I felt better about it.
I had the area dug up by a family friend with a Kuboda (similar to a bobcat) construction machine. He removed all the sod and a whole bunch of dirt to get it somewhat level. We roped the area off with stakes prior to him starting. He said he had a difficult time leveling it completely because alot of the dirt seemed like clay. After he was done, he said I would benefit from getting a load of fresh dirt, sand, or something to smooth it all out. So, I got 3.5 yards of screened topsoil delivered by a huge truck from a local landscape supply company. (photo #2).
After Jim with the Kuboda machine spread around that new dirt, the area looked like Photo #3. It looked almost perfectly flat!
The same night, we got a HUGE thunderstorm and a ton of rain. The next morning, the area looked COMPLETELY different (see Photo #4.) The dirt seems hard, compacted, and it actually looks just like beach sand. I don't know if alot of the dirt got washed away, or what happened. Even now that its been almost 3 more days and its been dry each of those days, the stuff is still hard as a rock, and its very bumpy and certainly not level; there are high spots and low spots everywhere; not to mention what seems like a million trillion rocks of various sizes.
This is my first time owning a pool; and I'm not really sure where to begin to continue prepping the area for the pool. I tried to build a 2x4 spinner to level the dirt like in this video I found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uEmuVODpKA but, unlike this guy's dirt, mine just isn't "movable" like that. I tried raking it around and chopping it up with a shovel and metal rake / garden tools, it turns into dozens of river-rock sized "pebbles" of dirt, but doesn't separate back to its original consistency. When I wet it with the hose, it turns to absolute mud almost instantly, and isn't workable. Do I need something other than topsoil? Should I rototill the whole area, or is there something else I am missing or a step I am skipping? The darker black area in Photo 4 that you see is how the dirt looked after I chopped at it with a shovel, raked it with a metal rake/hoe tool for over an hour, and got it wet.
I'm so excited about having the pool, but getting a bit discouraged and frustrated because I'm just not sure how on Earth I'm going to get it all the way flat. The big slope that was in the yard in this area is gone, but now there are tons of inclines and declines all thru the "pool pit". I have seen in videos, posts etc. that some people have used sand under Intex pools; but many of them updated that the following year they had 60 or more pinholes in the bottom of their liners as a result. I have seen still more posts that say that while you can't use sand to level, you CAN (and perhaps should?) use a few inches of it to smooth out your area AFTER it is level, and protect the liner from rocks, etc. I also know the Intex Installation manual also says specifically NOT to use sand. I'm not sure which information is correct here.... and have no idea where to go from here.
Any and all advice is GREATLY appreciated!!