I decided to document my pool project disaster for several reasons;
1)I figured I could possibly help someone decide if this headache is worth or not,
2) Hopefully get people who have done this to post some tips and recommendations,
3) Get advice from experienced or professional workers on certain parts of the project,
4) Help someone else who is or will be in the same boat as me.
Here’s my story;
Last June I had the bright idea of buying a 15x30 oval pool. I wanted a wraparound deck and I wanted it to connect to my existing deck off the house (same height).
In order to do that I had to dig a hole for the pool (2' down half way around the pool and up to 4' toward the other end). Needless to say things were not going as planned right from the get go. My backyard was a bit hilly but I didn't realize how hilly until we started digging. The hole dig was supposed to cost no more than $500, it ended up costing me double. I also didn't realize I’d be stuck with working in clay once we got past the 12” of soil. My kitchen was covered in sand the entire late summer and fall from me (coming in and out while working on this project), from the kids coming and going and from the dog. My wife was not happy.
I hired a guy to dig the hole for 1k. I hired a guy to install the pool for $1250. I purchased a 15x30 pool and all the BS accessories for 4k
Now I have a pool in a hole in my backyard and things are not going as smooth as I thought. For starters, I'm now working in clay.
I buried a drainage pipe that runs from the woods to the side of the pool. I did this for the drainage around the pool and a place to drain the pool water.
I was going to build a retaining wall around the pool, about a foot away from the pool, and then put some drainage in between the pool and the retaining wall. I needed to dig about 30 4’x 8” holes for the deck piers.
I was going to build the retaining wall out of PT 4x4 post and lay them against the piers and the deck 4x4 post.
Digging the holes around the pool and half on the outskirts for the deck took me all August and fall since I had to break the clay with a 20lb pick one inch at a time. I tried a 1 man and two man auger with no luck.
I was able to insert a sonic tubes into the holes I dug by hand and fill them with cement before it snowed (I’m in upstate NY).
We got a lot of rain and the water just puddles up around the pool and it becomes very slippery. Literally a moat around the pool.
By snowfall I figured I should be good to go come spring
I went to inspect the piers I poured in the Fall and 4 of them snapped about 18 inches from the top. That means I need to dig 4 more holes in clay 4’ x 8” wide. The ground around the pool is a slippery mess from all the snow melt and the spring rain. I’m at the point where I give up. I went to a local pool place and almost said F it and purchased a radiant pool for 10k. This would solve the issue of having to create drainage along the pool and building a retaining wall. Since I still need to fence in the yard 2k, buy landscape bricks for another retaining wall to prevent the dirt from falling into the pool 2k- I couldn't justify spending another 10k when I wouldn't get jack for the pool that is less than a year old. I’d be over 20k for an above ground pool.
I figured I’d roll the dice and back fill with dirt and hope it last me a few years. I started planning for that route and was researching what I could put on the pool walls to prevent rust from the dirt and moisture. I was in home depot and walked past some rebar and got thinking, maybe I could pound the rebar in the ground 2-3’ and place the 4x4 post up against repair. I bought a 4’ piece of ½ rebar and was able to hammer it in 2’. Soooo, I’m back to trying to build a retaining wall. I will attempt to do one side with the rebar and build the wall. If it works, I will have to come up with some sort of the drainage idea for between the pool wall and the retaining wall.
I’ll keep you posted and post some pic’s when I have time to find them.
Comments, advice and criticism is welcome!