So we embarked on this "little" project with just the thought of replacing our 15' by 39" Easy-set pool that we have had for the past couple years with something a little larger. As we were having trouble sourcing an Intex brand pool early in the spring, we opted for what we thought would be the next best thing... a 12x22x52" Bestway brand, which happened to be the only thing readily available locally.
We brought the pool home from the store (in early April) and planned our attack so as to be fully ready when the last of the snow left our yard. We already had the perfect spot reserved, exactly where the last pool we owned had left this huge void in our lawn. Just a little more sod to remove to accommodate a rectangular pool, a bit more levelling and a couple hours time to assemble it and we should be set (well according the all the instructional videos anyway). Easy enough right?!
Well as you can imagine from the title of my thread, somewhere along the line in the planning process, things went very much awry. It all started with the hubby’s brilliant plan to dig down “just a couple feet” and went from bad to worse from there. Of course all of the great ideas we discovered from other forum members (with similar ambitions) only added fuel to the fire.
So out came the graph paper and the ideas started to really flow. Well, if we were going to the expense of digging down the pool, why stop at two feet, why not go deeper, and hey a ground level deck would be amazing too. With a deck, we would be able to buy some pool steps...how awesome would that be...no more rickety ladders and now my 92 yr old Grandma wouldn’t have to “melt” in the heat while everyone else cools down in the pool on those hot summer days. And my 5yr old grand-daughter would have a spot where she could sit and relax too, when she needed to take a break from practising her ‘laps’. Of course we would need a retaining wall, and would have to construct a new fence. There would have to be heat...no more fighting with solar heaters and solar covers that amazingly enough didn’t bring our pool any warmer than 75 degrees on even our hottest summer days. Well, I suppose those cheap little pumps and filters weren’t going to cut it either, so we had better consider upgrading those as well. There finally had it all figured out.
First calls were to the local utility companies to have them come do line locates in the yard before excavation could begin. Luckily we had access to the equipment required to dig that incredibly large ‘mud hole’ in the back yard. I made a few calls to the local pool supplier to get some ideas and recommendations for the pump, filter and heater. Check!! We planned our budget for materials for the retaining wall and fence and set our timeline for completion. Now once reality set in as to how large our project was to become, we thought it was time to recruit some muscle. Thankfully a friend of my (adult) children that built our deck last year, who is now a licensed contractor (abundantly clear by the increase in his labor rates from the previous summer LOL), rounded up a couple more of their mutual friends and we put our plan into action. After having my heart restarted (upon hearing their labor quote) we decided that we would rather pay ten times what it was worth to have the job completed quickly and professionally, than to struggle potentially all summer to squeeze the project in on only weekends and days off had we decided to complete the project ourselves.
My hubby and his buddy spent about 4 hours with the mini track hoe excavating a 17x30 foot hole in the back yard. Materials were ordered and delivered on the 16th of May.The ‘crew’ arrived the next morning to begin construction of the treated timber retaining wall. They made quick work of the project, taking only 7 hours to complete what would like have taken the hubby and I the equivalent number of weeks to complete I am sure LOL. We ended up with an area that is 14’9” wide (fingers crossed we will have enough room for the side supports)by 25.5 feet long, with a 4x6 foot access area off one side to accommodate all of the pool equipment. It looks amazing so far.
We did a dry fit of the top rails of the frame to know exactly where the deck would need to be built, and they returned last weekend to begin construction. Our (u-shaped) deck runs 8 feet deep and 24 feet along the 12’ foot end (wrapping around the corners, extending out 6 feet on each side, and 6 feet up the running length). They completed all of the beams, framing and installed the majority of the deck boards (on the 8x24 section of the deck)in approx 8hours, leaving off the deck boards on the “smaller” sections of the deck until we have the pool completely assembled.
We have been busy the last week (despite the torrential rain storms we have been experiencing) with getting our (24”x30”) concrete pavers installed for under the supports and ensuring that our ground is well compacted and level (we rented a compactor from a local home improvement store). If all goes to plan, we should be ready for assembly of the pool by tomorrow night, which will ensure we are ready for the guys to return to finish up the last of the deck boards on Sunday. Our electrician was here today and finished installing the 60amp GFCI for our pool heater as well as two separate GFCI outlets/ breakers in our panel for the rest of our equipment (on dedicated circuits)and has run enough wire to ensure he is able to perform adequate bonding. The “pool guy” is coming out to finish hard plumbing the equipment next week, so we can hopefully be enjoying the pool by next Saturday just in time for my Hubby’s 55th Birthday Party (his birthday is actually tomorrow, the 31st, but celebrating a week later)
Well, I am off to Minot, ND early tomorrow to pick up our steel fencing which will encompass the perimeter of the pool area. We will be constructing a railing system around the perimeter of our deck as well with a self latching/ locking gate to ensure safety and prevent unauthorized access. At the opposite end we (are going to) have a staircase leading down into the “trench”, also installing a self latching/ locking gate there as well. I also have to pick up the Hubby’s Birthday gift...a seven foot Palm tree and “thatch” umbrella to finish the look.
So for anyone who is planning on such an undertaking here is the breakdown of our budget thus far (incl taxes), not including the huge bill we have yet to receive from the pool guy and the electrician however (which I am sure will push us up over the 12000 mark)
• Pool $1100
• Lumber including retaining wall, deck, and wood fence (yet to be constructed) $3300.00
• Labor $3000.00
• Deck Railing/ gate $600.00
• Pool Fencing/ gate $1200
• Pool steps $400.00
• Pump, sand filter, and heater $1200
For those of you who are just reeling at the thought of how anyone could consider such an astronimcal investment in a “cheap” pool, keep in mind that when we decide in a couple of years to upgrade to a more permanent option, the bulk of the work (and the resulting expense) once usually encounters in such a set-up have already been completed in anticipation of just such a project down the road. Thank you for reading. Hopefully I haven’t bored anyone to tears (or to the point of sleep zzzzzzz)
I am getting so excited to have the project getting close to completion, and can’t wait to take our first dip