So, this is the start to my summer 2014 backyard redo project...
Background: We bought the house back in 2012 with the in-ground pool having been filled in literally days before we saw the house for the first time. They pulled the pool, disconnected the pool lighting, but left the convenience outlet and the electrical service as well as the cut-off boxes on the back of the house along with the equipment pad (sans any equipment). In the utility area they left all the circuits connected, but with the breakers turned off. The backyard lights worked, but that is all we knew once we moved in.
Well, I ended up going through the electrical last year and found they originally had all in the 240v panel, an electric pool heater on a 50amp dual-breaker with 8awg wiring, a pool pump on an Intermatic timer on a 20amp dual-breaker with 12awg wiring and a pool vac on another Intermatic timer with a 15amp dual-breaker and 14awg wiring. All of these go out back with separate quick disconnects. In the 120v panel they had the pool lighting, convenience outlet and backyard light posts all on a 15amp breaker with the feed being 12awg wiring. I ended up adding a GFCI to the lighting/convenience feed and replaced the convenience outlet along with adding a rain-tight cover.
After two winters of the area that was filled in settling, and after getting the input from a number of qualified people in regards to how the in-ground pool was filled in, we finally decided to redo the entire backyard area. It was such a wreck because of the damage done filling in the pool, it was best to start with almost a clean slate. We are only keeping the landscaping at the back corner of the yard where the pool was (there is a line of burning bushes that work as a nice privacy break), as well as the apple tree and the stuff that is right against the house. The rest is being totally redone leaving only the original light posts where they are in the yard.
So, after going through no less than 13 designs, and originally planning on a seasonal pool (so there would be no permit issues) that was to be replaced with wooden deck sections in the colder months, we decided it was best to go with a permanently installed above ground pool. Not only from a "hassle" standpoint, but also because it would allow use to "cap" the area that the original pool was located in.
The plan is to use 3/4" aggregates that allow drainage below the pool, building up maybe 6-7" of lift using a vibratory plate compactor every couple of inches to compact the surface. This is after we pull off all the top-soil added at the pool location as well as 4 inches of sod/topsoil in the areas where the original pool/decking was not. We do plan on putting in a french drain around the pool just beyond the uprights to help with draining off any splash over or any sort of runoff that would try to work it's way under the pool.
I figure 8" beyond the pool itself will be kept at the same elevation, eventually filled with pink champagne and charcoal stone (the rest of the landscaping uses that combo below bushes and such), and then a 2ft wide paver "coping" of sorts. Just enough that I won't have to walk on any grass while doing maintenance around the pool.
On the northern side of the pool there will be an expansive paver patio that will go up to that "coping", extend the length of the bushes over to the other light post, then go out to a 14ft garden circle that will have a 7ft tall water fountain in the center of it. On the side away from the bushes it will extend to the concrete patio at the back of the house where the 10-person hot tub currently resides. This should tie all aspects of the yard together and allow for not needing to walk on the grass to get anywhere. The patio will be basically 20ft x 40ft (location for a tented gazebo with a outdoor dining set along with an outdoor kitchen with serving peninsula and bar) with a 10ft x 12ft build-out near the garden for an outdoor living area (sofa/chairs/table set).
This is all being done in 8"x4"x2.5" Holland pavers in red-black with a charcoal border. I already have over 5000 sitting in my yard with another 1000 waiting at the store in case I need them.
The fill under the pavers will be traffic-bond, which is a 1/4" limestone and dust aggregate which basically sets up like concrete once it dries. It is the perfect base for pavers where you don't need water permeability. That along with polymeric sand to fill the joints and basically the entire are is "capped off" and a complete watershed. Thus my concern with water draining into the "old pool area" is abated as much as possible since the above ground pool and french drain should do as much as possible to keep water from infiltrating below and the limestone traffic-bond and pavers with polymeric sand will shed water everywhere else. The pool is planned to be about 1 inch higher than the the pavers.