Austin Owner Build (Raised Pool with Infinity Edge)

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
Hi,

After spending considerable time researching pool builds (i.e., spending a lot of time on troublefreepool.com), I felt that I could get a lot more pool for my money by doing an owner build verses hiring a pool builder. I called one pool builder, and he said (without knowing how big of a pool that I wanted) that it would cost at least $150,000 to build a pool for me. The sky high price is mainly due to a couple factors: We wanted an infinity edge pool and virtually the entire gunite pool would be raised out of the ground.

Thus, we have decided to do an owner build for our pool. I am normally a very private person, but I felt that the forum has already helped me tremendously and hopefully my build will help someone along the way. Plus, there are very few builds that I could find in which the pool build, being mostly above ground, has been detailed.

Some time back, I posted a mock up created in pool studios and got some great feedback from the members here. Now, we are finally moving forward with the build. If anyone is considering building their own pool and is concerned about hiring a designer, just know that pool studios is very user friendly. I am not an IT person or computer whiz, but the software is incredibly easy to use (I watched a few videos and was off and running).

After speaking with my neighbors, they were kind enough to allow us to drive the heavy equipment and dump trucks across their backyard. I cannot being to say how appreciative we are that the neighbors allowed this. Had the neighbors not allowed us this access, we probably would not have built this pool. It would have been simply too difficult to haul that much material back and forth around the side of the house and up the driveway.

To others planning this type of build, be forewarned that it is more costly than a pool that is dug completely in the ground. I hired a structural engineer for the steel/wall thickness of the gunite (pooleng). In addition, I hired a soil engineer. The soil engineer dug three test pits to determine what type of material we were sitting on. Since I live in the western part of Austin, we new we would hit rock, but the question was at what depth. Two pits hit solid rock at 15" and the third hit solid rock at 33".

The engineers decided that the best way to build the pool would be to scrap off all of the topsoil down to the solid rock and build up from there. Piers were discussed but it was decided that piers would be an unnecessary expense considering the pool would be sitting on solid rock. The key to this type of build is a very solid base. The material used to raise up the pool has to be very heavily compacted. For this build, we will use clean/washed gravel to fill and level out the flooring. This type of build also requires a lot of bagging.

We started digging on July 24 and on August 2 fired the excavation guy (So, we are not off to a smooth start). We already have a new excavation company that will finish the dig, they start August 7. So far 15 truck loads (17-18 yards per truck) of material have been hauled off. I only anticipate one or two more truck loads will need to be hauled off.

The pool will be an "L" shaped pool with approximately 36,000 gallons excluding the weir basin and the spa.

We have decided to make a few changes verse the picture below (e.g., two water bowls instead of the stone water fall feature and we will straighten out the wier basin walls so that they are straight with the pool walls instead of angled). A couple of the photos are my crude attempts to show measurements and depths (While not as fancy as a pool builder would use, the drawings seem to be sufficient to let the excavator know how to dig the pool).
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,853
Tallahassee, FL
You say you have dug some..............you KNOW we LOVE pictures even if they are of dirt! I can't wait to see this one come along!

Kim:kim:
 

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
This is the current state of the dig. My 5 year old has been very excited and helped me move the trampoline.

Excavators all have different ways they like to do things. So, the bags will be moved and restacked.
 

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ctrav

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 23, 2017
2,400
Northlake TX
Wow...thats going to be some project...looking forward to following. Thanks for sharing and not staying private!
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,170
Central MD
Great project!!

It looks like you have skimmers in the rendering. Will you have those in the final product? I don't recall seeing infinity pools that have skimmers before (though maybe I've missed them). I'd think skimmers are a less attractive item you'd be happy to forego on a pool of this style. But I suppose you could run the pool in a manner where it's not overflowing and use less electricity perhaps?
 

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
Good catch.

I will have two skimmers near the house, but the skimmer near the infinity edge will not be installed. The wind blows predominately towards the back of the house so two skimmers near the house will help capture stuff that floats near the house. I did not think things through enough when I did the rendering. The infinity edge will also serve as a HUGE skimmer when running.


Great project!!

It looks like you have skimmers in the rendering. Will you have those in the final product? I don't recall seeing infinity pools that have skimmers before (though maybe I've missed them). I'd think skimmers are a less attractive item you'd be happy to forego on a pool of this style. But I suppose you could run the pool in a manner where it's not overflowing and use less electricity perhaps?
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A little test I did with travertine choices. I originally wanted silver coping but HOT HOT HOT.
 

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chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,389
Tucson
That's going to be a big pool. I'd estimate you will be around 50,000 gallons when done. How are you planning to chlorinate and what are your equipment plans?
 

martinkennedy

Platinum Supporter
Sep 8, 2013
572
Your going to be very happy with this type of pool. I like the way you have incorporated the pool equipment room. The builder removed 82 dump trucks full of dirt for our build. You can check it out by searching "new build in south Texas"
 

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
Martinkennedy,

Your pool is awesome. I followed your build thread while you were building.

I will actually have the pool equipment outside of the room. The room will be for storage of chemicals and pool toys/robots, etc. I considered putting the pool equipment in the storage area but decided against.

Your going to be very happy with this type of pool. I like the way you have incorporated the pool equipment room. The builder removed 82 dump trucks full of dirt for our build. You can check it out by searching "new build in south Texas"
 

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
Thought I would post a few new pictures since my last post. My new excavator is moving along.
On Monday it rained; so I have a catch basin that caught water. Luckily it drained out by the end of the day.
On Tuesday the new excavator put up alignment strings to determine if we were straight and to determine the proper elevations.
On Wednesday through Friday they have been bagging and putting up forms. The amount of gravel and fill that has been used is pretty amazing for a relatively small pool. I have had 12 trucks of gravel hauled in and 5 trucks of fill (We have put more than 300,000 pounds of gravel and fill in the pool).
I hope that excavation and forming is wrapped up tomorrow or Monday.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,853
Tallahassee, FL
I know what you mean! I am going to have to look at this one some more to see if I understand what is happening! But like with all "art work" you don't say a thing until you see the finished progress!

Kim:kim:
 

harleysilo

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 1, 2012
1,924
North Georgia
Seeing the slope of your backyard, I now understand why you wanted the pool "above ground". Very neat to see how they are building up the earth.

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Have you considered an underwater window in the infinity edge?
 

GregSS

Gold Supporter
Jul 30, 2013
109
That would be interesting to have a window, but would add additional complexity to an already complex build. The steel folks hope to start tying tomorrow (Sunday) and finish by Wednesday. I purchased 6 tons of steel--it will be interesting to see how much is used just in the pool. I am very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable excavator finishing the "dig".