Day 1, or is it -99?


New member
Sep 20, 2019
Buffalo, NY
Today marks 99 days to digging a crater in my backyard, but its also Day 1 It is also my first post. So, not sure what day it is or if that matters but it marks the start of a "next year" project that has been discussed for a decade.

I have made up my mind 5 different times over the past 6 months on what I want to do. As of today (well, 5 minutes ago) I am back on the PW do it myself path. My goal here is to document my entire experience, hopefully teach someone out there what NOT to do, but also capture some positive feedback and help along the way. Let’s do this together. I am sure my wife will want to chime in here too, so if anyone wants to bare witness so some intramarital bickering, well - don't be surprised.

Specifically, here is what we want to do:
  • 20x40 Double Roman pool. Doesn't have to be exactly this, but I don't want to go any larger nor too much smaller.
  • 6" Corners. If I could do 90 degree I would, but intuition is telling me it can't happen. I really don't like the 2' rounded corners. Or can it??
  • I want the ends of the pool to by symmetrical. In other words, the "roman circles" should be the same shape and size.
    • Shallow end circle - liner-covered steps
    • Deep end - a tanning ledge, maybe 12" deep its really meant to be a hangout area, swim-out, bench, or similar
  • Will have a deep end, but no more than 6'. And really, if its not going down deeper, would like to shift the shallow end / deep end break. Or maybe just have a constant slope to the hopper. I just want to avoid the whole "20 adults crammed into the shallow end while the deep end is deserted" situation.
  • Have an elevated spa that spills into pool.
Here is the picture of the pool which I can't buy from the person I thought I could:

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 9.10.48 PM.png

I haven't purchased anything yet aside from some pool floats for the kids so pretty much bind me into a verbal contract with them. I plan on burying myself into the forums here over the weekend to determine steel vs polymer (i plan on using salt water system), trying to figure out where I want to purchase the pool kit (I am in Western New York), and also try and ease a few things that are already going to keep me awake at night:

  1. The dig. Can I do this myself by renting a min-excavator? I am only doing a 6’ deep end. I called “a guy” and he said that it was good that I was doing a rectangle and not one of “those” kidney shaped pools. So many video's I watched made it look easy, but I know enough the be afraid. I want to sub it out, I just haven't had much preliminary sourcing via the internet, yellow pages, or web resources such as home advisor. I only entertain the self-dig option because I am meticulous and well, trust is not one of my stengths.
  2. The poolkrete or vermiculite base. Back-breaking work. I already have a broken back and this seems like a specialized skill.
  3. Concrete deck. I don’t want it to look like my driveway. I don’t want it cracking like my driveway either (no, I didnt put my own driveway in). Speaking of driveway, that is the straightest shot into my back yard and will the trucks delivery stone and taking away full add even more cracks to my concrete driveway?

Anyhow, this will be fun. I'd like to add that I had back surgery a few months ago, people thought I was crazy for doing this before I fell on an operating table, and I am starting to think I have a few screws loose myself.


TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
Morris Cnty NJ
That's a big pool for a DIY and a tough shape. Depth doesnt matter much. You need help. More than the wife help. Alot of this is 2 person jobs and often 3 needed. Digging a pool is an art especially a pool kit. You cannot overdig at all. You can bulk it out sloppy but the pool shape details have to be lose to perfect. A mini wont do that pool you need a real machine 120 class or better. If you plan to haul fill out you need size to load trucks. Really helps to have a skidsteer on site too. Remember a pool that size is close to a 600 man hours soup to nuts with concrete deck, close to a thousand for a novice. Just dont kid yourself on the hard work ahead. Make sure your back is ready. I'll answer any questions you may have


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
I love that pool shape! It is so classic!

What you can do is be the GC (General Contractor) for the build. You do all of the front work like finding the subs to do the work but YOU are there when they get there and start working. It is a LOT of work and can be very frustrating in that people will not call back, show up, be late, etc.

Have you ever played with one of those big toys before? It is a art digging something like a pool. A pool dig is NOT for a first timer as it has to be spot on.