First Time Owner Build in Dallas

Dock Ellis

Silver Supporter
Aug 3, 2016
44
DFW TX
Hello everyone. I am in the planning stages of building my own pool in Dallas and figured now is as good a time as any to get a build thread going. We actually don't even own the house yet, but are currently pending so fingers crossed everything will work out because the new house lends itself perfectly to a pool.

A little bit of background first - my wife and I both grew up with pools and love escaping to them in the hot Texas summers, but our last two homes either didn't make sense economically or were too difficult of terrain to be able to build. We are in the middle of moving to a new house and it is a larger, flat lot with great access so we came to the decision that it is time to finally get a pool! We have a 1 year old girl and hope to have another child or two in the future so we will be looking at making this inaccessible for her without supervision.

I am a construction manager for a custom home builder so I have the added benefit of having relationships with a few superintendents for some of the largest PBs in the area. I approached one of them about building the pool myself and he said he would be happy to give me a list of subs. I told him I would pay him a consulting fee for his help, but I'm not entirely sure how much to give to make it worth his while so he doesn't feel I'm taking advantage of him. Any thoughts here?

Onto the fun stuff. Here are pictures of what we're working with:

Pool Location:
backyard.jpg

Existing Deck:
deck.jpg

We have about 47' deep by 32' wide from the existing deck to the back fence and from the garage to the side fence. I'd like to keep a lot of the existing landscape so effectively we've got about 22' of width to work with.

We both prefer the more traditional style versus freeform, which lends itself well to this space since it is a rectangle already. Current plan is to demo the existing deck and make it whatever decking material we choose. I have a contractor who can do travertine pavers for a pretty good price, but that might change depending on how much decking the design ends up incorporating.

I'm still in the process of choosing equipment and finalizing the design and will share those once they're complete. Currently leaning towards a spa near the house with an adjacent sunbathing deck, a shallow end for volleyball/basketball, and maybe a deep end for jumping but haven't been able to figure out how that would work with the length limitations so it might end up being a sport pool depth. Current plans for dimensions are 18'x40'. There is a side yard that is about 25'x20' that we can preserve for green space so we can use up a lot of this existing space.

I look forward to updating this as progress is made and welcome any suggestions!
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,307
Bedford, TX
Dock,

Welcome to TFP... A Great place for all your pool questions... :wave:

Thanks for posting and good luck with your upcoming build...

Jim R.
 

BigEinAZ

Well-known member
Jan 3, 2016
585
Mesa, Az
The first thing you'll need to do is cut that big tree down. You'll take a huge chunk of the root system when you dig the pool so budget a grand for removal off the bat. Be sure to verify your set-backs with the local municipality before you get too far into your planning. Are your utilities overhead or underground. Where are the services to the house coming from?
 

Dock Ellis

Silver Supporter
Aug 3, 2016
44
DFW TX
Thanks for the responses so far!

BigE, I had thought of the removal but forgot to budget so thanks for the heads up. It is a pecan tree. There is actually another pecan tree beside the existing deck that I am hopeful I'll be able to spare but I will ask the arborist when they come out to see what they think. Utilities should be good - there is an overhead line in the alley but luckily it is across the alley from us and there is a 10' setback from there so I should be covered on that aspect. The gas meter is behind the fence where the white post is on the first picture, and it comes into the house on that side so I am hopeful it is run right along the side of the garage where I'm planning on keeping the shrubs. Electrical enters on the other side of the garage so hopefully no issues there. I do plan on having USIC come out and do a locate though prior to everything.
 

BigEinAZ

Well-known member
Jan 3, 2016
585
Mesa, Az
Don't forget sewer and water. Utility locaters usually don't include these when they stake. Also check on whether or not you have a restriction on impervious improvements as a percentatge of your lot size. You'll also want to consider drainage. Not just yours but any overland flows from adjacent properties. Usually these are identified as drainage easements on your plat. Lots to consider . . .

Thanks for the responses so far!

BigE, I had thought of the removal but forgot to budget so thanks for the heads up. It is a pecan tree. There is actually another pecan tree beside the existing deck that I am hopeful I'll be able to spare but I will ask the arborist when they come out to see what they think. Utilities should be good - there is an overhead line in the alley but luckily it is across the alley from us and there is a 10' setback from there so I should be covered on that aspect. The gas meter is behind the fence where the white post is on the first picture, and it comes into the house on that side so I am hopeful it is run right along the side of the garage where I'm planning on keeping the shrubs. Electrical enters on the other side of the garage so hopefully no issues there. I do plan on having USIC come out and do a locate though prior to everything.
 

jmoore312

Active member
Jul 5, 2016
40
DFW
Good luck! I am in the middle of an OB, also in the Dallas area. I thought about finding someone I could pay a small fee to consult, but after all the advice I get from this forum as well as a buddy who built his own, I went ahead and dove in (no pun intended). Although, if the price is right, a consultant may be worth the peace of mind. The process has been great up to this point. Was able to get an excavator who was digging a neighbors pool, found a company that did steel, plumbing and electric and a gunite company (referred from this forum) and just hired a tile and coping company. Bought tile and coping today and hope to have it installed early next week. You can also get great equipment deals on line (I used poolsupplyworld.com).

Yard looks great!
 

Dock Ellis

Silver Supporter
Aug 3, 2016
44
DFW TX
Thanks for all of the responses so far. Lots to think about.

I need the help of TFP to spend my money, but in a responsible way! Budget is $40-50k so I am trying to temper my expectations (most of the pools we put in run from $70-130k. There is even an $800k pool in the community if you can believe that, the entire thing is glass tile).

The two styles we are looking at are:

Style 1:
pool1.jpg
I would basically copy this design but the view from the picture would be from the back fence looking towards the house (spa close to house). I would also remove the fountain on the right and obviously no cabana either. I think I can save some money on the pavers and go with a cheaper finish perhaps. I know this pool was around $135k but has a lot more decking, more extras that won't be necessary on the equipment side, and the cabana. Without those I'm estimating it would have been around $75-85k, which at around 30% profit would bring it close to the high end of my budget. The pool is 15'x32' not including the baja deck.

Style 2 (inspiration from Summerhill Pools):
summerhill2.jpg
Wife wants a raised spa so that would be the only difference with this one. I think I could save some money on concrete decking costs with turf in between and the design is obviously more simple. If we stay modest on our tile and coping I think I could be around the low end of the budget. For this design we would probably do 18'x36' with a traditional depth profile from 4' - 7', with 3 LED lights (2 pool, 1 sauna) and 2 LED bubblers on the sun deck.

I guess my main question is do you think these numbers are doable with Pentair equipment with automation? I should have a survey tomorrow so I can work on getting it imported to Pool Studio and have a design hopefully this week. Then I can focus more on materials and getting bids.

Also, as always I am completely open to any suggestions on ways to hit my budget or any other designs I might be overlooking. Our main requirements are an attached spa (sorry Matt), a sun deck, and a small waterfall from the sauna to the pool in that order.
 

Attachments

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,402
Tallahassee, FL
If you install the equipment it is a one year warranty VS 3 years if a licensed electrocution does the work. Make sure to check with the maker of the equipment to make sure.

I like both designs. I am hoping the turf is artificial as I would HATE to have to cut and care for real grass that close to the pool. You cannot go wrong with either one of them.

I will try to keep the BLING under control LOL.

Kim:kim:
 

Big Will

Silver Supporter
Feb 14, 2017
885
Las Vegas
Dock, I definitely think that it's doable in your price range! The thing I would encourage you to do is before you shortchange your design for what you "think" would be cheaper is to design your dream pool within reason and start pricing it out ( I did the same thing and ended up adding a spa and automation and other extras). You will be surprised at the bids that come back and how they may be lower than what you think, then from there you can subtract things so it will make your build fall in your budget. Also know that if your doing and OB like myself you can ALWAYS negotiate the bids that come your way since you will be paying up front for the work once it's done. One piece of advice I received is DONT tell them your a cash buyer until AFTER you receive the bid that way you can go back and get a cash discount after you work their initial bid down.
also on my build thread... the last post I described different bids I got and just as a point of intrest everything I asked for from the subs was top of the line. So I know there is even more wiggle room plus my bids didn't include the cash discounts subs offered me, it is a good starting and reference point. Unfortunately I don't know how to link my build or else I would post it here. Feel free to reach out to me for any questions
Blessings
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,402
Tallahassee, FL
Can you go over the words and lines with a dark pen. I can see some of them but want to make sure I see all of them.

Kim:kim:
 

Dock Ellis

Silver Supporter
Aug 3, 2016
44
DFW TX
Anything for the bling queen!

Close up.jpg

Pool depth.jpg

- - - Updated - - -

Since I have the handwriting of an 8 year old, here is what I'm thinking:

18'x36' with an 8'x8' 18" raised spa with overflow. The west side is raised 18" due to grade change in backyard, which I will likely wrap with stacked stone tile. That will have 3 sheer descents. 10'x7' sun deck at 9" water depth with 2 Pentair ColorCascade bubblers. Depth goes from 4'-8'.

As of now I'm thinking 12x24" lueders limestone coping, travertine pavers for the decking, and haven't thought about waterline tile yet.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,402
Tallahassee, FL
That did it! THANKS! With my being a Kindergarten teacher I can read just about anyone's writing LOL including my own :roll:

I like what I see so far. How many returns are you thinking and where?

I would LOVE to pick out your waterline tile :sun: BLING to the max!! Glass, shiny, pretty!!!

What about equipment? Any ideas yet?

:hug:

Kim:kim:
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
308
Dallas, TX
Great design - looks good for the yard and has all the basics. I really like all of my Pentair equipment and I would never build one these days without the automation. I don't have a SWG, but have an ET8. That gives the two main valves to control Pool to Spa and Waterfall and it will operate two more valves, like your bubblers. If you need any more valve control I think you have to leave the "Easytouch" line and go to the Intellitouch where you choose what options you want in it. There is a documented way here on the site to add a relay and add one more automated valve control to an ET panel for a total of 5, but doesn't look like you need that with those plans. If you are already familiar with the panels and what you can and can't do to them that is good, if not and have questions I can answer some and lots of other good knowledge here on the site.

In addition to valves the ET8 will give you 7 relays to turn things on and off with - lights, air for spa, cleaner pump, chemical pump, etc.
 

TxBwana

Silver Supporter
Mar 23, 2017
73
Plano, TX
Love the large paver idea... instead of grass in-between, I would use mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus). It only grows about 4" high and you don't ever have to mow it. It is what is often used between pavers.
 

Dock Ellis

Silver Supporter
Aug 3, 2016
44
DFW TX
Well, time to resurrect this one from the graveyard. The excavation (finally) got started this morning around 7:30. My father-in-law is there watching after everything while I work, look forward to getting some more pictures up tonight.

Backyard Before.jpg

Excavation 1.jpg
 

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