Grotto height?

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Just curious if there is a standard rule of thumb in determining the height of a grotto. It is off the back side of our pool... it will have a natural stone waterfall on top. There will be dirt mounded up on both sides and behind with a slide wrapping from behind around and into the pool. The slide will require 6.5 ft of height at the entry to have the exit at coping level. The grotto will be about 8 ft wide at the front and about 5' deep with a bench in it.

So, I assume height would be a based on a combination of comfort for walking into it as well as esthetics of width to height... the water depth will be 4' in the grotto and the bench will have about 18" of water depth (I assume these are proper?).

So, what would be a good interior height for the grotto above the water. 7' (from pool floor) would give enough head room to walk in to, but would give only 3' above water compared to 8' width... I am thinking 4' above water might be better.. but I don't want it to appear too large either.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
936
Red Oak, TX
We have a seat and a foot ledge in ours. I am 5'6" and can stand up on the foot ledge and not hit the roof. I guess you should make sure that when you stand up in yours, you won't bonk your melon.

This pic was taken as the sun was coming up.. sort of dark, but you can see the height.

Ask your PB to build ledges in for your beverages.. :lol:

Good Luck!
 

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jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Thank you for the reply and the picture! That looks great!

Do you happen to know the inside width and the height from water to inside top? It looks very nicely proportioned.

Did they shoot the top with gunite or is that a piece of stone set on gunite walls?

Love your lighting in there also? Is that a regular pool light on a side wall inside the cave?
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
I'll measure it for you in just a little bit.. Thanks so much!! Glad you like it.

It is solid stone built from the gunite wall up. Make sure you show your PB AND the stone mason exactly the look you want. Down in my sig there is a like that shows the entire build job, day by day. Whatever kind of stone you put across the top - just MAKE sure it is thick enough to withstand people jumping off of it. That's my only worry.
If I'm home, I can control that, but if I'm not... ugh.

We added a Pentair LED light in the grotto, because at night (you can't really see it here) it makes the waterfall just beautiful! I have 3 Pentair LED's - One in the grotto, one in the pool and 1 in the spa. The computer keeps the grotto/pool on 1 control so they both are they same color or theme. The spa LED can be the same, or any color I want.

If I were to be perfectly honest.... I wouldn't swim in a pool where I can't see what else is in the water. The cave might have been too dark - :shark:

I'll get those measurements tonite.

Thanks again!!
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Thanks... how deep is the water at that point in the pool?

Is your grotto light the Pentair 5g spa light or pool light?

I thought about a light in the grotto... I will have one at each end of the pool facing each other (Pentair 5g pool LED) and another of the same lights in the middle facing away from the house and into the grotto (from about 17 feet across the pool). I did not think of putting another one in the grotto under water. I think the one across the pool will give enough light to see the floor (I think)... especially if I use the "narrow" beam on the 5g. I was thinking about hiding a Pentair landscape 12V light in the ceiling area to light up the inside of the grotto behind the waterfall... ie. pointing at the back wall. I am not sure if that would look good or not.

I love the DiamondBrite color you chose with that tile. We are leaning toward French Gray... but waiting to see a pool locally with that in it.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
It's the smaller spa LED... the pool light height would have been too big to put it in the step. I'm lighting the outside of the grotto with spotlight landscape lights............ once I get to that point.

Hmmm I'm trying to imagine what that would look like on the inside pointing towards the back wall. In person, mine has soft lighting on the interior walls, and the water shimmers. But that's the "look" I was after. Maybe I could capture that with my other camera. Plus with the LED, you would LOVE the colors of the waterfalls dripping. I have to say, it is a work of art. (to me anyhow.)

I'm headed outside to water the sod.. and measure. later!
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Did you have a chance to get some measurements on your grotto? I would really appreciate it. They are forming mine today and I am trying to guess at what would look right...

Thanks for your help!
 

pool_snob

Active member
Aug 27, 2011
29
Cannot help with your measurement requests, but I believe any sort of structure(grotto, raised beam, dive rock etc) that can be used as jumping/diving platform whether it was designed for that purpose or not should have dive depth water beneath it.

Sure, it's important to ensure the top of the grotto is stable enough to support a live load, but what about the 5' of water someone might be diving into from 6' above the water surface?

Plan for the worst - hope for the best.
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Thanks for the feedback. There will be no way for people to get out onto it... there will be a waterfall on top. The other end of the pool will have jumping rock where water is 7.5 deep.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
The dimensions are 4'6" across (interior) and 3'6" from the water to the top (inside the cave)

I am so sorry, I had entered this information on my laptop, and apparently didn't hit "submit." I'm sure your PB knows what will look good. Can't wait to see it!
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
Yes, the water is 4'. The first step (foot bench) is about 7-8 inches. The second ledge is the seat. The light is in the seat riser. I was worried that it might glow into the house, but it's no problem at all. There is a soft glow on the inside walls and it lights the waterfall. I love it.
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Yeah... I'm taking a lot of pics... and I plan to start a new thread here shortly of the build process... but, I did not realize how hectic and non-stop these first couple weeks would be as the pool is getting dug and shot... one day we had 4" of rain after they started the rebar... dirt caving in, etc. I will breath easier once the shell is shot. Then schedule seems a little more relaxed. We will probably not get any swim time this year in the north east... but we will be ready in the Spring. I see you are near Dallas... so I am sure you don't have that issue... you probably swim year 'round! :)

Thanks, again for your help with cave sizing.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
Boy, I know what you mean! It was non-stop around here too. But, just think, you'll get to relax in or by it soon!! One day our PB showed up here, and he was obviously perplexed over something.. He told me his schedule got a bit out of whack due to a cave in on another job. He said that is just the luck of the draw - depending on the soil that's underneath.

I don't know about year round swimming.. (I'm a wuss.) but you can bet we'll be in the spa! That was the main reason we added the spa - to get our money's worth! LOL!

I think your grotto is going to be beautiful!! Here's one other thing. We went to look at several already built and researched online.. I didn't like the way the rocks were jutting out on some - especially around the spa. In fact my husband wanted to put flagstone on the spa. Well, I didn't want flagstone - not with all the other moss rock I was using. So, I explained to the PB the "look" I was after - and he made it happen. It's moss rock, but smooth.

Don't forget to ask for shelves in the grotto. I think I may have a few pics of those. If not.. I'll get some.
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
shelves... I never thought of that. Our grotto will actually be shot with gunite (shell) and then there is a ledge in the water along that side of the pool that the rocks will be set below the water line and up the face and top of the grotto... I am not sure how I want to finish the inside... I will do that myself later on... probably thin stone veneer... I like the interior of yours since it looks to be all built from stone. I have to figure out a way to do that with my gunite interior.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
Thanks jtech.. I've seen some pools on here with gunite or shotcrete stone work. I can not tell the difference! Here are a few of my grotto pics as it was being built.

Overlook the blue color of BLUE plaster, it is diamond brite, and it darkens and cures while wet.
 

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jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
I see you have a return in the side wall. Was that for helping to keep the bench clean or for a massage jet for people sitting there? I was planning on putting two on the back wall.
 

imrodee

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Jun 23, 2012
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Red Oak, TX
The PB said it was to keep water circulating in there. They don't really put out enough force.. My pump to the pool is a variable speed pump, which runs on lower speeds. then there is another booster pump - I'm not sure if that goes to the spa jets (but I think so..) And that pump puts out some power.

Here - look at this video... then there are others on the right to see how to make fake rocks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDYULx3J ... re=related

I just saw one that I would LOVE to put behind my flower bed.... Oh well, will have to $ave up!!
 

jtech1

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Jul 9, 2009
376
Thank you for all of your help... my gunite was finished today, and I think we got the cave at the right height thanks to your feedback! I might have made it a bit narrower and slightly deeper if i could do it again, but it was hard to visualize from paint lines. :) It ended up about 8' wide and 5' to the back. Main reason for deeper would be to make waterfall have more depth... we'll see how it works out.