Help me configure an L shaped pool

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
97
Lehigh Valley, PA
We decided to do an L shaped pool in order to compliment the layout of an existing patio and allow for entry into the pool of the side, rather than on one of the ends. We originally were thinking of doing a 20x40 rectangle so we are probably going to keep that size and just add the L part. The question is, how big do we make the L part? This entire area will be a sun shelf which will then drop into the main part of the pool. How deep and wide would you guys make this area so that it doesn't seem dinky next to the 20x40 main part of the pool?

Then the next question is what depths should the main part of the poo have? I never thought putting in a pool required so much thought!
 

Dirk

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I never thought putting in a pool required so much thought!

Should we break it to him now, or let him live in peace for a bit longer? ;)

There's a lot to it, all right. But you're in the right place for some great help in that regard.

I like my 7.5' deep end and 3.5' shallow end. Shallow for the kids. Deep end because they like to jump in off my jumping rock, and I like to dive in from the deck and swoop down deep. Very refreshing! I didn't design my pool, but I might have gone a bit deeper. But deeper means more water volume, more chemicals. Others like a sports pool, shallow enough to walk and play in (volleyball, basketball, etc), with less or no deep end. More decisions!! ;) With an L you could do both! One leg of the L is sport pool depth, then the other leg drops down deep.

I don't personally understand the appeal of the sun deck. I have a deck around my pool to lay in the sun! I can do so very close to the water, for that effect. I like to lay on towels and pillows and surround myself with drinks and snacks and books and phones, etc, I use a little end table, which I wouldn't want to do in 6" of water. When I want to lay around, I like to do so over dry deck. If I have to jump up to go in, or check the BBQ, I don't want to have to slog through the water. When I want to get wet, and cool off, then I get in the pool! But that's just me. Old school. Sun decks are very popular, so there must be something to them. I'd expect you'd want it at least big enough to accommodate however many lounge chairs you want to have in it. Upright or chaise? A couple chaises take up a lot of room. If I were designing a pool, I'd grab some stakes and some string and lay the whole thing out in the yard. Live with it for days or weeks. Fill up the area around it with chairs and tables and lounges. Put chairs or lounges in the pool, too, where the sun deck will be. See how it all feels. Decide where the sun deck umbrella needs to be. Walk around everything, too. How's the traffic patterns? Adjust the stakes and strings as needed. There are no hard and fast rules for sizes of pools or their areas. It's what fits your yard and your lifestyle.

One caution on the sun deck. I don't think there are any cleaners that can work in six inches of water. If you're planning on having some sort of automated vacuum or robot cleaning system, count on having to brush off the sun deck manually. The bigger that is, the more work it'll be. If you're expecting a lot of debris in that area (like from a tree), then that is something to consider...

Also your sun deck color won't match the deeper parts of your pool. Not a bad thing, just is. The water affects the color. The deeper the bluer. For example my pool is a deep aqua color, but my top step (about the depth of your sun deck) is dull grey. It's possible to exaggerate this effect, and have the sun deck a different color. Like a sand colored sun deck and an ocean colored pool. Very cool.

two tone pool.jpg

Sky's the limit!!
 

ctrav

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 23, 2017
2,400
Northlake TX
Do you have any pictures or drawings? Depth depends on what you want to do (play, swim laps,jump). Who is the pool for adults or kids? Do you have rocky soil? Is this your first pool or just first build?
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
97
Lehigh Valley, PA
OP liner or concrete?


Concrete.

- - - Updated - - -

Do you have any pictures or drawings? Depth depends on what you want to do (play, swim laps,jump). Who is the pool for adults or kids? Do you have rocky soil? Is this your first pool or just first build?

I’ll try to post some pics later. We won’t be swimming laps. This pool will be for both adults and kids. We do not want a diving board or slide. We do not have rocky soil and this will be my first pool. My wife grew up with one but I’ve never owned one.
 

sehrmude

Bronze Supporter
Aug 21, 2017
192
Tampa, FL
We built an L shaped pool - didn't have the amount of space you have (couldn't have fit a 20x40) - our 'L' is the sunshelf and is the same width as the actual pool area. Since we had such a small area to work with, we kept the depth of the pool shallow enough that average adults can stand in the deep end... so, sunshelf is 6" deep at the water line (same depth as top step), pool starts at 3'6" and goes to 5'6".

Note: At 5'6" deep I do not even recommend cannon balls...but I can put the basketball hoop out and actually shoot from most of the pool (I'm 5'9" tall) - in the deepest part of the pool I have to jump a little.

The pool planning started out as a 12x25 rectangle and then we added a 12x14 'L' for a sunshelf (shelf is 12x9). The pool actually goes around the shed in our yard. See pictures here: Pool build - Southwest FL - Tampa - Page 10

..and here: Trouble Free Pool

We thought about having the sunshelf a different color than the rest of the pool, but, because the first step is at the same level as and connected to the sunshelf, couldn't find a good way to transition from one color to the other. (we would have used PebbleSheen Desert Gold on the shelf and Blue Granite for the pool - this would have given a beach color to the shelf and nice blue for the rest of the pool. Instead we chose White Diamonds with cobalt blue glass bead for the entire pool - because it gave the blue color to the water while keeping light enough color for the shelf.

The 6" depth of the shelf is perfect for us, as the adirondack chairs we planned are right at 6" seat height.

If I had a chance to go back and ask for anything different, I think I would have asked for an additional return on the shelf. The return is only on one side and I always have leaves/bugs stuck in the corner opposite the return. The skimmer is directly across the pool from the shelf, so the additional return would have increased flow to the skimmer as well. This is a minor inconvenience and it only takes a minute to sweep this area with the pool brush. (I push the debris off the shelf where my robot can get it - 6" depth is too shallow for the robot to run.)

I am really happy that I asked for the light added to the shelf - the effects of the color LED lights can set the entire 'mood' of the back yard and the shelf would have been dark or barely lit without the light)

I wish you the best in making this pool perfect for you!
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
97
Lehigh Valley, PA
We built an L shaped pool - didn't have the amount of space you have (couldn't have fit a 20x40) - our 'L' is the sunshelf and is the same width as the actual pool area. Since we had such a small area to work with, we kept the depth of the pool shallow enough that average adults can stand in the deep end... so, sunshelf is 6" deep at the water line (same depth as top step), pool starts at 3'6" and goes to 5'6".

Note: At 5'6" deep I do not even recommend cannon balls...but I can put the basketball hoop out and actually shoot from most of the pool (I'm 5'9" tall) - in the deepest part of the pool I have to jump a little.

The pool planning started out as a 12x25 rectangle and then we added a 12x14 'L' for a sunshelf (shelf is 12x9). The pool actually goes around the shed in our yard. See pictures here: Pool build - Southwest FL - Tampa - Page 10

..and here: Trouble Free Pool

We thought about having the sunshelf a different color than the rest of the pool, but, because the first step is at the same level as and connected to the sunshelf, couldn't find a good way to transition from one color to the other. (we would have used PebbleSheen Desert Gold on the shelf and Blue Granite for the pool - this would have given a beach color to the shelf and nice blue for the rest of the pool. Instead we chose White Diamonds with cobalt blue glass bead for the entire pool - because it gave the blue color to the water while keeping light enough color for the shelf.

The 6" depth of the shelf is perfect for us, as the adirondack chairs we planned are right at 6" seat height.

If I had a chance to go back and ask for anything different, I think I would have asked for an additional return on the shelf. The return is only on one side and I always have leaves/bugs stuck in the corner opposite the return. The skimmer is directly across the pool from the shelf, so the additional return would have increased flow to the skimmer as well. This is a minor inconvenience and it only takes a minute to sweep this area with the pool brush. (I push the debris off the shelf where my robot can get it - 6" depth is too shallow for the robot to run.)

I am really happy that I asked for the light added to the shelf - the effects of the color LED lights can set the entire 'mood' of the back yard and the shelf would have been dark or barely lit without the light)

I wish you the best in making this pool perfect for you!

I think the sun shelf will be deeper than 6". I'm thinking 12-14" then it will drop off into the main pool. I've been reading a lot of discussion about depth and most people seem to feel that 4' is the optimal depth for the shallow end. I think the main pool depth of 4 sloping down to 8 feet would work for us. I like the idea of being able to do cannonballs and jumping in without having to worry about hitting the bottom. We could also step it down from 4 to 5 to 6 to 8 or some variation of that.
 

Dirk

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I think the sun shelf will be deeper than 6". I'm thinking 12-14" then it will drop off into the main pool. I've been reading a lot of discussion about depth and most people seem to feel that 4' is the optimal depth for the shallow end. I think the main pool depth of 4 sloping down to 8 feet would work for us. I like the idea of being able to do cannonballs and jumping in without having to worry about hitting the bottom. We could also step it down from 4 to 5 to 6 to 8 or some variation of that.

I like the 8' depth! I would have offered 3.5' works well in my shallow end for kids, even that is too deep when they're little, but with a 12-14" area, that'll be great for littles.

If you're planning on "chaise lounging" in 12-14" of water, the practical depth will be a few more inches, if there are others in the pool. Add inches based on ripples and wavelets. So, for example, if your water is 12" and your lounge height or seat bottom is 14", it's going to be wet.

I don't know what minimum depth a robot cleaner needs, the deeper sun shelf might solve for that. Worth a look, just to make sure you don't go 12" only to find out the robot you want (if you end up wanting one) needs 13"! I've read that robots can clean steps, so I assume they'd be able to get up on a shelf? Can anyone confirm that? Or the minimum depth? I'm pretty sure my suction vac could not get up on and/or clean a 12" shelf. Not sure, minimum depth for cleaners (of any type) didn't pop up for me with a quick google search. If you're leaning towards one model or another, you'd want to call the manufacturer to confirm, I suppose. Or perhaps solve this issue with return placement, as someone suggested. Or resign yourself to brushing it off from time to time (which is good for a pool surface anyway).
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
97
Lehigh Valley, PA
I like the 8' depth! I would have offered 3.5' works well in my shallow end for kids, even that is too deep when they're little, but with a 12-14" area, that'll be great for littles.

If you're planning on "chaise lounging" in 12-14" of water, the practical depth will be a few more inches, if there are others in the pool. Add inches based on ripples and wavelets. So, for example, if your water is 12" and your lounge height or seat bottom is 14", it's going to be wet.

I don't know what minimum depth a robot cleaner needs, the deeper sun shelf might solve for that. Worth a look, just to make sure you don't go 12" only to find out the robot you want (if you end up wanting one) needs 13"! I've read that robots can clean steps, so I assume they'd be able to get up on a shelf? Can anyone confirm that? Or the minimum depth? I'm pretty sure my suction vac could not get up on and/or clean a 12" shelf. Not sure, minimum depth for cleaners (of any type) didn't pop up for me with a quick google search. If you're leaning towards one model or another, you'd want to call the manufacturer to confirm, I suppose. Or perhaps solve this issue with return placement, as someone suggested. Or resign yourself to brushing it off from time to time (which is good for a pool surface anyway).

The good thing is that we will have plenty of room for whatever depth we decide on. The main part of the pool will be a 20 x 40 rectangle with the L part being the sun shelf. That way we don't take up any of the main pool with the lounging/kiddie play area. I'm not opposed to an 8' deep end, and I do think that the kids will enjoy it for diving games and jumping in. We definitely do not want a diving board. Good point on the robot. I've been looking at the Dolphins and I'll check their minimum depth.
 

Dirk

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I really like the notion of a half-n-half pool, separated into an L. My littlest always seems to get bowled over by her bigger brothers, even when she's trying to keep to herself in the shallows. It'd be handy to quarantine rowdy monsters off to the "pool" part when the littles want to be left alone on the shelf (or adults!). You'll have a very versatile pool, for all kinds of different uses and groups of people.

I'm curious if a robot can climb up on a shelf. Something else to check on. Otherwise, would one design a shelf that slopes down to the next depth, so the robot could access it? Not sure if that's done. I'm used to seeing a sheer drop, like a step, but I don't think they have to be that way. That might be cleaner-related. If you have a cleaner that wouldn't work in a shallow area, you'd want a step-like transition to keep it out of that area. Sorry, not being much help, as I don't know how robots do what they do. I'm just posing questions that you might want answered before they start blowing in gunite!
 

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kimkats

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LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,670
Tallahassee, FL
You have received a lot of good advice and things to think about. I am just coming along for the ride on this one!

Please share a pic of where this pool will be going so we can really see what you are working with.

Kim:kim:
 

scout123

Bronze Supporter
Feb 18, 2018
430
Northwest GA
Your pool sounds ideal to me! I love the sun shelf being off to the side and not taking up valuable swimming real estate, and a depth of at least a foot makes more sense to me than 6". If I'm in the pool, any part of it, I want to be wet, or what's the point. With the deep end, I'd get a depth in which adults and kids could safely dive. Not sure what that is. Without a board, I'd think at least 8 feet? The one I had growing up had a deep end of 10 or 12 feet, but we had a diving board. Boy, did we love that deep end; jumping, diving and playing all kinds of crazy games.

Excited to see the build!
 

bmoreswim

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I’d make the sunshelf area 16 x16. 12’ of the sunshelf depth then 4 feet of full length steps that get you down to the shallow end depth before the main rectangle.

For depth, 9” on the sunshelf. 4’ in the shallow end and 9’ in the deep end with a diving board.

I don’t know what you’d want, but that would be a great pool for me. :)
 

sehrmude

Bronze Supporter
Aug 21, 2017
192
Tampa, FL
For those of you wondering if the Dolphin can get on a sun shelf - The Dolphin S series isn't as tall as some of the other robots and it climbs on top of our deep end swim-out and bottom two steps every cleaning. I only have to sweep anything on the shelf and top step down into the pool while the robot is cleaning and it magically disappears.

My S300 has made it on top of the shelf once - with only 6" of water it spewed water out of the top port for a few seconds and then stopped. If we had 12" of water, I think the S300 would easily climb up and clean the shelf.
 
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