HELP! Quick decision needed for Sun Shelf / Baja Ledge in Pool Reno


Nov 27, 2018
Arlington, VA
We are renovating our 18' x 35' rectangular gunite pool and are building a sun shelf in the shallow end and two benches as exit points in the deep end (see attached). We have a toddler and another on the way, but I want the shelf to be useful for years to come, by being able to use with lounge chairs, margaritas etc.

Would VERY much appreciate any thoughts on:

(1) The proposed size of the shelf (big enough, too big?) and surrounding bench (husband thinks this is too small to be used as a bench), which would be used as the next stair down.
(2) The angle of the first entry step and the step beneath the bench (I originally envisioned something that flowed from the left side, so the both the first step and step from the bench would be similar size and oriented against the edge, in line with left side of the pool (not diagonal).
(3) What depth should the ledge, bench and stairs be.
(4) Would you absolutely include an umbrella sleeve? My husband is concerned about having a hole in the pool, and thinks an umbrella stand would be better. I tend to think that would be clunky and a pain on a number of fronts.
(5) Are there special chairs you have to use in the pool? In part, I'm thinking about the height of the chairs etc.
(6) Any other design ideas / suggested changes??



Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
Damascus, MD
Our sunshelf goes across the entire pool and we love it. I would not change a thing. But our pool is also around 42'x24'. Here is a shot that shows pretty much the entire pool. It is 14" deep. Steps are 8".

You can use really any chair in the pool that is not steel. Just make sure the chair will not scratch the plaster.

We also have an umbrella hole. The hole is like 6" deep and was cast into the gunite. It doesn't leak and I doubt it ever could leak. If they are building up the area you want the sunshelf in there is no way that hole would ever leak. In lieu of an umbrella holder look into putting a couple shade sales over the entire pool.